Category Archives: Ceremonies

GS Meeting 12/18/14 – Rededication

Our final meeting of the calendar year focused on our Rededication Ceremony, with a few extras thrown in.

Home ScientistThe Brownies finally finished the Home Scientist Badge. The girls made butter, for step 1: be a kitchen chemist. It is very easy to do, though I recommend teaming girls up. It takes a lot of shaking to make even a small amount of butter.  The YouTube video, Making Butter, by Robert Krampf is a good place to start for tips and explanations.

Rededication Ceremony. Last year, we did the short version of the Brownie Pond Ceremony (from GS Heart of NJ). I couldn’t do that this year because my troop is split. Instead I decided to brave a candle ceremony. I tend to keep ceremonies short, so I modified what I found online. With 11 girls, one held a red candle signifying the GS Promise; the remaining ten held individual tapers signifying each line of the GS Law. The girls lined up, holding their candles. I lit a taper and stood in front of the first girl. The whole troop said the GS Promise together, then I lit the red candle. When I stood in front of each girl, she said her line of the GS Law and I lit her candle. At the end, we blew our candles out.

My AL collected the candles, and I went down the line of girls doing the GS handshake and giving them packets holding all of the badges/fun patches they’d earned up to that point this year. My six Juniors were pinned with new membership pins. I let the girls choose which trefoil pin (traditional or modern). They were split evenly between the two.

The final part of our meeting was a Christmas party – essentially a glorified snack time. At the end, I collected donations for the church’s food pantry. We’ve been meeting here for four years and have never been asked for any kind of donation.

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Brownies 11/21/13

Tonight was our first meeting as only a Brownie troop. And it was surprisingly the least stressful meeting I have ever had. Sitting in my car afterward,  I didn’t feel need to cry or drink a box of wine.  I didn’t wonder why on Earth I thought this was a good idea. The meeting was fun. The girls (generally) listened. I didn’t have to plan two levels worth of things to do. It was great.

Two girls joined our troop, so that puts us at 10 girls. We might pick up one or two more girls, but I’m happy with where we’re at.

Opening Circle
After we did the GS Promise, the girls assembled the GS Law puzzle (we’re going to do a take home craft at our next meeting for this instead of the puzzle). Then we took care of two pieces of business – which Journey to do (Wonders of Water won out, so I need to finish outlining it) and to think of things to put in a care package for deployed troops (one of the guys in DH’s shop is deployed, so I emailed him to ask what everyone over there would like).

Badges

GS WayWe mostly finished up the Girl Scout Way Badge tonight. We continued with Step 1 (singing “Princess Pat”). We started Step 3 by making a troop mural. Tonight the girls did handprints and wrote their name under it. At our next meeting, we’ll add to it by having them add a picture of something they like to do (read, play hockey, etc…). At our Christmas Party meeting, the girls will finish their mural by adding which line of the GS Law they like the best. We also did Step 5 when we did our Investiture/Rededication Ceremony – I read the Brownie Elf Story.

Step 4 is homework. I figured with Thanksgiving around the corner, the girls will have ample opportunity to “leave a place better than they found it”.  Step 2 was also completed by most of the girls at our SU’s pajama party last month. I’ll have to figure out how the rest of the girls can meet that requirement at home.

handmural

PotterWe did complete the Potter Badge. Steps 1 and 2 were taken care of by watching a video. It wasn’t really practical for us to go to a studio (though for others, it might be worth checking with a local community college to see if they might do a tour). I found a video on an educational streaming service I use for school with Bean. YouTube might also be a good place to check for possible videos.

Investiture/Rededication
While I think ceremonies are important, I also don’t want to do anything too fancy at this age. Short-ish and simple for now. I read the Brownie Elf Story (from the Girl’s Guide Book) and then we did the simple version of the Brownie Pond.

Once the ceremony was over, we did Closing Circle. All in all, a very successful meeting. I’m looking forward to the next one.

Service Unit Bridging Ceremony

Tonight was our Service Unit’s Bridging Ceremony. It initially started as a leader/daughter appreciation dinner, but then got upped to a Bronze Award Ceremony because several girls in our SU earned theirs, and then got upped again to encompass Bridging as a whole.

And for whatever reason, I volunteered to plan it. Something which I will never do again. It was very stressful and had very little return (only two troops came). That being said, I think that it was a success overall.

The decorations were very simple. Anne and I (well, mostly Anne), made centerpieces. They were a last minute thing as the troop that had tentatively offered to make them was not able to attend. One of the other leaders found some GS balloons, so we went with that – a white GS balloon on four green balloons, and a green GS balloon on four gold balloons.

bridging 001

The mom in my troop who made a balloon arch for us last year was gracious enough to do one again…even though I emailed her on Saturday asking for help. She came early, and we, plus Anne, my husband, and another mom tag-teamed it and got the arch set up with very little trouble.

HOW TO MAKE A BALLOON ARCH: And how she did it was disgustingly simple – she had three pieces of thin-ish, flexible piping; two of them were set into cement filled flower pots, the third one attached (with tape) to those poles. We blew up two balloons, tied them together, then twisted them around the pipe, alternating the directions, so there was very little pipe showing through.

Ceremony Outline
Welcome Everyone
Opening Ceremony
Explain Higher GS Awards
Bronze Awards
Explain Bridging
Bridge Daisies
Bridge Juniors
Closing Ceremony
Eat

Opening Ceremony. I had initially wanted to do a flag ceremony followed by a candle ceremony for the opening, but because of the lack of participation in our SU, I whittled it down to having all of the GS present come up to the front, gave each a daisy or a piece of paper, and had them say a line of the GS Promise or GS Law. As they said their line, they put their daisy into a vase. I did this with my Daisies at our rededication last fall, and hey…no reason not to do it again when I had everything already.

Bronze Award. After our Opening Ceremony, I gave a brief-ish explanation about what the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are. On a side, I think only about 5% of all eligible Girl Scouts earn their Gold Award. That is horrible! I wish I knew what percentage of Boy Scouts earn their Eagle Scout Award. It has to be considerably higher. And if you enlist in the military, having the Gold Award bumps you up a rank.

Girl Scouts have three levels of Awards they can earn throughout their scouting experience: the Bronze Award is earned by Juniors (4th-5th graders), the Silver Award is earned by Cadettes (middle schoolers), and the highest of the awards, on par with the Eagle Scout Award for Boy Scouts, is the Gold Award, which is earned by Seniors and Ambassadors (high schoolers). 

To earn these awards, girls must complete a Journey, which gives them a foundation for learning leadership skills, problem solving, and creating and carrying out community service projects. After they have completed a Journey, the girls work as a team to find some way to help improve their community.  They identify a problem, determine what they can do to fix it, work with the appropriate person or department, and complete the project. With each higher award, the projects completed become more complex, with the goal that the project will ultimately be self-sustaining  or perpetuating.

The leader from the Junior troop came up and explained what her girls did: they created an after-school craft club. And it was successful to the point that our village is picking it up for this coming school year. That is amazing! Then she gave them certificates (the actual award is back-ordered at our Council).

Bridging. Once the Bronze Awards were finished, we Bridged our Daisies and Juniors (8 girls in all). Again, I explained what Bridging and the Bridging Award are. The Daisies went first, then the Juniors. I found a cute little poem to read, but didn’t remember to do it until afterward. And I completely forgot about pulling one of my three Brownies who were present to help welcome the girls.

We also didn’t have a bridge, just a balloon arch. I think it worked out perfectly though.

Bridging is the transition from one level of Girl Scouting to the next. Every girl who completes a level automatically bridges to the next one.  However, each level also has an earned Bridging Award associated with it.  There are two required to steps: to Pass It On and to Look Ahead.  Pass It On has the girls’ sharing their experiences at their current level with girls who are one level below them, or who haven’t started scouting yet. Look Ahead has the girls either doing something with girls in the level they will be Bridging to, or exploring different badges or opportunities the next level has.

Each troop will Bridge separately, starting with the youngest girls first. Each girl will cross a bridge, which symbolically shows them moving from one level to the next. They will be met either by their leader or a Girl Scout from the level they are Bridging to at the other side of the bridge. There, they will do the Girl Scout Handshake, and be welcomed to their new level.

Closing Ceremony. Again, I kept this very simple. Instead of pulling the girls up again, they stayed sitting with their parents. We sang “Make New Friends” to close everything out. Any parent who knew the words sang with us. There were a lot of people singing, which was nice.

Bridging Bean

Bridging Bean

Bridging / End of Year Party

We had our Bridging Ceremony / end of year party the day before Father’s Day (note to self: I will end GS a few weeks earlier next year). Ten of 13 girls were there.

The first thing to point out is that if you can get your hands on a bounce house, do it. Seriously the best money spent. All of the children present were contained. And we knew where they were.

I learned my lesson at our Investiture last December – keep the ceremony as short and sweet as humanly possible, and have the girls sit with their parents until it is their turn to come up front; pointing this out to the parents while introducing the ceremony garnered some chuckles.

The ceremony:

*Welcome everyone.

*Thank the parents. Specifically mention the four parents who went above and beyond, and give them each a little present (GS 100th Anniversary magnet) and a volunteer appreciation certificate.

*Bring Daisies up. Give them each their membership star. Give them each a little present (GS cookie-scented chap stick), and a “thank you for being a Daisy” certificate.

*Bring the girls Bridging to Brownies up.  Give them their membership star. Go over the Bridging Award and what they did to earn it. Show a Senses Try-It. Call the name of each girl individually to walk over the bridge. GS handshake. Welcome them to Brownies. Give them a Bridging Certificate and a little present (also the GS chap stick).

That was the gist of our ceremony. I made sashes out of brown butcher paper to place over the girls’ heads as they Bridged, but…of course I forgot them.

Then the girls were freed to go back to playing in the bounce house until the hot dogs/hamburgers were ready.

Two of the moms called the girls back so they could give me a surprise – a basket with flowers and wine (much needed) and a thank you card the girls signed, and a scrapbook to put all troop-related photos and mementos in (already started). Very much unexpected. Very much appreciated. It’s nice to know that I’m doing a good job as a leader.

A final note to add, one of the mothers made an amazing Daisy Cake:

Chaos, Thy Name Is Daisy.

Tonight we had our Investiture/Rededication ceremony. I had everything planned, what I wanted to say printed out in a large font, the petals/patches in little packets, etc…and it ended up being mostly chaos – in  part because we were up in the big room, and in part because I erroneously set everything up in front of the stage. Playing on the stage was just too tempting, so Daisies were wiggling in chairs, running back to their parents, climbing up on the stage.  So instead of having a nice ceremony, I skipped over a lot of it, pinned the girls (sometimes forgetting to go the Girl Scout Sign/Handshake), and sent them off with several moms to get snacked up while I finished, giving a much abbreviated version of the petal packets and the Friendly and Helpful Daisy flowers (more on those below).  The plus side is that all of the girls who came remembered to bring their pen pal letters! Yay!

After making the rounds to explain some of the petals, etc… to several of the parents, I rounded up the girls so they could make their Girl Scout Law bracelets. I bought these with the intention of using them as a craft at one of the meetings but it didn’t work out. We wrote thank you letters instead.  Next year, I think I will skip the craft at Investiture. The girls made them, had fun, and calmed down a bit since they had to sit at a table and string beads. Or maybe I’ll keep the craft since it did help wind them down a bit.

For the ceremony, (what I had hoped would happen at least) was to welcome the parents, give the two returning Daisies their membership stars since they didn’t get them at the end of the previous year in their previous troop, and have them help me with the Daisy Pins and Promise Centers for the new Daisies. Since I have 13 new Daisies, they were each going to say a line of the Girl Scout Promise (3 relevant lines), or a line of the Girl Scout Law (10 relevant lines), then put a daisy into a vase. It works out perfectly. In theory. But they were way too wiggly at that point for any real semblance of that to happen. What did happen was me saying the line while they placed a daisy in a vase. Then I pinned them. I gave up giving the Promise Centers at the same time since I really, really needed to get through so they could run around. I did hand them out, but in retrospect, I should have just included the centers in the petal packets I made (small, snack size baggies to hold everything they’ve earned up until this point).

Back to my dream of what was supposed to happen…once we did the pinning, I would explain the packets to the parents, saying what the girls did to earn the petals, etc… Then show them the “A Friendly & Helpful Daisy Was Here!” flowers I made to help the girls earn their Yellow Petal. Each girl received three flowers to leave/give when she has been friendly or helpful.  It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. And after explaining that, I would do a nice little closing, have the girls sing “Make New Friends”, and then have a snack. I think somewhere in there, I was going to recite the Promise and Law, but that didn’t happen either. At least I got the girls to mumble through the Promise at the beginning of the ceremony. They normally do a much better job of it at meetings. Oh well. They’re 5 and 6 years old. I’m sure it will be different once they’re older and (hopefully) calmer.

In short, for this and at other meetings/field trips, I could not do this if it were not for heavy parental involvement. There is no way I could handle this on my own.  No way. I am incredibly blessed to have parents who want to help. I know there are troops out there that have to twist multiple limbs to get anyone to help, and I don’t know how they manage to function.  The only reason the chaos isn’t overwhelming is because I have parents who help (and are understanding).

The girls must enjoy it since several of them brought me Christmas gifts/cards/pictures. Very thoughtful, and honestly, completely unexpected.