Bridging has long been an important part of Girl Scouts. It marks the girls’ transition from one level to the next, honors their achievements alongside their Girl Scout sisters, and celebrates their commitment to the Girl Scout Movement. Here are some tips for helping your girls make their troop’s bridging a fun and memorable occasion for everyone involved!
1. Use Your Resources Wisely
Each level of Girl Scouting has special bridging awards and activities (outlined in the appropriate age-level The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting) that can help girls decide how to mark this special day. One of the more popular methods is to hold a special bridging ceremony, but your girls may want to recognize this important transition another way--and that's fine too! No matter how they decide to celebrate, the Girl Scout Shop offers Bridging Kits for every level of Girl Scouting, which include must-have uniform items and certificates for girls bridging to the next level.
2. Add Props
3. Go Outside
As they are generally held in late spring, outdoor ceremonies can be a wonderful way to include nature in this important day. Many of our council properties would make a lovely location for the ceremony or an overnight leading up to the ceremony. The Tucson Girl Scout Resource Center even has a bridge located on the property! Just be sure to take our desert weather into account, and ensure that girls and their families bring sun protection and water.
4. Include Others
5. Personalize It
Let the girls add songs, poems, stories or activities that they love! Showcase the troop's accomplishments over the last year or two at their current level, or give your girls space to brainstorm and dream for the future. Check out Pinterest’s Girl Scout Ceremony pins for creative ideas for your ceremony that other troops have used. There is no right or wrong way to bridge, as long you are marking and honoring the girls’ progression and growth as Girl Scouts.
Super proud of how your bridging ceremony turned out? Don't forget to send photos and stories to Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org and share them with Girl Scouts and volunteers across our council.
*This post has been adapted from Girl Scouts of Western Ohio.
Area Team is a great way to network, stay in the loop and learn about resources. Read on in this great article from GSNorCal.
Between Girl Scout meetings and all of your kids’ other activities (plus, oh yea, family time), attending a monthly Girl Scout area team meeting may seem out of the question. But remember, being a troop leader isn’t a solo activity, and as you continue to grow with Girl Scouts, these area team meetings will become even more valuable! Led by local volunteers and a Council liaison, area team meetings create a tight-knit sense of community within specific geographical regions, providing personal assistance and helpful resources that every Girl Scout volunteer should take advantage of.
With that in mind, here are five reasons why you should attend your area team meetings:
1. You’ll have the opportunity to network with other volunteers!
Take an hour or two to leave the house, meet your fellow Girl Scout volunteers, and most importantly, make new friends. Once you find another troop that can go on a field trip with you, help you with a badge activity or bridging ceremony, or discover a sister troop at your school, you’ll be glad you left your house. We all need to meet other strong individuals who share a common bond and there’s no better place to do that than at your area team meetings!
2. You can lend a hand and put your skills to good use.
The area team is always looking to add new members – passionate volunteers with great ideas who want to contribute to the success of the area team for the benefit of the girls. Attending these meetings will give you an idea of how you can offer your expertise to the team. Maybe you’re a tech wizard who can help keep your area team connected via Facebook, social media apps, or email newsletters. Or perhaps you’re a savvy businesswoman with a huge net of local connections who can offer a space for meetings or an opportunity for girls to meet influential community members. Think about your skills and what you can bring to the team, then get involved!
3. You can learn (or teach) something new.
Area team meetings are interactive, giving veteran troop leaders the opportunity to pass along ideas and teach Girl Scout traditions, like songs, craft ideas, ceremonies, and skills. Was your latest camping trip a huge success? Tell your story and share your best practices! Did you work on a badge that was super fun and the girls got a lot out of it? Share it – or have your girls come and talk about it. Leaders of all experience levels are always looking for new ideas to bring back to their troops to keep things fun and fresh!
4. You can get your troop involved in volunteer or money-earning activities.
Area team meetings are a great place for your troop (especially an older girl troop) to practice ceremonies they’ve been learning. You can open the meeting with the Girl Scout Promise and Law and a flag ceremony and close the meeting with a fun game and the friendship squeeze. Area team meetings also sometimes need child care and, if you have older girls who are First Aid certified, this would be a great opportunity for them to give back to the area team. They could even charge a nominal fee and raise money for a trip or outing!
5. You’ll stay updated with what's happening at the Team Meeting, Council and National level.
From announcements involving upcoming events and workshops to tips for fall product sales or Girl Scout Cookie sales, a lot of information is shared at area team meetings. These meetings will ensure you know everything that’s going on – that way you’ll be able to help your troop stay active in the community, participate in local events, and discover new opportunities to grow!
We have members spread across Southern Arizona but with the help of our area teams, our volunteers and leaders can receive the special attention they deserve. So the next time you’re debating on whether or not to go to your next area team meeting, just do it, because these dedicated staff and volunteers are here for you – to help you and your girls have the best experience possible.
*This post was adapted from GS NorCal's blog The Trailhead.
Angela Borchert is finishing her sixth year as a Girl Scout leader in Vacaville/TAFB Service Unit and loves every minute of it. Her Girl Scouts have helped her embrace glue guns and dirt while taking her on her first kayaking outing. She’s been camping more times in the last four years than she has her entire life thanks to Girl Scouts!