Bridging is a beloved Girl Scout tradition that honors girls’ achievements throughout the year and celebrates their “crossing the bridge” to the next Girl Scout level. It involves a special ceremony for the whole family to enjoy as you reflect on the past and prepare for the future.
This is how bridging works:
Grade 1 Daisies bridge to Brownies
Grade 3 Brownies bridge to Juniors
Grade 5 Juniors bridge to Cadettes
Grade 8 Cadettes bridge to Seniors
Grade 10 Seniors bridge to Ambassadors
Grade 12 Ambassadors bridge to Adults
When girls progress through each level of Girl Scouting, they become more confident, get to know themselves better, continue to learn and master a ton of new skills, enjoy countless more adventures, and change the world! They also earn more badges and awards to celebrate their accomplishments.
Many troops hold their bridging ceremony in June, and some tie it to the end of the girls’ current school year. You may also choose to deepen your girls’ connection with their Girl Scout sisters by holding your ceremony during National Bridging Week, which will be celebrated August 8-14.
Like investiture and rededication ceremonies, Girl Scout bridging ceremonies have a few basic elements:
Opening: Welcome your guests and share the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
Main section: Girls, whether physically or symbolically, cross a bridge and are welcomed to the next Girl Scout level.
Closing: Girls participate in a friendship circle and thank their guests.
And the rest is up to the girls! But depending on your girls’ ages, you might find yourself doing a good chunk of the planning. Troop leader Lara Cordeiro of Girl Scouts of Western Ohio advises, “As with everything, progression is key! The girls plan the ceremony—they pick any readings, poems, or songs that they want to say or sing. The girls also tell everyone their favorite Girl Scout memory from that level. It’s great to hear what they really enjoyed and recap those few years at that age level!”
As many of the usual Girl Scout bridging traditions are not currently possible, we’ve come up with a list of creative ways your girls can bridge to the next level of Girl Scouts, while social distancing. With each of these ideas, you can host the ceremony via video chat, or send a pre-recorded video of you hosting the ceremony for all girls to watch at a time that works best for them. See girlscoutsosw.org/COVID-19 for tools and resources to hold virtual meetings.
Sidewalk Chalk Bridging: Have girls draw a bridge with chalk on the sidewalk near their home. Encourage each girl to be creative and make her art reflect on her year with Girl Scouts.
Lego, Clay or Cardboard Bridging: Have your girls create a bridge out of legos, clay, or other items they have around the house! Then have the girls select an object or toy to represent them and cross the bridge they made. Want to get even more creative? Have each girl film her creation and object crossing over the bridge. Compile all of the videos and send it out to the entire troop.
Couch Cushion or Chair Bridging: Each girl assembles a bridge inside her home with furniture such as chairs lined up. Encourage girls to decorate their bridges with Girl Scout memorabilia and more!
Consider some surprises. “Each year we ask the girls who are bridging to plan a special surprise for the girls who are staying and vice versa,” says Lindsay Hayden, who leads a Senior and Ambassador troop at Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana. “Last year, our younger girls made personalized bulletin boards for our bridging girls to take to their college dorm rooms. They included personalized notes and a photograph of the troop on each.”
Need more support? Check out the Volunteer Toolkit, where you’ll find a bridging guide for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior troops in the Closing Celebrations section; for older girl and multi-level troops, you’ll find it in the Resources tab under Girl Scout Traditions and Awards. You might also encourage your girls to earn their grade level's bridging award in the process!