As a leader, you greatly prioritize your troop members rising through each level of Girl Scouts. One of the best ways to help girls stay involved all the way through is by making the ceremonies very memorable. You want your girls to know how amazing the ceremonies are, and want to take part!
I have made so many exciting ceremonies for my troop, and I wanted to share those ideas with you so you can help keep your girls enthusiastically invested in your troop activities. Celebrating your scouts is vital to the success of your troop, and putting these great ideas into practice has really helped fill our troop with Girl Scout pride.
1. Have a Ball!
Every girl has dreamed about being Cinderella at a big, fancy ball, and you can tie that idea into your Girl Scout activities! My troop raised enough funds to put on a ball that joined together a Bronze, Silver, and Gold ceremony, bridging ceremony, and pinning 4 new girls. There is no better place to celebrate girls at any grade level than a special event designed just for them.
For us, this was a full formal event for older girl scouts, and I laid out all the details of how we did it in this blog post. However, you can customize this idea for your own troop. Maybe you can have a casual dance party with pizza as a celebration, or dress up and have sparkling juice and appetizers. Each new girl can get her membership pin at the end of the night, and you can work up to the highest award.
2. Include special items
One of my favorite ideas from that ball is to add special items in to make the ceremony memorable and special. At our ball, we used magic wands for the bridging ceremony. The girls formed a bridge with their arms, pointing the wand tips together, kind of like a saber arch. The girls we were celebrating walked right through the bridge.
This idea can also be tailored to your troop. If you have any inside jokes, feel free to weave them in! Ceremonies don’t have to be super somber, you can bring in any fun or silly items you want to help your girls have a fun and memorable time. You can even do a ceremony in the dark and use glow sticks and flashlights! There are so many options out there for you.
3. Pirate theme
We had an investiture ceremony paired with a rededication ceremony that we developed a full pirate theme for. We used props, “treasure,” created fake birds for our shoulders, and played a pirate-themed balloon-popping game. This post has all the details of this unique twist on regular girl scouting, including investiture and rededication patches that you can use for your troop. Ceremonies like these are a great opportunity to help your girl scouts make new friends and feel inspired to take on an active role in the group.
4. Make a reusable bridge
If you’re planning to be a troop leader for a long time or you’d like to make a resource to pass down for the troop in the future, you can make a reusable bridge. Using the same bridge for every ceremony can make your ceremonies feel more meaningful, which can help your girl scout troop with goal setting. New scouts can look at the bridge as a concrete goal– they want to build their accomplishments to make it to the next level.
5. Sand art ceremony
This option makes your meeting a great time for young women with visual, hands-on learning styles! You can create a piece of sand art using different colors of sand to symbolize each part of the Girl Scout law, and each girl can make her own sand jar to take home as a souvenir. This could also be used to educate new members, because the Girl Scout law plays an important role in their girl scout experience.
6. Hawaiian theme
We also created a fun Hawaiian theme for our ceremonies. The reusable bridge and sand art were part of the plan, but we also had Hawaiian decorations and music. You can see all the information in this blog post. If you wanted to add to the fun, you could serve pineapple and coconut-themed ice cream, desserts, or smoothies.
7. A Star is Born Theme
Another theme I’d recommend for older girls is “A Star is Born.” We had a celebrity theme complete with a red carpet, gowns, a limo, “paparazzi,” and stars on the floor with their names on them for this special event, which was a great way to make the night feel special. We also had a candle lighting ceremony, with one candle for each piece of the Girl Scout law. I walk through all my fun theme and photo ideas in this blog post. You could try this with younger girls, but it’s best fit for high school level.
8. Flashlight flag ceremony
Flag ceremonies are not always the most engaging get-togethers, so it’s important to find ways to make them exciting and memorable. I’ve found that flashlight ceremonies are an awesome way to spice up a special ceremony that can otherwise be boring, especially for younger scouts. You can even use your girls’ cell phone flashlights if you have girls at a high enough grade level and you don’t have flashlights handy!
9. Mini bridging ceremonies at the beginning of the next meeting
Unfortunately, it’s not always possible for every girl in your troop to make it to every ceremony. My scouts and I don’t like to completely leave out individual girls if they aren’t able to make it, so we hold mini bridging ceremonies at the next troop meeting for any scouts who couldn’t come. If there’s anything I can save for them, like treats or souvenirs, I provide them at the mini ceremony as well. This has helped our Girl Scout program feel more inclusive and celebratory for every girl.
10. Stepping stone and wishing well ceremony
If you don’t have all the resources to pull off a crazy theme, the stepping stones or wishing well might be more up your alley. Both are a meaningful way to celebrate the girls’ achievements and next steps in the troop, and I have the full walkthrough of the ceremonies on my blog.
If you incorporate these creative ideas into your ceremonies with your troop, your girls will remember their ceremonies for the rest of their lives, and feel motivated to make it to the next level. If you try them, please share your results with me! I love to see people take my ideas and run with them to create lifelong memories with their troops.