Monday, May 16, 2016

Important Things Daisy Girl Scout Leaders Need to Know About Bridging to Brownie Scouts

Girl Scout bridging is the hot topic on the Facebook groups where I belong, as well as the Girl Scout forums I read. Daisy leaders have so many questions and concerns since they have not done this before. As an experienced leader of a few of these ceremonies, here is my advice to you.

First and foremost, KEEP IT SIMPLE! You are not throwing a graduation party or a Sweet 16, this is a small ceremony for the girls-not their parents! Your troop is comprised of 6 and 7 year olds and you have to plan things accordingly. While it is important to make it meaningful, the meaning has to be for the girls who are bridging.

Photo from Pixabay

My Daisy to Brownie bridging ceremony lasted about fifteen minutes and took place during our regular meeting time at our regular meeting place. What made this more special than a regular meeting was the fact that parents were there and we served light refreshments at the end. No marching band, no parade, no get my drift. 

I guess I was lucky because we bridged before the Pinterestification of motherhood. When I started my Girl Scout troop, there was very little information on the internet about how to lead a troop or conduct a Girl Scout bridging ceremony. I did what I could with the tools I had. With Pinterest, a place that I love and adore for getting ideas to tweak and make my own, the stakes have gotten higher. From what I am reading, leaders are stressing over a simple short ceremony for first graders. What is going to happen when their daughters get married?

Your Daisy to Brownie bridging ceremony does not have to be Pinterest worthy! I did not even take photos of what I did years ago..I just had pictures taken with the girls. Even my oldest daughter's bridging ceremony was a simple affair that I remember well.

To Gift or Not to Gift

Photo from Pixabay

Another topic that has leaders stressing is what to give your troop as bridging gifts. This is a choice that all leaders must make. You already give your girls the best gift of all-your time! Giving a small present from your co-leader and you is not required.

What concerns me is the time and effort other leaders put into homemade bridging gifts that make other leaders feel like they have to do the same. 

If you enjoy searching for ideas, shopping for crafts, and spending time creating something, then go ahead and do it! For a bridging to Brownies gifts, I bought each girl a box of Brownie mix. When they bridged to Juniors, their gift was their part of the bridge that my co-leader and I made one afternoon while our kids played. It took less than an hour and I bought all of the supplies in one place.

Do not feel pressured into doing something big if you do not want to. No one is going to think less of you if you don't have a razzle dazzle gift to the troop. Each troop is unique and each leader has her own way of doing things. A store bought present is also fine to give as well, if you are so inclined.  

Should Leaders Buy Brownie Uniforms?
Photo from Pixabay

If you are bridging in the late spring or over the summer, you may want your girls to have their vests for the ceremony. Who should pay for the uniforms?

If you sell cookies and have a nice chunk of change in your bank account, you may be considering purchasing the uniforms, pins and patches for your soon-to-be Brownie troop. In my opinion, this is not a good use of your money. I wrote a very detailed blog post about this on my main Girl Scout blog, (you can read it here). I have never purchased uniforms for my girls. Parents need to have some skin in the game. What if a family moves or a girl changes her mind and does not want to be a Brownie in the fall? While some leaders believe that the vest is hers because she fundraised for it (and this is true), why would you want to risk losing this money? I am sure you can find many other ways to spend the money.

If your troop has children who come from a lower income area and buying a uniform may be a financial hardship, then why not wait until fall after the girls have registered and then you can buy the vests. Financial aid is available for these girls.

Last, you can have parents pay for a portion of the uniform and the troop pays for the other portion. 

Your Daisy to Brownie bridging ceremony should be a time for celebration, not a source of stress. Keep it simple!

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