Making a Meaningful Bridging Ceremony

A bridge can be constructed out of just about anything, the point is for it to be a symbolic crossing from one level to the next.... The following are some ideas for you to use or adapt:
• A rustic bridge out-of-doors
• An arch of colored paper
• Stepping stones cut out of cardboard
• Turn a card table upside down and string crepe paper between the legs

When bridging from Brownies to Juniors, they made a "bridge of hands" under which each girl passed, one at a time. They wanted to keep with that tradition, but make it new. This is what the girls did: They painted a 10-foot piece of butcher paper. At the top, it read "Cadettes". At the bottom, it read "Juniors". In the middle, they did a huge arch of hand prints. (Messy but fun, and we kept the bridge of hands with a twist.) Leaders scored the butcher paper in a few places, and wrapped the two ends of paper around some PVC pipe. The girls "bridged" by bursting through the butcher paper like a football team. It was unique, very festive, and most importantly the girls loved it! We used a very nice candle ceremony around the Promise and Law where each girl began asking what the world would be like if
we didn't live by these laws and blowing out her candle. Candles were re-lit after renewed commitments all around. Betty , Troop 159, Sunnyvale CA

My co-leader and her husband constructed a mock-bridge out of car ramps and bed sheets, which we decorated with fresh potted daisies and balloons! It looked spectacular, and the girls enjoyed every minute of it. As they walked across the bridge they receives their patch and certificate. Our ceremony ended with the lighting of candles on the log, to symbolize their new beginnings. —Robinette V. Troop, Medina, Ohio 6/4/00

When we bridged from Brownie to Junior Girl Scouts we did it with a Daisy Girl Scout troop. We went to our local park (where there is a gazebo), took a mirror (in place of a pond), got a local florist to donate ferns, and had the parents bring silk flowers from home. We placed the silk flowers around the pond, put the ferns around the gazebo, and had the older girls receive the younger ones and help them recite "twist me, turn me...," as found in the Brownie Girl Scout Handbook.

We had the ceremony at a park and decorated a slide with helium balloons and streamers and had the girls slide down the slide to Brownie Girl Scouts!

Our Brownie Girl Scouts helped in making a bridge out of felt. We made a bridge with water under it, put felt flowers on green grass along both sides of the bridge, and put real stones in the "water." The girls also brought some stuffed animals to lay alongside the stream’s edge. They really enjoyed doing this activity.

Do a blind rope walk as a bridging ceremony. Take a long rope, and tie it from one point to another. Create little detours, curves, and so forth. Have the girls follow the rope blindfolded and end up at a different level of Girl Scouting.

We bridged to Cadette Girl Scouts by saying one part of the Girl Scout Law and lighting a candle. We each swam across my pool and came out a Cadette Girl Scout instead of a Junior. After that we floated little homemade foil boats across the pool.

We made chains out of silver wrapping paper. At a campfire, we asked younger Brownies from a sister troop to hold up the chains in two lines to form a bridge for the new Juniors to walk through. The girls were called individually to walk across the bridge to receive their Brownie Wings, with families and other Girl Scouts watching.

We held the ceremony in our leader's backyard. We put up balloons, and the leaders had made posters of us at different events. Then when we held the ceremony, the five of us who were bridging had to walk under the swing set! Then two Cadette Girl Scouts stood at the other side. Each one of us who were bridging walked under the swing set, shook hands with our leaders, put on the Cadettes' vests, shook their hands and walked to the end of our line. It was nice.

Use helium balloons. We used to use the Worlds [of Girl Scouting] colors but now will refer to it as our rainbow. Put the first line of balloons taped to the floor at knee height and the second behind it (far enough behind to walk through) in an arch so that the highest balloon in the center is taller than the tallest girl. It is fast to assemble, it is portable, and best of all there is nothing to take home since the balloons go home with the girls. Plus, as a bonus, the pictures turn out wonderful! -- Ann Illinois
Crossroads Council - Palatine

Ribbon Bridge (on dowels in coffee cans)
The bridge is made with:
12 - small 3 pound coffee cans
4 - 36 inch (92 cm) dowels
4 - 30 inch (76.5 cm) dowels
4 - 24 inch (661.5 cm) dowels
12 metal eye hooks (shaped like a circle on one end and with a screw in the other end)
plaster of paris
12 - small candle garlands (or some other decoration)
Directions: Mix up the plaster of Paris and pour into each can. Place one dowel in each can, making sure to center it. Screw one eye hook into top of each dowel. Can paint the dowels and cans any color. Find either small candle garlands or other decorations to place over the top of the can so the plaster of paris doesn't show. Run the ribbon through the eye hooks after placing the cans in 2 parallel lines. Each line looked like this: shortest dowel, middle length, longest, longest, middle length, shortest dowel. It reminded me of the barrier ropes at the movie theaters. I liked it for several reasons:
1) it is easy to transport
2) doesn't take up much room to store
3) can be used inside or outside
4) didn't cost much to make
5) and most importantly the girls could make this for the troop or for the council.
From: Theresa quoted at Girl Scout Emporium

Our bridge was going to be a set of stairs outside the church in a wooded area. But, as the heavens opened, we had to have the ceremony indoors: we set up our Brownie pool - mirror with plants and silk flowers and woodland stuffed animals around it. I used foil to make a "stream" and white paper to create a "bridge" on the floor. The Bridgers then shared the following:
· Our Brownie age level came into being from the Brownies of England who were first organized in 1914.
· They were younger sisters of Girl Guides and tagged along.
· They were named after a clever fairy in English Folklore called the Brownie.
· The Brownie entered human homes and did a good turn by helping humans clean house.
· The Brownie story tells of the change a little girl undergoes to become a helpful Brownie. (Brittany McGowan)
· She is told by a wise owl to turn around three times and say: (together)
Twist me and turn me and show me the elf, I looked in the mirror and saw…….
And when she looked into the pond she saw her own reflection so she became the helpful Brownie Girl Scout.
Sing Brownie Smile Song
The Brownie wings that the girls receive today are from the English as well. They symbolize that the girl has completed the Brownie level and is ready to "fly up" to Junior Girl Scouts. Girls form two circles with the Bridging Brownies in the middle and the other girls holding hands around them.
Sing Girl Scouts Together.
--Debbie quoted at Girl Scout Emporium

"The original came from Stacey in Vista, CA." Quoted at GuideZone
Paint a large box (from a range top) like an oven. Call it the Little Brownie Bakery, with dials and a rainbow. Cut a door on each side and a large hole in the back. On one door was a recipe for a Brownie. Some of the ingredients were a Spark, Brownie Promise, fun, new friends, songs, games. The recipe said to "spend a year slowly preparing your Spark by adding the above ingredients and when the time is right, check for a desire to learn new things, sprinkle with magic (glitter or I might use confetti) add one last hug and pop in the oven".
Before each girl stepped into the oven, she said her Promise, was sprinkled with glitter and got a hug. Inside she put on her sash and when the timer went off she stepped out the other side as a Brownie. Leaders could also wear aprons and oven mitts.