CELEBRATIONS FOR GIRL SCOUTS
Ceremonies in Girl Scouting are used to celebrate
special occasions, to recognize accomplishments, or
simply to begin or end a meeting. Ceremonies also
provide a means of expressing feelings and values of
friendship, patriotism, service, beliefs and so forth.
A ceremony may be informal, taking only a few
minutes to prepare or, it may be of a more formal
nature, requiring advance preparation.
Girls may decide to have ceremonies for a number
of occasions throughout the year. In addition to those
listed here, ceremonies are often used for a tree
planting, making a presentation to a sponsor, thanking
Troop Committee members or recognize a special day like
United Nations Day, etc.
Celebrating important events together helps bind
girls of different backgrounds together into a feeling
of sisterhood. It becomes a special time in their lives
for reflection on the "oneness" of being a Girl Scout
and a member of the largest girls' organization in the
Girl-planning is one of the principle ways in
which leaders work with girls. Leaders need to recognize
this method and solicit ideas from the girls to
incorporate in the program. Even the smallest Daisy Girl
Scout can contribute if given choices from which to
As the leader, you will have to give many
suggestions and much help in planning at the beginning.
After girls have experienced a few ceremonies and see
what can be included, they will begin to have ideas of
Work with a committee, a patrol or the Court of
Honor. Explain the purpose of the ceremony and have the
girls talk about appropriate behavior during an
activity. Discuss the form of the ceremony using
questions to help make a plan.
There is no one way to plan a ceremony or
celebration. However, you should recognize the
difference between the two.
A ceremony can be an observance of tradition with
a symbolic meaning, an expression of deep feeling or
conviction and a means of stressing beauty and
instilling ideas. It should be simple and dignified,
appropriate to the occasion and easily understood by the
girls who take part in it. It should never be too
sentimental or solemn.
A celebration is a time for sharing such things as
sisterhood, fun, food, dances, songs, talents, etc. over
a longer period of time than that given to a ceremony.
An example would be an international celebration in
observance of World Thinking Day. It could include
customs, food, songs and dances from other countries. A
ceremony can be part of a celebration.
Girl Scout ceremonies are not required to follow a
set procedure but may open, carry out the purpose, and
close in a number of ways. The ages of the girls, the
season, location, and the purpose of the ceremony will
help determine what goes into the ceremony. A group may
build up a repertory of songs and collect a file of
poems, readings and quotations to be used in ceremonies.
Following are some ideas that might be part of a
Girl Scout Promise and Law
Reading original words written by girls for the
Poems - done as choral reading or read by
Songs - sung by the entire group, by a special
or hummed in the background
Quotations and readings
Some ceremonies, such as an opening or closing of a meeting, require
preparation only by the persons leading them. The leader
of the ceremony can give the Girl Scout quiet sign to
get the attention of the troop then give any direction
necessary, asking the troop to sing or take part in
Other ceremonies require preparation by the troop.
The entire troop may need to learn a particular song.
Groups and individuals such as a choral reading group,
readers, and the color guard must practice their parts.
The ceremony may lose its effectiveness, however, if it
is rehearsed "word for word".
You can help the girls gain confidence by having
them walk through the mechanics once or twice.
Each girl should know the order of events and
exactly what she is to do all the way through. For
- Will everyone walk together?
- Does she stand or sit during ceremony?
- What movement occurs during ceremony?
- Does she come up front for her part of
- What is the order of events and what part
does she follow?
- How does the group disperse at the end?
- What songs, poems, and quotations should
- How will we end the ceremony?
- Who will do each part? An individual? A
- What do we need? Candles? Decorations?
- Who will bring them?
- Who will start the songs?
Parts of the ceremony may be announced as it goes
along, or the troop may prefer to have one part follow
another with no announcements. If a girl forgets her
cue, or does her part out of order, you can cue in the
next part with a few simple words such as, "Jane will
now read a poem on friendship."
Make a final check just before the ceremony to be
sure everything is in place and ready to use: pins ready
to present, lists of names for insignia presentation,
candles and matches ready, campfire laid with a pail of
water nearby, etc. Check girls (and yourself) to see
that everyone is a neat as possible.
PREPARING FOR GUESTS
Occasionally the troop invites guests to a
ceremony or celebration. These may be family, troop
committee, another troop, program consultants, or
members of sponsoring groups.
When possible, have girls arrive at least a half
hour before guests so that they can arrange the room and
make preparations. Be sure some girls are assigned as
You, or one of the girls, can begin with a short
greeting and an explanation of the purpose of the
ceremony. Give guests directions at the appropriate time
if they are to participate in a flag ceremony. If you
use a horseshoe formation, have the opening toward the
SUGGESTED DATES AND OCCASIONS
Note: Many ceremonies and celebrations suggest the
lighting of candles. For our younger Girl Scouts,
lighting candles can be dangerous. Make paper candles.
Mount them on a poster. To "light" the candle, have the
girls tape a paper flame in place. Flashlights work
well, too. If older girls are going to be holding
candles, be sure there are collars of foil or heavy
paper around them to catch the wax drips. Hot wax burns.
lNVESTITURE - a ceremony to welcome new girls and
adults into the Girl Scouting program. It is held
anytime a person joins the Movement as a new member.
Note: A person is invested only once in their lifetime.
REDEDICATION - a ceremony for girls and adults who
have already been invested at some time in their life.
It is a time for them to reaffirm their belief in the
Promise and Law and to reflect upon the meaning of Girl
Scouting in their lives. It is usually held at the
beginning of each Girl Scout year.
Note: If a person rejoins the Movement after a
period of absence, they are welcomed back at a
FOUNDER'S DAY (Juliette Low's Birthday) - a
ceremony and/or celebration held on or about October
31st of each year. It is a program to recognize the
important role that Juliette Gordon Low played in the
development of the Girl Scouting program in the U.S.
PATROL LEADER INSTALLATION - a ceremony at which
time patrol leaders receive the double gold cords of
their position. It is held each time new patrol leaders
TROOP BIRTHDAY PARTY - a ceremony and/or
celebration recognizing the anniversary date of the
beginning of the troop.
WORLD THINKING DAY - a ceremony and/or celebration
held on or about February 22nd of each year. New members
can receive the World Trefoil Pin and all Girl Scouts
observe the international aspects of the Movement.
GIRL SCOUT'S BIRTHDAY - a ceremony and/or
celebration to mark the beginning of Girl Scouting in
the United States - March 12, 1912.
GIRL SCOUT SUNDAY/SABBATH - a ceremony held each
year during Girl Scout Week.the week of March 12th. It
is a time for Girl Scouts to reflect upon the importance
of the words, "to serve God", in the Girl Scout Promise.
Some religions observe Girl Scout Sunday on the Sunday
beginning GS Week while other religions observe the Girl
Scout Sabbath on the Saturday ending Girl Scout week.
People of the Jewish faith also call it Shabbat.
GIRL SCOUT WEEK - ceremonies and celebrations are
held throughout the week of March 12th each year.
COURT OF AWARDS - a ceremony to recognize the
achievements of the Girl Scouts. It is on this occasion
that girls receive the insignia they have earned. This
ceremony can be held any time during the Girl Scouting
year. At the last Court of Awards of the year, members
can receive their membership stars.
FLY-UP - a ceremony held at the end of the Girl
Scouting year for Brownie Girl Scouts bridging into
Junior Girl Scouts. It is at this time the girls receive
their Brownie Girl Scout wings.
BRIDGING - a ceremony held for any Girl Scout
moving up to a new level in the program. Daisy Girl
Scouts to Brownie Girl Scouts, Brownie Girl Scouts to
Junior Girl Scouts, and Junior Girl Scouts to Girls
Scouts 11 - 17.
CAMPFIRE - a ceremony and/or celebration held
around a fire. The meaning of a campfire lies in the
spirit of the program. It can unlock the spirit of
mystery, romance, sisterhood, humor, and magic within
the heart of each participant.
ADULT RECOGNITION - an occasion at any time of the
year when adults are recognized for their service to
GIRL SCOUT'S OWN - not a ceremony in the strict
sense of the word but a time for Girl Scouts to reflect
upon their feelings about Girl Scouting and the world
around them. It is a solemn time given over to the girls
themselves to create a moment of their very own. A Girl
Scouts' Own can be held at any time and can take place
at a troop meeting, an inter-troop gathering or camp.
OPENING - a ceremony to begin a meeting or event.
CLOSING - a ceremony to end a meeting or event.
FLAG - a ceremony to recognize our allegiance to
our nation or discard a worn flag. A flag ceremony can
be held as part of a celebration. It can also be used to
open a troop meeting as well as on a separate occasion.
Meaning of colors:
Yellow or gold - honor and loyalty
Silver or white - faith and purity
Red - bravery and courage
Blue - piety and sincerity
Green - youth and hope
Black - grief and sorrow
Purple - high rank and loyalty
Orange - strength and endurance
Red - sacrifice
White - purity
Colors of the Seasons and Months
Summer - yellow and green
Fall - orange and brown
Winter - red and black
Spring - pink and green
January - black and white
February - dark blue
March - gray or silver
April - yellow
May - lavender or lilac
June - pink or rose
July - sky blue
August - dark green
September - orange or gold
October - brown
November - purple
December - red