Girl Scout Ceremonies

General Ceremonies

Campfire Ashes
Legend has it that Baden-Powell would always take a small amount of ashes from the campfire and spread these ashes into the next campfire Ashes taken from a campfire are sprinkled into the flames of the next campfire. The next morning, when the ashes are cold, they are stirred, and each Guide or Scout takes some along to mix with her/his next campfire. If more than one Guide/Scout brings ashes to the same campfire, the lists are pooled, with the dates and places of all campfires recorded and passed on.
It is tradition that only those present at the ceremony may carry the ashes from that ceremony
Charge of the Ashes
May the spirits of past campfires be here with us tonight, carrying fellowship in these ashes from other campfires, thus uniting us with friends and comrades in other lands.
[Now, sprinkle saved ashes over fire]
May the joining of the dead fires with the leaping flames of our campfire tonight symbolize once more the unbroken chain that binds Guides and Scouts around the world. Fond greetings to Girl Guides and Girl Scouts of all nations, everywhere.

Gifts of a Dime and a Tiny Box
We have something we want to give each of you girls tonight---A bright, shiny new dime. Now, a dime doesn't do much by itself. You have to put it with something in order for it to be useful. Put 25 cents with it and you have enough for a phone call. Put 40 cents with it and you might have enough to buy a candy bar or a pack of gum.
You can save more dimes, put it all in the bank and let it make more money in interest. You could take this dime home, throw it in a dresser drawer and not use it at all. You could even lose it before you get home!
Now, I want you to tell me, how many pennies does it take to equal this one dime?
Right, it takes 10 pennies - 10 very equal and important parts. Well when you take the 10 parts of the Girl Scout Law and add it all together, it equals Girl Scouting!
[Repeat the GS Law]
Now we have one more thing to give you: a tiny little box. The wrapping may be a bit wrinkled and the ribbon may not be quite perfect, but its what's INSIDE that counts!
Just like the dime, you have to put something with it to make it really worthwhile.
Now, you won't be receiving all of your gift at one time. We hope to give it to you over a period of many years, in small doses and as painlessly as possible!
We want to give you Girl Scouting!!!
And with this gift we also give you our hopes that you will learn from it, grow with it, work with it, use it everyday, enjoy all of it and keep it with you for the rest of your life!
Now, New Girl Scouts and Old Girl Scouts alike, let us all join together in saying the Girl Scout Promise.
[Repeat the GS Promise]
As we're sure you have already noticed. The little box that we just gave to you was wrapped in Gold paper and tied with Silver ribbons - This is to remind you of all of the Wonderful, Wonderful Friends you are going to make this year. As the Song goes, "Make New Friends but keep the old. One is Silver and the other is Gold!"
And now as we share our friendship, we will all think about all of our special Girl Scout Sisters right here and around the world and all of the fun and excitement that awaits us this year!

Golden Trefoils
These golden trefoils in my hand
Upon our new Girl Scouts we will bestow;
But first the meaning that the Trefoil bears,
The spirit of our Promise we must know.
Three gold leaves the trefoil wears
Threefold the Promise that it bears,
To serve God and your Country dear,
To bring others hope and cheer,
And every day in every way the Girl Scout Laws learn to obey.
And yet another message, too,
These three gold leaves should bring to you;
These three gold leaves each girl should grow
Three sides of life each Scout should know.
Your body is the temple of your soul;
Oh, Girl Scouts, build it strong and straight and fair,
In God's great out-of-doors your kingdom lies,
Health and happiness await you there.
In knowledge, too, as young eager minds unfold from day to day,
So do you grow with every finished task,
At home, at school and rightful play.
In beauty, too, in this great land,
The Great Spirit made so fair,
Seek long for Beauty, nay ever more,
Make beauty where no Beauty was before.

The Magic Necklace - A Lesson on the GS Promise
[Hint: doing the craft while telling the story is doubly effective]
Once upon a time, there was a wise old needle who decided to make a beige necklace. It enlisted the help of some string and set out on its journey. Beads rushed by the thousands to join. The needle welcomed all the beads and quickly threaded them on.
This process went on for quite some time.
The necklace got longer and prettier. After some time, the needle turned around to look at its work. It was surprised to note that among all the beige beads it had put on, there were a few blue ones. When asked, the blue beads insisted that they had just as much right to be there as did the original beige beads. The needle was a little bit shocked, but upon reflection, it realized that the necklace would become even more beautiful if beads of all sizes and colors were added. No sooner had it admitted this than it noticed tiny brown beads lurking timidly on the sidelines. "Come on in," it called. "Being part of this necklace is one of the best decisions you'll ever make!"
Well, you guessed it--those little beads lined right up to be threaded on. And it didn't stop there. Beads of red and green and blue and pink and yellow flocked to the needle. Not all chose to stay, but many more joined than left. With each new bead the necklace gained strength. Pretty soon it was so-ooo long that it wrapped around the entire world. Eventually the needle was unable to help anymore, but it passed on the trade to some of the beads, and they gathered enough momentum to keep threading the beads by themselves. One day, a small brown bead got a little nervous. "This necklace is awfully long," she said to her navy blue sister. "And the needle isn't here to run things anymore. What if the necklace falls apart?" The older, more experience bead tried hard not to laugh. "Don't worry, little one," she said, "there's no fear of that happening. We have the strongest clasp possible!"
The brown bead breathed a sigh of relief. "I'm glad, but I don't remember us having a clasp" she said in confusion. "What does it look like?"
The confident blue bead explained. "You can't see the clasp. It's hidden in your heart, and in the heart of all the beads who have ever been part of this great necklace. You can find it if you try. What is it that really makes you part of the necklace? Say it with me." The brown bead smiled slowly. "I think I understand" she announced. And together the beads spoke the words that had linked them ever since the wise needle had had its inspiration, and that would continue to link them forever:
"On my honor I will try, to serve God and my country, to help people at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout Law."

Maypole Ceremony
Materials Needed:
1 pole about 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter & five feet long (a broom handle works well)
10 ribbons ½ inch wide and seven feet long. One each of the following ten colors:
 purple, yellow, red, white, gold, blue, silver, orange, green, brown
12 inches of string or cording
Preparation: Attach the ribbons to the top of the pole using tape, nails or glue. Wrap the string or cording around the pole & glue in place. Allow to dry before using pole.
Ceremony: You need 11 girls to perform this ceremony.
One girl stands in the center & holds the pole. The other ten girls form a circle around the pole. Each ribbon stands for a part of the Girl Scout Law. Have each girl (one at a time) reach for her ribbon & recite her part of the Law. Always start with the purple ribbon. Then, go in this order: orange, blue, gold, yellow, white, red, silver, brown, green.
Once all the girls have said their part of the Law & all are holding “their” ribbon, they begin weaving the Maypole. This is done while singing a song, such as “Girl Scouts Together” or “On My Honor”.
Have the girls face each other: 1&2; 3&4; 5&6; 7&8; 9&10
Girl will hold ribbon with “inside” hand. While keeping ribbons straight (don’t let them droop) start with odd numbered girls. They will lift their inside hands and the even numbered girls will duck under. Then the even numbered girls will raise their hands and the odd numbered girls will duck under & so on….
Continue until you reach the bottom of the pole or the end of the song.
Please remember that you will get a much better weave if the girls keep their ribbons pulled tight during the weaving.

Nickname Ceremony
Materials needed:
Large cut glitter (that will not get lost in a girl’s hair)
Name tag with nickname on it
Assemble girls/adults in horseshoe & state that it is now time to begin the Nickname ceremony. Then read the following poem:
I knew a little mystery girl,
She was a friend of mine.
We knew each other from grade school,
It’s been a long, long time.
She had lots of pins and badges,
You see, she’d been everywhere;
They were on her sash and uniform,
But one thing wasn’t there.
This thing is like a special gift
This is given by someone you know.
You can’t see it, touch it, taste or feel it,
But you’ll have it forever more!
I asked her if she had one.
She replied, “Can I buy it? What’s that?”
I told her if she had one
She’d say “Yes!” right off the bat.
So, my friend doesn’t have this special thing
That you will get today.
When she found she couldn’t buy one.
She hung her head & walked away.
When you receive you gift today
Hold it dear to your heart.
And remember how you got it,
No matter if we’re far apart.
Each one was chosen carefully
To fit you in and out!
Now I have you wondering
Just what is she talking about?
Well, here goes, let’s give the first one
To a super (age level) Girl Scout!
Go stand in front of the first girl & hold your hand over her head. Sprinkle glitter slowly over her head & shoulders & say the following:
By the power vested in my as leader of Troop ____, I hearby bestow the following name on (girl’s real name). On this day & forever more, you will be known as (nickname). Pin tag on girl’s shirt. Do this with each girl until finished.

Nobody Told Me
Reader 1 :
Nobody told me I would really feel part of something so big, so wonderful, that when we said the Promise together tonight that I would mean every word. Will I ever know all the words? You'll learn them, I was told.
Reader 2 :
Nobody told me that while I worried and fretted about about "doing the right thing at the right time", I would now be looked upon as "knowing all the answers" by the younger scouts. What if they won't listen to me? They'll learn from you, I was told.
Reader 3 :
Nobody told me I would really have to cook on an open fire. "I don't know how to scramble eggs or put up a tent." You'll learn, I was told. Nobody told me that I would really want to go camping again. You'll learn, I was told.
Reader 4 :
Nobody ever told me that I would become queasy or that my voice would crack when I led the Flag Ceremony. "But, I've never done a flag ceremony, I said. What if I forget the words? You'll learn, I was told.
Reader 5 :
Nobody told me that the Laws were made to help us become better people. How will I learn to get along with so many girls, we're all so different. You'll learn, I was told.
Leader :
Nobody told me that getting to know these girls would be so much fun. Nobody told me, I learned.
In Unison :
We are Girl Scouts. Four words, but, behind them, hundreds of feelings and thoughts. We are Girl Scouts because we love the out-of-doors, singing, reading, learning how to make things, and because we enjoy sharing with our friends in Girl Scouting. Nobody told us that we would make so many friends! Nobody told us. We learned.

The Origin of 'Taps'
This is story of how "Taps," first came to be played at military funerals.
The time was the United States' Civil War. Confederate Army Colonel, Dan Butterfield, a courageous and able soldier, was also a man of music. To honor his fallen comrades, he composed on July 2, 1862, a simple and heartrending melody. Later that summer, Union Army captain, Robert Ellicombe, was with his men near Harrison's Landing in Virginia. On the other side of this narrow strip of land was a contingent of the Confederate Army.
During the night, Capt. Ellicombe heard the moan of a soldier who lay mortally wounded on the field. The captain lit a lantern, suddenly caught his breath, and went numb with shock. In the dim light of the lantern he saw the face of the soldier---it was his own son!
The following morning, the heartbroken father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite the young man's enemy status. There was reluctance to grant any such request. Certainly a burial with full honors was not permissible because the soldier was a Confederate. But some sort of funeral was acknowledged as appropriate.
The Captain asked if he could have a group of army band members play a dirge for his son at the funeral. This request was denied; but, out of respect for the captain, his superiors agreed to let one musician play. The Captain chose the bugler. He gave the bugler a note that had been taken from the pocket of the dead youth's uniform, on which a series of musical notes were written. The bugler agreed to play them. That music was Colonel Butterfield's melody; it henceforth became the haunting bugle tune we now know as "Taps."
So now you know that "Taps" originated as a beautiful closing, given to all the world through compromise.
From information submitted by Edward C. Iberger of Riverhead, NY, and Pat Skelly Plymouth Bay GSC, Massachusetts

This Door
[A ceremony to challenge adults to serve youth] Setting: Room lights dimmed. Spot light on a closed door. Narrator reads off stage.
Narrator: "This door can let people in . . . or it can keep people out.
"This door could lie open to more girls in Girl Scouting . . . or it could be slammed in their faces . . . . This door.
" This door could carry a welcome sign . . . or 'Keep Out' . . . 'Full House' . . . . This door.
" It can open into the warm light of training sessions . . . or it can be kept locked and dark.
" This door . . . for a girl . . . could open to a great, wide, wonderful world . . . or it could open to a jail, or a homeless shelter . . . . This door.
" This door opens to only one of every three; two girls are turned away from the door that opens to adventure . . . to wholesome experiences . . . to an understanding of themselves . . . to an appreciation of, and love for, our Earth.
" Doors must be opened for girls. Girls will seldom go up and knock on a door.
" What girls do . . . and what they think . . . should not be left to chance.
" Open that door for just one more. Open that door for just one more."

Troop Officer Installation
Leader: Today we will install our newly elected patrol leaders. The assistant patrol leaders ______ and _______ will present ________ for installation.
Each assistant patrol leader walks with her patrol leader to face the table. Leader gives each patrol leader a lighted candle.
Patrol leaders (In unison): I light this candle in rededication to my patrol, my troop and to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. (Each patrol leader lights a center candle.)
Patrol leaders: I light this candle as a symbol of my promise to do my best to serve my patrol well. (Each patrol leader lights candle to left of center candle.)
Patrol leader: I light this candle as a symbol of my promise to serve my troop well. (Each patrol leader lights candle to right of center candle.)
Leader: A patrol leader wears a cord on her left shoulder as a sign of her office. The cord has two gold circles, which represent the two circles of people the patrol leader serves: her own patrol and the troop as a whole. Your patrol leaders, (names), have promised to do their best to live up to your trust. Do you, as members of patrol ______ and patrol ______ promise to do your best to be loyal and helpful to your patrol leaders?
Troop: We promise.
Leader: Assistant patrol leaders will now present the cords. (Assistant patrol leaders pin cords on their patrol leaders and return to their places.)
Sing: “When’er You Make A Promise”
Leader: Patrols dismissed to start the meeting.

Wish Bundles
Have each troop, patrol, whatever gather a bundle of sticks, usually one stick for each girl & tie them together with ribbon or yarn. (I suggest a different color for each group, so you can tell them apart.) Ask each group to decide on a wish that they would all like to see come true. Then, all the bundles get thrown into the campfire. If your bundle burns all the way, your group’s wish will come true. This is even better if you do the ashes ceremony, too, because it makes the ashes more “magical” to the girls.
This ceremony is very special to me. The summer I turned 19, I was to work as a camp counselor for the summer at a camp many hours from my home. I had been there about a week when I got the phone call that my baby brother had been killed & I was needed at home. I was crushed & went back to my unit to pack my things so I could catch the first plane home. The girls wanted to know what was wrong, &, not wanting to burden them, I told them I had to go home because someone very close to me was sick. Two hours later, I was on the plane headed home. That night at camp, each patrol gathered a bundle & this ceremony was performed. My unit’s wish was that the sick person I was rushing home to would be okay. (That is just one more reason I’m still a Girl Scout.)





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