Stars and Stripes, the Star Spangled Banner, Old Glory—whatever you call it, the American flag is an important symbol to Girl Scouts here in the United States of America. We wear it proudly on our vests and sashes, and if any of you have been to a Girl Scout event, chances are you’ve seen or participated in a flag ceremony. Flag ceremonies are the perfect way to start and end a whole host of activities, from special events to camp to Court of Awards or bridging ceremonies—or any other ceremony, for that matter!
A flag ceremony honors the American flag as a symbol of our country and all the hopes, dreams and people it represents. Learning to perform a flag ceremony is a great troop meeting activity, and girls love to take on this serious responsibility. Use it as a chance for girls to learn about the history of the American flag and all of the rules surrounding it. (Did you know that it’s technically illegal to give yourself an American flag manicure? But I’m pretty sure it’s way too cute to get in trouble for…) To make it even more special, invite members of your local legion or VFW to come teach the girls how to perform one—they are flag ceremony experts!
Learn more about flag ceremonies and flag etiquette—including a handy script—in our Girl Scouts Celebration and Ceremonies packet or on the GSUSA website, and watch our instructional video to get an idea of what they look like.
Once your girls are trained and ready to bear the colors, check out this handy printout for a list of official American Flag flying days for 2016, and reach out to your local service unit to see if they have any opportunities for color guards (that’s what the official flag bearers are called) in your area. Many service units own flags that you can borrow, or you can check them out from our Saint Paul service center. For an extra-VIP experience, your troop could even present the colors at center court at a Timberwolves game during their next season!
Now that you’re becoming flag experts, we hope you have a fantastic flag ceremony—sport that red, white, and blue in style!
Natasha Brownlee – Natasha is a Program Specialist at River Valleys, where she develops and leads awesome Girl Scout programming – and runs the In the Loop blog! Her background is in curriculum development, programming, and creative writing. She has BA’s in Peace Studies and French and a MSc in Gender, Development & Globalization and has worked with various girl-centered organizations in the US and abroad. Natasha loves traveling around the world, practicing yoga, and hanging out with her dog, Rooney! (Note: Natasha is no longer a staff member at Girl Scouts River Valleys.)