It’s a special time when a Girl Scout graduates from one program level to another. This transition to the next level in Girl Scouting–called ‘bridging’–is an opportunity to progress as well as experience more adventures with your troop, learn new skills, and seek new challenges! This article for troop leaders explains how to make the bridging transition smooth and special.
Prefer to watch?
Watch Transitioning to a New Grade Level for Leaders.
Prepare for the Transition with Your Girls
Prior to bridging, your troop can test the waters by meeting with Girl Scouts who are in the program level to which your girls will be transitioning. You can go through the next program level’s Girl Scout materials for a discussion about what’s similar or different.
Get Materials and Review Resources
Check out the next level’s Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and Journey books. In every program level, girls can earn Journey awards, skill-building badges, and legacy badges. The planning guides for your new Girl Scout level will help you break down your upcoming year into manageable steps.
Make it Special with a Bridging Ceremony
Every girl graduating from a program grade level bridges. To make bridging special, your troop can optionally earn the Bridge Award by completing bridging steps in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. You can even have a bridging ceremony where troops cross over a bridge–real or symbolical–to symbolize each girl’s advancement in Girl Scouts. Sometimes these are combined with a Court of Awards ceremony.
Learn more about bridging and Court of Awards in our Ceremonies, Traditions, and Celebrations article. Your service unit may also host these ceremonies in your area!
Let Girls Lead More Than Before
The older your troop gets, the more hands-off your role as a troop leader should be. You’ll want to let the girls lead more as they progress into higher program levels. See our article, Letting Girls Take the Lead, for a detailed guide to age-based, progressive girl leadership.
Families also become more comfortable as volunteers as their girl progresses! You can ask families to become more involved in the troop and share their skills with the girls. As girls get older, their ideas get bigger. If girls want to try activities that you or troop families aren’t comfortable leading, reach out to your local service unit to connect with volunteers who have expertise your girls are interested in, and they may be able to help.
Summary of Resources
- Ceremonies, Traditions, and Celebrations – This article explains bridging and Court of Awards ceremonies (among other) to help make bridging special.
- Letting Girls Take the Lead – This article outlines how to incorporate age-based, progressive girl leadership in troops.
- Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and Journey Books – These resources are available for purchase on our online shop.
- Planning Guides – These guides include all of the badge and award options for your program level and include downloadable 90-minute activity plans.
- Troop Orientation – This online training will quickly orient you to all the aspects of Girl Scouting specific to your program level.
- River Valleys’ Skill-Building Volunteers – A list of available short-term volunteers who are willing to share a specific type of talent or expertise with Girl Scouts.