The legacy of Girl Scouts is a powerful force. A sisterhood built by millions of courageous women that reaches back a hundred years and spans the globe. How do we connect our current Girl Scouts with this legacy in a meaningful and impactful way? By continuing some of the traditions of Girl Scouts and connecting the past with the present through shared experiences.
What are those traditions? And how can you work them into a modern Girl Scout meeting? Here are a few basic Girl Scout traditions and some resources for including them in the upcoming troop year:
- For generations Girl Scouts have been opening meetings with the Girl Scout sign as they say the Girl Scout Promise. The three fingers represent the three parts of the Promise. Add the tradition at your next troop meeting!
- A traditional meeting closing is the friendship circle. Everyone stands in a circle, crosses their right arms over their left, and clasps hands with their friends on both sides. This circle stands for an unbroken chain of friendship with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Don’t forget to make a silent wish as a friendship squeeze is passed from hand to hand. Many troops sing “Make New Friends” as they pass the squeeze, which is why it’s one of the Top 5 Camp Songs Every Girl Scout Should Know.
- Another beloved opening or closing for a meeting or an event is a flag ceremony. In this ceremony the American flag is carried by a color guard and is honored as the symbol of our country and all the people it represents. Never participated in a flag ceremony before? Check out a Flag Ceremony Workshop at Camp Butterworth or ask an older troop in your area (or a Girl Scout alumna) to teach your troop this patriotic tradition.
- Ceremonies of all types are part of the legacy of Girl Scouts. They mark special events such as Bridging, Investiture (welcoming new members), Rededication (renewing members), celebrating Highest Awards recipients, and many other occasions. There are no official ceremony requirements so girls can be creative. They can plan a ceremony around a theme, such as friendship or nature, and express themselves in thought, words, or song. Or check out some ceremony outlines like these from Girl Scouts of Black Diamond for more ideas.
- When attending large events or traveling Girl Scouts often make small tokens of friendship to exchange with the Girl Scouts or Girl Guides they meet. These little gifts are called SWAPS, which stands for Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere or Shared With A Pal. They can be complicated or simple. Here are some of our favorite SWAPS to try out with your troop.
- Many troops celebrate Founder’s Day or Juliette Low’s Birthday, October 31. This valued Girl Scout tradition is a time to remember the important role Juliette Low played in the development of the Girl Scout movement in the United States.
Which of these Girl Scout traditions will you add this year? Let’s connect with our past and honor the legacy of Girl Scouts who’ve come before us as we move forward into our next 100 years of sisterhood!