Ceremony Ideas for Advancements, Enrolments, and Other Special Occasions

A ceremony is something a group does to make an ordinary event special, or to add extra significance to an already special occasion.  It is often an acting out of a set of rather ordinary words to make them meaningful and memorable.  A ceremony is something DONE, not only something said.

The purpose of ceremonies is the same for all age groups.  Only the specific methods and means of carrying out the ceremony will vary depending on the age of the girls.

A meaningful ceremony will strengthen the unity of the group, provide a sense of tradition and continuity, involves the use of most of the senses, and encourages self-control and participation. However, sometimes ceremonies lose their impact. This can happen through overuse, if it's too long to hold the attention of the participants, or if it is done irreverently or carelessly.

The best ceremonies are planned for the group, by the group!

Some traditional Guiding ceremonies include:

Brownie Ring
Grand Howl
Brownie Enrolment (specific words)
Guide Enrolment (specific words)
Roll Call or Horseshoe
Color Ceremonies or Flag Raisings

*Note:  Pathfinders and Sr. Branches Members have no traditional ceremonies.  Each unit is encouraged to create it's own ceremonies.

When Planning a Ceremony...

Remember, there is no set formula for creating a successful ceremony. Having said that, here's a list of things you might want to consider in your planning:

THEME - The central idea of the ceremony i.e., friendship, international, Promise and Law, etc.  What do you want this ceremony to say?

WORDS - Something read or said by one or more persons.

PARTICIPATION Who will take part in the ceremony?  Who will help plan the ceremony?  The girls will feel more ownership of the ceremony if they have a hand in its planning and implementation.

GATHERING How will you draw the group together in a unified identity?  In Guiding, one way to do this is through the reaffirmation of our Promise and Law.

PROPS - Flags, candles, maps, dolls, a pond, a bridge, anything that can be seen and helps to emphasize the theme, e.g., lighting candles to signify the Light of Guiding.

ACTIONS - How will the participants stand?  Will anyone move?  If so, where and how?  Visualize the space in which the ceremony is to take place and go through the flow of the ceremony in your mind.  Plan these elements beforehand and ensure everyone knows what they need to do.

MUSIC - Sung or played on an instrument, or tape recorder or record player, with or without words.

SYMBOLS Give the participants something to remember the ceremony by, whether it is a certificate, a foamy shape, a special picture of the event, a candle with their name on it, a flower, etc.

The various ceremonies and celebrations that we do in our Units, Packs and Companies can be very memorable, magical and special. But sometimes it's hard to come up with those extra-special touches that make a ceremony unique. Here I've collected ceremony ideas from many of my more creative Guiding friends. Enjoy!

If you've created a great ceremony that you'd like to share, please send it to me - I'm happy to post your ideas here.

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