“Ok ladies, it’s time to go in for the ceremony now. Your parents are waiting for us. We need to be quiet and respectful of each other receiving our awards, and above all, remember our motto: “These things are supposed to be hokey anyway!”
As I lead the girls into the last advancement ceremony that I would be MC for in our little town (I was moving three weeks after), many Guiders said the last line with me. They’ve heard me say it a time or two before.
Every year, as we plan our end-of-year, town-wide advancement, I find that some Guiders are reluctant to participate. What if they make a mistake? What if they don’t know when to come up to the front? What if they give the wrong girl the wrong pin, in front of everybody? What if they forget to give a girl her pin?
And I say to them all, “It will be ok. We will make it work.” This year, I skipped over a name on the program, and forgot to advance one little Spark. No worries, we called her up in between advancing the 1st Brownies and 2nd Brownies. She got her pin, her parents got their pictures.
Another year, a Brownie puked (this is a theme in most events that I plan. Someone ALWAYS seems to puke). No worries, the caretaker will come, and we will just have a short intermission.
The thing to remember about Advancement ceremonies, Enrollment ceremonies, or any awards ceremony, is that none of it is broadcast live. Yes there are cameras, but they can choose the best pictures to use. Video can be edited. And the girls won’t remember the bloopers anyway.
These awards are about the girls, and they don’t really care if you stumble up the aisle. All they care about is finding their parents in the audience to wave to them.
The parents want to see their little girl get her new pin, her flowers (we do a flower ceremony, presenting a carnation of the colour of the branch that they are going to), and her certificate.
And, I find that the more ‘uptight’ we are walking into the ceremony, the more worried we are about being ‘perfect,’ the more likely we are to make a mistake. The more relaxed we are, the more we expect that there will be little boo-boos, the less likely they are to happen.
Remember to have fun, relax, and it will all go smoothly!
By guest blogger Leslie Potvin. Over the years, Leslie has been a Brownie, Guide, and Pathfinder leader. Today she is a Member-at-Large, and we are all very proud of her for receiving the Medal of Merit last spring. Check out her personal blog: Mighty Chicken Ranch!
All true…thanks for reminding us to relax
A good way to relax for Guiders, girls and parents that I’ve used many many times successfully –
First I write out all the parts on cards and number them and every girl / guider does get at least one part – then I have an adult standing nearby girls I know who might have trouble reading some of the words to whisper the word(s) when they get stuck – and I make sure that all the girls and parents have a really good view
At the beginning of the ceremony I announce that this is a fun ceremony – no one needs to memorize words including the Promise or even single word answers as everyone has their parts on a card – cards are numbered and if they loose track of what number comes next would someone who knows please quietly whisper the card number that we’re waiting for – mistakes are expected and part of it so everyone take a deep breath and lets have fun
Most of my ceremonies take no more than 5 – 10 minutes and they’re full of props (all homemade and pretty hokey/cheesy but the girls love them) to move around/add etc by the girls – eg rainbow pot of gold that things are added to and taken out, felt enrollment carpet girl stands on to say her Promise and her name in embroidered on, items to hand to girls who are advancing, etc – all based on a theme of some kind
Most time the girls are so comfortable that they’ll each say their Promise etc individually – but for a girl I know isn’t ready to do this we put her with other girls or have an older girl with her to do it –
When mistakes are made I make sure that everyone is reminded in a short but fun way that this is part of the fun of our ceremonies never knowing what will happen and it adds to the uniqueness of our ceremony – quickly changing a girl from near tears to happy smiles
The girls really pay attention – no talking, fidgeting etc – as they are all taking part in the ceremony and are really paying attention to when it’s going to be their turn(s) and what’s happening before and after their turn(s) – ok the girls are rarely at attention or at easy but they are paying attention quietly and willing to step in and help a girl out if needed (not take over but help the girl do her part).
Finally I remember doing ceremonies as a Brownie and our poor BO would try to get us to create a new one but the best she could do was get us to add new ideas onto our tried and true ones – so by the end of my 3 yrs in Brownies some of our ceremonies were really really long – but we all loved it and again it was because every Brownie got a part at every ceremony –
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