Ceremony inspiration for virtual and socially distanced guiding

Looking to hold a celebration for your unit? Here's some guidance

14 April 2021

Celebrating girls’ amazing achievements has always been an important part of Girlguiding.

Most adult members can probably remember when they made their Promise. But with changes in the way we meet, how do we make celebrating moments like these as special as possible? The advice has always been to ask girls how they want to celebrate, and this hasn’t changed. We’ve listed some tips to think about with your girls to help you make these choices while we're still following Covid-19 rules and guidelines. 

Promise ceremonies

Making their Promise is one of the most important moments in a girl’s experience of Girlguiding. It’s what links us with each other and Girl Guides across the world. Girls should always be included in the planning of their ceremony.  Check out some of the commonly asked questions about Promise ceremonies online and face-to-face:

How can I make a zoom meeting special? We used to hold a Promise party for each girl?

You can still hold a party. Ask the girl/s who’s making their promise to pick a theme. Could you all dress up as something from that theme, have themed virtual backgrounds and play games or do activities in that theme?

If I’m socially distancing from the girl or doing it online, how do I present her with her Promise badge?

This is a great time to get a girl’s household bubble involved. If you’re meeting virtually, you could deliver or post her badge home and have her parent/guardian (or any other family member) present her with the badge. You could ask that the presenter even pin the badge on too. Speak to her household before the session to work out when and how they’ll present the badge so everyone’s ready. It’s similar for socially distanced guiding – ask if a member of their household bubble can present the Promise badge in the last part of the session.

If you’d normally shake a girl’s hand when giving their Promise badge, how about doing an air-handshake or air-high-five? You could send the badge home in a fancy envelope and include a card or a Girlguiding Promise certificate.

Handing out badges

Over this last year lots of girls have achieved their theme awards and interest badges, but presenting these has been more challenging. It may be easier for your leadership team to present all interest badges in one session. It’s a good idea to package up the badges into envelopes with the girls’ names on so handing them over is easier. You could include a Girlguiding celebration certificate with them. If you’re meeting virtually, consider delivering or posting the badges in advance of your session. If your unit is meeting socially distanced, hand out the badges at the end of your session (keeping to social distancing guidance).

Normally you might present the badges to one girl at a time, but doing this virtually can take a bit longer, so you may find that some girls become disengaged. Why not ask all girls who are getting badges to open them at once and show off what they earned to their camera?

If your unit is meeting socially distanced, you could challenge girls to call out what badges they got as quick as they can, making their way around the circle and ending it with a giant round of applause!

Top section award celebrations

Getting a Gold, Silver or Bronze award is a huge achievement in Girlguiding. It should be celebrated for showing her fantastic commitment. Could you design a special award celebration with the girls? You could complete a virtual escape room and when you escape the girl can receive her award. Or if you're outdoors, you could hold a themed picnic and get creative with gold, silver or bronze food and decorations. 

For either setting you could hold an award challenge activity or game. For example, if the girl has earned her Gold award, pick four challenges the unit have to complete. For each one they complete they get a letter of ‘gold’. Collect all four and present the girl with her Gold award. Ask her household bubble to become part of their badge giving ceremony and ask them to physically present the girl with her award. Try it with the Silver or Bronze awards too! 

Birthdays and other celebrations

There are times when you want to celebrate something that isn’t programme-related and that’s just as important. If you want to celebrate something, think about the best way to do it. Would it be to send a card in the post with a Girlguiding fun badge? Or perhaps you could hold a surprise party, either virtually or face-to-face? If you’re meeting virtually, everyone could change their background to a birthday party image and play virtual games. If you're meeting face-to-face, you could hold a disco or an outdoor sports day to celebrate!