Vinton Girl Scout Troop 94 held its annual Bridging Ceremony and Awards Banquet on June 2 at Thrasher Memorial United Methodist Church. In a Bridging Ceremony, Scouts advance from one level of scouting to the next.
The ceremony opened with the Color Guard presenting the flags, the Pledge of Allegiance, and reciting of the Girl Scout Promise and Girl Scout Law.
Troop leader Stefanie Hawkins recognized the adult leaders of Troop 94 who have been invaluable in facilitating activities for the girls in the past year: Pearl Leader Allie Rourke, Daisy Leader Fawn Reed, Junior Leader Joe Black, Cadette Leader Jackie McFalls, Treasurer Gioia Nicely, and Adventurer Coordinator Debbie Clark. In addition to being Troop Leader, Hawkins also serves as Brownie Leader and Ambassador Leader.
Hawkins introduced Clark, who explained the Adventurer program and urged girls ages 11-17 to consider participation in addition to their regular Scouting activities. The Adventurer program was founded by Barb Duerk in 1986 as an off-shoot of the regular Girl Scout program to provide outdoor programming for girls who wanted more outdoor activities— not included so much in the Girl Scout program back in those days as they are now.
The Adventurers now have their own number—Troop 1912, for the year the Girl Scouts were founded by Juliette Low. One goal of the Adventurers is to “push the limits on what girls can do.”
Hawkins discussed the history of the rainbow as a symbol of Girl Scouting. Pastor Jesse Moffitt from Thrasher read scripture from Genesis on the covenant God formed with man after the flood. Hawkins said that Girl Scouts also make a covenant— pledges and promises— in the Girl Scout Law.
Special volunteers received awards for assisting Troop 94 during the past year— Anna Black for decorating at each event; Amy Booth for her work as seamstress and Brownie Assistant; Jan Failes for a presentation on Canada on World Thinking Day; Scott Giles for driving the Girl Scout float in parades and serving as DJ for events; Sandy Giles for proving the truck and trailer for parade floats; and Donald Helms for providing the “Cookie Trailer.”
Troop 94 has grown from a handful of girls to over two dozen members in the past five years. The troop formed in 2012 when Hawkins’ daughter asked to join the Boy Scouts (not a practice at the time). The family searched for a local Girl Scout troop and when they were unable to locate one, approached Pastor B. Failes at Thrasher Memorial, who said, “Let’s make it happen.”
During the awards segment of the banquet individual awards were presented to the Scouts by the leader of each group. There are several ranks in the Girl Scout organization: girls in kindergarten and first grade are called Daisies; those in grades two and three are Brownies; girls in grades four and five are Juniors; those in grades six through eight are Cadettes; in grades nine and 10 they are known as Seniors; and in grades 11 and 12 they are Ambassadors.
The Pearls (preschool unit) include Sarah Saweeres, Bella Ward, and Annabel Wright. The Daisies (kindergarten level) include Amelia Belle Isle, Sophie Fielder, Sarah Landes, and Gia Stafford. First grade Daisies include Zoe Classey, Sienna Burkus-Landis, Lillie Gish, Reagan Hurt, Zoe LaRose, and Madelynn Nichols. Second grade Brownies include Caelen Reed and Laura Sowers. Third grade Brownies are Susannah Booth and Kira Magill.
Juniors (fourth grade) are Erwin Carwile, Anna Margaret “Maggie” Hawkins, Beth McFalls, Alexandra Meleason, and Jessica Wood. Juniors (fifth grade) include Bella Carr, Heather Meikle, and Mairead Rourke.
Sally Saweeres was recognize as a Cadette (sixth grade) Girl Scout.
Remi Poindexter received special recognition as the only Ambassador Scout (in 12th grade) in Troop 94.
The event concluded with the Bridging Ceremony in which the Girl Scouts symbolically walk across a wooden bridge to be greeted by members of the next rank on the other side, who help them don the vest of the next level and present them with pins.
Those participating in the Bridging Ceremony included:
- Pearls– Sarah Sawarees (escorted by her sister Cadette Sally Saweeres), Bella Ward (escorted by her cousin Jessica Wood), and Annabel Wright (escorted by Junior Mairead Rourke)
- Daisies– Lillie Gish, Reagan Hurt, and Zoe LaRose
- Brownies– Susannah Booth and Kira Magill, and Investitures Zoe Classey, Sienna Burke-Landis, and Madelynn Nichols
- Juniors– Bella Carr, Heather Meikle, and Mairead Rourke
- Ambassadors– Remi Poindexter
In a special presentation, William Byrd High School senior Remi Poindexter bridged from the Ambassador Level to Adult. As she crossed the bridge, she was greeted by the adult leaders of the troop on the other side, who wished her well as she heads to college in the fall.
At the end of the evening, Hawkins announced that after five years as Troop Leader she will be resigning but will continue as Brownie leader. Fawn Reed will become the new Troop Leader.
Troop 94 is a member of the Girls Scouts of Virginia Skyline Council.