GSUSA Bridging, Investiture, and Re-Dedication

Remember that every council has slightly different rules and regulations, and everything you read online that is general for all of USA should always be double checked with your local council rules and regulations.

Bridging and Transition Period

Heads up on Bridging – you do not have to do a Bridging Ceremony. Scouts will automatically move up to the next level regardless of if they did a Bridging Ceremony or earned the Bridging badge

Regardless of when or if you have a Bridging Ceremony, the time a scout moves up is a bit vague. People you talk to in various councils will give you different information depending on who you talk to – even in the same council. Here are the facts:

  • As soon as you get out of school for the grade level that ends the old Girl Scout level, a scout can earn badges and awards in the next level up.
  • A troop (or individual scout) can decide at any time from when school gets out until Oct. 1st to officially just start focusing on the new level, flip flop between the two levels, or just focus on the old level to wrap some things up.
  • Most councils will put a scout in the Girl Scout Level at camp for what their grade level is in the fall, not what level they just ended.
  • A scout can continue working on their old Girl Scout Level until Sept. 30th. As soon as Oct. 1st hits, they are only the new Girl Scout Level and can no longer earn any badges or awards in the old level. This usually only matters for scouts with goals to earn the Journey Summit Pin, a Higher Award, or a desire to get a certain number of badges.
  • During this transition period a scout can wear either her old uniform or her new uniform and still be perfectly fine. Only after Sept. 30th are they not supposed to wear their old uniform.

What are these Ceremonies?

Bridging is a Ceremony and/or a Badge.

  • Ceremony is simply holding a formal event that symbolizes the scouts move from one level to another. There are scripts available, or you can make your own. Most like to incorporate a bridge (real, fabricated, or just a symbolic bridge) into the ceremony but it is not needed. The only thing required is:
    • A scout acknowledges they are moving up a level
    • A scout vows to uphold the Girl Scout Promise and Law in some way
      • Traditionally most want to incorporate a bridge into the ceremony to cross over to the new level and many want to take off their old vest, cross the bridge, and then put on the new level vest (or a ceremonial pageant style sash made out of stapling or gluing wide ribbon in the appropriate color) on the other side – none of these are required – only the first two points are needed
  • Badge is the Rainbow bridge badge that is earned by (see also GSSEM’s guidelines)
    • Looking Back – helping a younger scout know about the level you are just about to leave or finding a way to make your memories of that level more permanent
    • Looking Forward – learning about the level you are about to go into from an older scout or trying out an activity from one of the badges
    • Holding a Bridging Ceremony – it doesn’t matter what kind, if you participate in a ceremony.
      • If you miss the troop one, there are ways to do one on your own to make up if the leader will allow it. If the leader doesn’t allow it, your family could still do the steps at home and buy the Bridging badge from the store and put it on the uniform without the leader’s permission.

Scripts for Bridging Ceremonies can be found:

Investiture is a Ceremony

  • The Ceremony is used to welcome brand-new Girl Scouts who joined for the first time and all that is required:
    • A way to make them feel a part of their new troop

Scripts for Investiture Ceremonies can be found:

Re-Dedication is a Ceremony

  • The Ceremony is used to have scouts remember what sets Girl Scouts apart from non-Girl Scouts – mainly keeping the Girl Scout Promise and Law. The only requirement is:
    • Scouts vow to uphold the Girl Scout Promise and Law

Scripts for Re-Dedication Ceremonies can be found:

When to Have These Ceremonies

GSUSA does not have any specific regulations about when to have these. There are general guidelines and times that most troops do them.


  • End of School Year
    • Ceremony can be done at the end of their school year before the fall of the school year they become the next level up
  • Summer
    • Ceremony can be done anytime during the summer before the fall of the school year they become the next level up
  • Start of School Year
    • Ceremony can be done at the start of the school year when they start the new grade level of the next level up
  • Oct
    • Ceremony can be done in October, which starts the next GSUSA membership year and is when they are officially the next level up with no more transition period


  • Immediately after starting Girl Scouts
    • Simple Ceremony for the new Girl Scout at the beginning of the next Troop Meeting right after the scout is registered
  • Anytime a Bridging or Re-Dedication Ceremony is held
    • The new scouts simply has an Investiture Ceremony instead of Re-Dedication or Bridging
  • Oct
    • Ceremony can be done at the first meeting in October when the GSUSA membership year starts and all new scouts for that year join the first meeting


  • Anytime a Bridging Ceremony is held
    • The scouts who are not moving up a level or have already been a scout simply have a Re-Dedication Ceremony instead of Bridging (yes they can cross the bridge too if the troop desires)
  • October
    • Ceremony can be done in October, which starts the next GSUSA membership year and is when they officially start the next year

Membership Stars

Membership stars only requirement to earn are to be registered members of GSUSA in the membership year of Oct. 1st – Sept. 30th. As soon as they pay the membership fee and are registered, the scouts have earned the pin, but leaders get confused on when they are supposed to give the pins out.

There are 2 major times when troops often award these. Both methods are fine.

October – start of the GSUSA Membership Year:

  • Some troops will award membership stars at the beginning of the GSUSA year in October to welcome them into a new year of Girl Scouts. Usually this is part of a Re-Dedication Ceremony, even if it is a short and simple one.

End of the Year:

  • Some troops will award membership stars at the end of a school year to “award” the scouts for making it through a Girl Scout year. Usually this is part of an End of  the Year Award Ceremony, Bridging Ceremony, or simply done as a short and sweet end of the last troop meeting of the school year.
    • Some scouts will want their membership stars to show off all year showing they are in their 1st or 2nd year of that level and families may purchase them before you award them at the end of the year – that’s okay too. Do not argue with the families and allow them to do so as the scouts have technically earned it as soon as the families paid the GSUSA membership fee.