Celebrating Independence Day – GS Style


Happy 4th of July, Girl Scouts!

Patriotism is a key part of Girl Scouting.  On this, our nation’s birthday, it’s a great time to remember our patriotism, our nation’s flag.  It’s a great time to teach our girls to be proud citizens of the great USA.

Girl Scouts honor our country’s flag at a flag ceremony to show we are proud citizens.  We’ve all been to the standard flag ceremony, where girls post the colors and honor the flag.  The photo above is from a pretty standard flag ceremony from my troop as a girl.  I spent time with my troop learning how to fold the standard-sized flag you see outside schools, the garrison flag (shown in the photo), and the holiday flag which used to fly over US Historical sites that required 50 people to fold.  However, these flag ceremonies are just the tip of the iceberg.  I wanted to share my favorite flag ceremony to do with younger girls on this, the 4th of July.  Something to shake up your methods of teaching and practicing patriotism.

Recipe for a Flag

Items needed:

  • 1 cup red poker chips (or red cardboard, even red legos work great)
  • 1 cup blue poker chips (same options here)
  • 1 cup white poker chips
  • 1 cup of stars (aluminum foil covered cardboard cutouts works awesome)
  • 1 large pot
  • 1 American flag, folded
  • a large wooden spoon

Works great if you have at least 6 girls in your troop/group.

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The author standing at parade rest over the flag she raised and lowered everyday on Mackinac Island in Michigan.

Arrange girls in horseshoe facing the audience.  In the center of the horseshoe is the large pot sitting on a cloth covered table or chair.  American Flag is folded and placed in bottom of pot.  The officer of the day (caller) is the girl on the right end of the horseshoe. The other five girls, beginning with girl on left end, holds a prop as follows: red chips, blue chips, white chips, stars, and spoon.  The officer of the day begins reading and the girls individually sprinkle the appropriate item into the pot with great flair. Note also, the room can be darkened and ceremony highlighted by a spotlight – it really makes this special!

Officer of the day:  “We are going to fix for you a treat that is really grand, and make for you a recipe…the greatest in the land!

Girl with red chips:  “In first we will put a heaping cup of red for courage true”,

Girl with blue chips:  “And then we will add for loyalty, a dash of heavenly blue”.

Girl with white chips:  “For purity, we will not sift in a layer of snowy white”,

Girl with stars:  “We will sprinkle in a pinch of stars to make it come out right.”

Girl with spoon steps up and with large stirring motion, pretends to stir contents in pot while Officer continues reading: “We will stir and stir and then you will see, that what we have made is….

All five girls pull out flag with blue field and stars on top (careful not to spill out chips or stars) and say simultaneously with officer:

“OLD GLORY!”

Five member color guard will now hold flag up with bottom portion of flag still in pot. They will stand at attention while officer leads rest of group in the rest of ceremony.

Adult Girl Scout volunteers raising the flag at Camp Singing Hills before a weekend of outdoor training

Adult Girl Scout volunteers raising the flag at Camp Singing Hills before a weekend of outdoor training

Officer of the day:  “Our flag is the most beautiful flag in the world – let us always be loyal to it.  Girl Scouts, the flag of our county – Salute! (pause for honoring the colors) (to the audience) Please join us in the Pledge of Allegiance.  (say Pledge)  Please join in the Girl Scout Promise (say Promise).

Feel free to add in a patriotic song or two here as well.  Then have the Officer dismiss the Girl Scouts.

I’ve used this ceremony while learning about the flag and working on Citizenship with Daisies and Brownies alike.  We even did it for a closing ceremony at camp one summer with the younger campers.

Aren’t Girl Scout ceremonies awesome?  You know the Conference has an entire class on things like this and more, right?  Check it out during Session D.  Plus join us for a big flag ceremony at the opening and closing of the conference.  Happy 4th everyone!