Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How to Perform a Girl Scout Flag Ceremony

This Friday we observe 9/11 and honor those whose lives were lost then, and in the events that followed. This is the time to learn or brush up on the Girl Scout Flag Ceremony so your troop or group can perform it in honor of the fallen. Here is a simple way to perform a flag ceremony:

When to perform a Girl Scout flag ceremony: 
• Opening or closing meetings

• Opening or closing special events

• Beginning or closing a day
• Honoring a special occasion or special person
• Retiring a worn flag

Adults planning questions:
Things to consider if you have younger girls in your troop or group:

1. Who will carry the flag?
2. Who will be the color guards?
3. Who will give the directions for the ceremony?
4. What song will be sung? Who will sound the pitch and start the song?
5. Will a poem or quotation be included? Who will say or read it?
6. After the Pledge of Allegiance, will the Girl Scout Promise and the Law be said?
7. In what order will the parts of the ceremony take place?
8. When will the group practice?
9. Where will the flags be placed at the end of the ceremony?

Commands for a Flag Ceremony:
 “Girl Scouts, attention.”
 “Color guard, advance.”
 “Color guard, post the colors”
“Color guard, honor your flag.”
 “Please join us in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.” OR “Color guard, honor your flag.”
 “Color guard, retire the colors.”
 “Color guard, dismissed.”
 “Girl Scouts, dismissed.”

Handling the American Flag
Display of the American flag is governed by law to ensure that it will be treated with the respect due the flag of a great nation. This is known as the United States Flag Code.

Some of the rules most useful for Girl Scouts are:
• The American flag must be placed in the center, and higher, when displayed with a group of state, local, or organizational flags flown from staffs. It may also be positioned to the right of other flags. (If girls were to hold the flag while facing their audience, their right side would be the flag’s own right.)
• When displayed from a staff in a house of worship or public auditorium, the flag of the United States must hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergy’s or speaker’s right as he or she faces the August Aug. 3 National Watermelon Day Aug. 10 National S’mores Day Aug. 13 Left Hander’s Day Aug. 30 National Marshmallow Toasting Day September Sept. 7 Labor Day Sept. 11 9/11 Remembrance Day Sept. 13 Grandparent’s Day Sept. 17 Constitution Day Sept. 21 International Peace Day Sept. 25 Native American Day Things to Celebrate audience. Any other flag so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergy or speaker or to the right of the audience.
• The flag is to be hoisted briskly and lowered slowly with dignity.
• The flag should never be allowed to touch anything beneath it, nor should it ever be carried flat or horizontally— always aloft and free.
• Never use the flag as a cover or place anything on top of it.
• No disrespect of any kind should be shown to the flag of the United States. It should be kept clean.
• The flag, when carried in a procession with other flags, should be either on the marching right or, if there is a line of other flags, in front of the center of that line.
• When you display the flag on a wall or in a window where people see it from the street, it should be displayed flat with the blue part at the top and on the flag’s own right (which is the observer’s left).
• When displayed after dark, the flag should be illuminated.

For more information about flag ceremonies, see The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.