Crossing the bridge
Girl Scout Madison Hoaglund bridges from Brownie to Junior Scout during a ceremony June 16.

FORT BELVOIR, Va. (June 21) -- Young girls successfully completed a life milestone during Fort Belvoir's Girl Scout Service Unit 53-5 bridging ceremony June 16.

The Scouts elevated to higher ranks by walking across the stage at the Moose Lodge in Lorton, Va., which symbolized their transition from one leadership level to the next.

Unit 53-5 members cheerfully stepped into the next phase of their Scouting careers as proud parents, troop leaders and fellow Scouts watched them walk across the bridge.

"This is a right of passage. It just shows she's matured and ready to take on new challenges," said Amber Crocker who attended the ceremony to watch her daughter bridge from Daisy Scout to Brownie. Amber's husband, Capt. Richard Crocker, Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, Medical Department Activity, certified registered nurse anesthetist, also attend the ceremony.

Capt. Crocker said his daughter has developed courage and confidence since joining the unit.
The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. program builds courage, confidence, leadership and character into young girls through activities in science, technology, business and environmental awareness.

The Scouts participate in camping trips, visit museums and raise money to donate to local communities among other activities.

The Girl Scouts is open to girls from kindergarten through high school and women and men over 18 can join as adult members.

The youth ranks in the program are Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadettes, Senior and Ambassador Scouts.

According to Jill Shannon, service unit manager, unit 53-5 has 194 girls in 20 troops participating.
The Scouts start the program under adult supervision and then begin planning their own actives as they increase in age and rank.

"Scouting is a wonderful program and is a wonderful foundation for girls on post," Shannon said.
Shannon called the bridging ceremony a culmination of all the work the Scouts have done at their respective levels, which includes acquiring badges and patches to earn the right to cross the bridge.

"It's really exciting because I get to move up," said Shatayah Williams, Cadette Scout who bridged to Senior Scout. "I get more opportunities and greater experiences."

Williams has participated in the program for five years and has been involved in camping activities and meeting new people. Williams' mother, Senior Troop Leader Arlisa Moffatt, said the program has helped Williams develop discipline.

"It's broadening her horizons," Moffatt said.

The bridging ceremony was a bittersweet moment for some, as it marked the last Fort Belvoir bridging for some troop leaders and Girl Scouts who are either experiencing permanent change of station moves or have successfully completed the scouting program's youth portion.

"These girls have been my life," said a tearful Carolyn Fitzwater, Troop 1955 leader, who is leaving due to a PCS move. Fitzwater has worked with the majority of her girls since third grade.

She said the girls have developed strong self respect and leadership since joining.

"Spending eight years watching them grow up has been amazing," Fitzwater said. "We've become a Family."

Fitzwater received the Girl Scouts Council National Capital, Association Service Unit 53-5 outstanding volunteer and outstanding leader wards during the ceremony for her commitment to the program.

Her troops read a letter aloud expressing their appreciation for Fitzwater.

"You empowered us to be powerful women," the letter says.

Visit belvoirgirlscouts.scoutlander.com or contact belvoirsum@yahoo.com for more information or to sign-up for Belvoir's Girl Scout program.

Page last updated Thu June 21st, 2012 at 00:00