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leslie's guiding traditions

From the early days, there was a custom in Guiding for units to get Unit Flags - and many units looked to obtain both a Unit Flag, and one with their own unit's name on it. But custom dictated that once a flag was obtained, before it could be carried in parades, it must be dedicated or blessed.

Traditionally, blessing was a ceremony carried out by Clergy in a place of worship, and involving prayers. Nowadays, with the majority of units being open rather than sponsored, and thus having members from a mix of religions denominations and beliefs, that isn't so appropriate, and dedication using a non-religious ceremony is usual.

The aim of dedication is to highlight to all present the meaning and purpose of the flag. So any ceremony should explain who the flag represents, what any symbolism on it means, and why the flag is important. As there is no current official wording for flag dedication, I have suggested a form of words below, purely as a suggestion, which units could use and adapt if they wished.

"What is a flag? In one sense, it's just a piece of fabric, decorated with some words and pictures, and hung from a pole. That's it. No more than that. But I'm not really interested in what it is right now, whether the fabric is a nice colour, or the pictures on it are pretty. No, what interests me is what it could be. What it could mean. When we saved up to buy a flag for our unit, what we wanted was a symbol of our unit. And that is what the flag could be. It could be a symbol to represent us, the current members of the unit, those who were members before us, those who will be members in the future. But the future of this symbol of us, from this day onwards, depends on us. This flag will only be a flag we can be proud of, if our unit is one to be proud of. If we are a friendly, welcoming, and honest unit. If we really try, and keep trying, to live by our Promise and Law. If we are smart, then our flag can be too. But if we let our standards slip, then the crumples and stains will start to show. So just as we are dedicating our flag to represent us, so we have to dedicate ourselves to making it and us something to be proud of. So I would ask you all to come forward, touch the flag with your left hand, and we will say our Promise together, for ourselves, for the Brownies who have been in the pack before us, for ourselves, and for the Brownies to join our unit in the future:

I Promise that I will do my best to be true to myself and develop my beliefs, to serve the Queen and my community, to help other people and to keep the (Brownie) Guide Law.

Let us work to support each other to keep the Promise we have made, and keep our flag flying high and proud, now, and in the years to come."