You should read the previous article Abandoning Graduation Ceremonies. However, since I realize that some people will insist on doing what has "always been done" (even though that's not really the way it's always been), I have included this page.
Card table with four candles for each corner of table
Square Dancer's Pledge
Table should be placed in the center of the room with the unlit candles on each corner. The graduating dancers sit facing the angels and guests. Lights should be off, or very low. One person needs to read the ceremony, another to light the candles and another ready to turn the lights back on at the very end of the Square Dancers' Oath.
Note: The Square Dancers' Oath is optional and is to provide a bit of laughter after the end of such a serious ceremony. You may wish to omit it. If you do, be sure to update these instructions.THE CEREMONY
Square dancing is different from most activities. It depends on courtesy and cooperation among its participants for its survival. Sociability, relaxation and hence enjoyment is its purpose. In square dancing there is no room for competition, skill is secondary to a desire to be with others.
By faithfully attending class you have shown a desire to be a part of the wonderful and sometimes wacky world of square dancing. To help us further realize the kind of world square dancing is, we are going to embark on a symbolic journey to the four corners of a square, represented by our candles.
(Insert Instructor's Name), as their instructor, would you please light the "Flame of Friendliness"?
Square dancing is a common bond between us as friends. Wherever you shall visit, or whomsoever shall visit you, never let it be said that you were not friendly. As a token of your visit to this corner you will now receive your "Certificate of Achievement."
(names to be read, student comes up and receives diploma)
We now continue the journey to the second corner of the square where (name) will light the "Flame of Duty."
As a child needs love, and a tree needs water, so does a square dance club need faithful members and willing workers. In whatsoever group you take membership, when you are asked to serve in any capacity, please accept if at all possible and never let it be said that you shirked your duty or refused to serve.
As a token of your visit to this corner of the square, a membership application to the Adobe Squares and a copy of the club by-laws will now be passed out.
(pause but needn't wait until finished)
May you and those who follow you, keep the "Flame of Duty" burning brightly so that everyone may share in the work as well as the fun.
It is now time to ignite the "Flame of Democracy" at the third corner of the square.
As our forefathers have done, so do we do the greatest good for the greatest number. It becomes your duty, and privilege, to offer ideas and suggestions to the officers of your club. May you, and those who follow, keep the "Flame of Democracy" burning brightly. We hope that in the spirit of this flame you will accept the "Square Dancer's Pledge" which will now be given you.
Would you please repeat after me:
WITH ALL MY ABILITY
I WILL DO MY BEST
TO KEEP SQUARE DANCING
AND INSPIRING ACTIVITY
I KNOW IT TO BE.
THIS I PLEDGE
IN THE SINCERE DESIRE
THAT IT MAY GROW NATURALLY
IN THE COMING YEARS.
AND BE AVAILABLE TO ALL
WHO SEEK THE OPPORTUNITY
FOR FRIENDSHIP, FUN AND HARMONY
THROUGH SQUARE DANCING.
We now depart for your journey's end as the "Flame of Fun" is lighted.
To achieve your purpose of uniting with all other square dancers, a high level of dancing enjoyment should be your goal. With this goal in sight, our common bond as friends can be a source of good fun.
I have nothing to give you as a token of your visit to this corner, but you in turn, have something to give me.
Will you, (name), at this time, administer the "Square Dancer's Oath"?
At the completion of the oath, I ask that you give me the sound of square dancers having fun. Your imaginary journey will be completed but your real journey as a square dancer is just beginning.
Welcome, to the wonderful world of square dancing.
([name] takes over to administer oath. Lights should go on right at the very end of the oath.)
THE SQUARE DANCERS' OATH
Instructions: It should appear that this Oath is also serious but to set it up properly there should be someone (such as a club member who says they've never taken the oath before) who seems unable to be serious. The person leading the Oath (probably the instructor) will pretend that such seriousness is needed in order to set it up properly. Read the following example:
Instructor: Before we can graduate you as full-fledge square dancers you must take the oath that all before you have taken. All raise your right hand. (pause) Is there anyone here that has missed the Square Dancers' Oath?
John (club member:) I've never taken it. Does that mean I'm not really a square dancer? (chuckle)
Instructor: Then you need to be in this John. Come join the group and I need you to be serious.
John: (John joins the group, seemingly unconvinced that he needs to be a part of this).
Instructor: Everyone, repeat after me: "I Know My Heart" .... John, raise your right hand and be serious.
John: (John raises his left hand and chuckles.)
Instructor: Okay, to get you in the mood to be more serious I need everyone to get on their knees. (Everyone gets down a little reluctantly and there is usually some joking to follow. If not, John can continue with his antics. With everyone on their knees, the instructor continues.)
Instructor: "I Know My Heart" ..... Okay, if you guys can't be serious then you need to get down on one elbow and keep that right hand up.
(At this point some will comply, and some won't. It's not really necessary to make everyone comply and it can move along quickly after this point. Now people are on their knees, left elbow on the ground, right hand up in the air. The instructor continues.)
Instructor: (lines should be said as shown, getting all to repeat each line after the instructor)
I KNOW MY HEART
I KNOW MY MIND
I KNOW THAT I
STICK UP BEHIND
The lights go on, lots of laughter by all, and some picking on the caller more than making the new dancers feeling "suckered".