Traditions make each jurisdiction, and each assembly, so unique in our international organization. Compared to other jurisdictions, Alaska Grand Assembly wears colored dresses and hoop skirts. We are not a hairpiece/wiglet or crown jurisdiction, though individual Grand Worthy Advisors and Worthy Advisors may choose to wear either.
Here are some of the special things that we LOVE about Alaska Rainbow!
Since the start of our Grand Jurisdiction in 1962, The Aurora has been our newsletter. It accepts articles from Grand Officers, Rainbow Girls, adults, and out-of-staters, and has been a primary means of communication for the state. It includes business items, announcements, updates from assemblies and majority members, stories from our girls away at school, pictures, games, and anything else we can think to include.
For more information, contact our Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
One of our highlights of Grand Assembly is the Friendship Chain march by our Grand Officers. Each officer moves across the floor, weaving in and out with every other girl, and at the end, our Grand Worthy Advisor and Grand Worthy Associate Advisor have the Floor to themselves. This last portion of the Friendship Chain has become even more special since 2013, when our GWAA began advancing to the Grand East.
We even taught this march to our sisters in WA/ID during their 2012 Grand Sessions!
The Grand Assembly of Alaska elects all Line officers: GWA through Grand Treasurer. Ballots are cast by all Past Worthy Advisors, and those currently serving as Charity, WAA, or Worthy Advisor. After the ballots are counted, we hear those fateful words: "Grandies, form your circle!"
Grand Officers form a circle, like the outer circle seen in this photo, while the ballot counts are read. Girls elected to an office then join the inner circle during the next circle. And both circles spin. In different directions.
In 2012, we began electing a GWAA to advance to Grand Worthy Advisor.
Our Election Tellers are called Bucket Heads. Sometime in the 1980s, we needed receptacles to collect ballots, and ran across the street to a KFC. Since then, our collection of buckets comes to Grand every year for our Past Grand Worthy Advisors to use in their duties. Each Bucket Head will sign and date the bucket she uses that year. For a particularly momentous year, a bucket can be painted.
Our Bucket Heads generally make quite the game out of ballot collecting, but you'll have to come visit to find out more!
Our Grand Worthy Associate Advisor is responsible for creating a quilt, to be presented to the Grand Worthy Advisor at the end of her addendum (or skit). The front side of the quilt typically depicts a representation of the term theme, and the back the girls who served that year.
During each of her Official Visits, assemblies will give the Grand Worthy Advisor a charm for her bracelet. Some assemblies provide the same charm for each GWA, a representation of their assembly, like Nugget #13's gold nugget charm; others find something thematic. In the end, she ends up with a bracelet with tokens of so many memories with girls across the state.
For a detailed description of GWA Paula's bracelet, see the 1969 Session page.
While our Bucket Heads count ballots, all the girls (Grandies, Pages, Choir members, sideliners) gather in a pile on the Grand Floor to listen to the Grand Mother Advisor read a picture book. Sometimes we make it through the whole thing.
Book of Time
During retiring of jewels, our Supreme, or another long-serving adult, reads the Book of Time Ceremony, likely brought to us from the Grand Assembly of Illinois in the 1980s. Grand Officers gather in the West, and one by one hand off their jewel, taking the Pen of Gold, and signing the Book of Time, making her pledge that she has served to the best of her ability. The Grand Worthy Advisor stands in the bow as each of her officers relinquishes their jewel. The GWA keeps her jewel until Installation, when she passes it to the new GWA.
This ceremony often brings tears, and each generation of Rainbow Girls associates the voice of this ceremony with a particular reader, whomever that may be.
During this ceremony, parents take their girls through a mini-initation, receiving lessons on raising their daughters in the spirit of Rainbow, and dedicating their daughters to joining the Order upon her 11th birthday. There is no age limit to the babies participating; some go through as infants, others when they're older.
Only mothers carried their girls through the ceremony until 1994, when the first two fathers joined the service.
Any member in good standing who has attained majority may participate in the ceremony at Grand Assembly. Our service follows the life of a girl, as she grows in Rainbow, and resembles initiation. The service was written by Mrs. E. Alberta Coburn of Michigan, Supreme Nature 1954-1974.
Each member receiving majority also receives each color of the rainbow in some token prepared by the hosting assembly. Alaska uses the "I Know Why God Made the Rainbow" song written in California by Dina Vasquez Myers & Ruth Ann Hall. The song alone, during Majority or otherwise, tends to make us cry.
Six of the 2014 "Outrageous Owl" Grand Officers took majority that year.
Service Project at Grand Assembly
We've had a statewide service project since the 1970s, which girls participate in along with their projects at the local level. Since 2007, we've organized a service project at Grand Assembly. From car washes for Amaranth and cleaning homes for the elderly, to washing kennels at an animal rescue and building little libraries, we try to be of some service each Grand Assembly.
An "Ali-baba" is an exaggerated bow done while kneeling. Mostly a tradition in Nugget Assembly #13, Ali-Babas have appeared several times on our Grand Floor, they are used as an amusing "punishment."