In addition to the resources created for leadership journeys (the girl's book and the adult guide), girls at every grade-level have the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. Through fun activities, girls can earn a variety of badges to build the skills and gain the confidence they’ll use to change the world. They can even develop and complete activities to make their own badge—a great way to explore a topic of personal interest. (In addition, girls who make their own badge will learn how to learn, which is an important skill to have in school, on the job, and in life!)
Inside a Girl’s Guide
The Girl’s Guide is a binder that’s designed to keep everything organized. Using a binder allows for maximum flexibility: outdated badges can be removed, while new badges based on girls’ changing interests or funded opportunities can be added. All badges are called National Proficiency Badges and are grouped in following categories: Legacy, Financial Literacy, Cookie Business, Skill-Building, and Make Your Own. (Daisies continue to earn Petals, as well as four new Leaves.)
For Daisies, the Girl’s Guide includes:
- Handbook: The handbook offers information about Girl Scout traditions and history, as well as the requirements for bridging to Brownies.
- Awards: Daisies earn ten Petals, one for each line of the Girl Scout Law, so this section includes ten short stories starring the Flower Friends, plus related activities that help girls learn the Law. This section also includes a chart of all Girl Scout earned awards for that grade level, and a chart showing all badges for all grade levels. Here, Daisies can also find the requirements for four new awards that they can now earn in addition to their petals. These awards, called Leaves, focus on skills related to financial literacy and the cookie business.
- My Girl Scouts: Scrapbook and journal pages allow each girl to customize her binder and keep a record of her Girl Scout experiences. Daisies have coloring pages, stickers, and pages for photos, friends’ autographs, and other mementos.
For Brownies through Ambassadors, the Girl’s Guide includes:
- Handbook: The handbook includes Girl Scout history and traditions, a chart of all Girl Scout earned awards for that grade level, and a chart showing all badges for all grade levels. This section also includes a girl-friendly explanation of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, requirements for bridging to the next grade level and, at the appropriate grade level, the requirements for earning the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.
- b: This section includes badge requires for the Legacy, Financial Literacy, Cookie Business, Skill-Building, and Make Your Own badges. The requirements for Skill-Building Badges are sold separately, giving each girl the ability to customize her Girl’s Guide by adding badges that interest her.
- My Girl Scouts: Scrapbook and journal pages allow each girl to customize her binder and keep a record of her Girl Scout experiences. In addition to pages for photos, friends’ autographs, and other mementos at all levels, Brownies and Juniors also have sticker pages.
The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting is designed to complement the journeys at each grade level. This means that each Skill-Building Badge Set (there are currently three; each is sold separately from the Girl’s Guide) is tied to one of the three journeys (as you can see in the following chart). You’ll find that doing a journey and the related badge set at the same time will make it easy to offer the entire National Program Portfolio—journeys and badges—in a seamless way.
Anatomy of a Badge
Each badge begins by stating the badge’s purpose; that is, the skill girls will have learned when they’ve completed the badge. This program-with-a-purpose approach was tested with girls—and they loved it! Girls complete five steps to earn each badge. There are three choices for completing each step (girls have to choose only one to complete the step).
As you begin exploring the journeys and the badges, you’ll see that many steps to earn a badge can be worked naturally into activities that girls are doing on their journey. To help you and the girls see some of these connections, each badge also includes a tip for tying the badge into a specific journey. Each badge ends with a few ideas about how girls can use their new skill to help others, plus a space for girls to jot down their own ideas. Although girls aren’t required to help others to earn the badge; these ideas were offered to honor the standard that Juliette Gordon Low set for badge work 100 ago: “A badge is a symbol that you have done the thing it stands for often enough, thoroughly enough, and well enough to be prepared to give service in it.”
Emblems and Patches
In addition to journey awards and badges in the Girl’s Guide, girls can commemorate their Girl Scout adventures with emblems and patches, which can be worn on their vests or sashes.
- Emblems show membership in Girl Scouts, a particular council, a particular troop, or in some other Girl Scout group. These can be worn on the front of a sash or vest (see the diagram in the handbook section of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting to see where these are placed).
- Participation patches are developed at the national or council level with a focus on participation. Some come with companion activity booklets, while others are given out at events. These are worn on the back of the sash or vest, since they are not emblems or earned awards.
You can purchase emblems and patches—along with badges and leadership awards—at your council’s Girl Scout shop or by visiting the GSUSA online shop. There, you not only find a cool list of the earned awards for each grade level but also can click on a link that shows you exactly where girls can place all their emblems, awards, badges pins, and patches on their vests and sashes!
Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award
The Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are Girl Scouting’s highest awards. These awards offer girls relevant, grade-level-appropriate challenges related to teamwork, goal setting, and community networking and leadership. They also engage girls in building networks that not only support them in their award projects, but in new educational and career opportunities.
Like everything girls do in Girl Scouting, the steps to earning these awards are rooted in the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. This is why, to earn each of these awards, girls first complete a grade-level journey (two journeys for the Gold Award). With journeys, girls experience the keys to leadership and learn to identify community needs, work in partnership with their communities, and carry out take-action projects that make a lasting difference. They can then use the skills they developed on a journey to develop and execute excellent projects for their Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.
As a Girl Scout volunteer, encourage girls to go for it by earning these awards at the Junior through Ambassador levels. Check out some of the award projects girls in your council are doing and talk to a few past recipients of the Girl Scout Gold Award. You’ll be inspired when you see and hear what girls can accomplish as leaders—and by the confidence, values, and team-building expertise they gain while doing so.
All this, of course, starts with you—a Girl Scout volunteer! Encourage girls to go after Girl Scouting’s highest awards—information is available online. Visit www.girlscoutsofwesternohio.org to learn more about your council’s process.
Did you know that a Girl Scout who has earned her Gold Award immediately rises one rank in all four branches of the U.S. Military? A number of college-scholarship opportunities also await Gold Award designees. A girl does not, however, have to earn a Bronze or Silver Award before earning the Girl Scout Gold Award. She is eligible to earn any recognition at the grade level in which she is registered.
A Tradition of Honoring Girls
From the beginning of Girl Scouts, one prestigious award has recognized the girls who make a difference in their communities and in their own lives. The first, in 1916, was the Golden Eagle of Merit. In 1919, the name changed to The Golden Eaglet, and in 1920, the requirements for The Golden Eaglet were updated. The First Class Award existed for only two years, from 1938–1940, and was replaced in 1940 with The Curved Bar Award, the requirements for which were updated in 1947. In 1963, GSUSA re-introduced the First Class Award, for a girl who was an “all-around” person, with skills in many fields and a proficiency in one. Today’s highest award, the Girl Scout Gold Award, was introduced in 1980 and remains today.
Other Initiatives and Opportunities
Other exciting initiatives and opportunities exist to support the GSLE. A few examples are listed here, and you can find out how to engage your group in opportunities like these by contacting your local council or by visiting www.girlscouts.org/program/program_opportunities
- uniquely ME!: A joint venture between Girl Scouts and Dove/Unilever, this is the Girl Scout/Dove Self-Esteem Program, which helps girls discover the importance of challenging themselves, develop healthy coping skills, evaluate media influences, know what to look for in a friend, and find ways to make a difference in the lives of others. You can find more information about uniquely Me! at www.gsusa.org.
- Religious Recognitions: The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A has approved these religious recognitions and allows the recognition to be worn on the official uniform. Each religious organization develops and administers its own awards. Visit www.praypub.org for more information. The Girls Guide to Girl Scouting also features the My Promise, My Faith Pin at each Girl Scout grade level.