In addition to the Leadership Journeys, girls at each Girl Scout grade level have their own edition of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting—a binder full of information about being a Girl Scout and how to earn certain badges, including ones about financial literacy and the Girl Scout Cookie Program. Girls who want to earn more badges can add a Skill Building Badge Set tied to the theme of the Journey they’ve chosen.
When a Girl Scout earns a badge, it shows that she’s learned a new skill, such as how to make a healthy snack or take great digital photos. It may even spark an interest at school or plant the seed for a future career. Please remember that we don’t expect you to be an expert in the badge topics; just have fun learning by doing with the girls!
While you’re having fun, keep in mind: Badges are for educating girls, not for decorating their sashes and vests. The quality of a girl’s experience—and the skills and pride she gains from earning leadership awards and skill-building badges—far outweigh the quantity of badges she earns.
If you’re working with Girl Scout Daisies, please note that they earn Petals and Leaves (which form a flower) instead of badges. There are several ways to supplement the National Program Portfolio and enhance girls’ time as Girl Scouts—and have fun while you’re doing it! A few of them are outlined below.
The For Girls section of girlscouts.org features a variety of videos, games, blogs, and other fun ways to enrich the GSLE. Girls will find opportunities to post their ideas for public service announcements on topics that matter to them and get inspired by watching short videos that tell the stories of women from all walks of life. If you work with Girl Scout Daisies and Brownies, you might like the site’s print-and-play coloring and game pages—great for having on hand when energetic girls get together! Both girls and volunteers will have fun with Badge Explorer, an overview of all of the badges girls can earn. For Girls is updated frequently, so check back often—and invite girls to do the same!
Make Your Own Badge
Girls are welcome to 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!) Once girls check the Awards Log in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting to make sure there’s not already a badge on the topic they want to explore, they’ll follow steps outlined in that handbook to complete the requirements for their very own badge. Even better, they can go online to design and purchase a badge that later arrives in the mail! For more information, check out the Make Your Own Badge website.
My Promise, My Faith Pin
The Girl Scout Law includes many of the principles and values common to most faiths. And even though Girl Scouts is a secular organization, we’ve always encouraged girls to explore spirituality via their own faiths. Girls of all grade levels can now earn the My Promise, My Faith pin. By carefully examining the Girl Scout Law and directly tying it to tenets of her faith, a girl can earn the pin once each year she participates in Girl Scouting. You can find more about the requirements for this pin in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.
The Girl Scout Cookie Program
In addition to giving girls an opportunity to earn money to fund their Girl Scouting goals, taking part in the Girl Scout Cookie Program teaches girls five important skills that serve them throughout their lives: goal setting, money management, people skills, decision making, and business ethics. For more on everything involved in the Girl Scout Cookie Program, flip to the “Managing Group Finances” chapter of this handbook
Being outside is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether they spend an afternoon exploring a local hiking trail or a week at camp, being outside gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore, and have fun in a whole new environment. For more information, visit www.girlscouts.org/program/basics/camping
Two of the Journey series—It’s Your World—Change It! and It’s Your Planet—Love It!—are available in Spanish, as are two new supporting books for Spanish-speaking volunteers to use with Spanish-speaking and bilingual Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors :¡Las Girl Scouts Brownies Cambian El Mundo! (Girl Scout Brownies Change the World!) and ¡Las Girl Scouts Juniors Apuntan a las Estrellas! (Girl Scout Juniors Reach for the Stars!). The books, which introduce the Girl Scout movement to these girls and their families, provide everything you need for a fun-filled year in Girl Scouting. For more information on these resources, contact your council.
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.
Scholarships for Girl Scouts
Girl Scouts of the USA has complied a list of universities/colleges and foundations that offer scholarships for Girl Scouts. For more information please referencethe Girl Scouts of the USA website at www.girlscouts.org/whoweare/facts/scholarships
Other Initiatives and Opportunities
Other exciting initiatives and opportunities exist to support the GSLE. In the past, these topics included the environment, robotics, space exploration and more! 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
- Council sponsored program opportunities are hosted by Girl Scouts of Western Ohio paid and volunteers staff throughout the council. These opportunities offer troops and individual girls a chance to meet other girls and adult members from within the council’s jurisdiction. They are designed to meet the needs of girls and enhance the resources already available through their community.
- 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. For more information about religious recognitions, visit www.girlscoutsofwesternohio.org.