Girl's Guide to Badges and Skill Building

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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 Product 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 are working with Girl Scout Daisies, please note that they earn Petals and Leaves (which form a flower) along with some skill building badges.  

Use the Badge Explorer to discover the wide variety of topics you can pursue with your troop.  Badge information is available in the following ways:

Please note that for several of the badges the badge pamphlet must be used alongside the meeting plans and program resources found in the Volunteer Tool Kit. 

Girl's Guides to Girl Scouting

The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting for Brownies through Ambassadors is the handbook that includes legacy badges.

Skill building badge sets for Brownie-Senior levels are available to purchase from the Girl Scout store. The badge sets can be earned individually or in concert with Leadership Journeys.

Pamphlets, can be purchased in the retail store, online or online digital download. The Individual Badge Pamphlets give girls an overview of the badge requirements and provides interesting background information to spark the girls’ interest. Volunteers should access the Volunteer Tool Kit to find complete meeting plans, including detailed activity instructions and resources. This is especially true for many of the STEM badges.

Volunteer Toolkit

The Volunteer Toolkit provides meeting plans for Girl Scout Badges and Journeys. These plans are pre-set to allow quick start. To learn more about the individual requirements and activities, you can also reference other curriculum resources on the GSNorCal website or the Badge Explorer on the GSUSA website.  

Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Award

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 of these awards, 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.

Read about the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Award



Other National Awards

Journey Summit Award

Girls earn the Journey Summit Award by completing all three Journeys at their grade level. It will be placed just below the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards on a sash or vest to recognize the importance of the award. This is now the highest award that a Daisy or Brownie can earn, and second only to the Bronze Award for Juniors, the Silver Award for Cadettes, or the Gold Award for Seniors or Ambassadors.

My Promise My Faith Award and Religious Recognition's

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 do this by earning 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. The My Promise My Faith pin is found in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and can be earned by girls of any faith. (My Promise My Faith FAQ)

Religious Recognition programs are also developed and administered by each of the major religious groups themselves. Through Girl Scouting, each girl is encouraged to become a stronger member of her own religion. Girls who choose to participate in one of these programs usually do so outside of their regular troop meetings with a group of girls guided by a spiritual counselor or with their own families. Individual awards are listed on GSNorCal’s website. PRAY (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth) works with various religious groups to develop requirements for the various awards. You can find information about requirements and ordering information on the PRAY website: 

For more information, please contact or call (800) 447-4475 ext. 0

Girl Scout Ranger Program

The National Park Service and Girl Scouts of the United States of America have partnered to create the Girl Scout Ranger Program. Girl Scouts are invited to participate in a variety of existing, organized educational or service projects at national park sites, or design their own experience or project to align with Journey work, badge activities, or a Take Action or Highest Award project. Girl Scouts are awarded certificates and/or patches for their participation. Find out more:

Awards & Opportunities for Older Girls

The Girl Scout program for older girls (grades 6-12) involves much more than working on awards. In fact, some girls may not be interested in earning the Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards and, while a little gentle encouragement never hurts, girls should not be pressured to do so. When working with older girls, it is crucial to remember that girls should have ownership of their program. We challenge both leaders and girls to be flexible and to explore the full potential of all available program options.

Leader in Action (LiA)

This special award is available to Girl Scout Cadettes who assist a Girl Scout Brownie troop in completing a Brownie Journey. There are separate Leader in Action awards for each Brownie Journey.  Requirements can be found in the Cadette Program Aide Facilitator's Guide in the Brownie adult guides for each Journey. There are specific ideas for what girls might do to earn the LiA for each Journey in theProgram Aide Girl Workbook. The LiA is a prerequisite for earning the Program Aide.

Program Aide (PA)

Cadettes receive their Program Aide award by earning one LiA award, completing the GSNorCal Program Aide curriculum, and working directly with younger girls. Requirements for the Program Aide are found in the Cadette Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and the Program Aide Booklet.  Check out the Program Aide Girl Workbookand the Cadette Program Aide Facilitator's Guide for tons of helpful information and ideas. This program enables girls to become proficient in an area of interest, and to develop leadership skills by sharing their specialized knowledge with younger girls in a troop, group, activity, or event setting. Girls can also specialize in areas such as crafts, computers, games, and songs.  For more information on Program Aide trainings, check with your local Service Unit team.

Counselor-in-Training (CIT/CIT II)

Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors earn these awards by completing a leadership course on youth development and girl programming in the outdoors. They then spend time practicing and honing their skills by mentoring young girls in a camp in preparation to become a camp counselor.

Requirements for the CIT can be found in the Senior and Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.  Additionally, Girl Scout Ambassadors can earn their CIT II Award.  Girl Scout Ambassadors earn this award by working with younger girls over the course of at least one camp session while focused on increasing their skills in one specific area--such as riding instruction, ropes course instruction, lifeguarding, or the arts. Requirements can be found in the Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. More information about GSNorCal camps and the the CIT/CIT II programs can be found here:

Volunteer-in-Training (VIT)

This award is for girls who’d like to mentor a Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, Junior or Cadette group outside of the camp experience. Girls who have completed ninth grade are eligible to earn this award. Girls complete a group leadership course, and commit to helping a younger girl troop under the guidance of that troop’s leader. The program usually spans five to eight months with time split between course work and 25 volunteer hours with the troop.  Requirements can be found in the Senior and Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.

Girl Planning Committees

Girls in grades 6-12 work with adult advisors to plan activities for other girls. Girls are in the driver’s seat and make decisions about issues they care about that benefit girls in their areas. This is a great way for girls to make a big impact on the council and have fun, too. For more information, email

Girl Scouts of Northern California Board of Directors

As a Girl Scout 14 years or older, girls are eligible to be a Girl Board Participant. The Board of Directors meets throughout the year to conduct business. Girl Board Participants are elected by the council, serve for one year, voice their opinions, and vote on issues critical to the future of GSNorCal.

Delegate to the National Council of GSUSA

Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to be a delegate to the National Council, which meets every three years. Delegates, who are elected by their council, serve for three years; they voice their opinions and vote on issues critical to the future of Girl Scouting. Contact for more information.

GSNorCal Regional Delegate

Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to be a Regional Delegate and attend the GSNorCal Annual Meeting held each year in the spring.  Regional Delegates are elected by their regions.  Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to run for either a one- or a two- year term.  Regional Delegates are the liaison between the members of their region and GSNorCal’s Board of Directors.  They carry information to the members, and gather input to inform their vote on issues of great importance to the future of our council.  Nominations are open October, and elections are held in January.

Emblems, Insignia, and Patches

In addition to leadership awards tied to the Journeys and national proficiency badges, girls can show they belong by adding emblems to the front of their vests or sashes and participation patches on the back.

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.

Troop Crests

The troop crest is chosen by the girls in a Girl Scout troop. The crests are worn by Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. Center the troop crest directly under the council identification strip. Throughout its history, Girl Scouts has assigned no specific meaning to troop crests. The items used in troop crests, such as flowers and other natural elements, often have various meanings that have come to be associated with them by cultures around the world. Some of these elements carry multiple meanings, and sometimes their symbolism has changed and evolved through the ages. Some of these meanings are offered in the description of each crest, which may be of interest to girls and their adult volunteers. You can think of a troop crest as a symbol for your troop's interest and character. All the troop crest descriptions are available in your Girls Guide to Girl Scouting and the girls can decide what the symbols mean for them. We encourage you and your troop to talk about each option and vote to select your troop crest.

Where to place emblems, insignia and awards

The Uniform Insignia Booklet shows the emblems and earned awards for each grade level with illustrations which show exactly where girls can place their emblems, awards, badges, pins, and patches on their vests and sashes. 

Participation patches (or fun patches) represent activities girls have tried and are fun ways for girls to remember special events they’ve attended. Since these patches and pins aren’t tied to skill-building activities like the earned awards are, they are worn on the back of a girl’s sash or vest. Think of back of the vest or sash as a scrapbook for the year. 

Purchasing Information

You can purchase emblems and patches, along with badges and leadership awards at:

For retail shop locations [Office & Retail Locations]


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