The Girl Scout Leadership Experience
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience engages girls in discovering themselves, connecting with others and taking action to make the world a better place. Even at the youngest ages of Girl Scouting, girls can gain leadership skills they will carry with them throughout their lives. The Girl Scout focus on leadership shows girls that they are leaders right now in their everyday lives, and they will continue to be leaders as they get older. In Girl Scouting, Discover + Connect + Take Action = Leadership.
- Discover: Girls understand themselves and their values and use their knowledge and skills to explore the world.
- Connect: Girls care about, inspire, and team with others locally and globally.
- Take Action: Girls act to make the world a better place.
Girl Scouts USA has an electronic resource that further explains the structure and benefits of this great leadership model.
Girl Scouts' National Program Portfolio
For more information on the National Program Portfolio, review our Tip Shop presentation (may take a moment to load): PowerPoint version or Webinar version.
The graphic below explains how leadership journeys and badges work together. Journeys and badges are designed to be complementary, not to compete. Journeys are the core Girl Scout curriculum. They have been created to help Girl Scouts develop three keys to leadership: Discover, Connect and Take Action. Badges complement the journeys by helping girls build skills on specific topics. To get a picture of how journeys and other Girl Scout activities work together to make one consistent Girl Scout experience, view the journey maps on the Girl Scout website. As you mouse over the journey map, you will see pop-ups that give further information about how to tie Girl Scout activities (such as camping, field trips, and cookie sales) into the journeys. The following handouts explain how these programs work together by grade level (files are large, and may take a moment to load):
- Where can I learn more about the journeys?
It's Your World: Change It! Learn more or Buy it!
It's Your Planet: Love It! Learn more or Buy It!
It's Your Story: Tell It! Learn more or Buy It!
- What does it mean to "customize" a journey? Journeys only come to life when girls and volunteers sprinkle in their own interests, talents, creativity and imagination to shape the journey experience. You can also call upon a range of local experts who can enrich the girls' experience. Check out tips and suggestions in the girls' book, adult guide and in It's Your Journey-Customize It!
- Will it be possible for badge requirements to count toward fulfillment of journey requirements? Journey awards are based on a girl’s participation in a series of interrelated activities and discussions that contribute to her overall experience and help her develop the three keys to leadership. Badges focus on one specific skill (for example, creating a piece of art or learning first aid). For that reason, journey activities cannot be counted as completion of a badge activity requirement. Keep in mind that the journeys are very flexible and that requirements for earning awards are not meant to be rigid. What's most important is that girls gain exposure to a variety of opportunities and enjoy activities based on the three keys (Discover, Connect, Take Action).
- What are the requirements for the new Journey Summit Pin? When a girl completes all three journeys for her program level, she earns this pin. Earning this award demonstrates that a girl knows what it means to be a leader.
The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting
- What is The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting ? In September 2011, Girl Scouts USA debuted an exciting new resource for girls. Each grade level has a version of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, so there are six publications. The guide is a 9x12 standard three ring binder so girls can add pages and other mementos to it. The sections include badge offerings; a handbook section covering traditions, history and bridging; and a "My Girl Scouts" section (varies by grade level but includes things like scrapbook pages, stickers, etc.). View the handout or visit Girl Scouts USA's Web page.
- Who gave input into the development of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting? More than 1,000 girls, parents, and volunteers from all over the country participated in online surveys and focus groups to help GSUSA develop The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting. More than 30 volunteers, national operational volunteers and council staff from various locations met online for months to offer input into the format and the content of the badges. Within Girl Scout headquarters, teams from several departments made recommendations on format and content. Before finalizing, girls from all backgrounds and across grade levels offered feedback on the content in its formative stage.
- Will adult guides to The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting be produced? Adult guides will not be necessary as volunteers will be able to apply what they've learned from their journey adult guides, Volunteer Essentials and Safety Activity Checkpoints.
- Where can I purchase The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting? The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting is available now at your nearest Girl Scout store or through our online shop! Since their release, these books have been flying off the shelves! If the grade level you are looking for is out of stock, you can pre-order the books online or at your local Girl Scout store. Pre-orders will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis; contact your local Girl Scout store for availability.
- What will it cost? The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting will be offered at a special introductory price of $16.87 through March 12, 2012. After that date, the books will be offered at a regular price of $22.50.
- Will the journey books be include in The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting? The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting is a separate resource from the journeys. The reason for this is to give girls the opportunity to define their Girl Scout Leadership Experience by choosing the journey they want to take.
- The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting Launch Resources:
Summary of Material Review
Girl Scouts of the USA has been in the business of developing and distributing program material for girls for 99 of our 100 years. As soon as material goes to print, the process of gathering input for reprint begins. Ongoing input from our members helps us build the list of changes that will be incorporated when a book goes to reprint. Advances in technology have made it possible to develop and post replacement pages that can be used until books enter their reprint cycle.
We began to make changes in our Journey materials over 3 years ago but did not announce these changes in a public way. With concerns surfacing in a variety of arenas, the Girl Scouts made a proactive decision to review all 42 program resource books (36 Journey books and 6 Badge books totaling 4,958 pages) that have been developed over the last 4 years. This document contains a comprehensive list of all of the changes that have been made.
- Are badges going away? No, earning awards is an integral part of Girl Scouting, as it has been for nearly a century. Badge activities complement the journeys and contribute to the first leadership key: Discover. Some badge topic areas are out of date and are being permanently retired, while some totally new badges will be introduced. Other offerings will combine current topics and favorite activities into badges that will feel very familiar to all of us. All badges will have great energy and a bright new look. New badges will be released in The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting .
- Why is Girl Scouts USA changing the badges? Being relevant to today's girls is one of the main reasons why Girl Scouts USA is updating the badges. The Girl Scout badges haven't been updated in 20 years and think about how much technology alone has changed in that time. We know this won't be easy but it is truly being done with the best interest of girls in mind. The great part is that Girl Scouts created a special category called Legacy Badges so we can keep the traditions that make us who we are and still give girls a variety of things to do that are hot topics today.
- What are the topics of the new badges? View the national proficiency badge categories handout »
- How will girl's earn a new badge? View the handout »
- How will the new badges build skills as the girls move up? View the handout »
- What will the new badges look like? You can view the new badges online at girlscouts.org. This interactive page allows you to see an image of the badge, the grade level it corresponds to and a description of what a girl will learn while earning the badge.
- How many new badges will be offered at each level? The exact number of badges is still under consideration but the intention is to offer girls a variety of topics that cover contemporary interests, as well as classics that have historically been appealing to girls and volunteers. View the handout »
- How will there be enough for girls to do if the numbers of badges are reduced? Girls will have many awards to earn. Girls will have the new badges; journey awards; the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards; the Safety Award; CIT; VIT (formerly LIT); PA; troop crests; and two new awards called My Promise, My Faith and Journey Summit. View the handout »
- Why are skill building badge activity sets not being offered to GS Ambassadors? Research shows juniors and seniors in high school are interested in earning fewer badges than girls at other levels. Many are pursuing their Girl Scout Gold Award and are busy with college preparation.
- Are the skill building activity sets requirements going to be sold individually or in sets? The skill building badge sets will be sold in sets of five. This keeps costs down. They are being sold seperately so girls can add badges that reflect their interests.
- Will GS Daisies earn badges? Girl Scout Daisies will continue to earn the Promise Center and Learning Petals. The activities for earning petals will be revised for the release of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. Daisies will earn “leaves” when they complete activities tied to the Girl Scout Cookie Program and financial literacy. View the handout »
- Will girls still earn Cookie badges? Yes. There will be two sets of skill-building badges related to the Girl Scout Cookie Program. A girl will still be able to earn the Girl Scout Cookie Activity pin when she participates in the Girl Scout Cookie Program.
- Are the Signs at the GS Junior level being updated or discontinued? They are being retired.
- What will happen to Troop Crests? They have been updated for style but will not be changing in any other way. Troops arestill able to choose the crest and wear them as their troop representation.
- What will happen to Troop's Own and Council's Own badges? Girl Scouts USA will release new guidelines for national badges developed within councils. Troop's Own will be retired and girls may develop a Make Your Own badge (see section below).
- Will there be more discontinued badges from Girl Scouts USA than the ones currently listed on the national website? Yes, the national organization has told councils that they will continue to discontinue badges as they run out of stock in the merchandise warehouse. Please note that some badges are being discontinued but will be re-released with a new look and style.
- How long can we use existing handbooks and work on existing badges? The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting will be available for use beginning in fall 2011, with the transition period running through September 2012. Please see the below Q&A for important information related to this.
- When will production of current badges end?
How can we be sure that girls are working on badges that are still available in your stores?
Many items have already been discontinued by Girl Scouts USA. Please contact your local Girl Scout store for information on discontinued badges and remaining inventory.
Make Your Own Badges
- When will these be available? February 2012.
- Will make your own badges require council approval? No, girls will work with volunteers to make them and the last step requires an adult's signature.
- Once a girl creates her own badge, can other girls earn it? No because girls gains skills in choosing the topic and from the process of creating the badge. Therefore, girls can only earn the badges they create.
- What will be the process to make your own badge? After the girl has developed the idea and the requirements, she will log on to a Make Your Own badge website (with adult supervision). There, she will choose a design icon from a gallery of pre-approved images. When she is finished designing, she will submit her badge and the licensed vendor will produce and ship it.
- How many of these can a girl earn? Girls can earn one per year.
- Will all make your own badges look the same? They will have appropriate grade level shape and the border will match the grade level color.
- What about the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards? Requirements for these awards will be listed in the appropriate The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting. They will also continue to be listed on our website, as well as Girl Scouts USA's website. The requirements for Highest Awards were updated in 2010 and there will be no additional updates to these requirements. As previously announced, all projects under the old guidelines must be completed by September 30, 2011. The new guidelines will become official on October 1, 2011. If you start working on the award in 2011 and the majority of the work will be done during the 2012 membership year, the new guidelines should be used.
- What about the CIT, LIT and PA awards? There will be new requirements for CIT and PA awards. LIT is becoming Volunteers in Training (VIT). View the handout »
- What is happening to the Junior Aide and Junior Leadership Awards? We do not have any information on these awards at this time.
- What about religious awards? We are proud to offer girls the opportunity to deepen their faith by earning the new award called My Promise, My Faith which is the only national faith award girls can earn. The current religious awards offered by PRAY, a private vendor, will still be available. At this time, we have no additional information but will know more in the fall.
- Will fun patches still be available? Yes.
- Will service bars continue? Yes, Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors will continue to earn Community Service Bars. Two Service Bars will be offered at each level.
- What is the status of STUDIO 2B? As with current handbooks and badge books, there will be a one-year period (June 2011 to June 2012) to transition from existing resources to The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting . STUDIO 2B materials will only be available while supplies last. Today, journeys are the choice for Girl Scout Cadettes, Seniors and Ambassadors. Material from the STUDIO 2B focus books is being incorporated, when appropriate, into The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting at these grade levels.
- Will girl uniforms change? We have not heard of any changes at this time.
- What do we do now?
-Continue to earn badges and journeys with your girls.
-Read GSOSW eNews monthly so you receive the latest updates.
-Contact your local Girl Scout store for inventory levels of discontinued items before your girls earn a badge.
-Have questions not answered in the Q&A? Submit questions below and we'll send you a response.
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