Whether your troop has shifted to virtual meetings, or everyone’s decided to postpone all activities for the time being, your Girl Scout still has the option to earn badges on her own at home. Parents who’ve relied on their troop leaders as their go-to for badge work—did I just hear a sharp intake of breath from you all? Not to worry! Badges aren’t as complicated as they might seem. We’ll walk you through the steps you need to take to help your girl earn a badge, from the very basics (What’s a badge anyway?) to how to customize activities to suit your girl. You can do this—we’ll show you how!
What’s a Badge?
Is there something your girl is passionate about, or has always wanted to try? Chances are, there’s a badge for it! Badges are a great way for girls to explore their interests and learn new skills. Every program grade level has their own set of badges and awards that girls can work on. Generally, each badge connects to a specific subject matter (like coding, first aid, or animal habitats) and enables girls to become proficient in that topic. Note that Girl Scout Daisies earn petals and leaves in addition to regular badges.
Side Question—What’s a Patch?
Also known as “fun patches,” these are given to Girl Scouts for participating in fun events, activities and other Girl Scouting-related programs. Unlike badges, girls don’t usually need to fulfill any requirements to get a patch. (FYI, patches always go on the back of the uniform.)
How Can I Help My Girl Earn a Badge?
Just like how a badge is broken down into separate steps, follow these to help your girl earn hers.
- Pick your badge. Girls can work on any badge that piques her interest! For a rundown of all the badges available for your girl’s age, head to the Award and Badge Explorer. You can filter your results by grade level and topic (like STEM, outdoors, life skills, entrepreneurship, etc.) and see what your girl will learn as she works on each badge.
- Review the steps. Every badge has a specific number of steps that a Girl Scout needs to complete; after she’s completed those steps, she’ll have learned the skills to earn the badge. Daisy petals, leaves, and badges typically consist of three steps (to account for their developmental age), while badges for Girl Scout Brownies and older consist of five steps.
- Decide on your activities. If you look at the badge requirements for the badge you’ve picked, you’ll see that each step has three different activities to choose from. Your girl just needs to complete one activity for each step. So that means five steps, five activities in total. If your girl isn’t jazzed about any of the activity options, feel free to brainstorm an alternative. As long as that alternate activity fulfills the criteria for that step, you’re fine!
- Get your badge. While all our council shops are closed until further notice, you can always order badges online and have them shipped directly to your home. Badges should be placed on the front of the uniform—wear ‘em with pride, Girl Scouts!
Is it Okay to Earn Badges That the Rest of My Troop Isn’t Working On?
In short, yes, it is! Many families and troops are trying to figure out how to best incorporate Girl Scouting into their new routines, so it’s likely that more girls will be earning badges on their own for the time being. If you’re concerned about working on a badge that your troop leader might already have plans for in the future, simply connect with them first and double-check.
Where Do I Find Badge Resources?
Girl Scouts River Valleys offers a few different resources to help you and your girl complete badges:
- Girl Scouts River Valleys’ Online Shop. You can find all badge requirements, either as a physical print version or as a downloadable PDF, in our online shop. Bonus—for a limited time, Girl Scouts is offering a few badge requirements as free downloads.
- The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. This is an easy-to-use binder that is program grade level-specific. It has badge activities and is full of great information about Girl Scouting in general.
- Girl Scouts River Valleys’ Planning Guides. This online resource includes many of the badge and award options for each program grade level. These downloadable activity plans are step-by-step guides to lead a girl or troop in earning a badge. While these activity plans were written with a troop experience in mind, most activities can be adapted for girls to do on their own or with their family. Find the planning guide for your girl’s grade level under the troop leader section.
- Girl Scouts at Home. Girl Scouts of the USA is partnering with councils across the United States to bring even more virtual badge and award programming right to your home. You’ll find special videos leading girls through activities to complete steps for different badges.
Even when circumstances prevent them from meeting up in person, girls can (and should!) still explore the wide world around them by learning new skills and earning badges. What badge will your girl work on first?
Lily Yu –Lily is a Program Resource Specialist at River Valleys. She earned her BA in comparative literature and Japanese from Hamilton College and has a background in publishing and advertising. Though she wasn’t a Girl Scout growing up, Lily is making up for lost time as a volunteer and troop cookie manager for her daughter’s Brownie troop. In her free time, she enjoys going for long walks, reading, and spending time with her family (And rescue dog, Neil!).