There are a variety of awards girls can earn throughout the year. Some are earned as a troop/group, but the majority are individual awards. They symbolize a girl’s accomplishments. Awards are only one part of the Girl Scout program and should never serve as the main focus of a girl’s experience. To learn more about placement of awards on the Girl Scout uniform, consult the Girl Scout Catalog, age level handbooks, or the GSUSA Web site, www.girlscouts.org.
Girl Scouts' Highest Honors
In 1980, Girls Scouts introduced the Girl Scout Gold Award for Girl Scouts 14-18 as its highest honor, along with the Girl Scout Silver Award for Girl Scouts 11-14. Girls must meet requirements and complete a special project benefitting their communities to receive these awards. The Girl Scout Bronze Award for Junior Girl Scouts ages 8-11 was introduced in 2001. These three awards are a highlight of the Girl Scout experience.
The Girl Scout Gold Award
The Girl Scout Gold Award represents the highest achievement in Girl Scouting; it recognizes girls in grades 9 through 12 who demonstrate extraordinary leadership through remarkable take action projects that have sustainable impact in their communities and beyond. Since 1916, girls have successfully answered the call to Go Gold, an act that indelibly marks them as accomplished members of their communities and the world.
The Girl Scout Silver Award
The Girl Scout Silver Award symbolizes an 11- to 14-year-old Girl Scout's accomplishments in Girl Scouting and community activities as she matures and works to better her life and the lives of others.
The Girl Scout Bronze Award
The Girl Scout Bronze Award recognizes that a Junior Girl Scout has gained the leadership and planning skills required to follow through with a project that makes a positive difference in her community.
Bridging awards mark a girl’s transition from one leadership level to the next. An exciting time in a Girl Scout’s life, the earning of the award and completion of the activities are designed to emphasize the continuity of one Girl Scout program and to welcome girls to an anticipated “next level.” Girl Scouts of the USA, in partnership with the Girl Scouts of Northern California and Girl Scouts, San Diego-Imperial Council, has aligned Bridge to Girl Scout Brownie and Bridge to Girl Scout Junior awards with the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. These revised award requirements for these levels replace those in grade-level handbooks. Additional grade-level Bridging Award updates are currently in development. Please check out the GSUSA site for the latest updates.
The national award program is explained in detail in the grade level handbooks and journey books. These are designed to recognize girls for achievement in learning, skill development and service to others.
Through Girl Scouting, all members are encouraged to be active, contributing members of a religious group. Girl Scouting also recognizes that religions and religious instruction is the responsibility of parents and religious leaders. Therefore, the Girl Scout organization has no authority to decide whether or not a girl or adult has reached a certain stage of spiritual development.
If the religious organization of the individual member provides an award, it may be worn on the right side of the Girl Scout uniform with the membership pin on the left.
Who: Girls and adults of all faith What: To Serve God promotional patch When: Earn one segment/year for 4 years Where: In your troop or on your own Why: To learn and promote religious awards
Attend or coordinate a presentation on religious awards. (Sample resources and suggestions are available at www.praypub.org.)
Make a commitment to fulfill the Girl Scout Promise "To Serve God."
Frequently Asked Questions
What does it mean to "make a commitment" to serve God?
It can mean taking to your clergy about earning your religious award, presenting information to your congregation, helping younger Girl Scouts learn about religious awards, etc.
If a Girl Scout just earned a religious award, does she qualify for the "To Serve God" patch?
Yes. A Girl Scout who just recently earned a religious award may receive a "To Serve God" Promotion Patch. However, in the following years, in order to receive the next segment of patch, she will either have to earn another religious award or help make a presentation on religious awards to another group.
Year one you can earn the Anchor Patch - To Serve God.
Year two - the mountain piece
Year three - the fish piece
Year four - the eagle piece
The patch is worn on the back of your vest or sash.
Religious recognitions are created by the various religious groups, not GSUSA, to encourage girls to grow stronger in their faith. Each religious organization develops and administers its own program. GSUSA recognizes these programs and allows the recognition insignia to be worn on the official Girl Scout uniform.
These programs are optional programs for girls and their families to complete. Religious instruction should always come from the religious organization, not the troop leader. Parents need to be informed of these programs and told where to get the information for their particular faith. If your religious institution is not aware of these programs, a copy of the curriculum may be obtained at www.praypub.org. Programs vary in the amount of time needed to complete them.
How Do I Get Started?
Obtain the specific booklet for your religion. Each Girl Scout needs her own booklet which contains all the lessons and service projects.
Parents must review specific guidelines for their particular program, such as who may serve as the girl's counselor. Some require clergy to serve as a counselor.
Families should talk to their religious leaders and show them the booklet before beginning. A religious leader's signature may be required.
The girl needs to complete the requirements, obtain the proper signatures, and follow instructions to order the recognition or pin. These awards are NOT available at the council shop.
The award should be presented in a meaningful ceremony, preferably in the girl's religious institution.
For more information on religious recognitions, write to:
Religious Recognitions Girl Scouts of the USA 420 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10018-2702
Community Service Awards/Service Projects
Local, national, and global service and action are core elements of the Girl Scout experience. Community service offers girls a unique opportunity to help people in their communities. It is also an important element of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. Girl Scouts learn important and valuable skills through community service which will help them develop into responsible citizens. Girls of all ages can discover ways to help people in their communities, connect with others for a greater good, and take action to change the world!
Presidential Volunteer Service Award
This award recognizes Girl Scouts for their community service efforts. It is a Presidential honor, initiated by President Bush in 2003, to recognize the valuable contributions of volunteers across the nation who answer the call to service to others through their volunteer activities. As a certifying organization, GSHPA will identify eligible Girl Scout recipients, verify their service hours, and distribute the award to outstanding volunteers. Hours of service are accumulated from January 1 - December 31. Please access the form on our Forms page.
Prudential Spirit of Community Awards This unique program provides an ideal opportunity for the community to celebrate the spirit of youth volunteerism, and to recognize those students who have distinguished themselves through volunteer work. Girl Scouts who have participated in community service are encouraged to fill out an online application form. Once the form has been completed online*, print it out, sign it, have a parent/guardian sign it, fax the signed signature page to 615-627-9685, and submit the entire printed application to GSHPA, 350 Hale Avenue, Harrisburg, PA 17104, by November 2nd.
By November 9th, GSHPA will review the applications, and select the most deserving applicant to submit to the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Committee. Potential honors from the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards Committee include a trip to Washington DC, an engraved medallion, and an unrestricted award of $1,000.
*If you know of a Girl Scout who does not have internet access, she may call 877-525-8491 toll-free to receive a paper application.
The Program Aide award is an opportunity for registered Cadette Girl Scouts in 6th thru 8th grades. The steps to earn this award are designed to give girls the experience of working directly with an Adult Volunteer to learn what it’s like to lead a group of younger girls through various activities. This is a National Mentoring award and the requirements are outlined in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting for Cadettes. Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania offers the resources below to help guide Cadette Girl Scouts and the Adult Volunteers acting as their Program Aide Mentors through the award process. GSHPA will also offer periodic trainings on designated program specialties. For a current listing of upcoming Program Aide Webinars for girls visit http://www.gshpa.org/programs/councilrunprograms.html. Cadette Girl Scouts may also have the option of attending a training offered in their local Girl Scout Community.