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From the youngest Daisy to the most accomplished Ambassador Girl Scout, all of Girl Scouting is united around the same experiences. From her first badge earned on her Daisy smock or brownie vest to her final Gold Award presentation, there are elements that define her experience as a Girl Scout. The Girl Scout Playbook is your new roadmap to making sure your girls have the best, most comprehensive experience in Girl Scouts. We’ll lay out the basics for you here, but make sure to head over to the Girl Scout Playbook for more details!

All girls follow a path of sisterhood, receive mentorship from supportive adults, and explore who they are through special experiences. What does that mean for girls in practice?

Sisterhood: She’ll flourish in an all-girl, girl-led space, gaining confidence and building healthy relationships with her Girl Scout sisters.

Supportive Adults: Adult volunteers provide a consistent supportive presence in a girl’s life over time, making her feel valued, and providing guidance and mentorship.

Special Experiences: With her sisters and supportive adults, the special experiences she’ll have in Girl Scouts will expand her horizons, connect her to uniquely Girl Scout traditions, and help her discover who she is, and who she wants to be.

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Six Troop Fundamentals

So how can volunteers and troop leaders come together to give their Girl Scouts this Essential Girl Scout Experience? By making sure each troop year touches on each of the six troop fundamentals. Engaging your troop in these areas will introduce them to a variety of activities, experiences, and opportunities that will fuel their development, build new skills, and challenge them to grow.

Badges, Journeys, and Awards

Level up the skills they love, try exciting activities for the first time, or team up with your troop to solve a problem in your community! From robotics to first aid, outdoor survival training to a Take Action project, your girls will explore their world, build skills, and improve their community. Ideally, each troop year should aim for four badges, or a journey and two badges, but each troop is unique, so if you’re adding badges, Journeys, and awards to your vest or sash each year, don’t sweat it!

Outdoor Exploration

Since 1912, Girl Scouts has been introducing young women to the wonders of the great outdoors. Get outside with your troop at least once a year or as often as possible, whether it’s exploring your local park or neighborhood green space, taking your first hike, going camping, or bigger adventures like backpacking or zip-lining! They’ll learn useful skills, self-reliance, and teamwork as they enjoy the sunshine and learn to treasure the planet we call home.

Product Program

The Girl Scout Product Programs are the largest entrepreneurial leadership programs for girls in the country, encouraging financial literacy, goal setting, and ethical decision-making. Whether it’s building her online business from the ground up in the Cookie Program or fundraising through the Fall Product Program, girls use the funds they earn for service products, camping, travel, and more.

Special Events

Whether your troop attends her local service unit scavenger hunt or learns to build robots through a GSNorCal program, she’ll make memories she’ll never forget. Special experiences expand her horizons, challenge her conceptions, and introduce her to ideas, goals, careers, and adventures she might have never otherwise experienced! Girl Scouts even travel the world, from beach adventures and Space camp to working with giant pandas in China or surfing the tropical waters of Costa Rica!

Community Service

Girl Scouts serve their community, abiding by the Girl Scout Promise and Law. From Take Action projects and Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards to food drives and beach clean-ups, making community service a core part of your troop experience will teach girls to see with open eyes, fight for what they believe in, and commit to changing the world for the better.

Girl Scout Traditions

Flag ceremonies, camp songs, SWAPS (Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere), bridging, uniforms, and s’mores—Girl Scout traditions connect girls around the country and the world! As she learns about the history and tradition of Girl Scouts, she’ll learn to lean on her community of sisters for support as she grows, becoming a better person because of her enthusiastic and diverse community of Girl Scouts.

While Girl Scouting takes on different forms depending on the troop, the core experience of being a Girl Scout is rooted in the same six fundamentals and the shared goal of building stronger, more confident G.I.R.L.s of tomorrow. Whether your girls are interested in planning a trip across Europe or trekking your local state park, these six elements can help roadmap your Girl Scout year to be full of fun bonding and memorable sisterhood. Head over to the Girl Scout Playbook for all the information and advice you need, and use the helpful Girl Scout Planner and Calendar to make sure you’re hitting each of the Troop Fundamentals! So what are you waiting for? Get Girl Scouting!

What to do next:

  • Ready to get started? Check out the Girl Scout Playbook for the latest and greatest digital resources for planning your Girl Scout troop year.
  • Learn how to use the Girl Scout Playbook with others. GSNorCal staff will be hosting webinars on September 12 and September 24 to get troop leaders up to speed on all of the ins and outs. Full webinar details can be found on our website. Recordings will be available online after the webinar dates.

Katie Mock—Katie is the Marketing Copywriter for the Girl Scouts of Northern California, where she writes everything from tweets to Trailhead articles, and makes sure everyone dots their ‘i’s and crosses their ‘t’s. Although she was a Girl Scout for only a few years, her experiences with Girl Scouts, combined with attending a single-sex high school, gave her a profound appreciation for the power all-girl spaces have to change girls’ lives for the better. Katie moved to the Bay Area after graduating from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in Linguistics; when she’s not diving into writing with a red pen, you can find her geeking out about the latest sci-fi novel, cooking anything from traditional Japanese Cuisine to pizza, or cuddling her two cats.