Vintage Girl Scout Online Museum

Girl Scout Badges, Try-its, Interest Project Patches and More

Since the beginning, Girl Scouts have earned badges and there is an unbelievable number to be found!

 



Basic information on Girl Scout badges:
  • Technically, they were called Proficiency  Badges.  Girl Scout Proficiency Badges have long been a mark of a Girl Scout who tested herself and passed. It was expected that a Girl Scout in uniform and wearing badges proudly on her sleeve, be able to answer any question or perform any skill that she learned in the effort to earn that badge at any time.
  •  Lion Bros. Company of Baltimore, Maryland was the exclusive manufacturer of Girl Scout Proficiency Badges - until recently (thank you Julie Ward for this info!).
  • Ages and dates for badges are general. Badges were produced as they were needed and for this reason not all badge designs can be found in every fabric for their time period. Popular badges would have sold well and therefore been crafted frequently enough by the manufacturers to be in all the fabrics during it's time. Being thrifty, Girl Scout shops would have continued to sell the less popular badges in older fabrics until supplies were deleted.
  • Cadette badges, round and with the yellow border started in 1963.
  • The triangular shaped Brownie Try-it's started in 1980.
  • The rectangle Cadette and Senior Interest Project Patches started in 1980.
  • In 1999 GSUSA renamed Interest Project Patches to Interest Project Awards.
  • In 2002 GSUSA dropped the restriction that only troop leaders could buy earned badges, try-its and interest project patches.
  • In 2006 GSUSA launched online requirements for new badges and interest project awards.
  • In 2009 GSUSA launched "Focus Patches." They were discontinued by 2011.

 

 

 Felt with embroidery 1913-1918

Generally, felt badges were white felt with blue embroidery. This coordinated well with the blue uniforms of the day. There are a couple of exceptions; red felt was used for the 1913-1916 Ambulance badge and blue felt was used for the 1913-1918 Hospital Nurse badge.

 

 Khaki fabric, 1918-1928

The change to a khaki fabric for uniforms also brought a change in the production of badges to khaki (K) fabric in 1918. Briefly they were produced in blue embroidery thread, but this quickly changed to black. The designs remained the same as the white felt, however the fabrics used varied in color and thread - olive drab, speckled brown & white and a twill. The update of 1920 standardized the fabric and brought design changes. Today these badges come in many shades due to time, aging and early laundering techniques.



 Grey Green fabric, 1928-1938

Grey Green (GG) fabric was introduced in 1928, a mixture of greyish green and white threads. Badges continued to be produced on squares of fabric for the Girl Scout to trim and tuck when sewing them on her sleeve, or to leave as a square. By 1933 all badges were produced as a circle with fabric edges. Designs continued to be introduced and deleted to keep up with the modern world.

 

 Silver Green fabric, 1938-1948 
1938 brought an explosion of designs, up to 109 with the change to the new Silver Green (SG) fabric of blue and white threads. However - it is known that discontinued GG designs were produced on SG fabric, increasing the number of badges to be found.

 

 Bright Medium Green fabric, 1948-1955

 Bright Medium Green fabric with finished "Merrow" edge, 1955-1960

The last of the badges to have a fabric edge was the Bright Medium Green (BMG) dating from 1948 to 1955. Manufacturers began to trim the edges of the badges with embroidery thread in 1955 and the excess fabric was no longer needed. These badges were on the same fabric but with a Merrow Edge (ME). Most badge designs moved from BMG to ME and can be found in both styles. Only 2 designs were not made in BMG and just a few were retired before the ME.

 

Light Green fabric, 1960-1963

The introduction of the new Light Green (LG) fabric in 1960 retained all the ME designs, but due to the short period of production not all designs may have been produced.

 Light Green fabric, Junior Girl Scout 1963-1980 
Light Green fabric, Cadette Girl Scout 1963-1980

However the program change in 1963 that split the Intermediate program into the Juniors and Cadettes had a big effect on the badges. Many designs remained, but the Cadette badges were offered with a yellow border. Junior badge designs that remained looked exactly like the LG badges. Dating these badges becomes a matter of studying the backing material.

 

crestb.jpg

 

(brown border due to scanner, it's really green)
Although the designs remained the same in 1974, the fabric used for Junior and Cadette badges changed from a LG to a fine pinstripe (PIN). In 1978 the fabric changed again to a Vivid Green Twill (VGT), and marked the first time a badge fabric not used in the making of the uniform since the white felt badges.


Worlds To Explore Program 1980 brought Junior badges with color-coded borders and...

...Brownie Try-its and Cadette & Senior Interest Project Patches

insert content here

Badges 101  |  Girl Scout Badges - White Felt  |  Girl Scout Badges - Khaki  |  Girl Scout Badges - 1928  |  Girl Scout Badges - 1938

Junior Girl Scout Badges - 1963  |  Cadette Girl Scout Badges - 1963

Brownie Pre-Try-its

Worlds to Explore Brownie Try-its - 1980  |  Worlds to Explore Juniors/Cadettes- 1980   |  Worlds to Explore Interest Project Patches Cadettes/Seniors- 1980

Daisy Promise Center and Learning Petals - 2000   |  Brownie Try-its - Brown Borders - 2000  |  Junior Badges - Green Borders - 2000

Studio 2B: Focus  |    Interest Project Awards and Focus Patches 1997-2010  |