Filling a vest or sash with colorful patches and badges is a wonderful way for Girl Scouts to remember all the adventures and skills they are experiencing. Both badges and patches and an important part of the Girl Scout experience, many people use the words interchangeably without understanding the important difference between the two.
What is the difference? I’m glad you asked!
Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts said it best,
“Every badge you earn is tied up to your motto. This badge is not a reward for something you have done once or for an examination you have passed. Badges are not medals to wear on your sleeve to show what a smart girl you are. A badge is a symbol that you have done the thing that stands for often enough, thoroughly enough, and well enough to be prepared to give service in it. You wear the badge to let people know that you are prepared and will to be called on because you are a Girl Scout. And Girl Scouting is not just knowing, but doing. Not just doing, but being.”Juliette Gordon Low
Badges are to help girls explore their interest and learn new skills. They require specific steps and are displayed on the front of their uniforms.
The steps for each badge are listed in the badge descriptions that are published in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. Girls must complete each step to earn the badge.
Here is a complete listing of badges for every age level.
Patches are similar to badges in look, but are considered “unofficial” and are worn on the back of the girls sash or vest. Patches are handy if the girls want to do a fun activity or try something new that isn’t badge related.
Girls can get a fun patch for any activity they participate in through Girl Scouts. It could be a hike, museum visit, STEAM program, or a virtual event, she has no limit to the number of patches she can display on her back.
Fun patches are the best! They give the girls the freedom to get creative and mix in activities for service, for celebrations, and for team building/bonding, or just for fun! Recently we met Vanessa, a Daisy in Troop 10581 Vanessa and her grandmother did virtual Girl Scout activities all summer, and collected so many patches her grandmother added a panel on the back of her vest!
Girl Scouts love to collect the patches and their vests/sashes become a scrapbook of all their adventures and accomplishments. Here are a few more patches to add to your girls’ collections this winter and some trivia to test your badge/patch knowledge.
Virtual Hangout Patch
- Some resources for parents and leaders to help guild through anti-racism discussions and activities.
- Books for talking to kids about race and racism.
- Attend a STEAM with the Program Team
- Register for a STEM Badge workshop
- Try out a STEM activity at home
Baking is a science and Girl scouts have plenty of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) badges to explore. How many STEM badges does Girl Scouts offer?
In the 1980’s the most popular Junior Badge was:
- First Aid
- Math Whiz
- Art in the Round
Which is NOT one of the four main categories badges are split into
- Live Skills
What is one thing you can do to earn a gardening fun patch?
- Research how to care for different plants.
- Talk to a master gardener.
- Plant your own garden.
- All of the above.
What is one thing I can do to earn a SWAPS fun patch? Let us know your answers in the comments!