Girl Scouts love participating in
time-honored celebrations, ceremonies and traditions, and they love
making up their own traditions, too. Sharing traditions with millions
of Girl Scouts—and the huge network of Girl Scout alumnae who came
before them—helps remind girls they belong to a big, powerful sisterhood.
Girl Scout celebrations:
Juliette Gordon Low was born on October 31, 1860 a few months before
the Civil War began. Girl Scouts of all ages honor Juliette Low’s
birthday on or near October 31. Younger girls enjoy hearing the story
of the founder, some plan a field trip or special outing like
roller-skating, while older girls may choose to do a service project.
Learn more about Juliette Gordon Low here.
Girl Scout Leadership Day
Girl Scout Leader’s Day was first commemorated about 25 years ago on
April 22. Originally designed to honor adult volunteers who led Girl
Scout troops, over the years Leader’s Day has evolved to recognize the
contributions of volunteers throughout our Movement. It is now more
appropriately called Girl Scout Leadership Day, an inclusive term that
acknowledges the important role that older girls, staff members and
others play in striving to make Girl Scouting the premier leadership
development organization for girls
Girl Scout Week
The first Girl Scout meeting was held on March 12, 1912, in
Savannah, Ga. On or near March 12th each year girls celebrate by
eating birthday cake and ice cream, attending a unit event, joining
with other troops and singing songs, conducting a service project or
attending a council-sponsored event.
World Thinking Day
On this day Girl Scouts and Girl Guides worldwide celebrate
international friendship. Each year on Feb. 22 they “think about one
another” and the millions of members in this sisterhood. Learn more on
the GSUSA Web site.
Girl Scouts of the USA is a member of the largest organization for
girls and women in the world, the World Association of Girl Guides and
Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Currently there are 144 member countries of
WAGGGS. WAGGGS operates four World Centers: Our Cabana in Cuernavaca
Mexico, Our Chalet in Adelboden Switzerland, Pax Lodge in London
England (adjacent the World Bureau) and Sangam in Pune India, where
Girl Scouts and Girl Guides (adults and girls) from around the world
are welcome to enjoy the sisterhood of Girl Scouting. The WAGGGS
organization promotes a triennial theme of significance to the well
being of girls worldwide. More information and practical activities
relating to World Thinking Day is available on the WAGGGS Web site and
the World Thinking
Girl Scout Traditions:
Girl Scouts make the Girl Scout sign when they say the Girl
Scout Promise. The three fingers represent the three parts of the
The Girl Scout motto is "Be prepared." In the
1947 Girl Scout Handbook, the motto was explained this way:
"A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed.
Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job
well, even in an emergency." The same ideas are true today.
The Girl Scout slogan, which has been used since 1912, is
"Do a good turn daily." The slogan is a reminder of the many
ways girls can contribute positively to the lives of others.
Girl Scouts can greet each other with the Girl Scout
handshake, used by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides all over the world.
The handshake is made by shaking hands with the left hand and making
the Girl Scout sign with the right. The left hand is nearest to the
heart and signifies friendship.
The friendship circle stands for an unbroken chain of
friendship with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Everyone
stands in a circle, crosses their right arms over their left, and
clasps hands with their friends on both sides. Everyone makes a silent
wish as a friendship squeeze is passed from hand to hand.
Girl Scouts often make small tokens of friendship to exchange with
the Girl Scouts they meet when they travel. These little gifts are
called SWAPS, which stands
for Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere
or Shared With A Pal.
Important Ceremonies in Girl Scouting
Flag ceremonies: It is a tradition for Girl Scouts to perform a
flag ceremony at their troop meetings or at their schools, special
events or other occasions.
Bridging ceremonies mark a girl's move from one level of Girl
Scouting to another.
A Fly-Up is a bridging ceremony for Girl Scout Brownies
bridging to Girl Scout Juniors. Girls receive the Girl Scout pin along
with their Brownie wings.
A Highest Awards Ceremony honors Girl Scouts who have earned
Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.
Girl Scouts' Own is a girl-planned program that allows girls to
explore their feelings around a topic, such as friendship or the Girl
Scout Promise and Law, using spoken word, favorite songs, poetry, or
other expressions. It is never a religious ceremony.
Investiture welcomes new members, girls or adults, into the
Girl Scout family for the first time. Girls receive their Girl Scout,
Girl Scout Brownie, or Girl Scout Daisy pin at this time.
Journey ceremonies honor Girl Scouts who have earned the final
award along a Journey. The ceremonies are usually held at the
troop/group level and invite the girls to develop a themed celebration
of their Journey, often including friends and family.
Opening ceremonies start the Girl Scout meeting.
Pinning ceremonies help celebrate when girls receive
grade-level Girl Scout pins.
Rededication ceremonies are an opportunity for girls and
adults to renew their commitment to the Girl Scout Promise and