GSUSA is the world's largest organisation just for girls, and is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS).
Who can be a Girl Scout?
Any girl in the US (or an American girl living overseas) who is between the ages of five and 17, or in kindergarten through grade 12, can be a Girl Scout.
Daisy Girl Scouts are aged five or six, or are in kindergarten or first grade.
Brownie Girl Scouts are aged six to eight, or are in first to third grade.
Junior Girl Scouts are aged nine to 11, or are in third to sixth grade.
Cadette Girl Scouts are aged 12 to 14, or are in sixth to ninth grade.
Senior Girl Scouts are aged 15 to 17, or are in ninth to twelfth grade.
Girl Scouting in the US is open to all girls, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or disability. Currently, over 2.7 million girls are members of GSUSA.
The Girl Scout Promise and Law
Each Girl Scout makes the Girl Scout Promise, in which she promises to try and live by the Girl Scout Law.
Girl Scout Promise
On my honour, I will try
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
Girl Scout Law
I will do my best to be
- honest and fair,
- friendly and helpful,
- considerate and caring,
- courageous and strong, and
- responsible for what I say and do,
- respect myself and others,
- respect authority,
- use resources wisely,
- make the world a better place, and
- be a sister to every Girl Scout.
What are the Goals of Girl Scouting?
GSUSA has four primary program goals, including:
Girls will develop to their full potential.
Girls will relate to others with increasing understanding, skill, and respect.
Girls will develop a meaningful set of values to guide their actions and to provide for sound decision-making.
Girls will contribute to the improvement of society through the use of their abilities and leadership skills, while working in cooperation with others.
What do Girl Scouts do?
Brownies through Seniors earn badges while learning and using new skills in a variety of areas - from 'All About Birds' to 'Car Care' to 'Space Explorer' to 'Video Production' to 'World Neighbours'. Badge requirements often include community service projects, career exploration, and using new technology.
Sell Girl Scout Cookies
Girl Scouts have been selling cookies nationwide since 1936. During cookie sales, girls learn and practice important life skills, such as goal setting, money management, customer relations, and teamwork. Equally important, both Girl Scout troops and councils receive much needed funds, allowing girls to go to camp and participate in other Girl Scout activities. Money from Girl Scout cookie sales is also used by the council to train volunteers and for scholarships for financially disadvantaged girls.
Girl Scouts not only go camping, they also go hiking, backpacking, canoeing, sailing, rafting, swimming, cycling, horseback riding, skiing, orienteering, and rock climbing! The Girl Scout programme also places an emphasis on understanding and preserving the environment - a troop might work on a wetland conservation project, help maintain hiking trails, observe wildlife, study water quality, or simply sit back and study the birds and the flowers.
Arts and Crafts
For Girl Scouts, 'arts and crafts' doesn't just mean making paper dolls. A Brownie troop might create marionettes and put on a puppet play; a Junior troop might visit a potter's workshop and learn to spin pots and fire up a kiln; and a Cadette or Senior troop might learn new skills in weaving, origami, architecture, desktop publishing, modern dance, or even museum management.
Exploring new careers and meeting women role models is a part of Girl Scouting at every age level. Older Girl Scouts often develop a mentorship relationship with a supportive adult, and career shadowing is a common activity. Wider Opportunities is a nationwide and international programme for Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts, and many of their events have a career exploration focus. One group of girls might spend a week exploring careers in advertising in New York, while another spends a week working with marine biologists in Alaska.
Travel has been an aspect of Girl Scouting since the very beginning. Girls might travel through their state, across the nation, or to another country. They might be travelling to see an historic site, observe a different culture, work on a service project, or meet Girl Scouts from new places.
Community Service Projects
Helping girls to help others has always been one of the primary focuses of Girl Scouting. A Daisy Girl Scout might start a life of service by learning how to help her family and friends. Brownie Girl Scouts might organise a food drive or a litter clean-up, or make decorations for a nursing home. As Junior Girl Scouts, girls might learn to match their new skills and interests to ideas for service projects. By the time a girl reaches Cadette or Senior Girl Scouts, service projects might range from running a science day camp for Daisy Scouts to repairing houses of the elderly to working in an orphanage in India.
What are Some Girl Scout Traditions?
Girl Scout traditional signs and symbols include:
The trefoil, the three-part symbol which is a part of the Girl Scout pins and logos.
The Girl Scout sign, with the three middle fingers of the right hand, that Girl Scouts make when saying the Promise or Law.
The Girl Scout handshake, which involves making the Girl Scout sign with the right hand and shaking with the left.
The Girl Scout motto is 'Be prepared'.
The Girl Scout slogan is 'Do a good turn daily'.
These, and other Girl Scout signs and symbols, are incorporated into many Girl Scout ceremonies and songs.
Special days in Girl Scouting include:
31 October, Juliette Low's birthday, sometimes known as Founder's Day.
22 February, Thinking Day, the day when Girl Scouts and Girl Guides worldwide celebrate each other.
12 March, Girl Scout Birthday, the day when the first troop of 18 girls registered in 1912.
22 April, Girl Scout Leader's Day, the day when Girl Scouts thank their leaders and other volunteers.