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Girl Scout Program

Now that you’re a Girl Scout volunteer, you belong to a network of more than 1 million adults who share an important commitment: preparing girls to lead successful lives. During your time as a volunteer, you’ll have fun, meet new people, and learn by doing alongside girls at every step.

What Does Girl Scouting Do for Girls
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience
Five Benefits for Girls
Girl Scouts Participating in Activities with Other Scouting Organizations

The decision by Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to open the Boy Scout program to girls has fundamentally altered the nature of the relationship between BSA and Girl Scouts nationally and locally. Local relationships between BSA and Girl Scout councils that have led to partnerships and joint activities in the past will now expose our membership enrollment and brand to risks. This may mean that the relationship between a council and its BSA counterpart should fundamentally change. 

Marketplace Confusion. To protect the integrity of the Girl Scout brand and reinforce our programming as unique, girl-only, and best in class, we must ensure that we take care that the activities in which girls participate are exclusive to the Girl Scout program, are safe and girl led, and are conducted under the appropriate supervision of Girl Scouts. Participation of Girl Scouts in activities with other scouting organizations creates risks to Girl Scouts. Confusion is in the marketplace regarding the relationship between Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts by the expansion of Boy Scouts to include girls in their programs. Girl Scout participation in Boy Scout activities will increase that confusion and will contribute to the misperception that Girl Scouts has merged, or is somehow interchangeable, with Boy Scouts. 

Brand. Associating with organizations who do not have similar brand history, program portfolio, and track record for safety dilutes and tarnishes our brand, and allows Boy Scouts to leverage the reputation of Girl Scouts for their own purposes. 

Guidelines. Girl Scouts may participate in community activities (including, but not limited to; street fairs, town fairs and carnivals, church fairs, community college nights, back to school nights, after school carnivals, and the like) as Girl Scouts, wearing Girl Scout uniform elements and as individuals. Attendance by Boy Scouts and/or Scouting BSA side by side at community events is expected. Girl Scout troops who wish to participate in NON-recruitment events sponsored by Boy Scouts and/or Scouting BSA may do so at their discretion, but must identify as Girl Scouts, wearing sashes and/or vests, and/or clothing identifying them as Girl Scouts. 

Girl Scouts of Northern California will not insure any shared activities sponsored by Boy Scouts and/or Scouting BSA, as these are forbidden. This includes Pinewood Derby, Camporees, and the like. (If a girl has a brother or other family member, or friend participating in these activities, she may attend to support them, but not in an official Girl Scout capacity.) Additionally, Girl Scouts of Northern California will not provide additional medical insurance (Plan 2) to cover Boy Scout who are also participating. 

Brand Guidelines. In cases where signage is being created representing multiple groups participating in a community activity, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts/Scouts BSA are to be represented by two different logos, side by side. Girl Scouts is NOT to be represented under Scouts BSA. 

Activities with Other Scouting Organizations (pdf)

Community Service and Take Action Projects
Advocacy Projects

Girls may decide to engage in advocacy activities as part of their Take Action Projects.  The laws governing nonprofit organizations draw a distinction between lobbying activities and electioneering activities. While GSUSA encourages members to actively work with and lobby their public officials on policy issues, it is important to remember that any type of electioneering in your official Girl Scout capacity is prohibited. Electioneering is defined as participating in the electoral process by promoting particular candidates for office. Such activity is a direct violation of the tax law that governs non-profit organizations. You may, however, campaign on behalf of a political candidate as an individual without reference to your role as a Girl Scout leader.

Read more about Advocacy Projects and Electioneering (PDF)

What Do Girls Do in Girl Scouting?

Girl Scouts focuses on the following content areas to enrich the Girl Scout experience for girls that follow the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. A few examples are listed here, and you can find out how to engage your group in opportunities like these by visiting



  • Leadership Awards 
    The Girl Scout Awards create opportunities for girls to take initiative and lead giving them skills and motivation to forge their own path and take charge of their future.
  • Outdoors
    Activities and camps that build outdoor skills and confidence for girls and adults.
  • Entrepreneurship
    Everyone knows about the Cookie and Fall Nut Sale Programs, but did you know that the Girl Scout Cookie Program is the longest running and largest financial literacy program for girls in the world? Through it and other business and financial literacy programs, girls and adults experience a range of opportunities including product sales, adult/girl skills-based workshops, career exploration, and money management.
  • STEM (
    Opportunities to dive into science, technology, engineering, math, including environmental and conservation activities and the world of tinkerers and inventors.
  • Life Skills
    Providing girls skill building in communications, relationship building, citizenship and healthy living.

  • Travel and Adventure
    Adventures both near and far to help girls explore and experience new things.

GSNorCal's Program Department offers program to girls through these various ways:

Enrichment Programs

  • The Program Guide offers events to all girls throughout the council designed to enrich their Girl Scout experience and retain their membership in Girl Scouting.
  • Special Interest Groups including Astronomy Clubs, Backpacking, and Robotics Teams.
  • Lending Library- Program boxes around various themes and badges are available for check-out by Troop Leaders and Service Unit volunteers.
  • Summer Resident Camps
  • Local service units offer numerous events, weekend Camporees or Encampments, and day or resident camps over spring break and in the summer.

Community Based Programs
Increasing access to Girl Scouting by offering staff-led programs. Current service includes girls in K-12 in:

Online Event Manager Training

Events provide the opportunities for girls and adults to rekindle friendships with "old" friends, to learn life skills, and provide leadership opportunities for girls. If you’ve ever planned a child’s birthday party, a wedding, or any other large celebration, you’re familiar with some of the logistics involved with planning an event.

Online Event Manager training is required for at least one adult who will be working with girls or other volunteers running events where they are responsible for the planning and implementation of the event and for the well-being of the participants. Older girls/troops who are planning and/or hosting a money-earning event to support troop activities such as travel/trip or Silver/Gold Award are encouraged to complete the Event Manager course as well. They do so with the understanding that the adult advisor to their project will be present at the event and also complete the necessary training on the Volunteer Learning Portal (

Is your activity an “event”? If your occasion meets one or more of the following criteria, it should be considered an event. If your activity meets one or more of these criteria and you feel that the Event Manager course should not be required, please contact GSNorCal at to discuss it.

  • Any activity other than just a regularly scheduled troop/group meeting may be an event if it includes other people outside the troop/group
  • Girls attending individually – any time you have girls attending as individuals rather than with their troop the activity qualifies as an event
  • Promotion – when other troops, groups, or people are invited outside those planning the activity, it is an event
  • Size – if more than two large or three small troops are involved, it would be considered an event
  • Logistics – a complicated activity where there are many logistics to consider such as site, safety, transportation, etc. would be considered an “event”.
National Program Resources

The National Program Portfolio includes the Volunteer Tool Kit, Badge Booklets, books, awards, and online resources. Together these resources bring the Girl Scout Leadership Experience to life for girls. They are an integral part of how Girl Scouting helps girls experience the power of millions of girls changing the world together.

As you use the National Program Portfolio with girls, keep in mind that Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) creates materials to serve our vast and diverse community of girls. To help bring topics off the page and into life, we sometimes provide girls and volunteers with suggestions about what people across the country and around the world are doing. 

GSUSA and GSNorCal knows that not every example or suggestion provided will work for every girl, family, volunteer, or community. In partnership with those who assist you with your Girl Scout troop—including parents, faith groups, schools, and community organizations—choose topic experts from your community as well as movies, books, music, websites, and other opportunities that are most appropriate for the girls in your area to enrich their Girl Scout activities.

We are proud to be the premier leadership organization for girls. We partner with several organizations to provide quality program to meet the varied interests of girls.  Please see our Partners in Programming web page and the approved high adventure vendor list.

Also note that GSUSA continuously reviews national program content to guarantee that all our resources are relevant and age appropriate, and that their content doesn’t include violence, sex, inappropriate language, or risky behavior. We value your input and hope that you will bring to GSNorCal’s attention any content that concerns you.

Volunteer Toolkit

Volunteer Toolkit is a troop administration tool designed to help facilitate running your troop. It is accessible from your home computer, tablet, or mobile device. To access the Volunteer Toolkit, simply sign in where it says “MyGS” at

Troop leaders can: 

  • Access the girl and family roster 
  • Communicate with families and let them see the calendar of activities 
  • Track girls' achievements and attendance 
  • Plan a year's worth of meeting plans with customized agendas and program resources for Girl Scout Badges and Journeys. These plans are pre-set to allow quick start. To learn more about the individual badge topics, you can review them on the Badge Explorer on the GSUSA website.   

Learn more about the Volunteer Toolkit

National Leadership Journey

The Girl Scout program is based on the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), in which girls discover themselves, connect with others, and take action to make the world a better place - all within the safety of an all-girl environment where girls take the lead, learn by doing, and learn cooperatively.  At the core of the GSLE are National Leadership Journeys, which are fun and challenging experiences grouped around a theme and spread over a series of sessions.  Each Journey has all the important components of the GSLE sewn right in.

National Leadership Journeys help Girl Scouts learn and practice the Three Keys, aid their communities, and earn leadership awards, progressing up Girl Scouting’s Ladder of Leadership as they do so. There are three series of Leadership Journeys, each about a different theme; the girls in your group can choose the theme that interests them most.

Journeys help girls develop 21st Century skills that allow them to come up with creative solutions to challenges in their lives and their community. Journeys offer girls a path to understand how to best dive into a topic. Armed with research, critical thinking skills, and brainstorming sessions, girls come up with creative solutions to problems in their community. Each time a girl completes a Journey, she has learned skills which will help her accomplish future goals, including working towards the Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards.

Girls who use Journeys have learned to be curious and know how to accomplish their goals. This will help them throughout college and later in their careers in a fast-paced, technologically driven global economy.

In a national survey, when girls were asked whether they believed that a girl could make a difference in the world, about 90% answered yes. But, when the same Girl Scouts were asked whether they believed they personally could make a difference in the world, most did not believe they could. Community service has long been a fundamental part of the Girl Scout program. However, it’s clear that girls want to be able to make a lasting change in the world. Journeys provide step-by-step instructions for helping girls to create and carry out a Take Action project in the sample sessions in the Adult Guides.  They also incorporate Discover and Connect activities, and the three Girl Scout processes (Girl-led, Learning by Doing, and Cooperative Learning).  The sample sessions in the Adult Guides have it all mapped out!

To guide girls on a great Journey, all you need is enthusiasm and a sense of adventure.  Before you dive in, try these four simple tips:

1.   Choose a Journey. Because Girl Scouting is girl-led, it’s important to give girls the chance to pick the Journey they want to do. Talk to them about what each Journey for their grade level is about and let them choose one.

2.   Get to know the Journey.  Access Journies through the Volunteer Toolkit. Read the girls’ book for the pleasure of it, just to get an overview of the Journey’s theme and content.

3.   Invite the girls (and their parents/guardians) to use their imaginations to make the Journeys come to life in ways that excite them. Remember that you and the girls don’t have to do everything exactly as laid out in the sample sessions.

4.   Step back and watch how the girls, with your knowledge, support, and guidance, have enormous fun and a rewarding experience. Celebrate with them as they earn their national leadership Journey awards, and perhaps some Girl Scout badges too!

Girl Scouts of the USA provides digital troop tools just for you! Be sure to check out the Volunteer Toolkit (often called the "VTK"), available for troop leaders and parents of all troop levels with resources and activity plans for badges and journeys, as well as troop management tools. Get more information about how to use the Volunteer Toolkit here: To access it directly, simply click on "My GS" in the upper bar of our website,, login and then click on Volunteer Toolkit.

Although each Journey is unique, the following elements are present in every Journey (although the order may be slightly different):




Girls get to know each other and learn each other's strengths and weaknesses


Be Inspired

Girls learn about women role models, and think about who inspires them


Learn & Discover

Girls have the opportunity to learn about an issue they care about


Create A Vision

Girls create a vision - if they had no boundaries or limitations, what would they want to accomplish to make the world a better place?


Choose A Take Action Project

Girls focus on a doable part of their vision and choose a Take Action Project


Plan the Project

Girls make plans, and realize that together they can do greater things than they can accomplish alone


Do the Project

Girls carry out their plans and get a chance to make mistakes and adjust, in a safe environment



Girls think about what went well, what didn't and what they learned



Girls plan a celebration of what they've accomplished


Journey Downloads

Downloads to send home to parents, Journey Assets (lists that provide a fast, easy way to find the relevant pages for each topic area), songs, ties to state curriculum, and other resources for the journeys are included in the Volunteer Toolkit to download and use. [VOLUNTEERING: Volunteer Toolkit]

Journey Maps

How do the Leadership Journeys fit in with the other things girls do in Girl Scouting? Check out the Journey maps at These maps show you how all the fun and meaningful traditions of Girl Scouting fit right into any National Leadership Journey. There, you can also find information about the topics that each Journey covers, which you can share with girls. And you’ll find even more fun traditions to complement your Journey in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting, a resource for each grade level of Girl Scouting.

The following Journeys are available for volunteers to choose from. They are:

  • It’s Your Planet—Love It!
  • It’s Your Story—Tell It!
  • It’s Your World—Change It! (Daisies ONLY)
  • Outdoor
  • Think Like an Engineer
  • Think Like a Programmer
  • Think Like a Citizen Scientist


It’s Your World—Change It!:

  • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassadors
  • On the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisies ONLY as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan


It’s Your Planet—Love It:

  • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassador
  • On the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan


It’s Your Story—Tell It!:

  • Available for purchase in council stores (adult guide and girl book) for Daisies–Ambassadors
  • On the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, and Junior as part of a 15 meeting Year Plan



  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Brownie and Junior as nine sessions in total, which includes three outdoor badges plus three Take Action meetings and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan
  • Available on Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisies as seven sessions in total, which includes two outdoor badges plus three Take Action meetings and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.
  • Available for Multi-level for Daisies-Juniors on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK).
  • Cadette, Senior, Ambassador, and Multi-level are available for Back to Troop as PDFs on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK).


Think Like an Engineer:

  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.


Think Like a Programmer:

  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.


Think Like a Citizen Scientist:

  • Available on the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) for Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador. The Journey is six sessions in total, including three Take Action meetings, and is part of a 15 meeting Year Plan.
Girl's Guide to Badges and Skill Building

In addition to the Leadership Journeys, girls at each Girl Scout grade level have their own edition of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting—a binder full of information about being a Girl Scout and how to earn certain badges, including ones about financial literacy and the Girl Scout Product Program. Girls who want to earn more badges can add a Skill Building Badge Set tied to the theme of the Journey they’ve chosen.

When a Girl Scout earns a badge, it shows that she’s learned a new skill, such as how to make a healthy snack or take great digital photos. It may even spark an interest at school or plant the seed for a future career. Please remember that we don’t expect you to be an expert in the badge topics; just have fun learning by doing with the girls!

While you’re having fun, keep in mind: Badges are for educating girls, not for decorating their sashes and vests. The quality of a girl’s experience—and the skills and pride she gains from earning leadership awards and skill-building badges—far outweigh the quantity of badges she earns.

If you are working with Girl Scout Daisies, please note that they earn Petals and Leaves (which form a flower) along with some skill building badges.  

Use the Badge Explorer to discover the wide variety of topics you can pursue with your troop. Badge information is available in the following ways:

  • Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting
  • Individual Badge Pamphlets (also digitally downloaded)
  • Volunteer Toolkit   

Please note that for several of the badges the badge pamphlet must be used alongside the meeting plans and program resources found in the Volunteer Tool Kit. 


Girl's Guides to Girl Scouting

The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting for Brownies through Ambassadors is the handbook that includes legacy badges.

Skill building badge sets for Brownie-Senior levels are available to purchase from the Girl Scout store. The badge sets can be earned individually or in concert with Leadership Journeys.

Pamphlets, can be purchased in the retail store, online or online digital download. The Individual Badge Pamplets give girls an overview of the badge requirements and provides interesting background information to spark the girls’ interest. Volunteers should access the Volunteer Tool Kit to find complete meeting plans, including detailed activity instructions and resources. This is especially true for many of the STEM badges.


Volunteer Toolkit

The Volunteer Toolkit provides meeting plans for Girl Scout Badges and Journeys. These plans are pre-set to allow quick start. To learn more about the individual requirements and activities, you can also reference other curriculum resources on the GSNorCal website or the Badge Explorer on the GSUSA website.  


Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Award

A Tradition of Honoring Girls


From the beginning of Girl Scouts, one prestigious award has recognized the girls who make a difference in their communities and in their own lives. The first of these awards, in 1916, was the Golden Eagle of Merit. In 1919, the name changed to The Golden Eaglet, and in 1920, the requirements for The Golden Eaglet were updated. The First Class Award existed for only two years, from 1938–1940, and was replaced in 1940 with The Curved Bar Award, the requirements for which were updated in 1947. In 1963, GSUSA re-introduced the First Class Award, for a girl who was an “all-around” person, with skills in many fields and a proficiency in one. Today’s highest award, the Girl Scout Gold Award, was introduced in 1980.

Read about the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Award (pdf)


Other National Awards

Journey Summit Award

Girls earn the Journey Summit Award by completing all three Journeys at their grade level. It will be placed just below the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards on a sash or vest to recognize the importance of the award. This is now the highest award that a Daisy or Brownie can earn, and second only to the Bronze Award for Juniors, the Silver Award for Cadettes, or the Gold Award for Seniors or Ambassadors.


My Promise My Faith Award and Religious Recognitions

The Girl Scout Law includes many of the principles and values common to most faiths. And even though Girl Scouts is a secular organization, we’ve always encouraged girls to explore spirituality via their own faiths. Girls of all grade levels can do this by earning the My Promise, My Faith pin. By carefully examining the Girl Scout Law and directly tying it to tenets of her faith, a girl can earn the pin once each year she participates in Girl Scouting. The My Promise My Faith pin is found in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and can be earned by girls of any faith. (My Promise My Faith FAQ)

Religious Recognition programs are also developed and administered by each of the major religious groups themselves. Through Girl Scouting, each girl is encouraged to become a stronger member of her own religion. Girls who choose to participate in one of these programs usually do so outside of their regular troop meetings with a group of girls guided by a spiritual counselor or with their own families. Individual awards are listed on GSNorCal’s website. PRAY (Programs of Religious Activities with Youth) works with various religious groups to develop requirements for the various awards. You can find information about requirements and ordering information on the PRAY website: For more information, please contact or call (800) 447-4475 ext. 0


Girl Scout Ranger Program

The National Park Service and Girl Scouts of the United States of America have partnered to create the Girl Scout Ranger Program. Girl Scouts are invited to participate in a variety of existing, organized educational or service projects at national park sites, or design their own experience or project to align with Journey work, badge activities, or a Take Action or Highest Award project. Girl Scouts are awarded certificates and/or patches for their participation. Find out more:


Awards & Opportunities for Older Girls

The Girl Scout program for older girls (grades 6-12) involves much more than working on awards. In fact, some girls may not be interested in earning the Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards and, while a little gentle encouragement never hurts, girls should not be pressured to do so. When working with older girls, it is crucial to remember that girls should have ownership of their program. We challenge both leaders and girls to be flexible and to explore the full potential of all available program options.


Leader in Action (LiA)

This special award is available to Girl Scout Cadettes who assist a Girl Scout Brownie troop in completing a Brownie Journey. There are separate Leader in Action awards for each Brownie Journey.  Requirements can be found in the Cadette Program Aide Facilitator's Guide at or in the Brownie adult guides for each Journey. There are specific ideas for what girls might do to earn the LiA for each Journey in the Program Aide Girl Workbook at The LiA is a prerequisite for earning the Program Aide.


Program Aide (PA)

Cadettes receive their Program Aide award by earning one LiA award, completing the GSNorCal Program Aide curriculum, and working directly with younger girls. Requirements for the Program Aide are found in the Cadette Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and the Program Aide Booklet.  Check out the Program Aide Girl Workbook and the Cadette Program Aide Facilitator's Guide for tons of helpful information and ideas. This program enables girls to become proficient in an area of interest, and to develop leadership skills by sharing their specialized knowledge with younger girls in a troop, group, activity, or event setting. Girls can also specialize in areas such as crafts, computers, games, and songs.  For more information on Program Aide trainings, check with your local Service Unit team.


Counselor-in-Training (CIT/CIT II)

Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors earn these awards by completing a leadership course on youth development and girl programming in the outdoors. They then spend time practicing and honing their skills by mentoring young girls in a camp in preparation to become a camp counselor.

Requirements for the CIT can be found in the Senior and Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.  Additionally, Girl Scout Ambassadors can earn their CIT II Award.  Girl Scout Ambassadors earn this award by working with younger girls over the course of at least one camp session while focused on increasing their skills in one specific area--such as riding instruction, ropes course instruction, lifeguarding, or the arts. Requirements can be found in the Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. For more information about the CIT/CIT II programs, please visit


Volunteer-in-Training (VIT)

This award is for girls who’d like to mentor a Girl Scout Daisy, Brownie, Junior or Cadette group outside of the camp experience. Girls who have completed ninth grade are eligible to earn this award. Girls complete a group leadership course, and commit to helping a younger girl troop under the guidance of that troop’s leader. The program usually spans five to eight months with time split between course work and 25 volunteer hours with the troop.  Requirements can be found in the Senior and Ambassador Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting.


Girl Planning Committees

Girls in grades 6-12 work with adult advisors to plan activities for other girls. Girls are in the driver’s seat and make decisions about issues they care about that benefit girls in their areas. This is a great way for girls to make a big impact on the council and have fun, too. For more information, email


Girl Scouts of Northern California Board of Directors

As a Girl Scout 14 years or older, girls are eligible to be a Girl Board Participant. The Board of Directors meets throughout the year to conduct business. Girl Board Participants are elected by the council, serve for one year, voice their opinions, and vote on issues critical to the future of GSNorCal.


Delegate to the National Council of GSUSA

Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to be a delegate to the National Council, which meets every three years. Delegates, who are elected by their council, serve for three years; they voice their opinions and vote on issues critical to the future of Girl Scouting. Contact for more information.


GSNorCal Regional Delegate

Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to be a Regional Delegate and attend the GSNorCal Annual Meeting held each year in the spring.  Regional Delegates are elected by their regions.  Girls aged 14 and older are eligible to run for either a one- or a two- year term.  Regional Delegates are the liaison between the members of their region and GSNorCal’s Board of Directors.  They carry information to the members, and gather input to inform their vote on issues of great importance to the future of our council.  Nominations are open October, and elections are held in January.


Emblems, Insignia, and Patches

In addition to leadership awards tied to the Journeys and national proficiency badges, girls can show they belong by adding emblems to the front of their vests or sashes and participation patches on the back.

Emblems show membership in Girl Scouts, a particular council, a particular troop, or in some other Girl Scout group.  These can be worn on the front of a sash or vest. See the diagram in the handbook section of The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting to see where these are placed.


Troop Crests

The troop crest is chosen by the girls in a Girl Scout troop. The crests are worn by Girl Scout Brownies, Juniors, Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. Center the troop crest directly under the council identification strip. Throughout its history, Girl Scouts has assigned no specific meaning to troop crests. The items used in troop crests, such as flowers and other natural elements, often have various meanings that have come to be associated with them by cultures around the world. Some of these elements carry multiple meanings, and sometimes their symbolism has changed and evolved through the ages. Some of these meanings are offered in the description of each crest, which may be of interest to girls and their adult volunteers. You can think of a troop crest as a symbol for your troop's interest and character. All the troop crest descriptions are available in your Girls Guide to Girl Scouting and the girls can decide what the symbols mean for them. We encourage you and your troop to talk about each option and vote to select your troop crest.


Where to place emblems, insignia and awards

The Uniform Insignia Booklet ( shows the emblems and earned awards for each grade level with illustrations which show exactly where girls can place their emblems, awards, badges, pins, and patches on their vests and sashes. 

Participation patches (or fun patches) represent activities girls have tried and are fun ways for girls to remember special events they’ve attended. Since these patches and pins aren’t tied to skill-building activities like the earned awards are, they are worn on the back of a girl’s sash or vest. Think of back of the vest or sash as a scrapbook for the year. 


Purchasing Information

You can purchase emblems and patches, along with badges and leadership awards at:

For retail shop locations [Office & Retail Locations]

Other Program Resources

Lending Library- Coming this fall to GSNorCal members

From outdoor equipment including cooking supplies, tents, sleeping bags, and snowshoes to STEM program boxes  and supplies including soldering irons and telescopes, to flags and parade bags, GSNorCal members will be able to borrow these items from local Girl Scout offices and program facilities.


Outdoor Adventures

Being outside is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether they spend an afternoon exploring a local hiking trail or a week at camp, being outside gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore, and have fun in a whole new environment.


Publications & CDs

There are a variety of publications, and other resources available in our GSNorCal retail stores, as well as songbooks with CDs and songs for every occasion.


Spanish-Language Resources

Two of the Journey series—It’s Your World—Change It! and It’s Your Planet—Love It!—are available in Spanish, as are supporting books for Spanish-speaking volunteers to use with Spanish-speaking and bilingual Girl Scout Brownies and Juniors: ¡Las Girl Scouts Brownies Cambian El Mundo! (Girl Scout Brownies Change the World!) and ¡Las Girl Scouts Juniors Apuntan a las Estrellas! (Girl Scout Juniors Reach for the Stars!). The books, which introduce the Girl Scout movement to these girls and their families, provide everything you need for a fun-filled year in Girl Scouting.


Take Online Training

There are numerous modules to help you understand and use the national program resources, including:

  • Girl Scout Program
  • Journeys (for each level)
  • Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting (for each level)
  • Uniform & Awards (for each level)

Go to and click on your Leader course for the appropriate program level.


Take In-Person Training

Use the Program and Event Guide and the Activity Finder on the GSNorCal website to access Adult Learning opportunities as well as side-by-side experiences with girls. These experiences offer learning and networking opportunities.  

Finally, consider attending one of our council-wide Learning Events. Fall Festival and Discoveree each offer numerous workshops in a whole variety of topics. See all our available in-person course on our Volunteer Learning Portal.

Outdoor Experiences

Being outside is a great way for girls to explore leadership, build skills, and develop a deep appreciation for nature. Whether they spend an afternoon exploring a local hiking trail or a week at camp, being outside gives girls an opportunity to grow, explore Get Outdoors and have fun in a whole new environment.

For more information about the Four Ways Girl Scouts Builds Girl Leaders in the Outdoors click here

To read the 2019 Report from the Girl Scout Research Institute: Girl Scouts Soar in the Outdoors, click here

Remember: If girls will go on an overnight trip or engage in any high adventure activity, you must have GSNorCal approval for your activity. 

Interest Groups

Outdoor Interest Groups provide volunteer-run, girl-centered outdoor program opportunities for older girls. All Girl Scouts, grades 5-12, are welcome to join whether they are independent Girl Scouts or members of a traditional troop. Outdoor Interest Groups include: Backpacking, High-Adventure, Mariners, Travel & Older Girl Adventure Interest Groups. For more information, please visit:

Ropes Course Rentals

We offer different options for groups to choose from when renting the ropes course at either Camp Bothin or Skylark Ranch. Unique opportunities are available to build teamwork with your troop, develop climbing skills, participate in an individual challenge, and more through this ultimate high adventure activity! [Property & Rental Information: Ropes Course Rentals]

GSNorCal Camps: Day & Resident

Day Camps, Resident Camps and Core Camps offer a variety of outdoor activities for girls, and are usually held during the summer months. Day Camps at both the service unit and council level are usually one-week sessions at convenient in-town locations. Resident camps last for more than three nights. Core camps are short-term outdoor programs, lasting from one to three nights and are managed by the council.

Camp brochures highlighting our council-run camps are mailed to all girls (and adults registered as troop leaders) in October. Some volunteer-run camp flyers containing detailed information are available in the winter and spring online at

All registered Girl Scouts as well as non-Girl Scouts are welcome to register.



Volunteer-Run Camps

Day and resident camps run by volunteers are held at community locations throughout Northern California. Parents and volunteers can often attend with their daughter in exchange for helping in different areas of camp operation.

Volunteer Run Resident Camps

Volunteer run resident camps occur in many local areas. Flyers are mailed or given to girls in those areas in late winter with registration opening in late winter and spring.

  • Butano Creek — in San Mateo County near the town of Pescadero
  • Camp Tall Trees — Northern Humboldt County
  • Two Sentinels — on the shores of Lake Kirkwood high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains
  • Kamp Konocti — Fairfax, CA (new location)

Running a Volunteer Camp? Please see the Volunteer Run Camps Admin Guide by contacting


Council-Run Camps

Organized resident camps run by full time and seasonal Council staff members. Girls attend as an individual, not with their troop or parents (except for family camp programs).

Council Run Resident Camps

  • Bothin - Marin County
  • Skylark Ranch — overlooks the Pacific Ocean north of Santa Cruz
  • Sugar Pine — in the Sierras in Calaveras County

Registration for camp opens on November 1.

Outings, Trips, and Travel

A Girl Scout trip is an opportunity for girls to have fun, to experience adventure, and to enrich their ongoing Girl Scout program. A Girl Scout trip is defined as any time a troop has an activity at a location other than the regularly scheduled meeting place. If the troop will start and end at the regular meeting location, but will walk to a local park or other destination, this activity is not defined as a trip.

For more information on Outings, Trips and Travel (PDF)

Ready to plan an International Trip? Please read the Global Travel Toolkit! (PDF)

For Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors seeking more adventures, see Girl Scout Travel Opportunities (PDF)

Reengaging Girls

The end of this trip doesn’t have to be the end of a girls’ time with Girl Scouting. Some girls participate in Girl Scouting in all sorts of ways; others are excited only about travel. What lies ahead for them—and for you?

  • Girls who have never been involved in any other way besides travel may be looking for longer-term opportunities closer at home. Younger Cadettes may want to participate in resident camp, while Seniors and Ambassadors—as well as older Cadettes—will want to hear all about upcoming series and events at GSNorCal.
  • Girls who have traveled once tend to want to travel again. Be sure girls are aware that other travel opportunities, such as GSUSA Destinations, will exist for them in the years ahead. The great experiences they had on this trip may have prepared them for longer and more global trips in the future.
  • Girls may want to hear about the Girl Scout Silver and Gold Awards, which are opportunities for them to make a dramatic difference in their communities—and to have plenty to brag about with college admissions officers, too!

And what about you? If you’re ready for more opportunities to work with girls, be sure to let GSNorCal know how you’d like to be a part of girls’ lives in the future. Are you ready for a year-long volunteer opportunity with a troop? Help organize a series or event? Take another trip? The possibilities are endless.

Girl Scout Traditions and Celebrations

Throughout the long history of Girl Scouts, certain traditions remain meaningful and important and are still practiced today. This section gives you an overview of annual celebrations in the Girl Scout year, as well as other revered Girl Scout traditions. Be sure to look in The Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting and Leadership Journeys for more information on songs, outdoor activities, historical anecdotes, traditions, and ceremonies.

Girl Scout Holidays (pdf)

Signs, Songs, Handshake, and More! (pdf)

Time-Honored Ceremonies (pdf)

Historic Uniforms and Memorabilia Collections (pdf)