Activity Approval form

Forms used by troop leaders to get approval from the service unit and council for low, medium and high risk activities

Ambassador

A grade-level in Girl Scouting. Girls in grades 11-12 may refer to themselves as Girl Scout Ambassadors.

Annual Meeting

The yearly meeting a local Girl Scout council holds to elect its board of directors and conduct other business essential to Girl Scouting in its geographic area.

Awards

Insignia from Girl Scout age-level books. Earned by completing requirements or by demonstrating understanding of a concept.

A Badge is earned by a girl and goes on the front of the vest or sash.

Each grade level has their own set of Proficiency Badges girls can earn. Each GGGS has some of that PGL’s badges and their requirements in it. The remaining badges are tied to a Journey. These can be purchased (badges and their requirements) in groups that focus on a specific Journey’s theme.

According to Juliette Gordon Low: “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 it 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 willing to be called on because you are a Girl Scout. And Girl Scouting is not just knowing.....but doing.....not just doing, but being.”

Badge

Blue Book of Basic Documents

The publication that contains the official basic documents of Girl Scouts of the United States of America: Congressional Charter, Constitution, bylaws, policies and credentials, and criteria and standards for an effective Girl Scout council. There is a summarized version called Leaders’ Digest that is suitable for troop use.

Bridging ACtivities

Activities designed to emphasize the continuity of the Girl Scout program; an introduction for girls to what lies ahead in the next program level. It is also the name of the ceremony in which girls are figuratively welcomed into the next age level.  The girls are not official members of the next level until October 1.

Bridging Ceremony

Traditional Girl Scout ceremony where girls move from one program age level to the next one, or become an adult, in Girl Scouting. Awards for bridging are also available to be earned if a Girl opts to do so. Each transition point’s awards have different requirements, which are found in their Girls Guide to Girl Scouts (GGGS).

Brownie

A grade-level in Girl Scouting. Girl Scout Brownies are grades 2-3. Learn more at Girl Scout Brownies at gsusa.org

Brownie Wings

Gold embroidered wings on green felt given to Brownie Girl Scouts when they bridge to Junior Girl Scouts.

Buddy system

A safety practice that groups at least two girls together to keep watch over each other in an activity (for example, swimming, hiking).

Cadettes

Girls in the 6th, 7th, or 8th grade-level may refer to themselves as Girl Scout Cadettes.

CBC

Criminal Background Check - Required of all staff, and volunteers working with girls.

Certified

Holds a current card, certificate, or other documentation from an established, reputable group, verifying completion of training in a particular field (e.g., first–aid certified).

Community Service Project

Addresses an immediate need in the community: girls organize a book or clothing drive, paint walls to cover up graffiti, or hold a one-time march or fair to highlight a community problem. Although these projects address a need in the community, they do so for only a short period of time. For clarification also see Take Action Project.

Closing

Any standard activity that signals the end of a meeting, (i.e., Friendship Circle, song, etc.).

Council

A corporation, chartered by the Girl Scouts of the U.S.A., organized for the purpose of developing, managing, and maintaining Girl Scouting within a defined jurisdiction.

Cooperative Learning

An approach to organizing educational activities into academic and social learning experiences based on collective experiences and success. It differs from group work, and it has been described as "structuring positive interdependence. Students must work in groups to complete tasks collectively toward goals. Unlike individual learning, which can be competitive in nature, students learning cooperatively capitalize on one another’s resources and skills (asking one another for information, evaluating one another’s ideas, monitoring one another’s work, etc.) and the instructors’ role changes from giving information to Girl Scout Terminology 4 facilitating students' learning. Everyone succeeds when the group succeeds. Ross and Smyth (1995) describe successful cooperative learning tasks as intellectually demanding, creative, open-ended, and involve higher order thinking tasks

Core Camp

A camp attended by troops/groups and their leaders/advisors, where a core staff offers program activities and the girls do activities with their troop leader/advisor.

CIT

Counselor-in-Training (CIT) This award is for 10-12th grade girls that mentor younger girls in a camp setting and build skills toward becoming a camp counselor. The steps to earning this award are outlined in The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting. In GSNETX CIT Training is offered only during resident camp. To earn CIT I and CIT II, girls in GSNETX work with younger girls during resident camp.

Daisy or Daises

A Girl Scout who is five or six years old, or in kindergarten or first grade.

Daisy Learning Petals

Awards given to Daisy Girl Scouts signifying an understanding of each part of the Girl Scout Law.

Dues – Troop

Troop dues are decided by each troop. Dues are often used to cover the cost of awards, program supplies, snacks and other small items. Dues can be collected weekly, monthly or once a year. The amount and the collection schedule is determined by each troop.

Dunk bag

A mesh cloth bag with a drawstring, used by placing your cleaned mess kit in so it can be ‘dunked’ to sterilize and hung up to dry. (also known as Dip Bag)

Ethical Code

The Promise and Law; the foundation of Girl Scouting. Its guiding principles are: the motivating force is a spiritual one, service, responsible citizenship, high ideals of character and conduct, appreciation of the worth of people.

Edible Fire

A teaching tool for helping people of any age understand the various materials needed for a campfire where each part is represented by a different edible snack. This is a fun way for a group of girls and/or adults each to “build a fire” and see relative differences in fuel sizes, try various lay outs, etc.

Extended Trip

A trip lasting more than three nights (may require a health examination as well as a health history, local Girl Scout council approval, and additional insurance coverage).

Flag Ceremony

Conducted by girls at meetings and key GS events; includes pledge to American and state flags. In a troop setting, helps girls establish a routine and reinforces a core element of the Girl Scout experience – patriotism.

Fly-up Ceremony

The event at which a Girl Scout Brownie ‘fly’s up’ and receives her Brownie Wings - becoming a Girl Scout Junior.

Founder’s Day

Our founder’s, Juliette Gordon Low, birthday, October 31. 

Friendship Circle

A circle formed by Girl Scouts of all ages standing and clasping hands (before they reach for each other's hands, crossing their right hand over their left). The circle represents the unbroken chain of friendship among Girl Scouts and Girl Guides all over the world. Often used to close a Girl Scout meeting, or event.

Friendship Squeeze

When everyone is quiet in the friendship circle, a designated person starts the friendship squeeze by gently squeezing the hand of the person on her right. The squeeze is passed from hand to hand around the circle, in silence, until it returns to the originator. Often Girl Scouts will make a silent wish after their hand has been squeezed and before they pass the squeeze along. Also, in some groups girls put their right foot out into the circle when they have received the friendship squeeze, so that everyone can see it travel along the circle.

Girl Guide

The original name for Girl Scouts, it is still used in many countries.

Historical note - Agnes Baden-Powell, sister of the Boy Scouts' founder, Lord Baden-Powell, started the first Girl Guide troops in England. The term Girl Guides was chosen over young ladies requests to be Girl Scouts, as Lord Baden-Powell felt the term “Scout’ to be to masculine for young ladies of the time. Today, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts are interchangeable globally. WAGGGS lets each of its member Organizations decide upon the use of Guides or Scouts on their own.

Girls’ Guide to Girl Scouting (GGGS)

A binder for each PGL with the handbook (journey map, GS Traditions & History, WAGGGS and GSUSA locations, ceremonies and special days, uniform information/diagrams, information on that PGL’s various awards, special opportunity awards, proficiency badges, and areas for girls to track service hours, etc.

Girl Led

One of the three processes that make the GSLE successful. By allowing girls to lead, in a safe environment, even failures can be easily learned from and leadership is developed.

Girl Scout Law

Principles of conduct to which Girl Scouts subscribe. Understand the Girl Scout Law.

Girl Scout Troop

 A group of girls with adult leader(s) who voluntarily join the Girl Scout movement, meet membership requirements, and use the Girl Scout program.

Girl Scout Week

Celebrated each year during the week in which March 12, the Girl Scout birthday, occurs.

GirlSports

Promotion of health, sports, fitness, and healthy lifestyle choices. Special emphasis on basketball, volleyball, soccer, golf, tennis, swimming, baseball, and winter sports.

Girl Scout Gold Award

The highest award in Girl Scouting. This award recognizes the leadership, efforts, and impact girls have had on their communities that address a global issue and are sustainable once the girl’s project itself is done.

Girl Scout Handshake

A formal way of greeting other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides. You shake hands with the left hand and give the Girl Scout sign with your right hand.

Girl Scout Sign

Made by raising three fingers of the right hand. This sign stands for the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise. You give the sign when:

  • You say the Girl Scout Promise
  • You are welcomed into Girl Scouting at an investiture ceremony
  • You receive a patch or badge
  • You greet other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides
  • (Sometimes used) when giving the Quiet Sign

Girl Scout Promise

Along with the Girl Scout Law, the Girl Scout Promise is the credo of Girl Scouting. The pledge that binds members together as part of the Girl Scout Movement. A girl must make the Promise to become a Girl Scout member. The Girl Scout Promise is:

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Note - Girl Scouts of the USA makes no attempt to define or interpret the word “God” in the Girl Scout Promise. It looks to individual members to establish for themselves the nature of their spiritual beliefs. When making the Girl Scout Promise, individuals may substitute wording appropriate to their own spiritual beliefs for the word “God.” Girls are encouraged and helped through the Girl Scout program to become better members of their own religious group, but every Girl Scout group must recognize that religious instruction is the responsibility of parents and religious leaders. Every Girl Scout group shall respect the varying religious opinions and practices of its membership in planning and conducting activities.

Girl Scout Service Mark

The Girl Scout service mark is composed of two parts: the symbol (the trefoil with three profiles) and the logotype (the words "Girl Scouts" along with the registration mark ®). Girl Scouts of the USA owns the exclusive use of the Girl Scout service mark.

Girl Scout Silver Award®

The second highest award in Girl Scouting.

Girl Scout Slogan

"Do a good turn daily."

Girl Scout Trefoil

"Trefoil" means three leaves. Each leaf in the traditional or stylized Girl Scout trefoil stands for a part of the Girl Scout Promise. Within the traditional Girl Scout trefoil is the American eagle and shield, which are part of the Great Seal of the United States of America. The eagle is a symbol of strength and victory, and the shield on the eagle's breast signifies self-reliance. In his talons, he clutches on his right an olive branch, the symbol of peace, and on his left, a shaft of arrows, the symbol of might. The eagle faces right, which is the position of honor, looking toward the symbol of peace. The eagle and shield within the trefoil signify that Girl Scouts stand ready to serve their country. The stylized Girl Scout trefoil, symbolizes both the contemporary and continuing commitment to the three-part Promise in its trefoil shape. The three faces stand for the diversity of Girl Scouting and its focus on girls.

Grade-Levels

The grade-levels in Girl Scouting are:

  • Girl Scout Daisy, grades K-1
  • Girl Scout Brownie, grades 2-3
  • Girl Scout Junior, grades 4-5
  • Girl Scout Cadette, grades 6-8
  • Girl Scout Senior, grades 9-10
  • Girl Scout Ambassador, grades 11-12

Highest Awards

Leadership awards that can be earned by older girls in Girl Scouts.

  • The Daisy Journey Summit Award can be earned as a Daisy.
  • The Brownie Journey Summit Award can be earned as a Brownie.
  • The Girl Scout Bronze Award can be earned as a Junior.
  • The Girl Scout Silver Award can be earned as a Cadette.
  • The Girl Scout Gold Award can be earned as a Senior/Ambassador.
  • The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a girl a Girl Scout can earn.

Historical note – the highest award possible in Girl Scouts has been called other things over the years. This included: Golden Eaglet of Merit (1916-18), Golden Eaglet (1919-1938), First Class (1938-1940), Curved Bar (1940-63), First Class (1963-80), and finally The Gold Award (1980- indefinately)

Insignia

The umbrella term for U.S. Girl Scout earned grade-level awards, religious and other awards, emblems, and participation patches and pins. Girls wear all insignia, except participation patches and pins, on the front of their Girl Scout uniform.

Investiture Ceremony

Investiture is the ceremony where someone becomes a Girl Scout (Daisy, Brownie, etc… through Adult ) by making the Girl Scout Promise, reciting the Girl Scout Law, and receiving a membership pin. An investiture happens once in one’s life, after that you take part in a Rededication Ceremony. These two ceremonies are often held together.

Journeys

Programs developed for the GSLE by program age level. Each grade level has various Journey’s to choose from, each focusing on a different theme (environmental change, sisterhood, advocacy, etc.) 

Juliette Gordon Low

Also known as “Daisy” (October 31, 1860 - January 17, 1927) was the founder of Girl Scouts in the United States. A friend of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell (the founder of Boy Scouts, and an early leader of Girl Guides, respectively), Juliette was asked by them if she would like to be part of the Girl Guide movement, forming a group of Girl Guides in Scotland in 1911. In 1912 Juliette returned to the United States, forming a Girl Guide troop in Savannah, Georgia in 1912. In 1915, the Girl Guides became Girl Scouts and Low became the first president. She stayed active until the time of her death. Her birthday, October 31, is celebrated by GSUSA and its members every year. 

Juniors

A grade-level in Girl Scouting. Girl Scout Juniors are in grades 4-6. 

Kaper Chart

A grid system, wheel, or table showing the job assigned to each girl or group of girls for any given project. Useful for meetings, camp-outs, and special events. 

Leader-in-Training (LIT) 

A 14-17-year-old girl taking a Leader-in-Training course to learn group leadership skills. Also the name of the project the Leader-in-Training does to earn her title, which requires commitment to: eight to 10 hours of instruction, three to five hours of troop/group observation, and an internship under a specially trained mentor leader. 

Leave No Trace (LNT) 

Refers to a set of trail ethics, and also to an nonprofit organization that teaches those principles. LNT principles are designed to promote conservation in the outdoors. The organization Leave No Trace exists to educate people on their impact on nature as well as the principles of LNT to prevent and minimize such impacts. Leave No Trace is built on seven principles: Plan Ahead and Prepare, Travel and Camp on Durable Surfaces, Dispose of Waste Properly, Leave What You Find, Minimize Campfire Impacts, Respect Wildlife, and Be Considerate of Other Visitors. GSNETX has adopted this philosophy as a way to help teach low impact camping in our outdoor trainings. 

LiA Award

Award to recognize a Cadette Girl Scouts leadership while helping a group of Brownies on a Girl Scout Journey. 

Lifetime Membership

Granted to any person 18 years of age or older - or a high school graduate or the equivalent who: 

  • Accepts the principals and beliefs as stated in the Preamble of the Girl Scout constitution. 
  • Has paid lifetime membership dues of 25 times the annual membership dues (lifetime membership dues of 13 times the annual membership dues shall be offered to any girl who is a registered Girl Scout at the time of her high school graduation or equivalent, and be available to her before the girl's current membership expires). 
  • Meets applicable membership standards. 

Membership Dues

Paid by every person desiring to be a member of GSUSA. Membership Dues are paid to GSUSA and are either annual, or a one time payment of a larger amount that provides a lifetime membership in GSUSA. 

MVP

Membership, Volunteer and Program teams providing direct delivery of services and programs to girls and volunteers.

National Council

The membership body of the national Girl Scout corporation in meeting assembled. It includes: 

  • Delegates elected by local Girl Scout councils and USA Girl Scouts Overseas. 
  • Members of the National Board of Directors and National Board Development Committee. 
  • Past Chairs of the National Board of Directors. 
  • Other members elected by the National Council. 

The National Council’s duties are to: 

  • Elect the National Board and National Board Development Committee. 
  • Amend the Constitution of Girl Scouts of the USA.  
  • Establish requirements for credentials, such as those for membership and Girl Scout council charters. 
  • Determine overall policy for the Girl Scout Movement and program in the United States by considering proposals fostering and improving Girl Scouting, by receiving and acting upon reports of the National Board, and by guiding the board on the general direction of the Movement and program. 

Nosebag or Nose Bag

Refers to a bag filled with grain that fits over a horse's muzzle. In Girl Scouts, it generally refers to anything that can be carried with us and eaten on the way. 

Using the Girl Scout Leadership Experience outdoors to allow girls to grow in relation to each of the three keys to leadership. See also Keys to Leadership. 

Outdoor education

Supplementary insignia received by girls for simply participating in an event or activity. Girls wear participation patches and pins on the back of their Girl Scout uniform. 

Participation Patches and Pins

Pathway

Ways girls can participate in Girl Scouts. They are: troop, series, travel, individually and/or virtually. 

Patrol

Small group of girls that plans and carries out activities within the troop/larger group. 

Pax Lodge

A program center owned by the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). Located at Olave Centre, the site of WAGGGS main office in London, England. The Pax Lodge program focuses on WAGGGS initiatives, day trips around and from London, and sisterhood. 

PGA (Per Girl Average)

The average number of packages of cookies sold by a girl. 

PGL (Program Grade Level)

One of the six Girl Scout grade levels of girl members - Daisy, Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior, Ambassador. 

Phone Tree

A list of people, with their phone numbers, arranged to facilitate a chain of calls in an emergency. The person who gets the first call contacts a designated small group of people, who then call others on the list. A phone tree is a good way to set up emergency notification for any troop trips or overnights, or to let parents know that the girls will be late coming back from a trip. In an emergency, this allows the leaders with the girls to contact a troop adult who is not on the outing, and then focus on being with the girls and their phones be available for use. 

Pinning Ceremony

When a Girl Scout receives her (or his) Girl Scout Pin.

Pluralism

A system that includes individuals from groups differing in basic background experiences and cultures. Pluralism allows for the development of a common tradition while preserving the right of each group to maintain its cultural heritage. It implies mutual respect. 

Policy

An established course of action that must be followed. Look for Girl Scout policies in the Blue Book of Basic Documents, Volunteer Policies and Procedures, and Volunteer Essentials. 

President's Volunteer Service Awards

An initiative, sponsored by the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation and other groups, which recognizes hours of service in the community by groups and individuals at all grade-levels, including adults. Check with your local Girl Scout council or visit the President's Volunteer Service Award Web site for more information. These awards are available for both youth and adults. 

Product Sales

Council-wide program activities in which troops/groups may sell authorized, tangible products, such as Girl Scout Cookies®, calendars, nuts, etc. In GSNETX, the only council sponsored product is the Girl Scout Cookie Program. 

Program Aide (PA)

A Cadette-Ambassador Girl Scout who works directly with a troop/group under the supervision of an adult volunteer. The Program Aide is required to attend training sessions where she gains expertise in a particular field of interest, such as science, computers, or song leading. 

Promise Center

An award earned by Girl Scout Daisies – it is the center of the flower that Daisy Girl Scouts can earn piece by piece. A girl receives this award after showing her troop leader she understands the Girl Scout Promise. 

Quiet Sign

Silently raising your right hand over your head to signal for attention and quiet at any Girl Scout gathering. When the hand goes up, mouths are closed, and everyone joins in giving the quiet sign. There is no need for anyone to yell out to get the groups attention, as hands go up, noise goes down. Some people hold up their entire hand, while others make the Girl Scout Sign. 

Resident camp

A local Girl Scout council-sponsored camp where girls attend for a week or more or stay overnight. They live in units and plan programs with a staff of trained counselors. GSOSW strives to make camp a place for girls to become the best they can be, learn to care for the protect the environment, and become leaders in the camp community and beyond. 

Safety Activity Checkpoints 

Online publication containing Girl Scout Program Standards and Guidelines established by GSUSA that provide for the health and safety of all girls. See gsosw.org  Member & Volunteer Resources > Safety Activity Checkpoints. Should be used when planning activities. 

Seniors

Girls in grades 9-10 are Girl Scout Seniors. 

Service Unit 

A name many local Girl Scout councils give to a specific geographic area and the Girl Scouts within it—all leaders, troops/groups, and girls there. A service unit also includes individuals who give troop support. 

Service Unit Team

In many councils, a team of adults that facilitates service to girls through its volunteers in a geographic area. Usually on the team are the Service Unit Manager, Recruiter, Registrar, Treasurer, Coach, Cookie Chair, and others (as a SU deems needed and the Girl Scout Council appoints.) 

STEM

Area of programming to increase proficiency and career interest in fields related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. 

Girl Scouts often make small tokens of friendship to exchange with the Girl Scouts they meet while traveling. These little gifts are called ”SWAPS,” which stands for “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere.”

Swaps

Take Action Project

Picks up from where a short-term (community service) project leaves off. When girls pursue Take Action projects, they take time to identify and understand the root cause of the issue they are addressing. Girls also must make sure that each project is sustainable and that the impact is measurable

For example, the girls organizing the book or clothing drive could morph their community service project a Take Action project by holding the drive annually and getting a sponsor to advertise and organize it every year. The girls who painted the walls to cover up graffiti can create a club that travels around the city painting beautiful murals on buildings that have been defaced. And the girls who held the march or fair could expand the event to include community artisans and make it an annual gathering. For each project, girls can publicize and get people in the community to come out and support. They can even get community leaders involved. 

Travel Camping

A camping experience of three or more nights, carried out by a group of experienced girl campers and adult leaders/advisors that uses motorized transportation to move from one site to another. Transportation is normally by van, bus, or automobile but may also be by airplane, boat, or train, or by a combination of these vehicles. 

Trip Camping

A camping experience of three or more nights, planned and carried out by a group of experienced girl campers and adult leaders/advisors that travels from one site to another under its own power or by manually operated transportation—for example, by bicycle, canoe, horse, or sailboat. 

World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) 

An association of Girl Scout and Girl Guide national organizations around the world. The mission statement is: "To enable girls to girls and young women to develop their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world.” WAGGGS serves approximately 10 million Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in 145 countries. Through Girl Scouts of the USA's status as a Member Organization in WAGGGS, each girl and adult registered as a Girl Scout in the United States becomes part of the Girl Guide/Girl Scout world movement. WAGGGS is the world largest advocacy group for girls and young women, and is a key voice for girls and young women in various UN Committees.