The Girl Scouts of the United States of America award badges, or insignia, in five categories that reflect membership and achievement. All Girl Scouts, from the youngest kindergarteners to seniors in high school, wear insignia on their uniform sashes and vests to identify themselves as scouts and to display a record of their accomplishments.

Membership Badges

Student answering question

Each Girl Scout belongs to a category based on her age group. For example, girls in kindergarten and first grade belong to the Daisies; those in second and third grade are Brownies. Successive levels are Junior, Cadet, Senior and Ambassador Girl Scouts. Each scout receives a membership pin that reflects her category, along with other insignia showing her troop number, council number and the World Trefoil pin.

Earned Badges

Girl watering flowers in garden

Girl Scouts earn badges within learning paths known as "journeys." Journeys include "It's Your World, Change It," "It's Your Planet, Love It," and "It's Your Story, Tell It." To earn a Journey award and a Journey Summit badge, a scout must master a specific set of skills, such as camping or gardening. Scouts also earn proficiency awards, known as Legacy badges, for developing individual talents like cooking or artistry, or for learning about personal finance. Troop leaders help and advise their scouts, and determine when they have earned badges.

Badges for Other Opportunities

Three girls singing with microphone

As a Girl Scout prepares to move one from age group to the next, she is eligible to earn insignia for completing two "bridging steps" that move her into the next category. For example, a Brownie can teach younger Daisies to sing a song or complete a craft project. Girls also earn badges for learning about safety, selling cookies, serving as volunteers, participating in activities for the Global Action Award, and making connections between their religious faiths and the tenets of the Girl Scouts.

Merit Badges

Emergency 911 Scene

Girl Scouts can earn the Medal of Honor or the Bronze Cross for saving lives, or for attempting to do so. The Medal of Honor is awarded to scouts who did not have to risk their own lives while saving others; the Bronze Cross is bestowed upon scouts whose lives were endangered by their heroic acts. Each award begins with a nomination submitted to the scout's local council by a scout leader or advisor, or the scout's parent. The council makes the final decision and approves any awards.

Participation Awards

Six Teenage Girls Celebrating Successful Exam Results

Girls earn patches for participating in investiture and rededication ceremonies. Unlike other insignia, these patches aren't considered to be official, and scouts wear them on the backs of their uniforms, rather than on the sash or vest in the front. American scouts living in other countries wear the "International World Friendship Recognition" pin, and are encouraged to find branches of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America overseas.