Traditions are an important part of Girl Scouts. They give us a sense of history, set an example, and empower girls to go forth with confidence. Since its founding, Juliette Gordon Low's dream has grown to include nearly 2 million girl members and more than 50 million Girl Scout alums—united across the decades by a spirit of lifelong friendship, shared adventure, and the desire to do big things to make the world a better place.
Sharing traditions with millions of Girl Scouts helps remind girls they belong to a big, powerful sisterhood. Explore the resources and guides to share them with your troop!
Girl Scout awards and badges are a great way for a girl to explore her interests and learn new skills—and to remember every adventure and show the world what she’s accomplished.
Does she want to invent something new, paint a masterpiece, or learn about endangered wildlife. Star in a play, design a website, or go kayaking? At Girl Scouts, she can do all that and more, and earn Girl Scout badges as she goes!
A cornerstone of Girl Scouting, the seven legacy badges build on over 100 years of Girl Scout history. Each of these badges (Artist, Athlete, Citizen, Cook, First Aid, Girl Scout Way, and Naturalist) is available at five levels of Girl Scouting, from Brownie to Ambassador.
Get all the latest details and shop links for every topic and grade level in the Award and Badge Explorer.
Bridging is an important transition in a Girl Scout's life. It's a defining moment when a girl becomes aware of her achievements and is ready for new adventures and responsibilities. Celebrating this change should be fun, personalized, and memorable for everyone involved. And most of all, it should be designed by the girls in true partnership with adults.
Ceremonies help Girl Scouts mark special events throughout the year, such as bridging to another level, earning a National Leadership Journey award, or getting a Girl Scout pin. They can also commemorate accomplishments or add something special to the beginning or end of a group's meeting. Whatever its purpose, every Girl Scout ceremony helps girls share in Girl Scout history and traditions—and create their own special memories.
Important Ceremonies in Girl Scouting
Throughout the year, girls and adults celebrate some very special days in Girl Scouting:
Here are a few popular traditions for Girl Scouts to enjoy:
Girl Scout Sign: Girl Scouts make the Girl Scout sign—raising three fingers of the right hand with the thumb holding down the pinky—when they say the Girl Scout Promise. The three fingers represent the three parts of the Promise.
Motto: 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 holds true today.
Slogan: 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.
Greeting: Girl Scouts can greet one another 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.
Friendship Circle: Representing the unbroken chain of friendship among Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world, the Friendship Circle involves Girl Scouts standing in a circle, crossing their right arms over their left, and clasping hands with their friends on both sides. Everyone then makes a silent wish as a friendship squeeze is passed from hand to hand around the circle.
SWAPS: 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.”
Girl Scout songs and games are as well-known and loved as any of the Girl Scout traditions. Explore the Camp Songbook and view the YouTube playlist to learn some popular Girl Scout songs, and check out our downloadable game guides below!
SWAPS, “Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere,” the tradition of Girl Scouts exchanging keepsakes, started long ago when Girl Scouts and Girl Guides first gathered for fun, song, and making new friends.
Tips for SWAPS Givers:
What to Do with SWAPS:
SWAPS Safety and Etiquette:
For over a century, Girl Scouts have proudly worn distinctive uniforms that symbolize the high ideals for which the organization stands. Girls want to look—and feel—their best when representing Girl Scouts. And now they can, with uniform options that are in step with today's trends and active lifestyles.
Our new unified look keeps the iconic elements of the classic Girl Scout uniform, but adds a few modern twists.
Girl Scouts at each level now wear one required element (tunic, sash, or vest) to display official pins and awards. Girls can mix and match pieces from the official Girl Scout collection to complete the uniform, or add items from their own wardrobes.