Girl Scout Lingo, Decoded – Part 1

Everything a new Girl Scout Family Needs to Know

So you’ve signed your girl up to Lead like a Girl Scout! Maybe you’re a brand new Girl Scout family, or perhaps you’re rejoining the Movement as an adult to empower your girl the opportunity to stand up, speak up and take action! Whichever situation you’re in, you may be feeling a bit lost with all the Girl Scout lingo that’s being thrown around! Well, we’re here to help and get you fully into the Girl Scout loop!

Across the United States, Girl Scouts are 2.6 million strong—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world.

Our extraordinary journey began more than 100 years ago with the original G.I.R.L., Juliette Gordon “Daisy” Low. On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia, she organized the very first Girl Scout troop, and every year since, we’ve honored her vision and legacy, building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.

Organizational Structure
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is our overarching organization
Girl Scouts of NE Kansas & NW Missouri (GSKSMO) is one of 112 Girl Scout councils in the country
Service Unit is a community of volunteers and girls in Troops within a geographic area within our council
Troop is a group of girls who get together to earn badges, go on field trips and explore the outdoors regularly and who belong to a service unit.

Uniform
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! Learn where the different insignias go on her uniform here!

Fun patches (items received to commemorate an event, occasion, or product sales recognitions) always go on the back of the tunic, sash or vest.

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.”

We hope this brings a little more understanding to the awesome world that is Girl Scouting! Stay tuned for part 2 of Girl Scout Lingo, Decoded next week where we’ll break down the Girl Scout calendar and dive into acronyms commonly used in Girl Scouting! Have a specific question? Leave them in the comments below!

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