What is the Correct Placement for Girl Scout Badges?

Updated on April 20, 2016
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KA Hanna led a Girl Scout troop for 10 years, served as Activity Consultant for her Service Unit and believes in the power of the Thin Mint.

Fun Patches on Cadette Vest

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Girl Scout Insignia, Badge, Patch and Award Basics

A Girl Scout may wear a vest or sash as part of her uniform. Her vest or sash may display the following:

  • Earned Awards - Skill-builder badges, Journey badge sets, Pins
  • Recognitions - Fun Patches, Unofficial Emblems or Pins
  • Insignia and emblems - Troop, Council, National

In general, earned awards are displayed prominently on the front of the sash or vest, and fun patches and non-official emblems go on the back. Insignia, which consists of the World Association pin and Girl Scout pin placed on a felt tab, goes over the girl's heart, on the left side of her vest, or pinned to her shirt if she has a sash.

Resources

Some good resources that include pictures of how to place insignia, badges, patches and pins are found at these locations:

Girl Scouts USA - National website with parent resources about each program age level

What Kinds of Badges and Awards Might a Girl Scout Have?

First consider what kinds of insignia, badges, pins and patches your daughter may receive during the program age level years. Using the Junior Girl Scout age level as an example, we know that they are girls who are in school grades 4-5. They wear either a green vest or sash as their uniform piece. The official insignia, emblems, badges and awards they may receive or earn during these two years may include:

Insignia:

  • World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) pin
  • Girl Scout membership pin

Emblems:

  • American Flag
  • Council patch
  • Troop crest
  • Troop numbers
  • Membership stars with color discs (yellow for Junior years)

Journeys badges:

  • It's Your World, Change It! (badge set)
  • It's Your Planet, Love It! (badge set)
  • It's Your Story, Tell It! (badge set)

Legacy Skill Builder Badges:

  • Artist
  • Athlete
  • Citizen
    Cook
  • Cookie Business
  • Financial Literary
  • First Aid
  • The Girl Scout Way
  • Naturalist
  • Signs (sun, rainbow, world, star)

Awards

  • Bronze (pin)
  • Brownie "fly-up" wings
  • Bridge to Juniors
  • Safety (pin)
  • Junior Aide
  • Junior Leadership (pin)
  • My Faith (pin)


Junior Girl Scout Badge Placement Diagram

Diagram for Junior Girl Scout badge placement on a vest.
Diagram for Junior Girl Scout badge placement on a vest. | Source

Where to Place Badges on a Junior Girl Scout's Vest or Sash

Vest Placement

Insignia, placed on a felt tab, will go over the girl's heart on the girl's left vest side. Next to the insignia and to its left goes the highest award for the program age level. For juniors, this would be the Bronze Award pin. Underneath the insignia, the Sign badges are placed, grouped together in a rectangle. Cookie sales activity pins can go to the left or just underneath the Signs. Journey patch sets go under the Signs, and skill-builder badges are placed along the hemline on both sides of the vest.

Emblems are placed on the girl's right side of the vest. At the top, the American flag patch is placed. Below it goes the council's emblem. If the troop has a crest, it is placed below the council's emblem and above the troop numbers. Below the troop numbers, membership stars are placed in a row. Each star should have a color disc that goes between the star and the uniform piece.

Award pins, badges and patches go below the membership stars. The Safety award, if earned, goes immediately below the membership stars. The Bridge award to the program age level goes below the membership stars. The Junior Aide award, if earned, goes below the program age level bridging award. Brownie fly-up wings follow below. Awards such as the My Faith pin and the Leadership pin go below the Brownie wings if earned.

Note, if the girl did not earn the Junior Aide award, or was never a Brownie and thus does not have Brownie wings or a Bridge to Juniors badge, then the My Faith and Leadership pins can be grouped closer to the membership stars if desired, but always above any skill-builder badges.

Sash Placement

Placing Girl Scout badges and such on a sash is a little more straightforward. There is a sort of hierarchy. Emblems go at the top of the sash and in order of importance: American flag, Council patch, troop crest, troop numbers, membership stars, Bridge award, Junior Aide award, Brownie wings. Following the wings are awards also in order of importance: My Faith pin, Leadership pin, Safety pin, Cookie sales pin, and Journey badges. Skill builder badges go at the bottom. The highest program level award - the Bronze award for Juniors - goes at the same level as troop numbers. Remember that when wearing a sash, insignia pins go on a felt tab which is pinned to the girl's shirt, over her heart on the left side and not onto the sash itself.

What Pins or Badges Carry Over to the New Vest or Sash When Girls Bridge?

When a Girl Scout bridges to the next program age level, some of her pins and awards move onto the new vest or sash, including:

  • Insignia - the felt tab is left on the old vest or sash and the insignia pins themselves move to a new tab and onto the new vest or sash.
  • Bronze and Silver award pins - the former program age level award is always placed under the current age level award. Example: Bronze award pin is below the Silver award pin.
  • Membership stars and color backs - create a new row as necessary to accommodate all stars.
  • Brownie wings - the wings are always placed underneath the current program age level bridging award patch.



Tips For Placing Badges on Girl Scout Vests or Sashes

  • The placement of insignia and emblems on the Girl Scout vest is the same for all program age levels. Skill-builder badges are always placed on the front of the vest along the hemline for all program age levels. Journey badge sets always go above skill-builder badges (and below insignia) on the girl's left side. Other earned badges and awards go in the middle of the vest, and is usually the source of most confusion. It's okay if you don't place things perfectly, it's more important that you've said "yes" to Girl Scouts in the first place! Remember, you can always move things around later, particularly if you or your daughter sew things in place instead of ironing badges on.
  • If you know for certain that your daughter will earn two Journey badge sets (more typical for Cadettes, who have an extra year to earn them) then leave some room so that the sets can be placed side by side. Otherwise, center the earned Journey set on the vest. If by chance she does earn another set, place it below the first one.
  • Start by placing skill-builder badges or patches along the bottom edge of the vest or sash, especially for fun patches. That will give you more room to add above and you will be less likely to run out of space.
  • If you iron-on badges or patches, take the time to sew just a few stiches on each badge or patch. Sometimes the iron-on glue loosens, so the extra stitch or two can help keep from losing a badge or patch completely.
  • It's perfectly okay to put earned badges and pins on the back of a vest or sash if the front side is out of room.
  • Always ask your Girl Scout what each badge was for. It helps to reinforce the program goals of building character and confidence in girls.

Questions & Answers

  • Where does the "early bird patch" go on junior vest?

    Thank you for your question! The Early Bird patch should go on the back of the Junior vest or sash.

  • Where does the "Booth Sales" cookies 2018 patch go on the junior vest?

    This is a great question! Since the Booth Sales patch is intended to acknowledge that Scout (or trrop) participated in a cookie booth sale, it is not an “earned” badge in the traditional sense. So the Booth Sales patch will go on the back of the vest or sash, much like a fun patch. You may wish to place the booth sales patch at the top of the back of the vest or sash, to note that it is different than the other “fun” patches. Thanks for your question!

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    • prokidwriter profile image
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      KA Hanna 5 weeks ago from America's Finest City

      Hi Sheila, How awesome that you are sewing your granddaughter’s patches onto her vest! I believe the Play Fair and Pets badges are Brownie Try-Its. Are they triangular? If so, they are definitely the Brownie Try-ITs, whcich go onto the front of the vest. With Try-Its, you can get a little creative! They can go on the lower edge, in a row, or you can make a pyramid with several of them, or you can place them so that they make a pattern of your choice. They can also go on either or both sides of the vest, just like the Juniors do, I recommend starting the badges close to the bottom edge of the vest and working up, so that you have room for other insignia or Journey badges that your Girl Scout may earn. Happy Scouting!

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      Sheila gaudette 5 weeks ago

      I'm a grandmother sewing my grandaughter's patches. Are the special placement for these badges such as: play fair and pet badge. Thank you

    • prokidwriter profile image
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      KA Hanna 5 weeks ago from America's Finest City

      Hi GeorgeAllen123, Thanks for your comment! The unicorn troop crest goes on the front of the uniform, just above the troop numbers and below any Council emblem or flag emblem. If your troop does not use the Council or flag emblems, the crest still goes just above the troop numbers. The other two badges you mentioned sound like Brownie try-its, but I’m not certain. If they are triangular in shape, they are Brownie try-its and would go on the front of the Brownie vest. If they are round, then they could be Council badges, and would still go on the front of the Junior vest, along with other earned badges. If they were not earned badges, but were given as “fun” patches, they would go on the back of the vest. I hope that helps! Happy Scouting!

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      GeorgeAllen123 6 weeks ago

      Where do the "sounds of music ", "Unicorn troop crest", and "working it out" badge go on the Junior girl scout vest?

    • prokidwriter profile image
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      KA Hanna 2 months ago from America's Finest City

      Hi Thayne, That’s a really goodquestion, one that’s being asked a lot here in our SU as well! In some councils, girls have to earn the patch by completing requirements, but in others, it is givento the girls upon renewal of membership. The way we are handling it is this: it is a patch,and so goes on the back of a sash or vest.Certainly, though, if your Council calls it a badge and has requirements to earn it, your troop can agree to place it on front. Thank you so much for your question!

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      Thayne 2 months ago

      Where does the Power of Girl 2017 patch go on a Brownie vest? this one looks like a pocket flap

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      KA Hanna 5 months ago from America's Finest City

      For lyn, I hope you see this! Investiture, JL bday patches, Be a Reader, and any fun patches generally go on the back of the sash or vest. I will also be updating this article to better cover the Journey badges! Stay tuned!

    • prokidwriter profile image
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      KA Hanna 2 years ago from America's Finest City

      Tb trinity, I'm pretty sure it's correct! But you can certainly make your vest your own and come up with your own interpretation!

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      Tb trinity 2 years ago

      Thats not right i know because i am a junior and i wear a vest

    • prokidwriter profile image
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      KA Hanna 5 years ago from America's Finest City

      Thanks LL!

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      You've provided useful information in a most interesting format. I'm going to share this hub with friends I know who have Girl Scouts in their families.

      Voted up and Shared.

    • prokidwriter profile image
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      KA Hanna 5 years ago from America's Finest City

      Thanks Kawi!

    • KawikaChann profile image

      KawikaChann 5 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      Nice work and layout - very very informative. I remember when I was a cub scout in grade school, and I was all proud of myself until I saw a brownie that had all these merit pins, bells, and whistles. I was all like, whatever - it did motivate me to accomplish more pins in the webelos scouts though. lol. Voted you up and useful. Peace. Kawi.

    • prokidwriter profile image
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      KA Hanna 5 years ago from America's Finest City

      Thanks Jenna!

    • Jenna Estefan profile image

      Jenna Estefan 5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I like your layout, it's really easy to read and full of useful information. Congrats!

    • prokidwriter profile image
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      KA Hanna 5 years ago from America's Finest City

      It can be quite confusing! But there are commonalities between program age levels as far as where badges and pins are grouped and placed. The big thing to remember that nobody will get too riled up if things aren't perfect. A parent or scout can also temporarily place badges with a stitch or two until she can get confirmation about placement, and then fuse them on once certain.

    • Dreamhowl profile image

      Jessica Marello 5 years ago from United States

      That's a lot of information! It's quite confusing where badges and things go; I was a girl scout for a little while and I remember my mom putting badges on my vest. Voted up!

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