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.
Girl Scout Insignia, Badges, Patches and Awards: The Basics
A Girl Scout may wear a vest or sash as part of her uniform. Her vest or sash may display the following items. Do you know what they mean? Do you know how to decide where to put badges and patches on YOUR vest or sash?
Skill-builder badges, Journey badge sets, pins
Front of the vest or sash
Fun patches, unofficial emblems or pins
Back of the vest of sash
Insignia and Emblems
Troop, council, and national insignia and emblems
Left side of the vest (over the heart); pinned to the shirt if the Scout wears a sash
More Details on Placement
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, go over the girl's heart, on the left side of her vest—or pinned to her shirt if she has a sash.
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.
Junior Girl Scout Example
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 the following.
- World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) pin
- Girl Scout membership pin
- American flag
- Council patch
- Troop crest
- Troop numbers
- Membership stars with color discs (yellow for Junior years)
- 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
Read More From Wehavekids
- Cookie Business
- Financial Literacy
- First Aid
- The Girl Scout Way
- Signs (sun, rainbow, world, star)
- Bronze (pin)
- Brownie "fly-up" wings
- Bridge to Juniors
- Safety (pin)
- Junior Aide
- Junior Leadership (pin)
- My Faith (pin)
Where to Place Badges on a Junior Girl Scout's Vest or Sash
You can refer to the vest diagram above for a helpful visual example of these placements.
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.
- 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.
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 a girl is wearing a sash, insignia pins go on a felt tab that is pinned to the girl's shirt, over her heart on the left side, and not onto the sash itself.
Which Pins or Badges Carry Over 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: The Bronze award pin goes 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 Vests or Sashes
1. Follow the Same Placement Between Program Age Levels
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. 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 they usually cause the most confusion.
2. Plan Ahead
- If you know for certain that your daughter will earn two Journey badge sets (this is 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 stitches on each badge or patch. Sometimes the iron-on glue loosens, so the extra stitch or two can help prevent a badge or patch from falling off completely.
3. Don't Stress Over Placement
- 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.
- 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.
4. Be Proud of Your Girl Scout!
Always ask your Girl Scout what each badge was for. It helps to reinforce the program goals of building character and confidence in girls.
Some good resources that include pictures of how to place insignia, badges, patches, and pins are found at this location:
- Girl Scouts USA: National website with parent resources about each program age level.
Questions & Answers
Question: Where does the 2018 Girls Scout "Booth Sales" cookies patch go on the junior vest?
Answer: Since the Booth Sales patch is intended to acknowledge that Scout (or troop) 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.
Question: Where does the Bronze Award patch go on the Girl Scout vest?
Answer: The Bronze Award itself is typically a pin that goes on the front of the vest, to the girl’s left, outside of the insignia tab. When the girl bridges to Cadettes, the Bronze Award pin moves to the Cadette vest. You can then place the Bronze Award patch onto the Junior vest in its place (or above Journey Summit awards. You may need to move things around to fit.) Alternatively, you may place the Bronze Award patch on the back of the Junior vest as soon as it is earned, and wear both pin and patch.
Question: Where does the Cookie CEO patch go on a Girl Scouts' vest?
Answer: Cookie CEO is an earned badge, so it would go on the front of the vest. Many scouts start badge placement along the hem of the right side of her vest. This allows room to add badges up towards insignia, and allows room on the left side of the vest for Journey badges. If you run out of room on the front of the vest, you can always place badges on the back of the vest or sash.
Question: Where does the 2018 Girl Scout early registration patch go on the daisy vest?
Answer: The early registration patch goes anywhere on the back of the Daisy vest. There is no special pattern to follow on the back of the vest, in fact, most girls like a very random “patchwork” back-of-vest look!
Question: Where does the Girl Scouts bridging patch go on a vest?
Answer: Thanks for your great question! There are earned bridging arcs (badges) as well as bridging fun patches. The earned arcs go on the front of the vest, on the girl’s right side, below troop numerals and membership pins. Bridging fun patches go anywhere on the back of the vest.
Question: Which shoulder should the Girl Scout sash typically draped over?
Answer: The sash typically is worn over the right shoulder down to the left hip, but I have had girls who preferred to wear theirs the other way for various reasons.
Question: Where do I place the walkabout 2018 patch on a Girl Scout Brownie vest?
Answer: I believe that this is still considered to be a fun patch, and so it goes anywhere on the back of the vest or dash.
Question: Where does the rededication patch go on the Girl Scout Junior sash?
Answer: The rededication or Investiture patch goes anywhere on the back of the sash or vest. Most Scouts will place patches starting at the top edge of the sash or vest and work downward.
Question: Where do the Financial Literacy badges go on a Brownie vest?
Answer: The Brownie Financial Literacy badges include Money Manager and Philanthropist. They are triangular and are considered “skill builder” badges, so they go on the front of the vest with other Try-its. Some girls like to put all of their Try-it badges on the right side of their vest, starting at the hemline and working up, and their Journey badges on the left side of the vest. But most girls run out of room and will put Try-its on the left side below Journey badges as well as on the right side.
Question: Where does the triangle "play fair" patch go on a Girl Scout's sash?
Answer: This is the Brownie "Play Fair" badge, I believe. Since it is an earned badge, it goes on the front of the sash, below all the usual insignia, and below Journey badges. If you haven't yet earned any Journey badges, but plan to, leave some space below insignia for the Journey badges, and start placing Try-its below that space. Alternatively, you can start placing Try-its along the bottom hemline of the sash, and work your way up. If you've run out of room on the sash for Try-its, it is okay to place some on the back of the sash!
Question: Where does the "Grow Your Troop" badge go for Cadettes?
Answer: “Grow Your Troop” is a general campaign to add new girls to a troop. There are different patches related to this campaign, including “bring a friend”, “grow your troop” and similar. In any event, these patches go anywhere on the back of the vest or sash.
Question: Where does the Early Bird Badge go on the Girl Scout Junior vest?
Answer: Early Bird is a patch given for early registration. Since it is a “fun patch,” it goes anywhere on the back of the vest or sash.
Question: Where does the 2018 Believe in the Power of GIRL patch go on a Girl Scout vest?
Answer: This patch goes anywhere on the back of the vest or sash.
Question: Where does the investiture badge go on a Girl Scout vest?
Answer: Investiture patches are considered “fun” patches, so they go anywhere on the back of the vest or sash. The only exception that I know of is if your Council has a special “earned” badge for investiture. In that case, the earned badge goes on the front of the vest or sash, along with other earned badges, below Journey badges.
Question: Where does the World Thinking Day Girl Scouts patch go?
Answer: There is an earned World Thinking Day award that is round in shape like other Girl Scouts badges. Since this is earned, it goes on the front of the vest or sash. You can place them in a row just above any other earned badges, or just above other earned badges. The Global Action Award can also be placed next to the World Thinking Day award. The World Thinking Day award should not be confused with general World Thinking Day fun patches, which are different in size and shape than Girl Scouts badges, and should go on the back of the vest or sash.
Question: Where do the elephant "Stand Up Stand Out," the elephant "Goal Getter," and the "100+" and the "200+" patches go on a Girl Scout vest or sash?
Answer: These patches are associated with the cookie program, and are considered fun patches, so they go anywhere on the back of the vest or sash.
Question: Where do cookie selling patches go on a Girl Scout vest?
Answer: Cookie badges and patches are always a source of some confusion. There are actual earned badges for cookie sales, like the Junior level Cookie CEO badge, but probably you are referring to a patch given to a Girl Scout for doing a site sale, or participating in a similar cookie event? If the patch is not shaped like other skill-builder badges, (for example: triangular for Brownie badges, or circular for Juniors,) then it is likely a fun patch. All fun patches go on the back of the vest or sash. If it is a skill-builder badge, it will go on the front of the vest, on the girl's right side, with placement starting at the hemline and working up. If there is no more room, it is perfectly fine to place the badge on the back. One other possibility: if the girl is a Daisy, and the patch looks like a green leaf and says "Count it Up" or "Talk it Up", then it goes on the front of the vest, below the petals, so that it forms the (girl's) left-side leaves of the daisy's stem.