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Girl Scout Traditions

Girl Scout Traditions

Sharing traditions with millions of Girl Scouts—and the huge network of Girl Scout alumnae who came before them—helps remind girls they belong to a big, powerful sisterhood.

The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting features seven Legacy badges that build on 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. In addition, the Girl's Guides include lots of details on Girl Scout traditions and history.

Girls can participate in ceremonies honoring Founder's Day or Juliette Low's Birthday, October 31. This valued Girl Scout tradition is a time to remember the important role Juliette Low played in the development of the Girl Scout movement in the United States. Girls might even plan a trip to the Juliette Gordon Low Birthplace in Savannah, Georgia.

Here are a few other popular traditions (many included in The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting) for Girl Scouts to enjoy. Your local Girl Scout community and council might have their own special traditions, too.

Girl Scouts make the Girl Scout sign when they say the Girl Scout Promise. The three fingers represent the three parts of the Promise.

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 ideas are true today.

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.

Girl Scouts can greet each other 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.

The friendship circle stands for an unbroken chain of friendship with Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. Everyone stands in a circle, crosses their right arms over their left, and clasps hands with their friends on both sides. Everyone makes a silent wish as a friendship squeeze is passed from hand to hand.

Girl Scouts often make small tokens of friendship to exchange with the Girl Scouts they meet when they travel. These little gifts are called SWAPS, which stands for Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere or Shared With A Pal.

Learn more about Girl Scout traditions and their history in The Girl's Guide to Girl Scouting.