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Girl Scout Lingo - What Does it Mean?

29 May 2021

Girl Scouts has been around for more than 100 years, which means we’ve had a lot of time to pick up a lot of traditions and quirky terminology. When you first join, it can feel like everyone is speaking another language!

To help bridge the gap, we’ve created a glossary of the most common Girl Scout words and phrases. We recommend keeping this page bookmarked, because we’ll continue to update it as needed!

Terms and definitions in italics are Girl Scout words and phrases not used at USAGSO.

Alum/Alumna – A former Girl Scout girl member

Ambassador – A Girl Scout in grades 11-12


Badge – Official embroidered insignia earned by completing a certain number of requirements in the Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting. These earned awards are sewn on the front of the uniform and are distinguished from “participation patches” which are obtained by participating in various events

Bridging – When girls move from one program grade level to the next; may include an award for the girls completing the bridging award requirements, and likely will include a ceremony

Bronze Award – The highest award Girl Scout Juniors can earn. Earned by girls in the 4th-5th grades. The Girl Scout Bronze Award requires completion of a Journey, and then a minimum of 20 hours completing a take action project.

Brownie – A Girl Scout in grades 2-3

Buddy System – Safety practice that groups two or three girls together to keep watch over each other in an activity (such as swimming or hiking). The system can place girls of equal ability in the same group or a more mature girl as a mentor.


Cadette – A Girl Scout in grades 6-8

Council – A corporation, chartered by Girl Scouts of the USA, organized for the purpose of developing, managing, and maintaining Girl Scouting within a defined geographic region. 

Counselor in Training (CIT) – A Girl Scout who is taking a course (called Counselor-in-Training) to learn camp counselor skills.

CSA – Abbreviation of Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador.


Daisy – A Girl Scout in grades K-1

Day Camp – A camp program within a 12-hour period that lasts for a minimum of three days.

Destinations – A trip or event beyond girls’ own troops and councils. Destinations are GSUSA programs organized locally and the events provide an opportunity for individual members to broaden their perspectives and give Girl Scouting enhanced visibility.

Digital Cookie – The Digital Cookie platform allows girls to customize the way they learn and earn during the Girl Scout Cookie Program, using technology in new and engaging ways, all while earning cool cookie business badges along the way.


Early Bird – Early renewal campaign that takes place between April and June (specific dates change each year) with added incentives like special programs, events and patches for girls who renew their membership before a certain date.

eBudde – A program used by volunteers and parents during the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Extended Year Membership-


Fall Product Program – A product sale that begins in the fall, typically in October and allows troops to earn additional money. The products include a variety of nuts, chocolates and magazines.  

Five Skills – These are the 5 skills every girl learns by participating in the Girl Scout Cookie Program: (1) Goal Setting; (2) Decision Making; (3) Money Management; (4) People Skills; and (5) Business Ethics.

Flag Ceremony – Honors the American flag as the symbol of our country and all the hopes, dreams, and people it represents.

Founder’s Day – Celebrated each year on October 31 in honor of Juliette Gordon Low’s birthday

Friendship Circle – Representing the unbroken chain of friendship among Girl Scouts and Girl Guides around the world. 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.


Girl Guide – The original name for Girl Scouts, it is still used in many countries.

Girl Scout Cookie Program – The iconic Cookie sale! Girl Scouts sell Girl Scout Cookies to power new, unique, and amazing experiences.

Girl Scout Handshake – Made by shaking hands with the left hand and making the Girl Scout Sign with the right. Used when Girl Scouts greet one another.

Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) – The engine for everything girls do in Girl Scouting. The experience identifies all the elements that need to be in place for Girl Scouting to achieve its mission; Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. When Discover, Connect, and Take Action activities are combined with the Girl Scout Processes of Girl-Led, Learning by Doing, and Cooperative Learning, girls achieve the desired and expected short-term leadership outcomes, ultimately resulting in Girl Scouting achieving its mission.

Girl Scout Sign – Official Girl Scout greeting. The right hand is raised shoulder high with the three middle fingers extended and the thumb crossing over the palm to hold down the little finger. The three fingers represent the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise.

Girl Scouting 101 – A 45 minute video provided by GSUSA that provides a quick breakdown and understanding of Girl Scouting. This tool is a requirement for new leaders to watch.

Girl-Led – Girls play an active role in planning activities, while adults provide guidance, ensuring that planning, organization, and set-up are age-appropriate. Evaluation of all activities is done jointly with girls and is integral to a high-quality Girl Scout experience.

Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting – A handbook with earned badge requirements, traditions, and Highest Awards requirements used by the girl and/or troop.

Gold Award – The highest award in Girl Scouts. Open to Girl Scouts in high school, Gold Award projects find a sustainable way to solve community problems.

GORP – An acronym with two possible meanings, depending on who you ask! Good Old Raisins & Peanuts, or Granola, Oats, Raisins, & Peanuts. A camp snack favorite!

GSUSA – Girl Scouts of the USA, the corporation that promotes the Girl Scout movement in the U.S.A., which includes the United States, its territories, and possessions.


Highest Awards – Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards. They are the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn. All three awards give girls the chance to do big things while supporting an issue they care about.


Insignia – Every Girl Scout item worn on the uniform (badges, awards, patches, stars, strips, etc.)

Investiture – A special ceremony in which a new member makes her Girl Scout Promise, receives their membership pin, and becomes a member of Girl Scouts.


Journey – A fun and challenging experience spread over a series of sessions (usually 6-8 but with the potential to last far longer). The journey invites girls to explore a topic and culminates in a take action project to make the world a better place. Once done, girls can wear their journey awards on the front of their Girl Scout vest.

Juliette Gordon Low – Founder of the Girl Scout movement in the United States of America.

Juliettes – First name of Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low. Term also used to refer to registered Girl Scouts who are not part of the traditional troop program. These girls, also known as IRGs (individually registered girl) still work towards the same badges and activities, they simply do not belong to a troop. They can join other girls at council-wide events and can participate in all Girl Scouts has to offer.

Junior – A Girl Scout in grades 4-5

Junior Counselor – A Girl Scout who has already completed both Counselor in Training (CIT) I and II programs and would like to further enhance her leadership skills by learning what it’s like to be a camp counselor. 


Kaper – A temporary job or responsibility

Kaper Chart – A chart showing each girl’s or each group’s job on any given project. It provides for rotation of jobs and sharing of responsibility.


Law – I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Lifetime Membership – Granted to any person 18 years of age or older or a high school graduate or the equivalent who: 1. Accepts the principals and beliefs as stated in the Preamble of the Girl Scout constitution. 2. Has paid lifetime membership dues of 25 times the annual membership dues. 3. Meets applicable membership standards. 4. Has 10+ year of service as a volunteer.


Membership Dues  – $25 fee paid annually to Girl Scouts of the USA for registration which goes directly to National Headquarters. One of the requirements for becoming a member of GSUSA.

Membership Pin – One of 5 pins; the trefoil with three faces (contemporary style), trefoil with eagle (traditional style) pin, Girl Scout Daisy membership pin, Girl Scout Brownie membership pin, and lifetime membership pin. These pins signify the acceptance of the membership requirements.

Membership Year – October 1 through September 30.

Mission – Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Motto – Be Prepared



National Gold Award Girl Scouts – An honor given to 10 Girl Scout Seniors and Ambassadors each year whose Gold Award projects demonstrated extraordinary leadership, had a measurable and sustainable impact, and addressed a local challenge related to a national and/or global issue.


On Time – The membership renewal period running from the end of Early Bird until the end of the membership year, September 30.

Overseas Committee Management Team (OCMT)-OCMT's manage the Girl Scout program in a designated geographical region, such as a city or military installation.


Patch – Also known as a “fun patch.” Supplementary insignia received by girls for simply participating in an event or activity. Girls wear participation patches and pins on the back of their Girl Scout uniform.

Patch Program – Patches earned by completing programs unique to individual councils or organizations. The required activities to complete the patch programs are generally found on the council or organization’s website.

Petals – Earned awards by Girl Scout Daisies. Girls earn the Promise Center by showing they understand the Girl Scout Promise. Girls earn Petals by showing they understand the 10 parts of the Girl Scout Law.

Program Aide – Girl who is currently in the 6th grade, who has taken a specialized training to help troop/group leaders with activities for their girls. 

Promise – On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.


Quiet Sign – Raising the right hand over the head to signal for attention and quiet at any Girl Scout gathering. When the hand goes up, mouths go quiet, and everyone joins in giving the quiet sign.


Regional Camporee-

Resident Camp – Overnight camp. Sessions are generally for at least five days (and four nights) and may be multiple weeks in length. The program is operated and staffed by the camp, and the supervision of campers is a camp responsibility. Campers stay overnight, and camp is responsible for campers 24 hours a day.



Sash – A type of uniform available to Brownies through Ambassadors. The sash sits on the right shoulder and crosses the body, resting on the left hip.

Senior – A Girl Scout in grades 9-10

Service Project – A project that helps the community with a specific and short-term need.

Service Unit – Geographic unit of troops/groups within a region which facilitates delivery of services and the Girl Scout program to girls and adults. 

Silver Award – The highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can receive. Earned by completing a Girl Scout Journey and the suggested minimum of 50 hours building a team, exploring the community, picking a Take Action project, developing the project, and spreading the word.

Sit-Upon – Lightweight pad or mat the girls make to “sit-upon” when the ground is dirty or damp.

Slogan – Do a Good Turn Daily

S’mores – A sandwich made with graham crackers, chocolate, and a roasted marshmallow.

SWAPS – Special Whatchamacallits Affectionately Pinned Somewhere. Small tokens of friendship to exchange with Girl Scouts you meet while traveling.


Take Action Project – A project that helps the community by identifying the root cause of the community need, has long-term benefits, and has sustainable community support.

Tunic – A type of uniform available to Daisies. It is worn over the shoulders and ties at the waist.

Trefoil – The official emblem of the Girl Scout movement in the United States of America, registered in the United States Patent Office by Girl Scouts of the U.S.A.

Troop – This group of girls and adults (minimum of 5 girls and 2 adults) who meet on a regular basis to engage in Girl Scout Program activities. Troops are organized according to “Grade Level” which places girls together with others in the same social/developmental stage.

Troop Crest – A Girl Scout tradition that helps leaders easily identify Girl Scouts belonging to different troops while on a hike or other activity. There are currently 16 official troop crests available, and they are displayed on uniforms between the Girl Scout Council Identification Set and the troop numerals.

Troop Leader – A registered Girl Scout adult, background checked and trained volunteer who meets regularly with girls to help them achieve the purposes of Girl Scouting.


Uniform – An article of clothing that symbolizes the high ideals for which Girl Scouts stands. The main uniform pieces are a tunic, sash, or vest, and Girl Scouts wear one to display official pins, awards, badges, and patches.



Vest – A type of uniform available to all grade levels.

Volunteer Toolkit-


WAGGGS – The Word Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, a global association supporting female-oriented and female-only Guiding and Scouting organizations in 150 countries.

World Thinking Day – Celebrated annually on February 22. Official Girl Scout day where girls traditionally learn about the cultures and traditions of WAGGGS member countries. This day also commemorates the birthdays of Lord and Lady Baden-Powell the founders of the Scouting Movement worldwide.