About Girl Scouts:

The Basics History / Facts Organization USA Girl Scouts
National website

(or: espanol)
Service Unit
Girl Scouts
of Greater Iowa
The Girl Scout
(Kindergarten-grade 1)
(Grades 2-3)
(Grades 4-5)
(Grades 6-8)

(Grades 9-11)

(Grade 12)
Adult Girl Scouts
(18yrs +)
Campus Scouts

The Basics:

In the Fall of 2008, the age level breakdowns changed in Girl Scouting!

Any girl who is 5 through 18 years old, or in kindergarten through the twelfth grade, can become a Girl Scout in the United States. Girl Scouts welcomes girls of all races, culturals, religious beliefs and sexual orientation.

Age Level
(beginning Fall 2008)

Grades Notes
Daisy K-1 Blue uniform
Brownie 2-3 Brown uniform
Juniors 4-5 Green uniform
Cadette 6-8  
Senior 9-11  
Ambassador 12  
Adult age 18+  

Age Level
(prior to Fall 2008)

Grades Notes
Daisy K Blue uniform
Brownie 1-3 Brown uniform
Juniors 4-6 Green uniform
Cadette 7-9  
Senior 10-12  
Adult 18 yrs+  

A "Juliette" Girl Scout is a girl who is not registered as a member of a troop. She is an independent Girl Scout. She still follows the levels listed above and can participate in all local and Council sponsored events, including camps. The difference is that she is supervised by her parents/guardians rather than by troop leaders.

Each member pays an annual membership fee (the year runs October 1- September 30). Regional Girl Scout Councils have financial assistance available for girls who need help to defray the costs. Guidelines and parent forms for finanical assistance from the Girl Scouts of Greater Iowa Council are available at http://www.girlscoutsiowa.org/general-forms.cfm

Each troop raises its own funds for the activities it plans. That is what the Girl Scout cookie sale is all about. It is also a great way to learn to be an entrepreneur!

Adult volunteers must sign a volunteer leadership agreement each year in addition to registering as an Adult Girl Scout. The first year that an adult volunteers, they will be asked to supply at least two character references and a background check will be done. All references are checked.

Each member proudly wears the Girl Scout membership pin. Many girls choose to wear a Girl Scout uniform to meetings and special occasions. But uniforms are not required. Wearing the uniform often leads to some wonderful encounters, especially if you are traveling alone in airports or appearing in public.

The founder of Girl Scouts in the United States was Juliette Gordon Low. She understood how special words and signs help girls feel they are members of a group. Girl Scouts and Girl Guides all around the world share special signs, a handshake, the friendship squeeze, a motto, and a slogan. These special signs overcome barriers of language and culture. The Girl Scout Promise and Law are the basics of Girl Scouting. All Girl Scouts say them. All Girl Scouts try to live them. The activities that you do in Girl Scouting are based on them.

The Girl Scout Promise:

The Girl 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.

Promesa de las Girl Scouts

Por mi honor, yo trataré
De servir a Dios, y a mi patria,
Ayudar a las personas en todo momento,
Y vivir conforme a la Ley de las Girl Scouts

Please note: In the Girl Scout Promise, the word "God" is subject to each individual's interpretation and may be substituted with whatever word or phrase the Girl Scout's spiritual beliefs dictate.

The Girl Scout Laws:

The Girl Scout 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


Le Ley de las Girl Scouts

Yo me esforzaré a:

Ser honrada y justa,
Cordial y servicial,
Considerada y compasiva
Valiente y fuerte, y
Responsable de lo que digo y hago

Y a

Respetarme a mi misma y a  los demás,
Respetar la autoridad,
Usar los recursos de manera prudente,
Hacer del mundo un lugar mehor, y
Ser hermana de cada una de las Girl Scouts.

The Girl Scout Hand Sign:

The Girl Scout Sign is made by raising three fingers of the right hand (thumb hold down pinky). This sign stands for the three parts of the Promise. You give the sign when:
  • You say the Promise.
  • You are welcomed into Girl Scouting at an investiture ceremony.
  • You receive a patch or badge.
  • You greet other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.

The Girl Scout Handshake

This is a formal way of greeting other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides. You shake hands with the left hand and give the Girl Scout sign with your right hand.

The left handed handshake represents friendship because the left hand is closer to the heart than the right.

The Girl Scout Motto:

Be prepared.

The Girl Scout Slogan:

Do a good turn daily.

Girl Scout Glossary

The Quiet Sign

The quiet sign is used in meetings and other gatherings to let people know it is time to stop talking. This sign is made by raising your hand high. As people in the group see the quiet sign, they stop talking and also raise their hands. Once everyone is silent, the meeting continues.

The Friendship Circle

The friendship circle is often formed at the end of meetings or campfires as a sort of closing ceremony. Everyone gathers in a circle where they cross their right arm over their left in front of them and hold hands with the people on either side. Once everyone is silent, the leader starts the friendship squeeze which is passed from hand to hand.

The friendship squeeze is started by an agreed upon leader. She squeezes the hand on the girl next to her (either to the left or the right, but only one way)  and moves her right foot forward (i.e. towards the center of the circle). The girl who receives the squeeze moves her right foot forward and passes the squeeze on to the next girl. When the squeeze comes back to the first person everyone raises their arms - while still holding hands and turns under their right arm. If this is done correctly, everyone is now facing outward. They release hands and walk away, signaling that the ceremony or meeting is over.