, Girl Scout History Project

New Exhibit: 50 Years, 4 Levels, 1 Program

In September 1963, Girl Scouts changed from a three-level program to a four-level structure. The Intermediate program was divided into Juniors (grades 4–6) and Cadettes (grades 7–9). The restructuring was accompanied by the release of new handbooks for each level, as well as new badges, uniforms, and awards.

The Nation’s Capital Archives and History Committee has created a new exhibit to mark the 50th anniversary of that exciting program. Items are on display in the lobby of the Council headquarters at 4301 Connecticut Ave. NW.  How many items do you recognize?

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The October 1963 issue of Leader magazine kicked off the new program.
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The new handbooks went on sale on September 9, 1963, and books purchased that first week came with a special commemorative bookplate.
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New badges were introduced for the Juniors and Cadettes.
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Committee members Virginia Walton (left) and Bonnie Johnson check to make sure the badge sash is correct.
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The first Cadette uniform was a variation on the alternate Intermediate uniform.
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The new yellow-bordered Cadette badges were sewn on sashes beneath the Junior/Intermediate badges.
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New insignia included the Sign of the Arrow and Sign of the Star for Juniors and new interest patches for Seniors.
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Cadettes had their very own logo!

The handbooks, badges, and awards combined to create a framework of progression. One program, built on one foundation, would be adapted to four ages levels.

That foundation contained six basic elements, which are still followed 50 years later:

  • Dedication to the Promise and Laws,
  • Commitment to service,
  • Belief in girl-leader planning through the patrol system,
  • Participation as citizens in a democracy,
  • Hopes for international friendship, and
  • Concern for health and safety.

Text and Photos © 2013 Ann Robertson

Published by

Ann Robertson

Ann Robertson is a writer, editor and Girl Scout historian.

3 thoughts on “New Exhibit: 50 Years, 4 Levels, 1 Program”

  1. These were my glory years as a proud girl scout of the Columbia river council. I completed my first class at the end of my Cadette year in 1967 before moving to the Oregon coast.

  2. I am a scout leader (previous guider in brownie packs) doing personal research in the history of knitting in the Girl Guide/Girl Scout movement. I understand the Cadette Handbook has a sweater pattern. Do you know how I can get a copy of this please and what the copyright is please (eg could it be published on a website like Raveley.com)? In addition, there are references I have found to “regulation patterns” for Scout and Guide Sweaters as the original uniforms (before official uniforms were created) in the UK included flannel shirt or sweater. What was the situation in the US? Did the first scouts also have the option to wear Sweaters?

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