Badges, and Try-Its, and IPs, Oh My

When is a badge not a badge? When it’s a Try-It, an IP, IPA, or IPP.

Just_BadgesFor decades, a Girl Scout badge was just a badge, but starting in 1980, GSUSA got creative…and confusing.

While Girl Scouts have always earned badges, from 1980 to 2011 the term “badge” was reserved for just the Junior program.

With the roll-out of the Worlds to Explore program in 1980, Cadettes and Seniors now earned rectangular Interest Project Patches (IPPs). The 1979 Let’s Make It Happen handbook had already given a preview of the IP program with 22 available. The 1983 Supplement to Let’s Make it Happen added 10 more IPs, followed by another 29 in the 1987 book, Cadette and Senior Interest Projects.

Worlds to Explore divided activities into five “worlds.” Badges and Interest Projects had colored borders indicating to which world they belonged: Purple: Arts, Yellow: Out of Doors, Blue: People, Orange: Today and Tomorrow; Red: Well-Being

Dabbler Interest Projects: (l-r) Arts, Out-of-Doors, People, Today and Tomorrow, Well-Being

Dabbler Interest Projects: (l-r) Arts, Out-of-Doors, People, Today and Tomorrow, Well-Being

Food Raiser (1980-1991), Communication Arts (1980-1991), Photography (1990-2001), and Food, Fibers, and Farming (1990-2001).

Food Raiser (1980-1991), Communication Arts (1980-1991), Photography (1990-2001), and Food, Fibers, and Farming (1990-2001).

Seventy-six Junior badges in the Worlds format were introduced in the 1980 book, Girl Scout Badges and Signs. Aside from the much more colorful images and edges, many of the designs were familiar, little changed from the Junior badges introduced in 1963.  Some Junior badges had tan backgrounds; these were more “advanced” and could be earned by younger Cadettes. Nine group-oriented badges were included in the 1986 Junior Girl Scout Handbook; known as “handbook badges,” these had dark blue borders and white backgrounds.

Nine "handbook badges" introduced in 1986.

Nine “handbook badges” introduced in 1986.

Juniors, Cadettes, and Seniors had the option to earn a “Dabbler” badge in each world that sampled activities from several awards in that category. These Dabbler badges/IPs featured the logo of each world. A Brownie preparing to bridge to Juniors could also work toward a Dabbler badge.

Try-Its, the first national program for Brownies, were introduced in 1986. Each Try-It had six activities; girls had to “try” at least four of them to earn the recognition. The program was an immediate hit and quickly grew beyond the original 15. The first Try-Its were part of the Worlds to Explore era and had colored borders, but they did not have Dabblers.

Space Explorer (1989-1999 orange; 1999-2011 brown) and Girl Scout Ways (1986-1998 blue; 1999-2011 brown).

Space Explorer (1989-1999 orange; 1999-2011 brown) and Girl Scout Ways (1986-1998 blue; 1999-2011 brown).

As the Worlds to Explore program phased out in the late 1990s, IPs became formally Interest Project Awards (IPAs) but the old abbreviation stuck. IPs switched to royal blue borders in the 1997 Interest Projects for Girls 11-17. Some old IPs were given new names or revised designs at the time, while 38 new IPs were added and the Dabblers dropped.

Juniors badges were also updated as the Worlds came to an end (that sounds rather dire, doesn’t it?). As inventory dwindled, badges were produced with dark green borders. Sometimes you can find Junior Dabbler badges with green borders:

"Transition" Junior Dabbler badges.

“Transition” Junior Dabbler badges.

Try-Its switched to brown borders in 1999.

In a moment of apparent insanity, GSUSA introduced a whole new program for Cadettes and Seniors in 2002. With Studio 2B, badges were out and girls earned charms for bracelets. That whole story will have to wait for another post.

Gold 4Bs Charm

Gold 4Bs Charm

With the new Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) format introduced in 2011, the “Interest Project” name was retired in favor of “badges.” New badge shapes were introduced for Cadettes (diamonds), Seniors (rectangles), and Ambassadors (clipped squares.) The “Try-It” name was also retired. Brownies still earned triangle-shaped recognitions, but now they are known as “badges.”

Badge_Shapes

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

8 thoughts on “Badges, and Try-Its, and IPs, Oh My

  1. Love it!

    >>In a moment of apparent insanity, GSUSA introduced a whole new program for Cadettes and Seniors in 2002. With Studio 2B,

  2. I wish their moment of insanity at the introduction of the GSLE did not mean cutting soooooooo many IPs, IPAs, badges, try-its, whatever you want to call them!!!

  3. Yes, The Interest Project Badges / Patches were great to work with – they gave the girls a huge variety of interests and topics to work toward. Every girl could find something of interest to work on and at the same time be fulfilling the requirements for the Silver or Gold Awards.

    It is really , really too bad that they were retired.

  4. Ann, before “The Golden Hand” and the “The Golden Ground” in the early days of Brownies, did you know they had triangular badges? I have not seen in real life, just in the books. They had, in the drawings, rounded corners

    Oh, and what about those Brownie pie wedges?

    Oh, and don’t forget my Senior era, when we shed our badge sash, earned ” bars” , and the 8 indespensibles!

    Katherine Keena Sent from my iPad

    >

  5. There was variety… after 10 years. This blog post shows that the original release of IPs included only 22… for Cadettes through what we now call Ambassadors! Then another book was released with 10 more… which is still only 32 total for cadettes through 12th grade. And then, eventually, over 60 by the end of the 80s, but that is still over several girl years. So 10-20 years from now, yes, maybe there will be a larger variety of GSLE awards… for now, Brownies, Juniors and Seniors have 26 badges EACH plus three journeys, Cadettes have 28 badges plus three journeys, and of course Daisies and Ambassadors have fewer. In addition, Juniors through Ambassadors have the opportunity to pursue high awards. Each age level also has the cookie pin, my promise my faith for every year, and safety. Each level can also earn a world thinking day and global action EACH year. Juniors also have junior aide. Cadettes have the opportunity to do program aid, community service, service to girl scouting, silver torch, and three LiAs. Seniors can earn counselor in training and volunteer in training, gold torch, community service, and service to girl scouting. Ambassadors essentially have the same, PLUS CIT II…

    Every level can earn religious recognitions…

    And all can make their own additional badge once a year.

    And that’s just what girls can actual uniform awards for… not to mention participation patches, fun patches, and field trips, activities, and projects that don’t earn awards, including camp.

    I don’t know, guys… doesn’t sound like missing variety to me. It just looks different 🙂

  6. There was variety… after 10 years. This blog post shows that the original release of IPs included only 22… for Cadettes through what we now call Ambassadors! Then another book was released with 10 more… which is still only 32 total for cadettes through 12th grade. And then, eventually, over 60 by the end of the 80s, but that is still over several girl years. So 10-20 years from now, yes, maybe there will be a larger variety of GSLE awards… for now, Brownies, Juniors and Seniors have 26 badges EACH plus three journeys, Cadettes have 28 badges plus three journeys, and of course Daisies and Ambassadors have fewer. In addition, Juniors through Ambassadors have the opportunity to pursue high awards. Each age level also has the cookie pin, my promise my faith for every year, and safety. Each level can also earn a world thinking day and global action EACH year. Juniors also have junior aide. Cadettes have the opportunity to do program aid, community service, service to girl scouting, silver torch, and three LiAs. Seniors can earn counselor in training and volunteer in training, gold torch, community service, and service to girl scouting. Ambassadors essentially have the same, PLUS CIT II…

  7. There was variety… after 10 years. This blog post shows that the original release of IPs included only 22… for Cadettes through what we now call Ambassadors! Then another book was released with 10 more… which is still only 32 total for cadettes through 12th grade. And then, eventually, over 60 by the end of the 80s, but that is still over several girl years. So 10-20 years from now, yes, maybe there will be a larger variety of GSLE awards… for now, Brownies, Juniors and Seniors have 26 badges EACH plus three journeys, Cadettes have 28 badges plus three journeys, and of course Daisies and Ambassadors have fewer. In addition, Juniors through Ambassadors have the opportunity to pursue high awards. Each age level also has the cookie pin, my promise my faith for every year, and safety. Each level can also earn a world thinking day and global action EACH year. Juniors also have junior aide. Cadettes have the opportunity to do program aid, community service, service to girl scouting, silver torch, and three LiAs. Seniors can earn counselor in training and volunteer in training, gold torch, community service, and service to girl scouting. Ambassadors essentially have the same, PLUS CIT II…

    Every level can earn religious recognitions…

    And all can make their own additional badge once a year.

    And that’s just what girls can actual uniform awards for… not to mention participation patches, fun patches, and field trips, activities, and projects that don’t earn awards, including camp.

    I don’t know, guys… doesn’t sound like missing variety to me. It just looks different 🙂

  8. Pingback: My Favorite Girl Scout Memorabilia | Girl Scout History Project

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s