Ever wonder why the Gold Award looks like it does? , Girl Scout History Project

According to the Girl Scout Collector’s Guide, “The rays emanating from the trefoil represent the Girl Scout influence in the wider community and the interdependence between Girl Scouting and the community.”

Previous highest awards featured eagles (Golden Eagle of Merit, Golden Eaglet) or a red ribbon and clover motif (Curved Bar, First Class).

For the current highest award, introduced in 1980, GSUSA considered reviving the prestigious Golden Eaglet, but some members were concerned that it would be seen as a “little sister” of the Boy Scout Eagle Award.

, Girl Scout History Project      , Girl Scout History Project

Instead, the program committee resurrected a membership pin once reserved for Senior Girl Scouts. In 1938 GSUSA released a tiny electroplated golden pin featuring a 12-point sunburst and a small trefoil in the center. Just 1/4 inch in size, the pin answered girls’ requests for inconspicuous insignia resembling a sorority pin. The pin was worn on the uniform breast pocket.

, Girl Scout History Project
The new Senior Pin appeared in 1938 catalog.

The sorority-style pin formed the center of the Five-Point pin introduced in 1955. This program was intended to provide a well-rounded introduction to Senior Girl Scouting through five activities:

  1. Go camping
  2. Carry out a service project
  3. Develop emergency preparedness skills
  4. Learn about your council or Lone Troop Committee
  5. Expand your interests (do a project in the arts, crafts, music, homemaking dancing, literature, dramatics or nature).

When the Five-Point program was completed, girls swapped the plain Senior pin for the Five-Point pin.

, Girl Scout History Project
Senior Five-Point Pin (photo from eBay)

Isn’t it nice when traditions are maintained?

©2016 Ann Robertson




6 responses to “How the Gold Award Got Its Design”

  1. Christie Crahan Avatar
    Christie Crahan

    I earned the five point pin and six service bars but never the First Class pin. I don’t think I even knew about it.

    Sent from my iPhone


    1. Congratulations on earning the Girl Scout Five-Point pin and service bars!

  2. Traditions??!! GSA’s highest award goes from Golden Eagle of Merit to Golden Eaglet to Curved Bar to First class to Gold Award. Girls today have no idea what the “traditional” highest award is or was. Boy Scouts know that their grandfather was an eagle scout and they work toward that goal, too. My granddaughters don’t even know what a curved bar is, nor to they care that I went to Girl Scout Roundup (what’s that grandma??).

  3. Actually the highest award order goes: Golden Eagle of Merit (1916-1919) to Golden Eaglet (1919-1939) to First Class Rank(1938-1940) to Curved Bar Rank (1940-1947) to Curved Bar Award(1947-1963) to First Class Award (1963-1982) and finally Gold Award (1980-present). I found out what the First Class Award was and several girls in my troop decided to earn one. So happy I did still I now help girls earn their Gold Award.

  4. I earned the Curved Bar award and my best guess would place that accomplishment in 1963. I am afraid the pin is missing permanently as I have not seen it in decades. I would have been 16 and am now 69.

  5. […] written about the history of the Gold Award before and the deliberate choice to incorporate history into its […]

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