This morning, as I was merrily searching online for the perfect shoe storage solution, an unexpected ad image popped up on my screen.

Girl Scout badges, Girl Scout History Project

Instinctively I let out a primal scream that could be heard over the construction noise in my neighborhood. Like many older Girl Scouts, I suffer from Post-Traumatic Studio 2B Disorder (PTS2BD).

But then I looked more closely and saw there was no reason to head for the doomsday bunker. The apocalypse was not at hand.


This was merely a new marketing concept for Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Whew.

STUDIO 2B has not returned.

What was Studio 2B?

A failed program concept for Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts.

Girl Scout badges, Girl Scout History Project
Um, no. Nobody loved Studio 2B. That’s probably why I got this patch for a quarter.

STUDIO 2B debuted at the 2002 national convention, where the program was hailed as the solution to declining teen membership. The program addressed the problems with teen Girl Scouting that emerged from the landmark research study, “Ten Emerging Truths: New Directions for Girls 11–17.”

Researchers found that Girl Scouts wasn’t considered cool by girls 11 and older.  Girls didn’t like the terms “Cadette” and “Senior” and they certainly did not want their friends in middle school to know they were Girl Scouts. (The Ambassador age level was introduced in 2008.)

Studio 2B’s Goals

STUDIO 2B would change all of this.  It presented a “cool” and “hip” version of Girl Scouts that was to seem sophisticated and slightly mysterious.  Meeting in small groups, online, or even working on their own, members of STUDIO 2B had four “B” program goals:

Girl Scout badges, Girl Scout History Project
Studio 2B 4B list

Shouldn’t it be 4B?

Excellent question. The components of Studio 2B do not add up. That should have been a red flag. Bed, Bath, and Beyond apparently can count.

Too Many Choices

Instead of leaders, girls had advisors, preferably young women between the ages of 18 and 29 who would be “more relatable” than mom.  Instead of troops, groups could call themselves anything they wanted or chose to meet online, work on their own, or other new “pathways.”

Instead of handbooks, girls could choose from a collection of single-issue booklets, such as self-esteem, writing skills, running, and saving parks. The books all had hip, slangy names like “Makin’ Waves” or “Cashin’ In” and used lots of apostrophes and exclamation points.

Instead of specific requirements, girls would set their own goals and decide when they had completed a focus book.

Girl Scout badges, Girl Scout History Project
Two Studio 2B Focus Books.
Girl Scout badges, Girl Scout History Project
Charm bracelet

But by far the biggest flaw was … wait for it … instead of earning badges to go on sashes, girls would earn charms to go on a charm bracelet. No uniforms needed.

We Don’t Understand!

Girls and their advisors were confused. Did STUDIO 2B replace badges or was it something completely new?  Could you just flip through a focus book and declare yourself finished?

Was it required to earn the Silver and Gold Awards? An article, “Studio 2B Is Off and Running,” in the Summer 2003 Leader magazine was frustratingly vague:

Girl Scout badges, Girl Scout History Project
Excerpt from Summer 2003 Leader magazine.

Many volunteers assumed STUDIO 2B would be optional; one year later the Gold and Silver Award requirements were revised to make STUDIO 2B mandatory. Many leaders/advisors/hip-people-other-than-mom were not happy with the change.

Girls did not rush to sign up for STUDIO 2B. GSUSA responded with multi-page advertising spreads in Leader magazine and supplemental books, sold in the catalog, instructing councils how to implement the program. The Winter 2004 issue of Leader, for example, had 32 pages including a two-page advertising spread and an eight-page pull out guide, “Studio 2B: It’s Easy. Here’s How.” That’s over 1/4 of the issue devoted to the program. Ten of the 2004 catalog’s 48 pages were devoted to S2B.

A major complaint was cost.  Each focus booklet was initially $5.95, each charm $4.95, compared with $1.05 badges. The 2003 Leader article acknowledged the cost, suggesting girls “can request them as holiday or birthday gifts.” GSUSA took note, creating a “charm holder” in 2005 that could be pinned to a sash, slashing prices in 2006, and in 2007 creating “focus awards” — Interest Project-shaped patches with designs that resembled the charms and could be sewn onto a vest instead.

However, some charms, notably the ones required for the Silver and Gold Awards, were never offered in the cheaper patch format. One charm, On the Road, only appeared in the catalog for two years before it drove off into the sunset.

By 2009, only five charms and 12 focus patches were advertised in the catalog. None appeared in the 2010 catalog.

Girl Scout badges, Girl Scout History Project
These charms, required for the Silver and Gold Awards, never came in more affordable patch versions.

What Went Wrong?

How did we get such a misguided program? I think the answer lies in research design.  Of the 3,000 girls surveyed for “Ten Emerging Truths,” only 25 percent were actual Girl Scouts. The other 75 percent weren’t going to join just to get jewelry. And if the 25 percent who were already Girl Scouts wanted jewelry, they could make their own with the Jeweler Interest Project.

After years of neglect and decline, STUDIO 2B quietly passed away on April 13, 2012, when Girl Scouts of the USA cancelled the STUDIO_2B Trademark.

Still, I fully believe that reinstating Studio 2B or a similar program still could trigger an apocalypse.

Be prepared.


Girl Scout badges, Girl Scout History Project
Girls hang a sign at Weston Lodge

10 responses to “Flashback: Studio 2B or Not 2B”

  1. Oh yeah – I was a trainer during that time and had to cheerlead this program with a straight face. My troop of about 50 high schoolers HATED it. RIP, 2B!

  2. Annelies Squeir Avatar
    Annelies Squeir

    Fabulous article, and well put as always. I printed it out to put with my defunct charms

  3. Nearly every girl I knew at the time DID.NOT.LIKE.THEM.

    What a waste of resources.

    1. Not only that, but some were allergic to them. (My daughter)

  4. […] recent post on the unpopular Girl Scout Studio 2B program revived an old tale about the program’s signature charms being recalled due to high led […]

  5. R. Jingle Johnson Avatar
    R. Jingle Johnson

    I was with two, third-generation girls at the launch. Both hated it from the beginning and began to question whether they would continue. Glad to report, both did finish using the traditional program in addition to the silver and gold charm requirements.

  6. I was a leader of a Junior troop, bridging to Cadette. I bought one of each of the brand-new Studio 2B booklets, and had a Cadette visit the troop. The girls then looked through the booklets to pick their first activity. They chose one on date rape!!! To this day I’m not sure if they were actually interested, or just wanted to jerk the leaders’ chains. Not my favorite moment as a leader.

    1. The self-defense one was the one our girls chose too, back in the day. Which had a stupid pick heart lock&key charm to represent it.

  7. Studio 2B, “mentor” here, decided to start a troop when I was 18 in 209/2010! I enjoyed the program. I was a lifer with the GSOA program when Studio 2B popped up. The charms were a selling point and drop-off point for many. Everyone in my group wore updated uniforms, with the sash thing and all, hahaha! I think it served its purpose for those who aged out—but could not let go of GSOA(me) lol. It’s hip to be civic-minded!

  8. Paula Steinbach Avatar
    Paula Steinbach

    I was a Cadette Leader when Studio 2B was introduced. None of my girls had any interest in it. We just happily continued working on Cadette program. Veteran Girl Scouts used to Mom leaders really have no problem relating to leaders of any age as long as they perceive their leader really cares about them and their opinions.

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