Counting down to the 110th birth of the Girl Scouts of the USA on March 12, 2022.

Pssst: That’s TOMORROW

The Girl Scout movement underwent dramatic changes in the 2000s. While there had been incremental changes to badges, age levels, and council boundaries before, this time sweeping changes were simultaneous.

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All initiatives were part of the all-encompassing Core Business Strategy.

Girl Scout Leadership Experience

GSUSA introduced a completely new program curriculum for all age levels. The centerpiece of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience was the Journey–a vaguely defined theme that structured a troop year.

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Early Visual Aid for Explaining Journeys

Badges seemed to be an afterthought as they rolled out roughly three years after the journeys. The badges looked completely unfamiliar. Designs that traced as far back as 1912, such as Cooking, were discontinued. A key element of historical continuity was lost.

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Evolution of the Cooking Badge by Vintage GS Online Museum
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What’s Happening With Badges, from GSUSA

Age Levels Redefined

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Girl Scout levels explained

Program levels were shuffled. First graders became Daisies, not Brownies. Now each level Brownies, Juniors, Seniors, and Ambassadors (a new level for 11th and 12th graders) were shortened from three-years to two, except for Cadettes, which remained three years, to match middle school grouping.


The realignment project was designed to consolidate 315 councils into 100.

The Un-uniform

While Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors still had recognizable uniform options, the new dress code for all ages was white polo, khaki bottom (pants, skirts, shorts, etc.) plus a sash or vest.

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2008 statement copy
  • girl Scout history, Girl Scout History Project
  • girl Scout history, Girl Scout History Project
  • girl Scout history, Girl Scout History Project
  • girl Scout history, Girl Scout History Project

Will the Girl Scouts crumble under all of these changes? Will the movement survive? Stay tuned ….(Spoiler alert: YES).

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History by Decade 2000s

3 responses to “Girl Scouts Look Back 110 Years: 2000s”

  1. R. Jingle Johnson Avatar
    R. Jingle Johnson

    Well, my sisters, we do live in interesting times. The 2000’s fundamentally changed who and what Girl Scouting was and the early 2020s have proven that change weakened the movement and its organizations perhaps beyond recovery, ripe for yet another fundamental shift. I choose to hold on tight to our history and my memories in hope of encouraging future Girl Scouts to restore the movement.

    Happy Birthday sisters, may the year ahead be filled with adventure and friendship.

  2. I have been a Girl Scout since 1952, worked in two Councils and for GSUSA. At age 76 I have currently lead a troop for 8 years from Daisies through Cadettes., Educators we’re hired and wrote the journeys which are like school work unless greatly adapted. They are required before girls can earn the Bronze, Silver and Gold. We have completed them but the girls enjoy badges more. I am very disappointed in the council training and support of new leaders. On the council level separating the job of recruiter and support person leads to no wholistic approach and volunteer development. This is a membership organization and volunteers are members, not customers as we are now being called. The emphasis on reaching all girls, especially those in underserved populations which was a goal in the 80s has been lost.

  3. Shortening the span of a troop to two years made it hard to continue troops of multiple grades since volunteers are always cycling out..I am not sure why that happened. The Daisy petal and badge work is just monotonous and shouldn’t be 2 years. Maybe badges like cooking and sewing seemed too much like “womens work”, but they are still good skills – you don’t need to know how to sew a dress but you do need to know how to fix a hole or a hem, and you do need to know how to cook for your health! I have adult friends that pay to have a button replaced! And many parents pay to have their girls’ badges sewn on! And we press so hard on cookie CEO but don’t educate about personal finances…unless that’s for Seniors and I’m just not that far yet.

    That said, it is more fun than the 1980s, where I largely remember doing crafts! My mom’s clearest memory from the 1950s was going to the state fair with her troop, so there’s that!

    I second the lack of volunteer support, from figuring out the various online portals to requirements for high adventure activities. TLs must educate themselves, especially on what is appropriate for a particular level.

    Does anyone think the Council boundaries have led to good or bad things? I read about closure of some camps.

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