Victory! Badge PDFs Are Here!!

This week Girl Scouts of the USA announced the introduction of 42 new badges and one program journey. With topics ranging from cybersecurity and coding to astronomy and high adventure, there are new options for every age level.

But the press release overlooked another major development:

Do you see it? Down at the bottom?

YES!!!!! The day has finally come.

On October 8, 2014, on the eve of the Girl Scout National Convention, I published a blog post, “Let’s Make Downloading Badges Legal.”

I argued in favor of creating official downloadable PDF files for journey program books and individual badge requirements. Specifically:

Let’s be honest and fair and admit that distributing bootleg scans of journey books and badge requirements constitutes theft. It is taking a person’s hard work without paying for it. Go ahead, argue “sharing” and “sisterhood” all you want, but if thieves share stolen goods among themselves, it does not make the theft acceptable. Would you walk into a Girl Scout shop, pocket a handful of badges, and walk out without paying? This is no different.

Let’s resolve to respect authority, including copyright law. The bootleggers know they are breaking the law, which explains why they try to shout down anyone who calls them out with nasty comments and name calling. Do we really have to put labels on every page, photo, design, etc. saying “Not yours. Don’t steal”?

Demand for downloads was obviously high, and I reasoned that many volunteers would come out of hiding and purchase legal copies if given the opportunity.

I also explained why this issue is important to me:

As a writer and editor, words are literally my income. I know that every book has an author, and I know that writing is hard work. Authors deserve to be paid. That is why it really bothers me to see leaders sharing photocopies of badge inserts or websites advertising free downloads of scanned journey books.  (While I don’t get paid to write this blog, it is an opportunity for potential clients to get to know me better.)

Finally, I argued that GSUSA might use PDF fees to recoup some of the lost potential income from leaders who use photocopies instead of purchasing official materials.

I even created a Facebook page called “Girl Scout Publication PDFs Please.” To date over 1,100 people have “liked” the page.

This is just a small step in the ongoing quest for GSUSA to listen to its adult volunteers, and this is merely one step in a long journey.

As this week commemorates the Apollo 11 moon landing, I can’t resist:

PDF Badges: That’s one small step for Ann, one giant leap for Girl Scouts.

©2019 Ann Robertson

Four Reasons I Love the Council’s Own

CO_Pile_Crop_WM

I love Girl Scout Council’s Own badges. I love council Try-Its and Interest Projects, too.

Why do I love them? Let me count the ways.

1. The Designs

Maybe it’s the smaller production runs, but Council’s Owns seem to be more brightly colored than ordinary GSUSA-issued badges. They’re just pretty, OK?

2. The Local Flavor

Council’s Owns celebrate local communities, highlighting regional attractions and resources. They feature local histories and traditions.

3. The Quirkiness

Council’s Owns also fill in gaps in traditional badge offerings. I am dying to locate at least a picture of the Taxidermy badge from New Jersey.

No GSUSA archery badge? Troop leaders could satisfy their own budding Katniss Everdeens with programs developed by councils across the country.

I’m sad that GSUSA has narrowed the opportunities for councils to create badges in favor of back-of-the-sash patch programs.  There are so many patch programs and participation patches these days, especially compared with the limited number of badges introduced in 2011, that we may soon have girls with layers of patches on the back and empty real estate on the front of their vests.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not opposed to patch programs at all.  In fact, I’ve created five patch programs myself.

And the final reason I love the Council’s Own…

4. I Made a Website!

I’ve created an entire website to share my Council’s Own collection. Go to gscobadge.info for images and requirements arranged by age level. There are also pages for special badge programs and mystery badges. Let me know if you can identify any or help fill in a blank spot.

CO-Screen

I’m always looking for vintage Council’s Own badges. Please contact me if you find any.

Enjoy!

©2014, 2020 Ann Robertson