Sunday, January 29, 2012

Insignia on Girl Scout Vests

One of the trickiest challenges of being a Girl Scout parent is figuring out where to place items on a Girl Scout vest or sash. There is a "right way" and I'll admit that I care that things are placed where they are supposed to go. This may come as a surprise to those of you who have read my previous articles and have gleaned that I can and do often make my own rules, otherwise known as blazing my own trail. I do endorse blazing one's own trail purely because to do so doesn't actually violate any of the major principles on which the organization is based.

Insignia placement, however, is not negotiable. If you're ever at an event and see some leader rearranging items on a girl's vest, that could be me. Last weekend, for example, I removed a Brownie pin from a Junior's vest and handed her my GSUSA pin to replace it. As I looked at her vest, she had one of her signs sewed on upside down and placed where badges should be. She also had a patch sewed to the front of her vest and was missing several stars. Surveying the whole project, she didn't exactly exude pride in Girl Scouts or in her accomplishments, but in talking to her, it was merely because she didn't know where things went not because she didn't want them placed correctly.

Each of my girls was given a placement chart when we bridged. Each vest comes with a tag that shows placement. When the girls were in third grade, we played a game. The girls were given a blank vest and a pile of insignia pieces. We practiced placing things in the right place. Despite all of this, placement is still a puzzle, so I suggested she bring her vest, badges, and patches to me and we'd put them on together.

The best advice I can give people seeking to sew items on a vest correctly is to use the tag on the vest or a hand out showing placement. Links are provided with this article as well.

When you look at the vest and the insignia, there is a rhyme and a reason to placement. At the top of the sash or the top of the left-hand side of the vest, the US flag is placed, followed by the GSUSA ID, and your council ID followed by your troop crest and then your troop number.

All of these items in descending order identify you first as an American and then as a Girl Scout. The information then places you within a council and then within your troop. The order is logical once it is explained (mostly).

After the troop numbers, the insignia that follows tells other Scouts something about your place in the Scout world. The stars line up under the troop numbers and indicate your years in Scouting. (Blue stars are for Daisy years, green for Brownies, yellow for Juniors, white for Cadettes, red for Seniors, and dark blue for Ambassadors) If a girl has bridged and completed the bridging activities, a rainbow will follow the stars. (A space should be reserved between the stars and the bridge for the Safety Award should it be earned.)

Girls in Juniors and above who were Brownies automatically receive wings, and they are placed under the bridging patch, but in a deviation from logic, a space between the bridge and the wings is reserved for the Junior Aide patch on the Junior vest. I actually thought about why that would be and decided that it just looks good there.

On a sash, the wings are followed by signs if they are earned and then badges.
On a vest, badges go on the left and right hand side of the vest on the bottom (badges are round with either a tan or green background). Signs go in the middle of the left-hand side of a vest. Signs are followed by cookie pins (small diamond-shaped pins).

The back of the vest and sash are the only acceptable place for patches, which are generally given out for participation with no other requirements. It is not ok to place any patches on the vest that are not related to Girl Scout activities.

When a girl chooses a sash, her GSUSA pin and her World Trefoil pin are placed on her shirt or on a tab that is then pinned to her shirt. When a vest is chosen, these items are placed on the top left-hand side of the vest either on the vest directly or on a tab. If a bronze, silver, or gold award is earned, it goes at the bottom of the tab, slightly to the left.

Clear? I didn't think so. Again, I think the best course of action is always to look at the picture and copy what you see.