The Girl Scouts' 'cool' new badges for the 21st century

Goodbye, "Hostess" and "Fitness to Fashion." Hello, "Dinner Party" and "Science of Style"

Girl Scout badges get their first makeover in 25 years: Among the new additions is "Money Manager" (bottom, left), which rewards youngsters who learn about financial independence.
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The Girl Scouts of the USA is celebrating its 100th anniversary with a major badge redesign — the first in 25 years. Here, a brief guide to the scouts' "cool" new badges:

What are these new badges?

The venerable 3.2-million-member organization has dramatically updated its 136-badge lineup. Some old-fashioned badges — like Looking Your Best and Fitness to Fashion — have been eliminated or drastically altered. A number of new badges — like Good Credit, Money Manager, and Savvy Shopper — have been added, with a focus on financial literacy. Other new badges include Comic Artist, Behind the Ballot, Website Designer, Locavore, and Car Care. "Badges have always reflected their times," says Beth Teitell at the Boston Globe. "In 1916 the Telegraph badge seemed cutting-edge, and in 1920 a Canning badge was pertinent. But in the age of YouTube, the local food movement, and Occupy Wall Street, Girl Scouts have different concerns."

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Are any of the old badges still around?

Sure. But many have been updated. For instance, the Hostess badge has been supplanted by Dinner Party, and the focus has shifted from sending out pretty invitations to sourcing ingredients. Fitness to Fashion has been replaced with Science of Style. "Girls are still interested in how they look and what they wear," says Alisha Niehaus, the executive editor of the new badge book. "Now we've given it a purposeful bent. They can look at the chemical makeup of sunscreen or makeup, or the use of nanotechnology in fabric." Some things remain the same. "We'll never give up the cookie badge," says Ruth Bramson, head of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts.

What's with the focus on finance?

"Girls really want to feel financially independent," says a Girl Scouts spokeswoman. Thirteen of the new badges relate to financial literacy, from Financing My Future to Money Manager to Budgeting. "Amen," says dad Tim Beyers at The Motley Fool. This is a welcome development given that American high school students' basic financial knowledge is at a historic low and girls are "too often caught up in the Kardashian Age of glam slamming."

Are the Boy Scouts focusing on finance, too?

They sure are. The boys have a Personal Management merit badge that requires scouts to learn about credit, saving, the stock market, and different types of loans. And outside of the scouts, Warren Buffet aims to teach kids about financial literacy with his new animated web series The Secret Millionaires Club.

Sources: Boston Globe,, The Motley Fool

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