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The Pillars of Girl Scouting: Beyond Cookies, Camp, and Crafts

Do you know the four pillars of Girl Scouting? Lots of people would answer that question with “I thought there were 3: cookies, camp, and crafts,” but Girl Scouts is so much more than that!

Girl Scouts of the USA explains that the Girl Scout Leadership Experience has four key areas that form the foundation of our program and our organization. And don’t worry, alums, they’ve been a part of Girl Scouts since the beginning!

Ready to see what they are? Let’s go!


Girl Scouts has been building girls’ confidence and skills in the great outdoors for over 100 years. Outside is where many of our favorite activities happen. Activities like camping, outdoor cooking, orienteering, and exploring the wilds (and the backyard) are part of our identity as an organization. We continue to encourage girls through outdoor- and nature-focused badges and Journeys to go on adventures, challenge their skills, learn new things, and develop an enduring love for our natural world!

As Girl Scouts of the USA points out, “when girls spend quality time outdoors and increase their exposure to nature, they thrive physically, emotionally, and intellectually.” And we’re all about helping girls thrive!

Life Skills

Consider this topic like a giant umbrella that covers a whole host of practical skills, tools, and activities that help girls grow into problem solvers and take the lead in their own lives and in their communities. It’s under this pillar that you’ll find important badge topics that help foster positive values in girls like civic engagement, community service, healthy relationships, and financial literacy, to name just a few of the broad topics addressed here.

Whether she’s a Brownie working on Making Friends or a Senior going Behind the Ballot, she’s sure to gain useful skills and the confidence she’ll need to tackle whatever hurdles life offers!


Where do girls learn to communicate with customers, devise a marketing strategy, and promote a product? For many girls their first experience running a business is the Girl Scout Cookie Program. As she goes door to door, sets up booths, and follows up with Great Aunt Judy for orders, she’s learning essential skills that will help her have the confidence and the know how to start her own business some day.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program and the related badges are where girls learn to set goals, make decisions, and manage their own money. They’re discovering what it takes to work as a team, exploring business ethics, and growing their people skills as they interact with their troop members and the general public. Those are some smart cookies!

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

Girls are amazing innovators. Seriously, they’ve been exploring, inventing, and revolutionizing things (like the English language) for generations. And when you combine their innovative skills with a desire to help others, you get the potential for some awesome scientific breakthroughs and inventions. And we want to be a part of that!

Girl Scouts continues to inspire girls to follow their curiosity as they become better problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and team players through STEM badges and activities. That’s why we introducted 23 new STEM badges last fall and why we’re adding badges on topics like cybersecurity this fall!

Want to give your daughter an awesome foundation that inspires her to become the next Sally Ride or Hedy Lammarr? Time to try some of our new badges and Journeys!

All of the pillars above come together to form one awesome Girl Scout foundation where girls can grow, learn, and have fun. So what are you waiting for? Check out our program, dive into some badges and Journeys, and start planning your Girl Scout experience now!

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