As the leader of an older troop of girls, I do look for the older Interest Project requirements to see if these are something that my girls might be interested in. The only problem with earning these badges is that they are very hard to find.
Photo by Hannah Gold
You can ask in different Facebook groups, like I did when we earned our Cake Decorating Cadette IP (and I will write about that experience!). I only needed four, so it was not too difficult. But if you are fortunate to have a larger troop, then there might be an issue.
While editing some older posts, I checked out links that may or may not be working. One of them led me to the Girl Scouts of the Northerwestern Great Lakes, which a few years ago had a ton of discontinued Junior badges. While a few are still available, there are many older IP’s that leaders can purchase.
The only downside is that they are costly, as there are limited quantities of each. The store knows the treasures that it has and is selling them at a higher price.
If you are a Girl Scout leader who wants her girls to earn some of the older discontinued badges, here are some strategies for finding them.
Back in 2008, the Girl Scouts of America decided to change their program and how girls earned their badges. The Girl Scout Journeys program was introduced, and there were very mixed reviews from leaders. Many found the Journeys to be too much like school work with all of the reading and writing requirements. There were fewer opportunities for girls to do hands-on activities like with badge work. Girls love to do things, especially after a long day at school sitting at a desk.
Leaders who managed to successfully do a Journey with their troop put in a lot of hours revamping the materials. It was a lot of additional time and effort that they did not have to do with the old program.
While there are badges available for the girls to earn with the new badge program, there are significantly fewer choices. Many Girl Scout leaders like myself still want the hands on approach of the old program, as well as the kinds of badges the girls could earn. The problem is that the Girl Scout badges are now discontinued. No matter what age they are, girls love to wear their badges! They are a source of pride and show off their accomplishments. No leader wants their troop to do all of the work of earning a Brownie Try It or a Junior badge, only to have nothing to show for it.
There are ways to find discontinued Girl Scout badges. Here is how I have done it.
Different Ways to Find Discontinued Girl Scout Badges
Before you start your search for discontinued badges, you will first need to plan out your year. There is no sense in buying badges and then not having time to earn them. Brownie Try It badges can be earned in one meeting, as you only need to do four activities, whereas Junior and older scouts will need more time to earn them because there are more active requirements. Figure out how many meetings you have over the course of the year and then start your search for the old badges.
Once you have a plan, the first place to look is on different Council websites. They are selling their inventory, many times at a big discount. I personally bought my discontinued Junior badges for 70 cents each, and one place I purchased them for a quarter!
Another way to find extra badges, especially if you only need one or two, is to send an email out to your fellow leaders or ask at your next Service Unit meeting. I have received such requests in the past.
Craig’s List is a third option for finding discontinued badges. You can save on shipping since it is a local exchange.
Girl Scout forums are another source for leaders helping each other. Post your request and see if someone has one they can sell to you.
Last, there is always Ebay. You will find the greatest selection there and if someone has their own seller store, you can combine the items to save on shipping.
A New Way for Leaders to Find What They Are Looking For!
Leaders Helping Other Leaders
I have recently discovered a brand new way to find discontinued badges and fun patches. There are several private Facebook groups that leaders have founded to help each other sell or swap the hard to find and out of stock badges that we are in search of. The great thing about these groups is that they are not price gouging each other.
While eBay is an open market place and there are plenty of badges for sale, the women who sell on these groups are just looking to recoup their costs or make a few bucks on some clearance items they have found. Most badges sell for a dollar plus a stamp, whereas on an auction site, they sell for several dollars plus shipping charges.
Girl Scout Badge Books
These books are no longer the regular Girl Scout program, but leaders across the country are still using them. They offer some wonderful opportunities for girls to earn badges that are not a part of the new badge program. Not everything old is a bad thing, and with the strategies I have outlined in this article, you should be able to find what you are looking for.
My troop earned all of their Junior badges using the old program.
Discontinued Brownie Try Its
My troop managed to complete eighteen Brownie Try Its in two years. When I learned that the Try It badges would be discontinued during our second year, I ordered all that I needed for my ten girls. When a new student to our school decided to join my troop, I found that I was short one Try It for each badge activity I had planned to do. While it worked out that at least one girl missed a meeting each time we earned a badge, when I had everyone present, I had to find a new one. Ebay was the place I found my missing badges!
Buy Them All at Once and Save!
As the leader, you have to use your troop dues wisely. I decided to buy all of my troop’s badges at once and pay for the shipping just one time. If a girl misses a meeting and I am stuck with a badge, it is a small price to pay compared to buying the badges as they are earned. You will have to pay several dollars to ship, but a discontinued badge can cost as little as 70 cents.
Discontinued Junior Girl Scout Badges
Junior Girl Scouts need to complete six activities for each badge they earn. Because it is more time consuming, girls cannot earn as many badges during troop meetings. The Girl Scouts encourage Juniors and older scouts to be more independent and earn badges on topics that interest them.
My younger daughter loves to craft. Over the summer, she wanted to earn the Yarn and Fabric Junior badge. She completed the six requirements, but I had a hard time finding this particular badge on Council websites because it had been a popular one. I went to eBay and found it for sale from several different sellers. She proudly wears it on her vest, and to date, no one else in the troop has earned this Junior badge.
As time goes by, the Brownie Try Its and Junior Girl Scout badges are getting harder and harder to find. But, in the Girl Scout forums and Facebook pages I read, leaders still wish to do the old program. The feeling is that many valuable badges are no longer available for girls to earn, and the choices now are slim pickings. Just one glance at the old Brownie and Junior Badge books shows you the plethora of choices that were once available.
There are still Council websites that have these badges available. If you are planning on continuing your role as a leader, it may be wise to look ahead to summer and fall, see what is of interest to your girls and what is available at Council shops, and buy accordingly.
Here are links to Council shops that still have badges and Try Its. Prices do vary, so do your homework if you wish to buy them. Some are as low as 25 cents and others are over one dollar.