Lifestyle & Belief

Girl Scout badges get a 21st-century reboot


Girl scouts meet gymnast Nastia Liukin at Planet Hollywood Times Square in New York City in July 2010.


Michael Loccisano

Girl Scout badges once demonstrated scouts’ proficiency in cooking, sewing and first aid. Now the Girl Scouts of the USA has released a new set of 136 badges that promote skills officials consider to be essential for 21st century life, including web design, financial literacy and local food awareness.

"This is the first major update (of badges) at every level since 1987,” Alisha Niehaus of Girl Scouts of the USA told USA Today. “We kept some favorites but added new ones that will help girls build the leadership skills they'll need for success in the 21st century."

The “Computer Fun” badge that required fourth- and fifth-graders to show they knew how to save a file and use Spell Check is no more, ABC News reports. Instead, scouts can earn “Digital Photography” and “Movie Making” badges.

Likewise, the “Fashion, Fitness and Makeup” badge has been replaced by “Science of Style,” which teaches girls about nanotechnology in fabrics and the chemistry of sunscreens, USA Today reports.

There's also a new “Science of Happiness” badge, which might come in useful for girls growing up during an economic downturn. The badge, developed in conjunction with "positive psychology" researcher Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, helps "teach girls how to find happiness in their own lives," Niehaus told USA Today.

Finally, because the younger generation expects to be able to customize everything from their ring tones to their sneakers, the Girl Scouts is also offering "Make Your Own" badges, which allow girls to explore any interest they choose.