The earliest Guides worked on 21 efficiency badges outlined in Baden-Powell’s Pamphlet’s A & B. With the publication of the first official handbook for Guides, a Guide in 1912 had a choice of 27 different proficiency badges, as outlined in How Girls Can Help to Build Up the Empire. Today, Guides can choose from 84 interest badges in 8 different program areas, with the requirements found in their program book, Guides on the Go.
While times have changed, the badges of 103 years ago and today are more closely related then one might think. Guiding has always worked hard to ensure that our badges and programs are relevant and age-appropriate. When reading the badge requirements below, please remember that Guides in 1912 were aged 12-18, and Officers (Guiders) also earned these badges!
Ambulance (First Aid in 1909)
Show position of seam arteries, principal bones and organs, but not by their Latin names. Diagnose fractures. Show how to stop bleeding from arteries and veins. Improvise splints and padding of splints. Bind fractured limb (selected) and head, and tie reef knots. Improvise stretcher. Use triangular bandage. How to treat persons in two of following accidents: choking, burns, poison, grit in the eye, concussion, sprains, bruises. Simple laws of sanitation, health, ventilation. How to treat fits. Improvise poultices (i.e., bread, bran, oatmeal, onions). Guides holding St John’s or Red Cross Ambulance certificate can wear first-aid badge for Girl Guides without trying for above test.
Today’s Guides learn about the role and limitations of a first aider, how to get help in an emergency, checking ABCs, keeping a patient comfortable, dangers of infection, contents of first aid kits, rescue breathing, and how to treat a nosebleed as part of their First Aid Badge; and basic first aid, including treatment for choking, bleeding, nosebleeds, bruises, simple burns, sunburn, frostbite, and sprains as part of the Learn About Safety section of the program.
Draw or paint in oils or water colours from nature; or model in clay; or carve in wood; or repousse metal.
Today’s Guides create art based on a dream, mold an object our of clay, paper mache, soap, wax, plaster, wood, etc., experiment with colour, create prints, design packaging, decorate a mural, set up an art gallery, and learn about a famous artist as part of their Art Production Badge.They can explore woodcarving and creating 3-D art as part of the Creative Crafts Badge.
Boatswain (Sailor in 1909)
Fling a coil of rope on to a post. Be able to tie 8 knots, blindfolded, and bring a Turk’s-head made. Row a boat single-handed and with others, or punt with a pole, or scull it over the stern. Steer a boat rowed by others. Bring the boat properly alongside and make it fast. Swim 50 yards. State direction by stars or sun. Box the compass. Know various flags, as selected.
Today’s Guides can learn about small watercraft and safe boating practices as part of the Boat Safety Badge; canoeing techniques and safety as part of the Canoe Safety Badge; and how to operate a sailboat as part of the Sailing Badge.
Child Nurse (Nurse in 1909)
PRACTICAL: Must have had charge of children by herself, on signed statement; OR should understand care of children, elementary instruction, know three kindergarten games, and describe treatment of simple ailments. Able to make poultices and do patching and darning. Know how to test bath heat and use of thermometer
Guides now make a babysitter’s tip booklet, create a safety card game, learn about age characteristics, choose suitable toys for children under 3, put together an activity box, read or write stories, observe a younger child and make a flyer for a babysitting business to earn their Child Care Badge.
Show good handwriting and hand-printing, and punctuation. Ability to use typewriting matchine or write in shorthand from dictation at twenty words a minute as minimum. Ability to write a letter from memory on the subject given verbally five minutes previously. Knowledge of simple bookkeeping and arithmetic.
Today a Guide learns how to write and place an advertisement, write and type a business letter, take a telephone message, send email, use an online directory, prepare and distribute a flyer, write a short news story, design a newsletter, a code system (i.e. semaphore, Braille, signal flags, phonetic alphabet, international road signs, distress signals, referees signals), and makes a collage about communication to earn her Business Communications Badge.
Must know how to wash up, wait at table, light a fire, carve properly, lay a table for four, and hand plates and dishes correctly to people at table. Make a cook-place with a few bricks or logs, and bring certificate of ability to cook the following dishes, out or indoors: Irish stew, vegetables, omelet, rice pudding, or any dish which the examiner considers equivalent; pluck a bird and truss it, or skin and clean a rabbit; make tea, coffee, or cocoa; mix dough and bake bread in oven, or damper or twist and brown meat at a camp fire; and state approximate cost of each dish.
Modern Guides plan menus for three days, prepare a shopping list for, prepare and clean up after a two-course meal (including a hot main dish), cook a breakfast dish and a vegetarian meal, create a healthy fast food restaurant, learn about different diets, cook a traditional dish from another country, and make a poster, cards or skit about kitchen accidents and food hygiene to earn their Kitchen Creations Badge.
A Guide must sign a certificate that she owns a bicycle in good working order, which she is willing to use in the King’s service if called upon at any time in case of emergency. She must be able to ride her bicycle satisfactorily and repair punctures, etc. She must be able to read a map and repeat correctly a verbal message an hour after receiving it. On ceasing to own a bicycle the Guide must hand back her badge
A Guide in 2015 needs to have use of a properly equipped bicycle, know the value and laws around helmets, demonstrate safe riding, know road and weather hazards, explain traffic signs and rules, show how to maintain their bicycle, plan a bicycle trip and map out a route, find out about community events promoting bicycle safety and discover careers associated with cycling to earn their Cycling Badge.
The Guide must have a practical knowledge of dairy work; how to make butter and cheese, and be able to milk a cow. State how to feed, kill and truss poultry, or have a knowledge of beekeeping and extracting honey
Today’s Guides help with land work, look after a farm animal, or visit a farm and learn about seasonal activities, identify different breeds of animals, identify crops, describe how farm products are marketed, know the role of machinery, know about different types of farming, create a song or story about farm life, and learn about the roles women have played in farming to earn their Farming Badge.
Simple battery, fusing, connection of bells and telephones. Understand rescue and resuscitation. Non-conducting substances and insulation
Today a Guide learns about different types of engineering, simple machines, and engineering tools (such as circuits, batteries, voltmeters), does hands-on activities (about magnetism, chemical reactions, electricity, synthetic materials, etc.), builds a bridge or other object showing engineering principles, does a circle check of a vehicle, and builds a structure that will hold a weighted cup to earn the Engineering Badge.
Knowledge of how to give the alarm of fire; use of extinguishers; joining up hose; use of shutes; improvising ropes; how to hold jumping mats; bucket-passing, full and empty; dragging insensible person (may be shown with any load).
Guides of today understand the elements, causes, types and dangers of fire, learn about types of extinguishers and putting out fires, know what to do to prevent fires, if a fire starts, if clothing catches on fire, and how to get help, explain the importance of fire escape plans and smoke detectors, learn how to become a firefighter, know how to sound an alarm and the steps to take to help the authorities, and be aware of the dangers of panic and how to prevent it in order to earn their Fire Safety Badge.
A Guide must know the names of a dozen plants pointed out. Be able to dig a trench not less than 12 feet long. Understand what is meant by pruning, grafting, and manuring. Plant and grow successfully six kinds of vegetables or flowers from seeds or cuttings. Understand flower-growing and making up bouquets.
To earn their Gardening Badge, Guides now plant and cultivate a garden, window box or planter for a seasons, growing at least five kinds of flowers or vegetables, describe the soil they are using and how it can be improved, know how to protect plants, show the flowers or vegetables they have grown, learn about plant-related careers, make a landscape design of a garden, hold a unit plant show, and make stepping stones or other decorative structure for a garden.
Pass tests in knowledge of air currents, weather lore. Must have made an aeroplane to fly 25 yards (or have a certificate for driving an aeroplane), and some knowledge of engines.
Guides now describe different types of aircraft, identify parts of an aircraft, learn about separation of aircraft, windsocks, runway numbers, and why airplanes land into the wind, visit an airport, aerospace museum or planetarium, build paper airplanes, model gliders and a kit, and host a kite-flying event to earn their Aeronautics Badge.
To perform selected exercises in Ju-jitsu and Swedish and double tensing; jump at least 3 feet high and 3 feet long, or be able to vault a bar; climb an upright pole or rope, 15 feet (unless any of above objected to by doctor); and show ability to instruct.
Today, the Fitness Fun Badge asks girls to add more fitness to their daily routine, log their fitness activities for three weeks, create a warm-up routine, learn about proper stretching, take part in vigorous activity, do strengthening exercises, try a new fitness activity and set fitness goals. To earn the Sport Badge girls take part in a sport for a season, know the rules and signals, discuss fair play, competition and why they like the sport, learn about safety and safety equipment, learn about female athletes, look at the changing roles of women in sport, and write a team cheer.
A Guide must be able to ride and drive a horse, understand harness, and putting on saddle, how to tether and hobble, and when to give food and drink. State lighting-up time.
A Guide now helps to water, feed, groom, saddle and ride a horse OR help to water, feed, groom, harness, yoke and drive a horse-drawn sleigh, understands feeding and care of horses, keeps stables and tack clean and tidy, knows the signs of poor condition, practices tact and common sense in handling, know the safety regulations for riding and what to do to control the horse, and takes part in a ride or visit a horseshow to earn their Horse Power Badge.
A Guide must be able to carry on a simple conversation, write a simple letter on a subject given by examiner, read and translate a passage from a book or newspaper, in Esperanto or any other language that is not that of her own country.
To earn their Interpreting Badge, Guides now identify languages spoken in different countries or cultures, learn phrases in a language other than their own, learn to sign the alphabet and basic words, perform a skit or order a meal, translate song lyrics, write a poem, play a game and put on a humorous skit – all in a language other than their own.
Satisfy examiners with a blouse and a stiff shirt front washed, starched, and ironed by herself.
As part of the Life Skills Badge, Guides learn about garment care label symbols and help with the family laundry.
PRACTICAL: To have kept house and done cooking, written down accounts by herself satisfactorily, on parents’ statement during a week; OR THEORETICAL: Storekeeping: State what articles (the least) should be in readiness for cleaning, and cooking, and food. LINEN: Say how much linen is required for so many patients. State what articles. ACCOUNTS: Describe method of bookkeeping. Show knowledge of rule of three arithmetic. CLEANING: Method of cleaning pans, brasses, and steel; polished furniture or boards.
Guides today learn about the care and use of appliances, hand tools, and electric tools, help with weekly chores, garbage and recycling separation, and laundry, learn how to write a cheque and fill out deposit and withdrawl slips, and tackle a related activity of their own choice to earn their Life Skills Badge.
A Guide must be able to play a musical instrument correctly. Either to read simple piano music, such as accompaniment at sight OR to play properly any kind of flute, and sing a song.
In the Music Fan Badge, Guides make an instrument and use it to accompany a song and produce a musical evening with their unit. To earn the Singing Badge, Guides sing a song in a round, sing different types of songs, hold a karaoke party, plan a sing-along with an audience, plan a Teen Idol party, lead younger girls in a singalong, learn about the career of a Canadian singer, and put together their own singing group.
Naturalist (Stalking in 1909)
A Guide must have taken a series of twenty photographs or wild animals or birds from life; OR, must make a collection of sixty species of wildflowers, ferns, or grasses, dried and mounted in a book and correctly named. Must track a bicycle or other vehicle over a mile, or track a “hare” with beans or paper. Make coloured drawings of twenty flowers, ferns or grasses, or twelve sketches from life of animals and birds; or be able to name sixty different kinds of animals, insects, reptiles, or birds in a museum or zoological garden, or from unnamed coloured plates, and give particulars of the lives, habits, appearance, and markings of twenty of them.
Today’s Guides learn about plant and animal life in a chosen location, find out about and be able to identify three mammals or birds, invertebrates, and plants, learn more about one living creature, note the seasonal changes in their chosen location, play Kim’s game, learn about cover, camouflage and wind direction, and show how to move quietly through undergrowth and long grass, and solve a tracking story or play a wide game to earn their Naturalist Badge.
Needlewoman (Tailor in 1909)
Guides should, as a rule, make their own skirts and knickers, and hospital clothing for patients. Bring two garments made and cut out entirely by herself; and sew on hooks and eyes and buttons. Make a buttonhole, and bring examples of darning and patching.
As part of the Needlework Skills Badge, Guides learn how to sew on a button, pin and stitch a hem, repair a piece of clothing and use a sewing machine. The Fashion Badge asks girls to find out about past fashion trends and design their own, donate outgrown clothing, use a sewing machine, hold a fashion show, discuss current fashions, plan a replacement wardrobe, and learn about traditional dress around the world.
Pathfinder (Local Guide in 1909)
Know every lane and bypath and short cut at least one mile round, and five miles general knowledge. Know general direction of the principal towns for twenty-five miles round headquarters’ room, and be able to give strangers guidance. Know how many livery stables, corn merchants, bakers, or butchers within about a mile. Name where to find police, doctors, hospital, telegraph or telephone, or fire station, or turncocks, or blacksmith, as selected. Describe estimate of how many public buildings, schools, halls, etc. are capable of being turned into hospitals. Estimate probable number of patients they would hold, without entering or asking. Bring written history of the place and old buildings, under three hundred words, or make a large scale map of the place.
As part of the Streetwise Badge, Guides draw a map of their local community noting potential hazards and places to get help, and learn how to read a street map and give directions. The Provincial Heritage Badge and Heritage Badge ask girls to visit historic sites, museums or buildings in their community. In the Discover your Community section of the program, Guides create a pamphlet, map, model, collage or poster about their community.
A Guide must satisfy examiners in – Measuring heights of tower, chimney, spire, or tree, width of river or field, by system given. Fell a nine-inch tree to the required direction, or chop firewood neatly. Build small model bridge by herself for crossing river, or else bring a wooden stool, or bracket, or box with lid, of her own making. Build a hut of one kind or another suitable for three occupants; OR make a camp kitchen for thirty people.
Guides now develop their camping skills through the Camp Out, Basic Camper, and Experienced Camper Badges. They learn about using a camp stove, dressing for the weather, using a compass, trail signs, knots and gadgets, and how to put up a tent as part of the Explore the Outdoors and Nature section of the program.
Pass tests in judging distances, 300 and 600 yards. Miniature rifle shooting, any position. N.R.A. target, 20 rounds at 15 or 25 yards. 80 out of 100.
While shooting is not found anywhere within the Guide Program, the Northwest Territories offers a challenge, Safety Around Firearms, that girls can earn.
Sick Nurse (Nursing Sister in 1909)
Questions on thermometers, room and clinical. Ventilation, sanitation, warming. Prevention of infection, antiseptics. Show lifting patient in blanket and poles. Show changing helpless patient’s sheets. Show narrow or broad roller bandaging. Show fracture boards. Show improvised bed rest or cradles. Show how to remove clothes in cases of fracture, burning, or fits. Questions on dressing wounds and fomentations. Questions on method of feeding helpless patients, and symptoms to know, and the care of, various chief ailments, such as measles or scarlet fever, bronchitis or small-pox. Show making beef-tea, gruel, or poultices, OR, describe method of dealing with an accident from sewer, gas, electricity, ice breaking, or runaway horses.
Today’s Guides may not learn about nursing or caring for the sick, but they do learn first aid, how to deal with emergencies, and about personal safety through the First Aid, Fire Safety, and Streetwise Badges, and the Learn About Safety section of the program. Guides can also learn about eating a balanced diet, food groups, how to read food labels, the importance of different nutrients, and community programs through the Healthy Eating Badge. Part of the Body Works Badge has Guides learn about the workings of the human body, interview a medical worker, complete a health-related service project, and learn to take their own pulse.
Pass tests in both sending and receiving Semaphore and Morse signalling by flag. Not fewer than twenty-four letters per minute. At least six messages (preferably spelt backwards). (Two points deducted for every letter omitted.) Read and give signals by sound, or make correct smoke and flame signals with a fire. Show method of signalling with the staff.
Guides now learn about different methods of communication through the Business Communications and Interpreting, as well as the Build Skills in Communication section of the program, which explores listening skills, non-verbal communication, good communication style, and communicating through the arts..
Unless certified unfit by doctor – Swim fifty yards in clothes, skirt, and boots. Demonstrate diving, artificial respiration, flinging a life-line, flinging a lifebuoy, saving the drowning.
Today’s Swimming Badge includes learning about water, boating and ice safety, throwing a life line, rescue breathing, performing a standing dive, swimming 150 metres using different strokes, make a standing stride entry into deep water, floating or treading water, and demonstrating the HELP and Huddle positions.
Elementary electricity; able to read and send Morse Code.
Technology has changed over time and today’s girls use computers as part of their daily lives. The Computer Skills Badge teaches girls about internet safety and rules, uses for computers, careers, parts of a computer, using word processing and other programs, building a webpage and exploring web sites and games.