Cadettes and Seniors are often referred to as the 'older girls' of Girl Scouting.
Who can be a Cadette or Senior Girl Scout?
Cadette Girl Scouts are girls who are aged 11-14, or who are in sixth to ninth grades. Senior Girl Scouts are girls who are aged 14 to 17, or who are in ninth to twelfth grades. Girl Scouting in the US is open to all girls, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or disability.
Cadette and Senior Uniforms and Insignia
The uniforms for Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts are blue and khaki. While uniforms are not required for Girl Scouts, many girls prefer to have at least a sash or vest for their badges and insignia. Additional uniform components include a skirt, pants, shorts, a T-shirt, blouses, and hat.
All Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts wear the Girl Scout Pin, which they receive at their investiture ceremony if they are new to Girl Scouting, or at an earlier ceremony if they were previously Junior Girl Scouts. The World Association Pin is worn directly above the Girl Scout Pin.
Over their years as Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts, girls may earn 'Interest Project Patches', badges which are worn on the front of the vest or sash. Cadettes and Seniors can also earn pins for leadership, service, and career exploration that are also worn on the front of the vest or sash. Girls may receive patches for participating in various events, such as a food drive or a skating party. These patches are unofficial, and are worn on the back of the sash or vest.
What do Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts do?
Along with their younger sisters in Girl Scouting, Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts participate in many activities common to every level of Girl Scouting. The main differences lie in the considerably increased expectations and responsibilities for the girls.
Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts earn Interest Project Patches on topics ranging from 'Car Sense' to 'Graphic Communications' to 'Outdoor Survival'.
Cadettes and Seniors have progressed in outdoor exploration to the point where they may embark on week-long primitive camping trips, utilising 'Leave No Trace' principles, or they may prefer kayaking, rafting, canoeing, and sailing trips.
Exploration of the arts in Cadette and Senior Girl Scouting might include writing and performing a play for the community or completing an apprenticeship with a local artist.
Service projects are one major emphasis of Cadette and Senior Girl Scouting, with the girls planning and embarking on projects that will have lasting impacts on their communities.
And, of course, Cadettes and Seniors may also participate in traditional Girl Scout activities such as selling Girl Scout cookies and volunteering their first aid skills in the community.
Exploring the World, Inside and Out
Many Cadette and Senior Girl Scout activities have a dual focus of self-exploration and exploring the world. Career investigation is another strong focus, and is often accompanied by meeting inspiring women role models. Older Girl Scouts often develop a mentorship relationship with a supportive adult, and career shadowing is a common activity. Wider Opportunities is a nationwide and international program for Cadette and Senior Girl Scouts, and many of their events have a career exploration focus. One group of girls might spend a week exploring careers in advertising in New York, while another spends a week working with marine biologists in Alaska. International Wider Opportunities may include cultural exchanges with girls from other WAGGGS countries or events at one of the World Centres.
The Silver and Gold Awards
The Silver Award is the highest award that can be earned by Cadette Girl Scouts. The Silver Award has several progressive steps, all of which prepare the girl to design and conduct a Silver Award project. The requirements for the Silver Award include:
- earning three Interest Project Patches related to the Silver Award project,
- earning the 'From Dreams to Reality' Patch, the Cadette Girl Scout career exploration award,
- earning either the Cadette Leadership Pin or the Leadership Interest Project Patch
- completing the Cadette Challenge, which focuses on in-depth self-exploration and service to both Girl Scouting and the community, and
- planning and completion of the Silver Award Project, an intensive community service project which must involve at least 30 hours of service.
The Gold Award is the highest award that can be earned by Senior Girl Scouts. Like the Silver Award, the Gold Award has several progressive steps, all of which prepare the girl to design and conduct a Gold Award project. The requirements for the Gold Award include:
- earning four Interest Project Patches related to the Gold Award project,
- earning the Senior 'Career Exploration' Pin,
- earning the Senior Leadership Pin,
- completing the Senior Challenge, which focuses on in-depth self- exploration and service to both Girl Scouting and the community, and
- planning and completion of the Gold Award Project, an intensive community service project which must involve at least 50 hours of service.
A girl must present a proposal and receive approval from the Council for her Gold Award project before beginning work. To be accepted a Gold Award project generally needs to meet an established need in the community and serve the outside community beyond Girl Scouting. And while Silver Award projects are often completed in groups, a girl must take the initiative in planning and directing a project for approval as a Gold Award project.
Gold Awards are often presented to the girls in regional or statewide ceremonies, often with state officials such as the governor in attendance. Special college and university scholarships are also available to girls who have received the Gold Award.
Bridging to Adult Girl Scouting
During their last year in high school, Senior Girl Scouts can earn the 'Bridge to Adult Girl Scouts' Pin by completing special activities that introduce them to the world of volunteering in Girl Scouts as an adult. Many girls choose to continue their involvement in Girl Scouting while attending a university or college by joining a Campus Girl Scout group.