Home > Personal Finance > Girl Scouts Unveil New Badges for Good Credit & Finance Achievements

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The Girl Scout badge has always been a sort of social barometer. There was 1913’s “matron housekeeper,” which encouraged a working knowledge of housecleaning and meat market prices. The “signaller” honor of 1920 fostered an understanding of Semaphore and Morse Code. And what of these less-than-halcyon days of consumer debt and economic crisis? Why, a badge for “Good Credit,” of course, as well as those for other personal finance achievements such as “Money Manager,” “Budgeting,” and “Financing My Future.”

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“Girls really want to feel financially independent,” says Michelle Tompkins, a Girl Scouts USA spokeswoman. “The effect of money on every level—it’s something so prevalent right now in families, in society.”

The finance-oriented badges are among 136 unveiled in the Girl Scouts’ first badge redesign in 25 years, the result of a years-long process in which scouts themselves laid out a list of skills they would like to learn. While badges for financial prudence might seem particularly topical, Tompkins sees them as an extension of an ethos that has been in place since the 100-year-old organization began its cookie sales in the 1920’s.

[Related Article: Junior Achievement: Teaching Kids About Money and Entrepreneurship]

“We’ve always had girls getting hands on business experience,” she says. Sound money management skills are a prerequisite for business and leadership success—aims Girl Scouts USA has always encouraged, according to Tompkins.

Good Credit Badge © Girl Scouts USA

To earn badges, girls must complete a five-step process to demonstrate a basic proficiency in the respective topic. Tasks are grounded in the real world. For an “Ambassador”-level 11th or 12th grade scout to earn the “Good Credit” badge, for example, she may meet with a loan officer at a bank to learn about relevant issues. After learning about credit reports and credit scores, girls make “a commitment” about how they will use credit throughout their life, Tompkins says. Likewise, for middle school-aged scouts to earn the “Financing my Dream,” badge, they must plot out the kind of life they wish to lead—job? home? philanthropy?—and determine the salary they would need to tie those things together.

Collectively, the new badges amount to a K-12 financial literacy educational program that isn’t necessarily reflected in traditional school curriculums, Tompkins says. Now, the Girl Scouts are focused on looking for volunteers, such as those with financial management experience, who might assist the organization. Check out www.girlscouts.org for more info.

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Image: juverna, via Flickr.com

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  • Laura

    This is one of the most ridiculous things that I have heard of. If you want to teach girls (aka developing young women) about finance and independence teach them why debt is dumb & a crutch that should be avoided. Financial Freedom comes when you don’t have to be a slave to your lender & their terms. Freedom comes when you see something you want, you save & pay cash for it, then you outright own it.

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  • RMEGRL

    How realistic is it to believe that more than one of these girls are going to achieve financial freedom? How often do you see the average person buy a car or house with cash? It is very likely that these girls are going to need a loan for something so it is important for them to understand credit and how to use it wisely. The badge requirements do not show the girls how to go out and get a credit card. The badge is about financial literacy. I think that maybe they could have come up with a better name for the badge!!!

    • Aaron

      The only way to get good credit is to borrow…this is so stupid. I hope they don’t have to earn the “I’m deeply in debt” or the “Bankruptcy” badge as well.

      The borrower is slave to the lender.

      Dumb.

      BTW – the average person is broke, so why be normal? Let’s not teach our youth about credit. Teach them about budgeting instead….and living on less than you make. How about a friggin’ savings badge?

      This irritates me to no end.

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