December 5, 2007

Girl Guide and Girl Scout Patch Collecting Directory

Created (first posted) on December 5, 2007

Last updated on March 23, 2011 (Weeded out links that were no longer operational and added a few new sites to the directory.)

Introduction to Patch Collecting

While there is a bounty of fun, interesting and rewarding activities that take place when you belong to Girl Guides (or Scouts), often these activities are limited to the time spent at meetings, on day trips or at camps. Patch collecting however is a Girl Guide related activity which you can enjoy around the clock (even if you're no longer, or not currently, enrolled in Guiding), which may be part of the reason behind its widespread appeal.

Anyone who has been enrolled in, or involved with, Guiding will be familiar with the badges, pins and other insignia that are awarded after completing certain programs and challenges (or that are present as part of the basic uniform). These items are the treasured rewards of our hard work and dedication to Guiding, and are usually displayed on our uniforms in one manner or another (such as on a sash or vest, for example). Patches and crests (and silks) however are not the same as earned merit badges, though in some instances (such as camp attendance or cookie selling) they are earned, they are more often items which are bought (such as at a local Guide shop) or traded for.

Patches and crests are typically small pieces of sturdy fabric backing onto which designs are stitched, embroidered, or printed (they can be virtually any shape, though circles, ovals, squares, rectangles, and diamonds are especially common shapes). The outside edges of patches and badges are often covered with a border of stitching, so as to add longevity to the life of the patch, and to give it added visual appeal.

Anything one can possibly dream up can be stitched or printed onto a patch, though when speaking of Girl Guiding and Scouting crests, commonly we see patches that are designed to represent specific geographical locations (Canadian provinces, areas, districts, and divisions; American councils, for example), events (camps, Thinking Day, commemoratives such as a milestone birthday in the history of Guiding in a specific country, etc), cookie and calendar sales, specific Guiding related locations (Guide houses, Guiding museums, World Guide Centres such as Our Cabana), and general Guiding and Scouting related topics (for example, national Girl Guides of Canada items, things related to Trefoil Guilds, and/or one's current Guiding affiliation such as being a Spark or Brownie).

The terms 'patches' and 'crests' can be used interchangeably, as they both refer to the same type of item. Patch is more common a term amongst people from the US, with crest being the preferred word amongst many Canadians. The word “badge” is sometimes used instead of patch or crest, but generally, by true (at least Canadian) Guiding definition, a badge refers to an item that was earned or awarded for something that a Guide or Scout did as part of their program.

In addition to patches and crests (and badges), there are also silks. A silk is (usually) a small square, rectangle or triangle of fairly thin silky fabric which is embroidered or screen printed with a Guiding related image (cookie selling is a common silk theme). In Canada for example, silks are produced for each province and territory. These silks feature the respective provincial flower of the province, plus the name of the province and usually a trefoil. Another common Canadian theme for silks is to have ones made up that feature the names of the provincial, national and other high ranking Guiding members (such as commissioners). A smaller number of silks compared to crests are produced annually in Canada, though that certainly doesn't stop silks from having a very loyal following of collectors, too. Silks are not strictly a Canadian occurrence; they are also produced in many other countries worldwide (I have many wonderful silks from Australia, for example).

Lots of other items related to Guiding and Scouting are also highly collectible; really anything that a person associates with their time in Guiding, or with Guiding on a broader scale, can be – and probably is – collected. Some people like to collect earned (proficiency/interest/merit) badges (that were at one point likely earned by someone other than themselves), title tapes, patrol/troupe (troop)/Six emblems, uniform stripes (eg, Patrol Leader stripes), US “hamburger” council title patches/strips, pins (these can be anything from service stars to trefoils, and our often highly sought out collectables, especially because they exist for just about every – if not all – countries that have Guiding and/or Scouting programs ), buttons (such as the type of button one might wear in support of their political candidate of choice, not per se buttons that composed the fastenings of a Guiding related uniform), postcards (featuring something relating to Guiding/Scouting), and uniforms (and/or uniform accessories like scarfs) are commonly collected items.

Though of all the items that are traded and collected by Guiding enthusiasts, it is likely patches (crests) that have the very largest following. It's easy to see why: patches are often detailed, beautiful little pieces of art work. They can be displayed (such as on a campfire blanket or camp hat) or simply collected by someone who enjoys them in the privacy of their own home. One can choose to focus on a certain type of crest (for example camp crests or US council patches) or build a more general collection. As with most hobbies, crest collecting is a personal activity with overlapping social interactions (eg, you may trade in person at a camp for crests or may arrange to swap with other collectors through the mail). It's rewarding and – if I may say so – more than a little addictive, but only in the funniest and most innocent sense of that word.

If you want to get started for the first time with a crest (or other Guiding related) collection, a good place to start (or to help your daughter start) is at your local Guide (or Scout) shop (if you do not live near a Guide shop, you can order crests and other items – such as uniforms – through the mail from a national catalog, or in some places, online). There you can usually find crests that feature your local geographical location, plus provincial and national ones too, as well as crests that relate to fun general Guiding topics (and sometimes even WAGGGS/world Guiding related crests and silks). Most new crests and silks will run you anywhere from about fifty cents to a few dollars a piece (often though, they are reasonably priced at under three dollars each).

Girls and women who are actively enrolled in Guiding may also receive patches from participating in various events, activities, and camps. Girls are sometimes also given a few crests (often featuring their local area, division or district) from their Leaders before attending a multi-unit camp (I remember this was the case when I attended SOAR '98 as a Pathfinder). In turn the girls can either save and collect these patches or trade with other campers for patches or mementos from their respective locations, thus allowing a person to build up a broader patch collection.

If you (and/or your child) want to trade patches with others from across the country (or the globe), it's very helpful to have duplicates (often simply called “dupes” or less commonly, “dups”) available that you can trade for crests/patches/silks/pins from people living in other places (of course one is not obliged to trade, though it does tend to make it much easier to collect a large volume of crests from different locations). Once you have a stock of dupes, it becomes much easier to find people who are willing (and often very delighted) to trade with you (in person or through the mail).

As Guiding and Scouting related items are popular trading and collecting pieces, a number of people have created websites (such as personal homepages and Yahoo groups) that focus on (or have a page dedicated to) this very topic. Below is a list of all the sites relating to patch and crest trading that I have located so far. Every time I find a new site, I will add it here immediately. If you happen to have/run/know of a patch trading site that’s not listed, please drop me an email and I will be very happy to add it to the list.

Wherever possible I've tried to list all sites using the names (titles) that the people who created them bestowed up on their own pages. However, in a small number of instances (namely with homepages), sites did not have a formal title or the title was simply too vague/generic (eg, “Patch Collecting”). In such cases I have named these sites myself, by taking an element from that person's page (such as their location or first name). Please, if you see your own site here and would prefer that it be listed by a different name, just contact me and I'll happily change it right away for you.

Each section of links below has been arranged in alphabetical order (with sites that begin with a numerical title preceding those with words as the start of their titles), so that you can easily search for the name of a particular site with out having to scan through the entire page as though it were a word search puzzle :)

This list was initially compiled at the end of November and start of December 2007, at that time, all of the links listed below were active. However, I know that a link can “die” as quickly as a candle flame is snuffed out, so their validity can only be vouched for at the time when they were posted. Do note though, that at least twice a year, I will do my best to go through each link on this entire website (blog) and weed out any that are no longer active.

If you would like to have your patch/crest related website listed here, please contact me via email, and I will add it (please note, no spam pages or sites that do not related to the topic of GG/GS collecting will be posted. Thanks!)

Girl Guide and Girl Scout Collecting Homepages

The following sites are the personal pages of fellow patch and badge collectors from around the world. As a general rule these sites do not sell items; they are about showcasing and/or trading patches.

Beth's Patch and Pin Trading Collection (Site features a fantastic collection of patches and pins with pictures, including the following categories: USA patches, GSUSA 90th Anniversary Patches, Canadian patches, Canadian earned badges, United Kingdom patches, United Kingdom earned badges, Australian patches, Australian earned badges, New Zealand patches, other international countries patches, international earned badges, pin collection, and scarfs and bandannas. This is site is a true must for any serious patch collector!)

Brownie Troop (Troupe) 75's Patch Page (A written list of all of the US council patches that have been collected by this Brownie group, including listings of the patches that have available to trade)

Collen's Badge Trading (An Ontario Guider's patch collecting homepage with written lists of her collected patches and pictures of the ones that she has to trade)

Debbie's Girl Scout Homepage (Features written lists of her collected and up for trades/dupes US council patches)

Girl Guides of Ontario Guiding Badges and Insignia Directory(This recently launched, absolutely stellar project from the Girl Guides of Ontario is comprised of a series of PDF documents dedicated to corralling all of the badges and insignia that have been earned by members of the GGC between 1910 and 2010 in one easy to navigate spot. It is an invaluable resource for anyone with an interest in vintage or modern GGC patches and pins.)

Girl Scout Council Patch History (A detailed, descriptive list of what many US council patches from both the past and from more recent years looked, and still/currently, look like)

Girl Scout Council Patch History (A detailed, descriptive list of what many US council patches from both the past and from more recent years looked, and still/currently, look like)

Heather and Adrine's Girl Scout Page (Includes written lists of their US council collection and available US duplicate trader patches)

Kim's Own Website (Homepage of a GS Leader with written lists of her US council and Canadian patch collections)

Kim's Patches (Site features photographs of Kim's collection of assorted Canadian crests and earned merit badges)

Laurie's Patch Trading Page (An American GS's written list of the US councils patches and international crests/silks that she's gathered including dupes)

Lisa's Girl Guide Trading Page (Though the creator of this site clearly states that she's not actively trading at the moment, this page makes for a handy visual reference for those who are interested in A/D/D crests from certain parts – such as the Okanagan – of British Columbia, as there are a few pictures of patches to be found here)

Liz's Badge Swapping Page (Homepage of an Irish GG who is currently trading the the “30th World Conference, Dublin, Ireland” patch for other crests from around the world)

Lee Ann's Canadian patch collection (A delightful, relatively new online album displaying Lee Ann's lovely collection of Canada patches. Please see this post for more details about Lee Ann's site.)

Louise's Girl Guide Memorabilia Collection (A vastly interesting and well laid out site created by a woman with a very vested interest in Canadian and international Guiding. Includes pages about her trading needs and her traders/dupes, which include a fair number of photographs covering such items as earned Canadian badges, A/D/D crests, pins, scarfs, and patrol emblems)

May's Patch Girl Scout Patch Trading Page (A cool site belonging to a woman who has completed a quilt with patches from every US GS council. Also lists the sorts of patches that she's currently collecting and what she has available to trade)

Nanook's Trading Page (An Alaskan GS trader's homepage with written lists and photographs of her US and international collections, plus her collection of dupes. As well as a very interesting pages about the history of various GSUSA related patches and pins)

Patch Trading (Troop 809) (A mother-daughter page that lists [no photos] their collection, and available dupes, of US council patches)

Patch trading tracking record PDF (A handy PDF page which you can print off and use a way of easily keeping track of who you've traded patches/crests with)

Pud's Page (A UK Brownie Leader's site featuring written lists of her UK, US, and international patch/silk collections)

Sandralee1313's Flickr Album (Featuring pictures of her US Girl Scout council patch and assorted international patch and silk collections)

Sarah's Girl Scout Patch and Pin Trading Page (Site includes written lists of her current US, Canadian, UK, and international collections of patches and pins, plus her list of patch needs)

Scout Guide Badges (A superb collection of Boy Scout and Girl Guide patches/silks/pins from Canada and some international locations, complete with photos, composed by a Scouter from British Columbia, Canada. Some items are available for sale and to trade)

Scouting Memorabilia Collecting Information (on Wikipedia)

Stormy's WAGGGS Patch trading blog (A lovely, recently founded blog from an American patch collector that details some of her trading experiences and lists the patches she has available to swap. See this post for more details about Stormy's great blog.)

Tely's index of New Zealand Scout and Guide Badges (A very useful source for pictures of Girl Guide crests and badges from NZ)

Trefoilnet (This site is rich with useful GG and GS general information, plus it features a page with a page with pictures – in PDF form – of the site creator's own Scout and Guide pin and memorabilia collection)

The Scout Patch Collector's Base Camp (A superb Boy Scout Memorabilia site chalked full of collecting resources such as articles, resources, videos, links, and trading portals. Though the focus of this site is on Boy Scouting, some areas of the site may also appeal, and apply, to those who are interested in Girl Scout/Guide collecting. In addition, the site's creator, runs a wonderfully enjoyable blog (the Blog) about his interest in Scout collecting.

The International Badgers Club (A 'by membership' group of people from around the world who enjoy swapping Scout [boy and girl] and Guide patches/badges. Features some images, particularly of UK badges)

Troop 72's Patch Trade Site (A Mississippi GS's page which includes a written list of all the US patches that she's collected, plus a description and picture of the patch that she has available for trade)

Vintage Girl Guide and Girl Scout Online Museum (A site filled with images of retro and vintage GG and GS items from around the world including such things as crests, pins, jewelry, and uniforms. A very handy reference point for those who are interested in older GS and GG items)

Sites with patches for sale

The following sites actively sell Guiding and Scouting related crests.

Boy Scout & Girl Guide Memorabilia (A seller/collector of Boy Scout, GS, and GG badges from around the world. Many items for sale)

Scout and Guide Badges (A pretty looking site featuring mostly Australian, but also some international, Guiding and Scouting badges which are for sale)

Yahoo Groups

There are a number of Yahoo groups out there that focus specifically on the subject of patch/crest trading and collecting, and they can be a great way for you to interact with fellow traders from all parts of the globe. (*Important note* Not all Yahoo groups – in general – are moderated with the same level of diligence, which means that sometimes, even on seemingly innocent and child-friendly pages such as those related to Guiding and Scouting, unscrupulous people may post links or messages related to adult themed topics. If your child is interested in joining one or more Yahoo group, please read through some of the groups posts first to ensure that that particular group is not plagued by inappropriate spam message.)

Badges for Thinking Day (To quote this site's homepage, “This group was set up in order to facilitate Girl Scouts/Girl Guides being able to earn and be awarded actual recognitions from Girl Guides/Girl Scouts in another country.”)

Cross The Council (To quote the site itself, "This is a SWAPS group solely for those interested in swapping Council Patches or Council Pins related to Girl Scout/Girl Guide badges.")

GS-GG Exchange Resource Site

GG-GS Patches

GS Patches for Sale or Trade

Girl Scout Patch Trades

Girl Scout Patch Trading

Patch Hounds

Scrapbooking and Girl Scouting

Flicker Groups

So far I've only located two Flickr groups which pertain to patch collecting, and in both cases, they tend to be of a more generic patch collecting nature, as opposed to being solely focused on GG/GS related patches.

Amazing Patches

Patch Collectors

Girl Guides and Girl Scouts on Flickr (I created and administer this group; definitely check it out if you’re on Flickr)

Lists of Canadian A/D/Ds, US Councils, and the geographical Guiding breakdowns of various other international countries

The following websites contain well compiled lists of the respective areas, divisions, and districts; councils; or other geographical divisions by which Guiding or Scouting is arranged in a given country. I have used the term “Guiding Breakdown” as a way of describing a site which lists the GG/GS geographical divisions of a given country (please not that this list definitely does not have contain a breakdown for all of the countries that belong to WAGGGS, so far I've only been able to find lists for a small percentage of such countries). In many cases a tremendous amount of work on the part of the person/people who compiled them has gone into these lists, and the entire GG/GS patch/crest collecting community is extremely fortunate to have these resources available to us.

Girl Guides of Canada Patch and Badge Directory (please note, I termed the aforementioned name as a way of describing this awesome labour of Guiding love): A written multi-part directory, listed by Canadian province/territory, of all of the camps, areas, divisions and districts; earned merit badges, and national Guiding related crests/silks that this woman has thus far encountered (plus listings of her own collections). It is a truly impressive tomb of information.

Louise's Catalogue in PDF form (Invaluable for novice and experienced collectors alike)

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