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Way back in 1973 GSUSA launched a whole new set of official Brownie uniforms - called components. There were 5 pieces that could be mixed and matched to wear into 12 different outfits; an A-line tunic, long pants, shorts, tangerine-orange rib knit top and a "perky white" blouse with brown trefoil stripes and a Peter Pan collar. Made of 65% Dacron and 35% cotton - these uniform pieces were endlessly durable, wrinkle resistant, fade resistant, soil resistant and built to last forever (except for the thin perky white blouse that faded quickly).
In 1977 GSUSA finally launched a Brownie sash to go with the components - but what was a Brownie to put on the sash?
For years prior to the launch of the 1986 Worlds to Explore program that gave us the Brownie Try-its earned recognition, GSUSA had been exploring and studying council programs that had Brownies earning unofficial recognition as well sponsoring pilot programs to see what worked.
This page explores some of the tangible remnants of the period before the Try-its.
In the 1977 Brownie B program girls earn one color-coded triangle patch that fit neatly under the new Bridge to Juniors patch that ended the 3-year Brownie B program.
Another patch, not shown here, completed the set - Junior Aide - a brown bar fitting underneath the triangles. This was earned as a Junior, helping Brownies.
These could all be worn on the Junior sash.
1973 - Brownie Pin, Brownie Friendship Pin, Yearly Membership Star and Troop Numerals.
1974 - Official GSUSA name tag is optional
The Junior Aide patch was renamed Junior Aide Award in 2000, and continues today.
1976 - the Brownie Friendship pin is dropped in favor of the WAGGGS pin
1977 - Option 1, no sash, the new Brownie B's are sewn to the uniform
1977 - Option 2, sash has troop numeral vertically on sash, optional GSUSA name tag and Brownie B's
Introduced in 1977 with the launch of the Worlds To Explore program, the Brownie B's were official and could be worn on the front of the sash.
Each pie-shaped wedge indicated 1 year of group participation in well-rounded Brownie B activities;
Be a Discoverer, Be a Ready Helper, Be a Friend-maker.
Yellow is for the 1st year
Red for the 2nd year
Blue for the third year.
In a Brownie Girl Scout's 3rd year, she was encouraged to participate in bridging activities.
The Junior Aide bar (often seen with these patches) was not earned in the Brownie level, but in the Junior level.
1978 - introduction of the three 3" Brownie B's fun patches - not for official wear, could be worn on back of the new Brownie sash.
1980 - not for official wear, back of the sash only.
1981, still not official, back of the sash only. These patches did not have words on them.
1982 - 2" square patches introduced, not for official wear, could be worn on the back of the sash. Offered in the NES catalogs
1983 - Roller Skating added.
1985 - 2" square yellow backed patches with 2 new images; Bicycling and Running. These were only offered in the NES catalog for one year. Some of these were produced on tan background too. Not for official wear.
All these patches ended in 1986 with the launch of the earned recognitions called Try-its.
Council Brownie Programs
Shown below are a few examples of Girl Scout council level programs that were for Brownies and their new sashes before the Try-its came along. Identifying the originating council and the dates is difficult, if it is known at all, because Girl Scouts tend to share things that work, and especially when neighboring councils could also benefit. Councils that are noted below may or may not be the original council. These are almost always found on the front of vintage Brownie sashes, but it is unlikely they were supposed to be.
These were sent in by Juanita Reed of Swiftwater Council, NH
These patches with wording were not offered in the NES catalog, but have the same look as the ones that were offered.
Brownie Buttons - these were 1" diameter METAL buttons. Although no sewing was involved with attaching these to the Brownie sash, the thin synthetic fabric would have been easily weighed down by the metal.
Ginger sent in a note that the 3 images she sent in came from Drifting Dunes GSC, IN.
So far 17 different designs have been noted for the Brownie Buttons.
This brief period of the Brownies after the introduction of the Brownie sash in 1977 and the introduction of the Try-it's in 1986 is sadly being lost and forgotten.Who remembers which council developed a Brownie program, gave it a name and requirements? Who knows which programs inspired the pilot programs and later became Try-its?