Signs, Songs, Handshake, and More

Over time, any organization is going to develop a few common signals that everyone understands. Such is the case with Girl Scouts, which has developed a few unique ways to greet, acknowledge, and communicate, some of which are listed here.

Girl Scout Sign

The idea of the sign came from the days of chivalry, when armed knights greeted friendly knights by raising the right hand, palm open, as a sign of friendship. To give the sign, raise the three middle fingers of the right hand palm forward and shoulder high (the three extended fingers represent the three parts of the Girl Scout Promise). Girls give the sign when they:

  • Say the Promise or Law.
  • Are welcomed into Girl Scouts at an investiture ceremony that welcomes new members.
  • Receive an award, patch, pin, or other recognition.
  • Greet other Girl Scouts and Girl Guides.
  • Girl Scout Handshake

    The handshake is a more formal way of greeting other Girl Scouts, and is also an appropriate way to receive an award. Shake left hands and give the Girl Scout Sign with your right hand.

    Quiet Sign

    The quiet sign can be extremely useful to you as a volunteer, so teach it to girls during your first meeting. Raise your right hand high with an open palm. As girls in the troop see the sign, they stop talking and also raise their hands. Once everyone is silent, the meeting can begin.

    Girl Scout Slogan and Motto

    The Girl Scout slogan is, “Do a good turn daily.” The Girl Scout motto is, “Be prepared.”


    Whether singing around a campfire or joining a chorus of voices on the Mall in Washington, D.C., Girl Scouts have always enjoyed the fun and fellowship of music. In fact, the first Girl Scout Song Book, a collection of songs put together by girl members, was published in 1925.

    Songs can be used to open or close meetings, enhance ceremonies, lighten a load while hiking, or share a special moment with other Girl Scouts. For tips on choosing and leading songs, go to http://www.girlscouts.org/program/gs_central/activity_ideas/songleading.asp. A variety of songbooks are also available for purchase. Check out http://shop.gshom.org/ or visit the GSUSA online shop.