Girl Guards

Sponsor: Salvation Army

Also known as:

  • Life Saving Guards

  • Life Saving Girl Guards

  • Salvation Army Girl Guards


The Life-Saving Guards started in England in 1915, as female version of the Life Saving Scouts and were patterned on the hugely popular Boy Scout & Girl Guide movements that had started only a few years before.

In 1916 the Salvation Army Life Saving Guards program began in the USA.

The terms "Life Saving Guards" and "Life Saving Girl Guards" appears to have been used interchangeably during the early years. 

Some time later, the name was changed to the Girl Guards, and continues today. Girl Guards are 11 - 13 year old girls. Younger girls are called  Sunbeams ( 6 -10 years old) and 14 & older are called Senior Guards. The actual age limits varied over the years.

 Life Saving Girl Guards were required to own and wear their uniform once they completed the Beginner requirements. The uniforms were very similar to other girl programs of the time, including the Girl Scouts.

This page is divided into 3 sections; early era, middle era, and modern era.

This early era "brass star" is a Beginner's Badge (membership pin), and shows the four points of the Life Saving Guards: Guarding the Soul (the lamp), Guarding  the Mind (the eye), Guarding the Body (the clubs - representing physical exercise), Guarding of Others (the center - a patrol of Life-Saving Guards). The open book at the top of the Star is the Bible, reminding Life-Saving Guards the importance of God in their lives. The pin was designed to look like a life-preserver and a rope around the edge.

This brass banner says "To Save And To Serve", the motto of the Life Saving Guard. This banner indicated being a First Class Life-Saving Guard. It was worn directly under the brass star.

1934 cloth version of the Beginner's badge and the First Class badge

Just one year prior to starting up in the USA, England was starting their program. This article lists the complete uniform. The title of the article says "Life Saving Girl Guards"

This one-piece version of the Beginner's Badge and First Class Badge is thought to be British

Early Life-Saving Guard in uniform, noted in the handbook as being forest green khaki. Note the emblem on the hat, this girl is a First Class Life-Saving Guard.

Life Saving Guards Brass Belt Buckle

Middle Era

Sometime in the late 1930's (after 1938) or early 1940's the program was renamed simply  Girl Guards - dropping the "Life Saving" part.

The uniform was updated, a new handbook was issued and the membership pin & patch was redesigned. 

Senior Patrols (older Girl Guards) continued to  special badges that only they could earn - Aviatrix, Civics, Automobiling are examples.

The membership pin was now a silver metal pin with the words "Girl Guards" in the center and the motto around the life preserver.

The four points of the Girl Guards changed a bit with the new pin: Guarding of Others (the lamp), Guarding  the Mind (the eye), Guarding the Body (the clubs - representing physical exercise), Guarding the Soul Bible at the top of the Star.

Early handbooks are undated, but this one is from what I call the "Middle Era of Girl Guards"

A fine looking group of uniformed Girl Guards found online - but I can't re-find it to give it due credit - sorry!

The Girl Guard Pledge:

I promise to the best of my ability:

    To fear God and serve Him.

    To give my strength and sympathy to the weak and suffering.

    To be loyal to my country.

    To be true to the Girl Guard  Declaration.

General's Guard medal, the highest rank possible for a Girl Guard. This one dates from 1972.

Started in 1927 - the design is unknown.

The first four badges are from 1972 and made of reinforced felt. The final badge, far left, is a Senior Patrol level badge - on a silk-like fabric, date unknown.

Fourfold Proficiency - a black felt circle with red embroidery. A Girl Guard was to earn each letter - this example is complete.

 O = Outdoor Accidents

I = Indoor Accidents

H = Home Nursing

C = Child Care

A-KHI-KO-KA award is a camping award program that can be earned yearly. Feather pins are added.

Salvation Army Test Badge                    Flower Study Badge                                   Cooking Badge                                       Ceramics Badge                                      Camping Badge   

Modern Era

Like all youth programs that survive beyond a few years, the Girl Guards

updated their program regularly. This "Modern Era" started around 1980 - the new handbook is dated 1983 and may be the date of the change.

Their badges changed to round badges with embroidered edges. The edges are color-coded to group themes.

Collar or hat insignia

Robin Hood Pin

Gold, silver and bronze Palm Awards

Decorative Girl Guard Pin

Evangeline Booth Leadership  Award

The Girl Guards continues today...


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