Girl Guards - Salvation Army

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

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.


1934 cloth emblems

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.


examples of Life-Saving Guard badges from 1934

Dressmaker Badge - this badge was issued to a girl in the USA, although the actual badge was made in England

Salvation Army Test badge

Cooking badge

Dairymaid badge

Life-Saving Guard uniform button

Life-Saving Guard belt buckle

This all-in-one metal badge is likely from England's program


    Sometime in the late 1930's or early 1940's the program was renamed the Girl Guards. The uniform was updated, a new handbook was issued and the membership pin was redesigned.  Senior Girl Guards had special badges that only they could earn - Aviatrix, Civics, Automobiling are examples.



Felt Girl Guard emblem


Girl Guard c. 1950, uniform was grey with maroon cuffs and collar

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

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.


A fund raiser for the Girl Guard troops - Milk Chocolates, with the Girl Guard pledge, symbol and uniform on the box.


1962 San Antonio Express

A later box with a more modern uniform

felt Salvation Army Test badge

felt Timbrelist badge

felt Bugler badge

felt Cooking badge

silk Aviatrix (later Aviation) badge

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

General's Guard medal, the highest rank possible for a Girl Guard. Started in 1927 of unknown design, this one dates from 1972.


modern General's Guard award

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

This photo of Girl Guards and Sunbeams is dated 1968

Around the 1970's the program went through a modernization. Uniforms were updated, badges were more colorful. These two examples are from the 1972 handbook. This is no indication that the color of the badge meant anything.

silk Salvation Army Test badge


silk Cooking badge


silk Flower Study badge


silk Camper badge


silk Ceramics badge


1972 Handbook

Beginner's Badge (top), Second Class badge (middle), First Class badge (bottom)

Girl Guards & Sunbeams patch 1976

Girl Guard Handbook 1983

Girl Guard Sash

Girl Guard flag


Examples of 1983 Girl Guard badges

The Salvation Army badge

Yellow = People


Dramatics badge

Blue = Arts and Skills


Safety First - First Aid badge

Pink = Health and Happiness

Pathfinding badge

Green = Nature

Growing A Leader badge

Tan = Personal Growth

Silver = (not shown) Present and Future


Early Handbook, when they were still called the Life-Saving Guards


1972 Handbook

Girl Guard Handbook 1983