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.

The Early Years:

Life-Saving Girl Guards help with the "War Gardens" of World War I.

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

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 emblems


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.

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


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

Camping was a traditional part of the Girl Guards - read the last paragraph as to why man is needed at a girls' camp.



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.

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.


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.

Felt Girl Guard emblem


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


current design


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


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, these two examples are from the 1972 handbook.

The badges became more colorful. There is no indication that the color of the badge had a specific meaning to the program.


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

Collar or hat insignia

Gold, silver and bronze Palm Awards

Robin Hood Pin

Evangeline Booth Leadership Award

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

Leadership badge

Silver = Present and Future

A charming pin