I couldn’t find this online all in one place except for a PDF from the San Diego council, so this is shamelessly borrowed from them. I added the graphics.
Choosing a Troop Crest
In the early days of Girl Scouting, troop crests were used to identify a troop. The rapid growth of the movement soon made numbering necessary, but troop crests were kept as a symbol of a troop’s goal or main interest. Today, troops should think carefully about the crest they choose. It should have a special meaning to them, one they can pass along to new members each year. The symbol can be used on a troop flag or to mark troop equipment. Every member should know what their crest is and what it means.
Troop crests are used by Girl Scout Brownie, Junior, Cadette, Senior and Ambassador level troops. A new crest is not chosen every year. Once chosen, a crest is used for the life of a troop. If a girl enters an established troop then she takes the crest of that troop. If an entire troop bridges to the next level and forms a new troop, they may either keep the crest from the previous level or select a new one. If part of a troop bridges and forms a new troop, they too have the same option. The girls remaining behind should keep the old crest unless the flavor of the troop has drastically changed from the time the original crest was selected. When an entire troop bridges, the troop receiving their old number is considered a new troop and selects their own crest. Troops may also choose to take their troop number with them.
The following is the meaning of the 15 troop crests:
Arrow – The arrow stands for action and moving forward, so this arrow symbol shows you hope to do a lot to change the world.
Bee – Bees symbolize hard work and industry. This symbol could show that you want to work hard and inspire others.
Bluebird – Bluebirds stand for happiness and good fortune. Choosing a bluebird crest says you want to spread good cheer wherever you go.
Carnation – The carnation was one of the first two troop crests. It stands for health and energy. Sounds like the right symbol for friends who have tons of energy to make the world a better place.
Crane – The crane stands for strength and gracefulness in China and for honor and loyalty in Japan. Choosing a crane shows you want to live with strength and grace, always remaining true to your friends and values.
Eagle – The eagle’s excellent sight helps it see important details. With this crest, show that you want to bring focus and hard work to whatever you do.
Lei – The Hawaiian lei is a symbol of friendship, love and peace. Choose it to share your wish to spread peace and goodwill in the world.
Lightning – A bolt of lightning stands for inspiration and creative power. This symbol might be chosen by a group who seeks inspiration in their own lives and hopes to inspire others.
Nautilus Shell – The nautilus grows into larger chambers throughout its life. And there’s a secret inside the shell – it’s lined with mother-of-pearl. This symbol could show that you want to keep growing and changing – on the inside and the outside.
Pansy – Pansies stand for loving thoughts and special friendships. This symbol could show the bonds you have with all your Girl Scout sisters.
Shooting Star – Shooting stars are rare, unexpected, and beautiful! Choosing this symbol shows that you are like a shooting star – a team that lights up the world.
Sun – The sun represents warmth and life, and it helps plants and trees grow strong. Choose this crest to show that you want to spread good cheer, too, and help yourselves and others grow.
Trumpet – When a trumpet sounds, it announces that you’re ready to march into action. You might choose this symbol to remind yourselves of your courage to take action to make the world a better place.
Unicorn – Unicorns are mythical creatures that are beautiful and courageous. With this symbol, you show you have the courage to spread beauty with words and actions.
Waterfall – A waterfall is always in motion – but it always looks the same! Choosing the waterfall shows you want to stay true to what you believe even though the world is always changing.
White Rose – The white rose stands for new beginnings – maybe that’s why it was one of the first two troop crests. It’s a wonderful symbol for girls who are starting out on an adventure.
Back to my own commentary: So how do you pick out your troop crest? This is just my opinion, but I think it’s more important for the girls to pick one out based on what they want the troop to embody and not just because they like the picture. If you let them pick it out according to the picture, you’ll end up with the unicorn just like every other troop out there. What we did was pull out the main idea from each crest like “new beginnings” for the White Rose and “warmth, light, and growing strong” for the Sun. They then voted on those phrases, and after coming up with the final one, we revealed the picture! Our troop crest is the Arrow.