In order for girl scouts to earn patches, they must complete the necessary steps for each patch. Each patch has different items that must be completed in order to say that the activity was done to satisfaction.
With the Girl Scouts, there are patches that are earned based on what level of scout the girl is. These levels are Daisy Petals and Leaves, Girl Scout Brownie and Ambassador. Within each level, the girl is expected to complete the requirements to move up. Only through earning patches is a Girl Scout able to advance in the program. From time to time, there may be special patches that can be earned by the Girl Scout depending upon what the scout leader deems appropriate and is approved by the council.
Patches often teach a life lesson along with helping the girl to grow into a woman. For example, a patch may be given to girls who go to outdoor activities and locations that are located throughout their home state. They may have to visit a campground, spend the night at a campground, go to a historical area or otherwise sight see within their home state. Only after completing every aspect of the patch can the girl be awarded the patch.
In most cases, patches are awarded to girls at the end of the scouting year in a ceremony. It is a time for the girl to be proud of what she has done and to advance to the next level.