This question comes up often. And there's a reason why. As there are 4 pillars for the girl Scout badges, many of the badges underneath each pillar may seem similar or overlap. With Outdoors for example, you'll find hiking a part of a few different badges - Hiker and Outdoor Adventurer - to name two.
But what happens when the steps to complete a badge are very similar and could be combined? Is this allowed? What do leaders say?
Almost all leaders will advise against "double dipping" when it comes to badge requirements. There are many reasons why double dipping Brownie badge requirements is frowned upon. Here are just a few.
1) It reinforces the skill, idea or concept
It is common knowledge that we learn best when we experience something over and over and over again. This is why we practice our math facts, piano, or sports drills over and over. It helps us absorb the material.
I like to think of similar or duplicate steps as reinforcing an idea. Yes, you may have to do something more than once. Yes, it does make completing a badge take longer. But through repetition, you reinforce whatever skill or concept you're trying to teach. And that's a very important part of Girl Scouts.
2) It teaches fairness
Fairness is important and it's important to teach early on in life. We all have experience the phrase "It's not fair! So and so got more than me" or "How come I didn't get to go to x, y and z but so and so did." Kids understand fairness. And having set requirements for a badge that must be completed is something they will understand.
The official stance of the Girl Scouts of the USA is double dipping of badge requirements is not allowed. I would consider this a rule and following the rules is fair (as we teach in the Fair Play badges).
3) It's all about the Girl Scout experience!
Have fun. Do more. Experience more. There are different takeaways each girl will experience with every activity. Just because you want on a hike last month, doesn't mean they won't learn something new this month. That's what so great about Girl Scouts. It forces us to do things and learn things that we typically wouldn't come across or learn. So soak it in. Go for that extra hike or activity. And try to look for a new angle or learning from it!