"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." - Margaret Meade
Our founder, Juliette Low, believed that girls could and should provide service wherever it was needed, within the abilities of the girls. Girl Scouts have always been dedicated to service to their country. They served in hospitals, Red Cross sewing rooms, rolled fabric strips for bandages, raised vegetables for the war effort and sent packages to troops overseas. They taught the American way to young immigrant girls. Their service to mankind had a profound effect on the people it touched and the entire country.
Service remains an integral part of the Girl Scout way of life and every troop should do a service project with their girls yearly or more often.
Service Project Ideas:
Shelters, nursing homes, schools, day cares, hospitals, animal shelters and other agencies in your local communities need different items to serve the needs of their clients. Be sure to check with those groups first – before starting your collection drive – to determine their current needs. Below is a list of some of the most commonly needed items:
School Supplies Books / Magazines Craft Supplies
Toilet Articles Toys / Games
Stuffed Animals Non-perishable food items
Eye Glasses (Lion’s Club) Clothing
One Warm Coat
Collect warm coats for donation to local shelters. Go to www.onewarmcoat.org for instructions and to register your project.
Share Your Skills
Share a talent or skill that you have with others. Some ideas are listed below:
- Babysitting for community meetings / classes such as: Leader’s meetings, Adult ESL classes or other community events.
- Teach younger children something you have learned: games, songs, how to do a craft, camping skills, science activities, sports, etc..
- Put on a talent show, puppet show or host a theme activity for a group of young children or a local senior center.
- Make cards, placemats, tray favors, holiday decorations for VA hospital, nursing homes, Meals on Wheels, etc.
Participate in clean-up efforts in your local community or host an event of your own design. Some suggestions are listed below:
- Christiana River Clean-up or other waterway clean-up in your local area.
- Clean-up the outdoor (or indoor) area around your troop meeting place.
- Contact a city or state park in your area. Most have list of clean-up opportunities for youth groups.
- Clean-up one of your council’s camps - Country Center, DE; Grove Point, MD; Camp Todd, MD or Sandy Pines, MD. Call the council office for information about the present needs at each camp, 302-456-7150.
Developing a Service Project:
All age levels should do service.
||Identify a problem or need in your community that your girls care about and one that has components girls their age can do.
||Brainstorm ways you can help. Consider:
a. Resources needed-supplies, money, people, meeting space
b. What will it cost to implement your plan?
c. Who else can help you?
d. What permissions do you need?
e. What are the Girl Scout policies and Safety Wise guidelines?
||Make a decision on what you will do.
a. Develop a time line and a budget.
b. Ask for the help you need.
c. Gather permissions, supplies, people and materials.
||Make it happen!
||Evaluate your project
a. Did you solve a problem?
b. What did you learn?
c. Was it worth doing?
d. Did it give you an idea for your next service project?
Grade Level Tips
Daisies: Keep the project simple and one where girls can have a hands-on experience. Make cards or door hangings for a senior center or nursing home, pot flowers (real or hand made) for shut-ins, or collect gently used children’s books to donate to a hospital, pre-school or child care center.
Brownies: Animal shelters are always in need of animal toys, chew bones, collars, pet blankets and other items that their budgets may not support. By providing some of these items, girls make shelter life a little more pleasant for an animal awaiting adoption.
Juniors: This age loves interaction. Any project in cooperation with another group or individual benefits both. Consider adopting a senior, providing service at a nursing home or day care or an environmental project with a local agency or at a Girl Scout camp.
Seniors/Cadettes/Ambassadors: Individual service projects should reflect a girl’s career interests. Troop service should impact the community and have a focus on advocacy. Sponsor an after-school activity, a childcare event during the holidays for shoppers, or patch/badge workshops for younger girls as well as environmental projects like planting beach grasses, trees or renewing an old cemetery and tracing its history.
If you have a program or idea to share, please post it on the GSCB Forum.