There are lots of fun ways to get your troop involved in making the world a better place, and community service is a perfect way for girls to dig their hands into the issues that concern them the most in their own neighborhoods. It’s also a natural bridge when they start thinking about Take Action projects for their Journey, or when they decide to go for the Highest Awards. Plus, participating in community service projects as a troop can strengthen the bonds between the girls and bring them closer together. A win-win for everyone involved!
Let’s look at some ideas on how you can get girls at each program level involved in community service:
Daisy and Brownie
Never underestimate the power of our youngest Girl Scouts! There may be limits to what Daisies and Brownies can do physically at this age, but their hearts are big and they are ready to help where needed. Some activities include making cards for veteran’s the elderly or hospice patients. They might decorate bags or make placemats for meals on wheels, food kitchens or other agencies. Girls this age might love helping animals by blankets or toys for dogs and cats at the Arizona Humane Society or other animal shelters.
One Daisy troop learned valuable lessons by making birthday-in-a-bag kits for a local food shelf. The girls filled gift bags with party supplies including cake mix, frosting, balloons, party hats, and more! Giving birthday celebrations to kids in need helped the girls understand their world at an age-appropriate level.
Junior and Cadette
In upper elementary and middle school, Juniors and Cadettes have more volunteer options available to them, and they are ready for more hands-on work. Packing meals at places like Feed My Starving Children, or serving as ushers for events at a community theater are awesome activities for this age group. How about collecting food for an emergency food pantry in your area? Does your local nature center need help with trail projects or collecting seeds? Is there a community program at your library that could use youth helpers?
Senior and Ambassador
In high school, Seniors and Ambassadors are ready to hit the ground running as they volunteer to work for change. They now have the tools to plan and coordinate their own community service projects, like organizing a warm coat drive for a homeless shelter or helping elderly neighbors with yardwork. Older girls are also able to help make and serve meals at many shelters and food kitchens. Don’t forget to pass the torch by having older girls volunteer to teach younger girls a skill or help them with a project!
Ideas for All Ages
Many hands make light work, and there are a variety of volunteer needs that work for groups of all ages:
- Assemble hygiene kits to share with a women’s shelter
- Sing songs or organize a game night at a senior center or retirement home
- Help remove invasive species at your local nature center or state park
- Collect art supplies to share with a local children’s hospital
- Send holiday cards to military troops overseas
Be sure to check out our list of Volunteer Agencies for and Community Service Ideas. You can also visit your local schools, community centers, and places of worship to find more ways to change your world.
Most importantly: Ask the girls what they think about volunteering in the community and be ready to take notes! Chances are, as girls of courage, confidence, and character on a mission to change their world, they will come up with a lot of good ideas.
Adapted from GS River Valleys Council.