By Meridith Orr, Program Executive
“This simple recipe for making a very little girl perform every day some slight act of kindness for somebody else is the seed from which grows the larger plant of helping the world along—the steady attitude of the older Scout. And this grows later into the great tree of organized, practical community service for the grown Scout –the ideal of every American woman today.” – definition of the Girl Scout slogan “Do a Good Turn Daily” in Scouting for Girls: Official Handbook of the Girl Scouts, 1920
As a Girl Scout explores her world, she may discover and explore issues that matter to her and her community. With the aid of a troop leader, she can reflect on this learning and either alone or with her troop sisters, take some sort of action to make a difference. This can happen in the form of a service project or a Take Action project.
Both service projects and Take Action projects help the community in different ways. A service project provides more immediate assistance, while take action projects address the root causes of issues, take longer to complete, and have a component of sustainability. For troops who want to learn more, here are some great examples of these differences as well as an interactive resource for exploring Take Action Projects.
For troops who are eager to do some good, but may still be unsure of what they want to do, here are just a few ideas to get your journey of service started. Some may lend themselves easily to a day of service, while others may inspire a longer-term commitment.
For many troops and individual Girl Scouts, animal shelters are a great go-to project. There are also other animal-centric causes and organizations worthy of consideration including rescue organizations, service animals, and wildlife sanctuaries. For example, Neuse River Golden Retriever rescue advocates responsible pet ownership, community education and protection of the breed.
Nursing homes and hospitals are always good places to give service, and they need people year-round. There are many ways to provide service and give comfort to our elderly. If you’re looking for something beyond blankets and holiday songs (which are still great ways to give time), consider music and game therapy for seniors and other people in care. Music and Memory helps seniors communicate by bringing them the songs that formed the soundtrack of their lives: Simple engagement can bring joy to seniors and help their overall wellness.
Want to get “back to basics” and help create a more sustainable world? Explore community supported agriculture (CSA). Wildwoods Farm in Chapel Hill will be opening in the spring for all ages to learn about different farming and growing techniques, as well as caring for the animals in the sanctuary.
How do you explore service opportunities with your troop? Have some good stories to share? Please share them with us in the comments!