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Helping the World Along, One Project at a Time

March 14, 2016

Service Projects Girl Scouts

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.

Animals

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.

People

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.

Environment

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! 

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6 Ways to Get Outside

March 7, 2016

Get Outside with Girl Scouts!

By Nephitearya “Clove” Bailey, Camp Director, Camp Graham

When we think of being in the “great” out-of-doors, the first things that come to mind are camping and long nature hikes. With the hustle and bustle of school, work, family and extra-curricular commitments during the week, many families reserve outdoor activities for the weekend. However, no matter the day or season, there are simple ways to get your family outside and enjoying nature. In honor of Get Outside, part of our Girl Scout Spirit Week, here are 6 simple ideas to help get you going:

Eat Outside

Have a picnic dinner local park or even in your own backyard. As you eat, take notice of the sights and sounds around you.

Go on an Adventure

Create a treasure hunt or neighborhood scavenger hunt. Bury an object somewhere in your yard and create a map to follow or create clues to lead you on a journey around the neighborhood.

Stargaze

Spread a blanket in your yard and look at the moon, stars and the night sky or take a night walk around your neighborhood. Flashlights or glow sticks can make an ordinary stroll extraordinary!

Get Artsy

Make nature crafts or outdoor art. From sidewalk chalk drawings to building a fairy house out of materials found in your yard, or creating stick figures (instructions below) there are tons of outdoor craft ideas.

Stick Figure Instructions:

  1. Clean a fallen branch or stick and remove any loose bark.
  2. Give your stick a base coat of white acrylic paint.
  3. When dry, paint your creature. You can even add yarn to give it hair or a tail!

Get Dirty

Do some outdoor service in your neighborhood or a local park. You can pick up trash or plant wildflowers or bulbs in a common area. You can also do some beautification in your own yard planting flowers, pulling weeds or planting a small vegetable garden.

Play Outside

Construct a loose parts free play area in your yard using materials such as hula hoops, jump ropes, bubbles, puppets, sidewalk chalk, cardboard boxes, clay, pots/pans/plastic containers, water hose, bug boxes, tarps, gardening tool, sticks, rocks- anything that can be moved!

Being in the out-of-doors does not mean you have to be in the woods. Just about anything you normally do indoors, can be taken outside. Challenge yourself to get you and your family outside experiencing nature at least once per week. Whatever you choose to do, just go outside!

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