One Service Project or Take Action Project
Service opportunities are popular activities for Girl Scouts as they live into our mission “to make the world a better place.” They keep girls active and engaged with their community.
Here are some ideas of where to look for age-appropriate service opportunities.
- Start with your Girl Scout connections. Ask other local Girl Scout troops and your Service Area community about service opportunities they’ve done. Review council and GSUSA social media posts and websites. Look at organizations already connected to our council. Review the council list of Field Trip & Travel Partners.
- Browse national websites like volunteermatch.org, greatnonprofits.org, dosomething.org, or unitedway.org, who maintain lists of volunteer opportunities. Filter by zip codes and activities appropriate for children.
- Browse community websites like municipalities (towns, counties), libraries, or school districts, locally published family activity guides, or social media forums for parents.
- Explore your own network! Have friends and family volunteered somewhere that would be a perfect fit for a troop? Do you know a member of a local civic organization? Does your employer promote volunteer activity and provide a list of family-friendly options? Do you have a favorite non-profit that could use some help?
Using the three Girl Scout processes in community service activity
Girl-Led: Help the girls decide where to go and what to do.
Cooperative Learning: Encourage the girls to work together to get the job done.
Learning by Doing: Help the girls see that they are learning the service task but also learning about the people, pets, or places they are serving.
Did you know? According to Girl Scout Voices Count member surveys, service opportunities are one of the most requested activities by girls and their caregivers.
Prepare your troop for community service outings
Contact the organization ahead of time and clarify expectations for both you and them.
- Can groups of children volunteer here and do you have suggested or required adult-to-girl ratios?
- Do you have suggestions on things to bring or not bring, or advice about appropriate attire (for weather, dress code, or safety concerns)?
- Are there any permission forms that need to be signed by parents ahead of time?
- Do you have any advice on how to prepare my girls for this service opportunity?
- Can this activity be done while following COVID-19 safety protocols?
Make sure you have signed Girl Scout activity permission slips and health history forms with you during the project. Check the Safety Activity Checkpoints for our own volunteer-girl ratios for activity outside the troop meeting space.
Remember, while Girl Scouts are encouraged to volunteer in their communities, and even donate their troop funds to help others, they are not allowed to raise funds for other organizations.
Troop Leaders are always the best judge of what a troop can do, matching the girls’ interests and maturity levels to local volunteer opportunities, but here’s some general advice.
Daisies and Brownies enjoy creating things to donate to others and then delivering them in person. Short-term time commitments are best. Examples: making cards, decorations for assisted living residents, or toys for dogs and cats.
Juniors and Cadettes love to get out of the troop meeting space and volunteer onsite at community service centers. A few hours of work and a few introductions to new people and places is energizing! Examples: collecting items for food or hygiene drives or helping at libraries or nature centers.
Seniors and Ambassadors are ready to engage their whole selves, working side by side with others. Every service opportunity is a chance to spend the day with Girl Scout friends. Older girls can use these experiences to explore future careers or hobbies. Examples: serving meals, doing yard work for seniors, and tutoring children.
Service has always been a core value in Girl Scouts. Cadette, Senior and Ambassador can proudly wear two earned awards on the front of their uniform.
Community Service Bar – marks 20 hours of service given to the community
Service to Girl Scouting Bar – marks 20 hours of service given to Girl Scouts
Include a service project as part of earning a Girl Scout badge for a fun, hands-on experience! Read through the Volunteer Toolkit (VTK) or the printed badge pamphlets to find suggestions on how to practice and share new skills through service to others.
Community service is:
- activity-focused, usually
- girls join something already in place
- girls follow someone else’s directions
Take Action projects are:
- creativity-focused, where girls assess needs and create plans
- girls create opportunities for others to serve now and in the future
- girls use leadership skills to make decisions and give directions to other volunteers