A Year's Worth of Service Projects for Girl Scout Troops of All Ages
There are many Girl Scout community service projects that you can do all year long. During late November and the month of December, there is a huge push for charitable donations. With Thanksgiving and Christmas, people are in need of a holiday meal and gifts for the children. There are also many places that have winter coat drives so that underprivileged children have something warm to wear during the cold weather months.
Even businesses do their major giving during this six week time frame so they can get their tax deductions for the fiscal year.
The truth is, that even though it is wonderful to give during this time of year, there are needs during the other ten months. Your Girl Scout troop can help fulfill these needs and do community service projects all year long.
The most important thing you have to do as a Girl Scout leader is organize the project. It will be your job to locate an organization and find out what it's needs are. This needs to be done one or two months before you embark on the community service project, as you will have to let the girls' parents know what you will be doing. If your girls are younger, they will need adult help collecting items.
If your Girl Scout troop is collecting items for a community service project, then you, as the leader, have to make up a flyer that the girls' parents can download, print, and distribute.
Here are some ideas for Girl Scout community service projects. They will go in order of the school year.
By Gentry George, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Not enough ideas on the internet for you? This highly rated book is full of projects that children of all ages can do.
One community service project your Girl Scout troop can do in September is to collect school supplies for needy children. As the troop leader, over the summer you can ask your school's principal if there are families in need in your school. If that is too close to home, ask if another principal in the district has some families who need school supplies.
Your troop can either fill backpacks with basic school supplies or donate bags of supplies that the principal can give out to those children who need it.
Another idea is to hold a gently used book drive. You can donate these books to an underprivileged school, to a homeless shelter, or to a children's hospital.
Halloween is a festive and fun holiday that many children celebrate. However, it is disheartening to go trick-or-treating without a costume. As a Girl Scout community service project, your troop can collect outgrown Halloween costumes and donate them to a school or organization in need.
You can create a flyer for the girls to run off and send via email or leave in their neighbors' mailboxes. Have a pick-up time to leave the costumes on the porch and your girls will collect them.
Do Good Together
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In November we honor our veterans on Veteran's Day. Your girls can make cards for soldiers in Veteran's hospitals and send or deliver them in person.
Another community service project that your troop can do is to send care packages to our soldiers overseas. There is always someone who knows of a soldier who could use support from home. There might also be an organization in your town whose mission is to send out care packages to our soldiers overseas. Find out items that the soldiers need most and get a collection for them to send out on your troop's behalf.
To get into the spirit of the holiday season, your Girl Scout troop can do many community service projects. There are always families in need who cannot give their children presents and a special dinner for Christmas. See where there is a community Christmas tree and pick a family to adopt. Or you can go to a local shelter and donate toys to the children living there. Newspapers also list families who have needs. Your local churches and synagogues will also know of families who have financial needs at this time of year.
Most people have outgrown or unused coats hanging in their closets. Hold a winter glove and hat drive, or ask for gently used coats to be donated to a shelter.
Be Creative With Your Giving
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In your Girl Scout troop there are bound to be many animal lovers. Why not donate some time at a local shelter as a project? Call one up and ask what items they need and see if the girls have any to give from around their house. There is always a need for old towels, paper towels, and cleaning supplies.
My troop earned their Bronze Award in the spring of 2014. We collected hundreds of items and made dozens of toys for the animals that resided in the no kill shelter. I am proud to share that there was no room in the entranceway and the staff was amazed at what my girls had accomplished.
With Valentine's Day occurring this month, why not make Valentine's and deliver them to a nursing home as your Girl Scout troop's service project? Bake or buy some heart shaped cookies, sing a few songs, play a few games and brighten up the day of people who can use some cheering up.
Teach Them to Give
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One community service project my Girl Scout troop has participated in is donating shoe boxes of toiletries to homeless children. The girls cover a shoebox in a brown paper grocery bag and fill it with toiletries and some goodies a little girl or boy would love to have. At our meeting we decorated the box with markers and stickers. Then we delivered it to the organization collecting the boxes so they can distribute them to the children.
April is a great time to have a canned and boxed food drive. Food pantries need food year round, and being several months away from the winter holiday season, their shelves are even more bare. People will be willing to give since it has probably been a few months since there was a food drive. My troop did this for the Girl Scout 100th birthday back in 2012, and we collected of 2,200 cans and boxes to donate to a local food pantry.
One favorite Girl Scout warm weather project is to plant flowers in the spring. With the principal's permission, plant flowers around the girl's school.
Most troops do not meet in the summer months of June, July, and August. As the leader, you can use this time off to investigate other needs in your community for your troop to participate in during the next school year.