Planning a community service project with your Service Unit can be daunting. You have enough to do at home and at work. Add to that the commitment to your troop, not to mention your service unit, and you already have too much on your plate. The first thing you need to do is put someone else in charge. Youth Strong is here to help. We’ve made it easy to complete a Community Service project with your Girl Scout* Service Unit.
Youth Strong also has opportunities for Service Units to receive a $500 award for their completed service project. Find out more.
Recruiting a Project Mentor
Don’t be afraid to look outside your Service Unit team. They are probably stretched thin also. Here are some ideas:
- Leaders with older girls — and older kids in general — may have more time once they are not chauffeuring full time after school.
- Newer leaders such as Daisy* and Brownie* leaders may not be working outside the home. When ready to return to work, the community service experience will help build their resume.
- Call up some of your alumnae. After their girls age out of the program, leaders often want to stay involved.
- Check with your graduated Girl Scouts* who are going to collage locally. They may need (or want) to lead in a community service event.
- Local professionals, business owners, educators and youth ministers can benefit from mentoring your group. Beside the emotional reward, there are many opportunities to increase business, increase membership or add to their resume.
Choose an Interest Area
It’s always a good idea to have a project mentor who is knowledgeable in the interest area. You may want to choose the interest area based on your mentor’s experience. Of course, you can always choose an interest area first and then find a suitable mentor but that will limit your pool of candidates.
Review the program outlines and vote on one of the five sections. You can make this a fun challenge by using one of the ideas from the Trailhead website. Once decided, you now have five levels of activities for your group.
Generally, Seniors and Ambassadors will be project Delegates. More mature Cadettes can also fill this role. You can have one Delegate or multiple Delegates on the same project. The responsibilities include planning, organizing and funding the project. Delegates are responsible for recruiting Advocates to assist them.
You’ll notice that the Delegate Patch Programs have suggested prerequisites to prepare them for that level. However, most older Girl Scouts have the experience needed to complete the responsibilities and most high school aged girls will have the knowledge they need for the chosen program area. Delegates also work along side the other girls so any gaps can be filled during that time.
Note: A Delegate will probably be fulfilling the requirements for multiple patches during the project. At the completion, you can award a Delegate any or all of these patches as well as the Delegate pin.
That’s right. Now it’s time to let go and turn your Service Unit project over to the Mentor and Delegates. Forward this blog to them and go back to your busy schedule.
Choose Patch Program Levels for Your Community Service Project
The Youth Strong levels are based on ability and time available not necessarily age. This allows the troops in your Service Unit — or individuals — to choose their level of involvement. Delegates should start by recruiting Advocates to help with this stage of the project.
Often, Advocates will be high school aged. However, Cadettes, Juniors and even younger girls can be Advocates for their community service program. Advocates recruit volunteers and promote their cause within the community.
The Advocate Patch Programs also have suggested prerequisites. Most experienced Girl Scouts will have the experience needed to fulfill the requirements for their community service project. Advocates can choose to work along side volunteers and also earn those patches at the completion of a project.
Volunteers can be anyone in a mixed level troop. This level is especially suitable for Juniors. However, older girls with excessive school or family commitments will appreciate an opportunity to participate without the commitment required for higher levels. Depending on the project, Brownies and Daises can also be Volunteers. The Volunteer level also gives parents and other community members an opportunity to participate in a worthwhile project. Volunteers choose to commit to a one-time project or can commit to additional hours of volunteering.
The Friend level focuses on learning and introducing younger Girl Scouts* to community service. Usually, project participation is limited to a single event. Daisies and Brownies can also begin to learn to advocate by inviting a friend or family member to participate with them.
- Helping Hands
This level was especially created by Youth Strong for Girl Scout* volunteers with younger children. Preschoolers want to participate and be one of the “big kids”. The Helping Hands level allows them this opportunity including earning a special patch of their own. To make it even easier, our partner site MakingFriends.com has developed a Badge in a Bag Program® to keep tag-alongs busy during meetings.
Your Service Unit is on it’s Way to Success!
Each of Youth Strong’s patch programs educates and guides the participants to a successful project. Become a Youth Strong member and get access to all program material from pre-meeting downloads to award certificates. Charter membership is free.
So get out there and
Do good things.
*Live Youth Strong is committed to enhancing the Girl Scout program by providing leaders programs and support. LiveYouthStrong.com is is not affiliated with, endorsed by or a licensee of Girl Scouts of the USA.