Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Taking Action and Community Service

What is the Difference Between Taking Action and Community Service?


I've attended a great variety of Girl Scout Award and Bridging events in our local Associations since the end of April.   Each of them has been special in its own way and each of the girls has inspired us with projects that show what girls can do. THANK YOU to all of our girls and Troops who have worked to make the world better place while earning the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.  Each of these awards are the symbol of the work that you have done and that work is more than a symbol -- it is proof of your own courage, confidence and character.  Hooray for all of our girls who have reached these milestones!

Lynbrook Girl Scouts Dedicate Juliette Gordon Low Park
In recent years the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, requires that each Girl Scout Bronze, Silver and Gold Award included not just community service, but most importantly, that girls step up and Take Action. 

Take Action projects go beyond working in a soup kitchen, collecting toiletries, food or pet supplies. Take Action Projects are designed to look at the root cause of a problem—like why people are hungry or homeless or why pets are in shelters. Once the root cause is known, educate yourself and others about those issues.  Once the real problem is better understood, girls then establish a team with another individual or with an organization, and look for ways to eliminate the problem.  Maybe the solution is to change a law, or maybe it is even harder ... maybe people need to be educated and have their minds changed.  Take Action Projects all require a way to keep the project going -- make it sustainable beyond the time that the girl is working on her award, and into the foreseeable future.  
 

Girls can tackle hard problems in their own school yards, such as the Illinois Brownies who were worried about the air quality in their neighborhood, and who went on to measure the air around their school for toxins. They then established a garden with plants and trees to measurably improve the quality of the air.  As the garden grows, the air in their neighborhood will improve.  


Community Service v. Take Action Chart by GSWISE
A problem doesn’t have to just be in a girl’s local neighborhood, she can tackle problems around the world as well. In Arizona, a high school girl developed her project, "The Power of Poo." She worked with a team to go to an African village to help the young people there build a very inexpensive and simple methane ecodigester -- a device that converts animal poo into methane gas. The methane gas can then power a camp stove, which can provide heat, light and the means to purify water and cook food. Imagine how the lives of that village changed when they got clean water!



So as you are enjoying the summer, consider some of the issues facing your neighborhood and the groups and/or organizations that you know who deal with issues that you think are important.  Think about our Long Island communities, our state, our region, our country and beyond.  What can a girl do to make the world a better place?  Breathe, think, and get ready to START your own Take Action project!






If you are looking for some more resources on the Girl Scout Awards, try Girl Scouts of Nassau County's Girl Scout Awards webpages. From this page you can click through to the area for your age group, and there are additional resources at the bottom of the Bronze, Silver and Gold Award pages. 

Visit GSUSA's Interactive Map, to see what other Girl Scouts are doing for their Take Action Projects. Once you complete your project, it too can be submitted.   

Take Action Girl Scouts!







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