Girl Scouts make a difference every day – but there is one day a year when we get together with other difference makers around the nation and do something fun and unique for our community. On October 28, volunteers from across the country will participate in Make A Difference Day, one of the largest annual single-days of service nationwide. Since 1992, volunteers and communities have come together on Make A Difference Day with a single purpose: to improve the lives of others.
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There are so many ways Girl Scouts can make a difference in their community: whether it’s a small project or a large project, every second girls spend thinking and acting for others makes a difference. Here are some ideas to get you started on a fun fall service project:
Treat first responders or medical professionals to something tasty
Have each girl in your troop bake treats and deliver them as a troop to first responders or medical professionals. It will surely brighten their days – and fill their tummies.
Visit a nursing home
Partner with a local nursing home and brainstorm with the activities director on what types of projects your troop can do. It might be an afternoon of playing games, singing with the residents or doing a craft project.
Hold optimistic signs on a street corner
Set aside some time at your next troop meeting for a little crafting session. Have your girls design signs with quick pick-me-up phrases like, “Honk if you are happy” or “I hope our smiles made a difference”. My troop did this one weekend and I was blown away at the response we got. People were yelling out their windows at us thanking us for the signs. People were honking at us and waving. It was one of the best hours I’ve ever spent with my Girl Scouts. And the girls loved it too. They saw the impact they can have to affect people’s moods with one simple act.
Perform a random act of kindness
Drop quarters off to someone at a laundromat, pay for someone’s ice cream at the local ice cream shop, help shoppers carry their groceries to their car. It’s little acts like this that make a big difference in people’s lives.
Volunteer at a Food Bank
Most food banks offer volunteer hours and will allow girls of all ages to spend a couple of hours conducting a variety of jobs around their warehouse. The girls will have a great time working together while learning about the food bank and giving back to a great cause.
Write cards to residents at a nursing home
Everyone loves getting mail – especially when it’s unexpected. Partner with a local nursing home and have your troop make cards for all seasons and holidays that they can hand out to the residents who may not get a lot of mail or visitors. It’s a small gesture that goes a long way.
Make a Difference Day is a great opportunity for the girls to think and act like philanthropists. The girls should think about who they want to help and how they want to make a difference. Next, they should reach out to leaders within that organization to see what type of project they can do for Make a Difference Day. While it’s great for Girl Scouts to show up and want to help, it’s even better to plan ahead!
If you and your girls need inspiration or ideas on what types of activities to do for Make a Difference Day, visit www.makeadifferenceday.org to see what other groups have done around the country. And don’t forget to post photos from your activity on the website afterwards. Everyone deserves kudos for a job well done!
What to do next:
- Check out this blog post from our friends at Girl Scouts River Valleys, where they share fun fall service project ideas!
- Have some older girls in your troop? Learn more about how community service can serve as inspiration for some of Girl Scouts’ highest awards.
- Did you know that organizations like Youth Service America will provide your girls with funding for their service projects? It’s true! Check out YSA’s website to find out about available grant opportunities.
Angela Borchert—Angela just completed her seventh year as a Girl Scout leader in Vacaville/Travis Air Force Base service unit. She leads Juniors and Cadettes and loves the wide range of activities and interests that both groups have and the challenges they provide her along the way. Girl Scouts have helped her embrace glue guns and dirt while taking her on her first kayaking adventure. She’s been camping more times in the past five years than she has in her entire life thanks to Girl Scouts!