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From sleeping in and eating cereal for dinner to working hard and taking classes at universities, summer break provides girls with some extra time for a wide variety of activities. And as Girl Scouts, summer is the perfect time to give back to the community, because unlike your girls, your community’s needs don’t get to take a break!
Whether it’s hosting a food drive to helping struggling communities or even building houses with Habitat for Humanity, Girl Scouts of all levels can engage in community service, gain leadership experience, build connections, and prepare for a future of making the world a better place. So, whatever service your girl chooses, help her see the bigger picture, and remind her that her compassionate service can one day lead to a life-changing project and higher award (maybe even a cool story for her college admission essays, too)!
The Bronze, Silver, and Gold Awards are the highest honors a Girl Scout can earn and are awarded to girls who take action to change their community through coordinate projects. Surprisingly, many girls who begin the process of earning these awards have not actually had very much in-person experience with the community issues they’re trying to solve! It’s not uncommon for girls to have participated in a donation drive or volunteered with a local organization when they were younger, but it’s rare that girls go the extra step to gain a more in-depth understanding of the community they’re serving.
With a little extra time and effort, your girl’s summer community service can easily develop into a meaningful project as she strengthens her understanding of and connection to the community, the organizations involved, and the issues they face. That’s why it’s no surprise that some of our most successful Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award projects often come from girls who discovered a passion for solving an issue through direct, hands-on community service!
And by earning these awards, girls also expand their personal knowledge of what’s going on in the community, build their critical thinking skills, and develop a stronger sense of commitment that both colleges and employers will admire. So even though girls must be a certain age in order to earn these awards, it’s never too early to encourage your girls to take action and get involved in their communities now. By laying the foundation for her passions today, your girl can take her time envisioning a project that she’s genuinely interested in and truly proud of when the time comes.
Pro Tip: Check out our webinar trainings in our Activity Finder, where girls and adults can tune in from home to learn the basics of these higher awards from GSNorCal experts.
So whatever your girls have planned this summer, have them take a break from their busy schedules, gain service hours, connect with new causes, make new friends, and most importantly, make a difference in their community. Whether your girls decide to set aside a few hours a week or a few hours a day, remind them that their service this summer can lead to a worthwhile project in the future!
Marla Feierabend—Marla, Program Director, manages Girl Scout programs with a focus on leadership and awards for 6th to 12th graders across Girl Scouts of Northern California’s 19 county service areas. Marla has a Bachelor of Science from Western Washington University and a Masters of Science in Recreation and Leisure Management from San Jose State University.