There are lots of ways that girls can give back to their community.  Here are few ideas that I have found and/or have seen other troops participating in.  Note that all of these generally fall under “community service”.  If you are looking for a “Take Action” project, remember that those projects are generally working “with” the community for a longer term outcome.  Community Service projects are generally short term and the girls are doing something “for” the community.  Several of the ideas below can grow into a Take Action project, especially if the girls take the idea and grow it into something that encourages the community to participate or is a program that educates the community toward more awareness.

1)  Local Pet Shelter.  Either volunteer at the pet shelter (they will usually give you a tour) or have the girls make pet toys for the cats and dogs at the shelter.  Simple fleece toys for the cats are perfect.  Take it a step further and make blankets or pet beds for the animals (make sure they are washable).

2)  Local Food Bank – make Birthday Bags.  Girls can collect food at anytime for the food bank, but a really fun idea for the girls to put together is the “Birthday Party in a Bag”.  Have the girls gather up the following items for each bag:  cake mix, frosting, candles, balloons, cupcake wrappers.  Then have the girls hand make birthday banners, cards, and other decorations to include in each bag.

3) Fleece blankets for Project Linus. Easy for the girls to tie knots around the blanket.  Takes some time preparing the fleece, but fun and easy for the girls to finish.  www.projectlinus.org

4) Pillowcases for the One Million Pillowcase Challenge.  A little more complicated for the girls to put together, but would be a great starter project to teach machine sewing.  Visit All People Quilt for more details.

5)  Christmas ornaments (or any holiday decoration) for the local senior center.

6)  Volunteer to read books at the Library in the children’s section on a school holiday.  Host a book drive for the local homeless shelter on the same day.

7)  Cards for military service men and women.  1) Making blank cards for our Service Men & Women to send to their families: operationwritehome.org  2) Making holiday cards with messages of support for those serving in the Military: www.operationwearehere.com

8) Bike path or Park Clean-up Days.  Participate by hosting your own day and get several Girl Scout troops to help, or find out when the community is hosting one of these days.

9) Adopt a Park.  If there is a park in your neighborhood that is need of some real TLC, this can be a great long-term project that might include garbage pick-up, bench repair, re-painting graffiti covered buildings, and maybe some planting.  Contact your local parks department before starting any work.

10) Contact your local churches for a list of people in need that could benefit from some Girl Scouts to help with gardening, washing windows, or other non-carpentry type projects.  (Of course, if you have some adults in your troop that are handy with carpentry projects, this is a great opportunity to teach the girls a very handy skill!)

Any other ideas?  Share community service ideas from your troop by leaving a comment!

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