Service Projects- All Ages
1. Collect used children's books for the pediatric unit at your local
2. Collect new booties, bottles, bibs, etc to supplement another
charitable organization which helps young or underprivileged parents
provide needed layette items to newborns. Our troops do what is called
Operation Stork, it provides first time military parents with layette
The service projects that were posted all look great, I'm enjoying reading them and getting some good ideas for my SU. But, just a little reminder to all...don't forget about your local food pantry after the winter holidays are over. There is usually a great need for food items year round, especially in the late spring and through the summer when everyone forgets that there are hungry, homeless people out there year round.
Reading Joanne's post about apple pies, reminded me of more service projects...
Both are suitable for a wide age range, although I did them with 9 sixth grade juniors.
Project 1: We made apple pies, like Joanne's troop, to donate to a local hospital's auxiliary's fundraiser. We also did this on a half-day, the girls bringing lunch. We made 18 pies. We were able to use a local church's kitchen which was WONDERFUL for group cooking. Like Joanne, we were able to get the apples donated, and we purchased frozen pie shells 'on sale'. One parent had an apple peeler/corer/slicer gadget. The girls loved it, although it really could only do one apple at a time and be used by one girl at a time, so we also did a bunch of apples 'by hand'. We baked our pies (bless the four ovens in the church kitchen!), and ate one, of course! Estimated project time: 4 hours.
Project 2: Decorating cakes for Community Supper. We made sheet cakes to serve over 100. Also done on a 1/2 school day in a church's kitchen. A few girls came right from school and baked the cakes with me. 9 rectangular cakes (1 mix per rectangle), 9 smaller rectangular cakes (1 mix made 3 cakes). We used cake mixes which had been purchased on sale 2 for $1 in foil pans. The idea was for each girl to decorate one for Community
Supper and a small one (her practice one :) ) to take home with her.
I invited a woman who does cake decorating as a hobby/small business to show us how to decorate. She told me her frosting recipe & I had made the frosting beforehand. She brought her decorating equipment and showed the girls various techniques. They practiced on wax paper first, then on their cakes. Some girls really got into it and the results were quite artistic.
All were quite colorful. All together the 9 cakes for Community Supper were most impressive and best of all, since that was where Community Supper was done, we didn't have to transport the cakes anywhere. (transporting the pies --see above-- was an interesting experience, to say the least!). The decorating part of the afternoon took about 60-90 minutes. 2 adults plus our guest expert worked with 9 sixth grade girls.
This is a project the girls still talk about 3 years later!
Well, that's my 2nd post for the day!
Senior/Cadette Troop 2001
Patriots' Trail GSC (around Boston, MA)
I figured now would be a great time to share this service project with the List, especially with the Thinking Day "Service Spreads Warmth" theme for February...actually I got the project idea from the List last year.
I had sent for the video (no longer available) that My Brother's Keeper Quilt Group had put together to make sleeping bags for the homeless, or 'ugly quilts'. Does anyone remember this idea from last year? Oh well, on with the project...
I volunteered (Yes, I am another of the "I Can't Say NO Club) to take on being Service Project Coordinator for our Service Unit this year. My task was to come up with a service project that the entire unit could do---Daisy to Senior--in an afternoon. The sleeping bags for the homeless came to mind---Daisies and Brownies could 'fill' the bags, Juniors could 'tuft' the bags, Cadettes could 'sew the sides' of the bags, and Seniors could use sewing machines to make the necessary top and bottom squares for the bags. The objective in making these bags is to use recycled materials--they are supposed to be ugly so that there is no resale value to them. To obtain materials to make the bags I contacted local hotels and hospitals for sheets, mattress pads, bedspreads, and towels they were discarding. Several came through with enough 'stuff' to make hundreds of top and bottom pieces! A local 'salvage-type' store gave me a $50.00 gift certificate to use in-house, which I spent on cotton twine to sew and tuft the bags, as well as fiber-fill for stuffing the bags. One member of our team put out a call at her place of employment for men's ties (used to tie the bags shut, and for carrying straps), over two hundred were donated! And JoAnn's had a half price sale on their 'notions wall' which enabled me to purchase the necessary needles (yarn darners) inexpensively.
Two weeks before our scheduled 'servathon' day for the service unit, several women got together with me and we pre--made enough top and bottom squares to make about ten sleeping bags. We did this so that the girls could just get right into making the bags upon arrival. A corner was set up to show the video from Our Brother's Keepers Quilt Group as an orientation to the project--so that everyone would know how to make the bags by actually seeing them being made on the video. After seeing the video each group was asked what part they wanted to do in the construction. Would you believe even the youngest troop wanted to make their own bag from start to finish? And, they did!! No matter how long it took them to finish, they did it!!! I had arranged for the Massachusetts Coalition For the Homeless to distribute the bags. When I took them over just before Thanksgiving the woman who accepted them was astonished--she had never seen these before. To say that she was most appreciative, would be putting it mildly.
I had put a pad of paper out for leaders to write comments on the project as they were leaving the servathon. The girls found it, and you wouldn't believe what they wrote---how much they loved making the bags, how they felt they were doing something really important, etc. At our last Service Unit meeting, several leaders came up to me and suggested that we do this service project annually. And, other leaders who were not able to be with us on the day of the servathon have asked for, and received, pre-made squares, so that they too can make a sleeping bag with their troop. Presently, I have gotten the endorsement of my council to go Council-Wide on this--especially in light of the abundance of materials that were left over!! Our town made about a dozen bags in four hours, our council has 64 other towns in it---can you imagine the impact this would make on the homeless in the Boston area if every service unit in our council made a few bags?? As one of the scouts said about this project, "Such a small thing could be a really big thing!"
Janey Freedman, Leader Jr. Troop 3011
Patriots' Trail Girl Scout Council
The founder of the project, Flo Wheatley, may be contacted at:
Head Start Programs
Mary wrote about a service project for a Head Start program. I just wanted to put my .02 in, and urge all troops to work with a Head Start program in your area - if you are in the US there is probably one near enough to visit.
These programs, while Federally and sometimes state supported, are required to get local services or other donations as a match to receive the Federal Funds. These donations must equal at least 25% of the Federal funds, and often of the state funds as well. These donations need not be just "stuff", time counts as well.
These children enjoy being read to, having someone play with them, or talk to them, or whatever with them. There is generally no requirement for education or anything else, just an wish to share.
If you provide materials, or books or other donations, please be sure to ask to sign an "in-kind" receipt. If you provide a service, such as reading, helping in the classroom (times how ever many girls you take with you), or anything else, ask to document your time, including what you did in the classroom. Most classroom time is credited to the program at their entry level rate (at least minimum wage per hour) plus what would be paid out in benefits, such as Social Security, etc.
Service like this does not cost you anything other than time and mileage to get there, but it is priceless to the children and to the program.
If you would like some additional information, or would like the address of the program nearest you (yes, I have a listing of ALL the grantees across the country), please email me privately, either at the addy below or at my work addy, email@example.com.
The Head Start classroom in your area would love to have you.
Now I will get off my soapbox.
Senior Troop 405
GS of DuPage County Council
If I am not here accepting what I cannot change, I am out changing what I cannot accept. You notice this follows in both my work and my volunteering.
My troop has done several service projects as well. They have planted flowers around downtown as part of a city beautification.
We painted all the play equipment at the city park and the girls even came up with a theme--on part of the play equipment it had circular indentations so the girls made it look like a ship and painted the indentations to look like port holes, with fish painted in the "water".
The girls made place mats for the nursing home (117 place mats!). Now we are making table decorations for the nursing home. We have wooden boxes with the top open, they'll paint them red and green, stencil Christmas designs on the front and back and then put napkins in the top.
We have also stuffed Christmas Stockings for the local Boys and Girls Club for under privileged kids.
First Class Badge 1971 GSCAB, Junior/Cadette leader, Delegate, Apprentice
Outstanding Volunteer Award 1998, Service Unit Team Member for Programs and
We've only done basic ones:
Our Service Unit "adopted" a park this year. Every month a different troop picks up litter in the park. You can go as many times during the month as you want.
We've collected soda can pull tabs for someone to turn in for dialysis credit.
We made sit-upons for a children's museum to use during story time.
This month we "adopted" 2 families in our school district (but not at our school) and the girls used some of their cookie money to buy clothes and toys. The troop is also going to buy a ham for each family. We are asking our parents to provide food and toiletries (if they so desire)
Some troops have made up small packets of crayons and coloring pages(either coloring books or even a few pages from coloring books) for hospital and doctors waiting rooms.
* * * * *
Support Systems Analyst
Dept. of Political Science
University of Arizona
When I made the first post regarding service projects, I listed one my troop's favorites. After listening to other troops' listings of service projects, I realized we do a lot of service projects. Some of them are as follows:
1. Doing a sing-a-long with a senior resident facility, where we sing songs the residents know. Usually songs from the 1940's. The seniors usually have a time when they sing these songs on a regular basis. We just borrow the word sheets and a tape of the music and teach the girls the songs in advance. (Songs like "A Bicycle Built for Two")
2. As a Service Unit we have divided the names of the residents in a certain facility, so that each troop has 8-10 names. The troop is then responsible for sending these residents birthday cards, holiday card, thinking of you card, etc. throughout the year. We did find by trial and error that this is a lot easier when a troop was responsible for residents whose birthdays were during the same general time.
3. As Brownie GS we have sung Halloween Songs (Halloween words to either children's songs or Holiday song music) either at seniors quarters or in children's hospitals
4. We always make survival boxes with toiletries for men, women, and children for the needy in various shelters.
5. We always do Easter / Passover boxes for children who do not have.
6. This year my Cadette GS are answering a "Santa Letter" of a local needy family.
7. Valentines for Vets
8. Sleeping Bags for the Homeless
9. Food Drives
10. Clothing Drives
11. This year the Cadette GS that are working on their Marion Award, ran a gently used school clothing and new school supplies for the local agency.
12. Worked in a soup kitchen
13. Helped at various churches, etc., sorting Thanksgiving foods into family baskets to go to needy families.
14. Baby-sit at PTA meeting with adults present.
15. Prepare small coloring books from clean pages of used coloring books. These cannot go to hospitals because they are not sterile, so we give them to the children's psychiatric hospital.
16. We have cleaned and planted flowers on the school grounds, esp. where there is a memorial.
17. Collect potted plants the cemeteries throw out around the holiday time(usually Easter and Passover) and recycle them to areas that need to be beautified.
18. Watch the "Giving Tree" in our local mall. This is a collection area for toys for local children for the Holidays. (Sort of like Toys for Tots)
19. Holiday Sing-a-long / BINGO night at a local senior resident facility.
20. We also collect food for the local cupboards as a troop, a SU, and a council.
21. Coat for Kids Program
22. Support Hat, Gloves, and Mitten drives in the winter.
23. Collect books for Head Start and also for local reading literacy programs.
24. Collect needed items for the animal shelter.
25. Help take care of the animals at the shelter, by walking them and help clean them, etc.
26. I could go on and on. We basically do all of these projects every year. There are more and I will probably think of them as soon as I post this to the list. But basically my Brownie GS do the Service projects I offer, but my Cadette GS find more projects to do on a regular basis.
I for one am taking Mike up on his suggestion, so here is a summary of some service projects my troops have done this year:
Carol with the Santa float, bring cookies and hot cocoa
Collect dog food, cat food, litter and such for the local animal shelter
Collect food with the boy scouts for the PTA child welfare program
Pass out water at the mile stations for the city marathon
Make play-do for the city toy library
Make tray favors for the meals on wheels program
Collect toiletries for the food pantry
Visit the senior home and make Thanksgiving decorations, going again in
Wash and dress the CPR babies at the Red Cross, they used onesies and elastic hair bows'
Pick up trash for the local Pride Day
Make and decorate food boxes for holiday dinners
None of these ideas are new, but maybe they will get you thinking - both about service and the real purpose of this list - great idea sharing!!!!
Patty (in Ca)
We just did our 6th Annual Caroling for Canned Goods. We collect canned goods for the Olathe Churches Food Pantry. This is a service unit wide service project that we have done for the last 6 years.
The first Thursday in December the girls Christmas carol in areas that their troop chooses. About a week before the event they pass out flyers explaining what they are doing. This helps the neighbors on being prepared.
The girls go Christmas anytime between 6 to 7:30. Between 7 & 8 we have the elementary school cafeteria for them to bring their canned goods and join together for more Caroling, sharing cookies and hot chocolate. It is usually cold, but this year it was in the 60's when we caroled so some drank pop.
The food pantry coordinator arrives at 7:45 and we start loading up her van with all the canned goods. The girls really love it. Each year we order the Caroling Patch from Joycrest. Every year it has been a really cute patch. I will now have 6 of them.
Holiday Project & Humane Society
I like Mike's idea, too! This is a good time of year to think about service projects!
Service Unit: Each year our service unit has a City-Wide Caroling party. Each troop does their own caroling, choosing the places they wish to go to. Then all the troops meet at one of the schools, in the gym, for hot chocolate (you bring your own treats, if you want them - my girls always do!), games, and a service project. The service project is tray favors for Meals on Wheels and some of the nursing homes and the senior center - depending on how many are made, usually over 300!
One of the Junior troops is in charge of coordinating the tray favor project. They choose the tray favor to make and partially prepare them ahead of time. Last year we did the felt poinsettia napkin holders. The troop had all the pieces cut out so that all the girls did was put them together and put the napkin in.
Any level: We have taken on the local Humane Society and try to do something each year. At our last meeting, we made the Dog Biscuits Recipe which I got from this list! (Since they have to knead the dough and roll it out, I also used it to count for our bread baking in one of the Try-Its.) I also contacted the director of the local Humane Society and when I told her we were making the dog biscuits, she got very excited!!
I also asked her for a list of items they need. Then I sent the list home in the newsletter asking that rather than having a gift exchange, we give gifts to the Humane Society. The girls will bring the gifts to the next meeting and then our newest troop member and I will arrange for a delivery day (she is the only one who has not been there before).
I also told the girls that I will pick up the forms so that we can arrange a time later in the year where they can go and either walk dogs or groom cats. (The Humane Society requires that a form be filled out before any minor can walk the dogs.) They were very excited about that. Hopefully we can continue to expand on the things they can do there. Our first year, we just visited the building and saw all the animals. Last year, they were allowed to play with the kittens and the puppies - thereby exercising them!
Brownie leader, member of Nyoda GSC, South Dakota
Our community service project will be a "tree lighting" ceremony. Actually, no tree is lit (for long) but it is decorated in eco-friendly and animal friendly ways. We do open it to the whole community. As this is the first year our troop has actually been able to attend, I am looking forward to it. Last year, there were boxes for our cosmetic collection, donated to the shelter for battered women (and children) in Baltimore City. [We are in a rural, fairly well to do, area of Maryland and there are no shelters in our area.] This year, we will collect outerwear (sweaters, coats, mittens, etc.) for the same shelter.
Our troop donated around 300 pounds of cosmetics, last year. I have one van and expect other parents to agree to help with their van, to be donated to the shelter the next day. It was the highlight of the holiday season, last year. With the unseasonable warm weather in Maryland, I hope this coming weekend will help all of my troop members find the holiday spirit.
Happy Holidays to all in all faiths!
Bj, leader, Cadette Troop 1441
Our Chalet, July, '99
Ask me about fundraisers!
Landscaping & Gift of Caring
We did a nice service project as a SU last year. A Cadette and Junior (mine) troop planned and guided the project. We landscaped a community center that our SU meets at for SU meetings. They first met with a local landscaper who helped decide what areas to concentrate on first and what type of plants, trees, etc would work best and where. They then devised a plan. With the list in hand of all the materials needed, they contacted each troop in our SU and asked for donation or time to fulfill the needs. There was also a hand- out telling about the project. We also had a leader in our SU who loved to collect wild plants and the girls were welcomed to her house to help dig up some of her contributions. They learned a lot about wild flowers and foliage that day.
The big day came to dig up and plant all the new plants, flowers, trees, etc. The SU decided we would donate from our funds a big White Pine the local landscaper was giving any troop a great discount if they purchased through them. A lot of troop donated ex: Daisies from Daisies, Black Eyed Susans from Brownies. We tried to have low maintenance flowers and color too. Some troops just brought a flat of annuals. Each troop was given an area to plant according to donation. The outcome was beautiful! We had the whole front of the community center looking beautiful with plants, trees, flowering shrubs, the big White Pine and a wildflower area underneath a group of trees.
When the director returned from vacation (she was away during the planting process) she was so amazed at what we had done. She thought it would probably be a few flowers here and there. Surprise it looked very nice almost professional with help from our good friend the landscaper. The compliments are still being heard today, as the girls were brilliant in their selections to have color all year round.
We plan to add a few more things this year from our SU to finish the project.
It was a great experience for all that participated.
A quick note...I just finished fall product yesterday and SU cookie kick-off was today! The phone won't stop ringing until...maybe May!!! Our council is doing something neat with cookies this year...The Gift of Caring with cookies. The idea is to offer the customer a chance to purchase cookies for an organization in which the girls will use their choice of cookies. The idea is to use the Gift of Caring cookies to help fulfill the case ordering and help an organization in our area. Our cookie moms thought the idea was great!
I'm not positive of the outcome, but I will let you know how it works in the field in Feb. when cookie orders are turned in! I love the concept!
Cadette and Brownie Leader, Su Treasurer, SU Fall Product and Cookie Manager,
Recruiter and more.