Let's face it, there are a lot of problems in the world--in our own communities. We see them everyday, and while we may have some idea of how to fix them, most of us just tell ourselves it's a crazy world and there is no real way to fix everything.
When a Girl Scout sees a problem she thinks differently, because through Girl Scout programming she's prepared to identify problems, explore her community, build a team and plan and execute her "Take Action" project. These are all steps along the way to earning the Girl Scout Silver Award. The Silver Award is the highest honor a Cadette can earn, and gives girls a chance to show they are a leader who is organized, determined and dedicated to improving their community.
The award requires approximately 50 hours to be completed. That's a lot! But if she's the kind of G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader)™ who is ready for a challenge then she can do it--so can you!
Follow the steps Girl Scouts take to earn their Silver Award to solve the problem your community is facing:
- Identify Issues you care about: Ask yourself what matters to you most. Do you find yourself reading articles about endangered species? Do you worry about where homeless children sleep at night? Pick an issue and then ask what connections you can make between it and issues in your own community.
- Build your team or decide to go solo: You can work with a team or go solo. Also, look for others in your community to partner with (like businesses, neighbors, friends) who can help you achieve your goal.
- Explore your community: Think about what communities you belong to--these can range from your neighborhood to the group of students you ride the bus with every day. Think about the issues that matter to you that you've identified. Is there an overlap?
- Pick your Take Action Project: Now that you've identified how your issues and community needs overlap, it's time to pick a project! Choose a project based on what matters to you most or where you think you can create some positive change. Remember, a Take Action project is one that fixes a problem in a sustainable way, not just a one-time fix.
- Develop Your Project:Whether you're working in a team or solo, there is a lot of planning to do before you actually launch the work of your project. Think about what steps are needed to reach your project's goal. Identify special talents needed and what other organizations, businesses or individuals you will need to reach out to in order to make the project successful. Develop a timeline!
- Submit the Intent Form: For Girl Scouts, they need to complete this step before their project can be approved to accomplish the Silver Award. But if your following these guidelines and are not a Girl Scout, remember, getting an extra set of eyes on your plan can only help! Seek feedback from positive sources to make sure you haven't missed anything.
- Put Your Plan in Motion: Once you have your project details worked out and receive approval or feedback (if you are not a Girl Scout), put together a list of tasks and start working on them. If you're working on a team, decide who will complete each task. If you're working solo, identify what tasks you could assign to volunteers. Then go out and do your project!
- Reflect, Share and Celebrate: Once you've completed your project that makes a difference, it's time to celebrate and reflect on what you've learned. Think about how you've grown during the process or how your project made the world a better place. Think of ways to share your project with others, whether that's through a website, by making a video or writing an essay for your local newspaper.
For more information about the Girl Scout Silver Award, visit us at www.gssjc.org and visit Our Programs page.