Community service is at the heart of Girl Scouting. When Juliette Gordon Low began the GSA back in 1912, it was to give girls opportunities they would never otherwise would have experienced. Juliette was a wealthy woman who needed and yearned for some kind of purpose in her life, and after spending time in England and working with the Girl Guides, she discovered what that was.
Scouting not only helped girls develop homemaking skills, which was the norm for that time, but also outdoor skills that would promote self reliance, as well as business skills that could help in them get a job or help in their community. She included everyone, no matter what their religion or their ability level. Because she herself was mostly deaf, girls with special needs were also included in Girl Scouts, another advant guard idea for the early 1900’s.
By Edward Hughes (1832-1908), painter. (Daderot (I took this photograph)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Juliette Gordon Low was a true philanthropist, giving not only her money, but her time.
When defining the word philanthropist, it often refers to donating large amounts of money. While that is a most wonderful thing, donating time and effort is equally important. What good is giving away a million dollars if no one is going to oversee and create ways to get it to the right people?
Children have a natural affinity for helping others. Earning the Brownie Philanthropist Try it does not have to take place at a single meeting. This is the perfect badge to earn by doing community service.
The steps outlined in the guide are, in my opinion, a bit boring for the girls. A service project itself covers all of the steps in a more hands on way.
How to Earn the Philanthropist Badge
Before your meeting, you will need to contact some local agencies to find out what their needs are and if they they would like donations from your troop (I cannot imagine turning donations down, but one never knows). This will give you a base for your vote during the meeting, if you are going to permit the girls to vote on which project to do. If you are going to take the lead and select the charity, then skip this step at the meeting.
At your meeting, as the girls if they know what a philanthropist is. It is a big vocabulary word and they will be impressed to know that they will be participating in an activity that will make them one, too!
Discuss at the meeting some needs the community might have and write them down on a whiteboard if you have one or a large piece of paper taped to the wall.
If you are voting, then have the girls write their choice on a slip of paper for you to collect. If you are going to select the project, tell them these were all good choice and what they will be doing is (fill in what you have chosen).
You can tie your service project to Girl Scout Founder’s Day and do the Birthday in a Bag project. Because Juliette’s birthday is on Halloween, you can collect costumes to donate to a children’s shelter or other organization who needs them.
These books will also have great ideas for you to try with your girls over the years.
More Resources for Leaders
What have you done with your troop to earn this badge? Please share your success story with us!