What’s the difference, Community Service vs Take Action Project

By Liz Bleacher

Within Girl Scouts we do a lot of projects and activities that help our communities at a local, county, state, national and even worldwide level. Some of these projects are community service and others can be considered Take Action Projects, some even can be in both categories at once.  The question is – how do you tell the difference between the two? How do you decide if what you are doing will help you earn your Community Service Bar or qualify as a project to complete your higher award, like the Bronze award?

I have some answers for you, in this post I will go through the check list of both so everyone, girls, volunteers, and adults, will have a better understanding of the two and be able to plan correctly.  To start lets go over some vocab so that we all understand what is meant.  First, a need, this is something that is a condition that needs supply or relief, it is a temporary fix.  Second and often used interchangeably but not the same is, an issue, which is an important topic or problem that is addressed on a bigger scale.  An issue requires a more long-term self-sustaining solution.

An example of this would be a food bank “needs” fresh fruit and veggies on the shelves for their community.  And the deeper “issue” is that they don’t have a regular sources of donations or a place to store fresh produce. Now, how do “need” and “issue” fit in with community service and Take Action projects? Let’s find out!

Community Service Projects

When planning a community service project you are focusing on solving an immediate need, having a food drive or raising money to donate to the food bank so they can purchase some produce will help with that need.  You can work to help fill the shelves, this solves the need and is a fantastic thing to do, but it doesn’t deal with the issue.  Once they give that food away or it goes bad they will be right back where they started.

Community service projects make the world a better place right now. Girls can engage in short-term service, like collecting toys, or a long-term project like weekly volunteering at the food bank, the work helps with the immediate need in their community.

Take Action Project

A Take Action project is a project that solves an issue by discussing and discovering the cause and coming up with a plan to affect or eliminate the cause of the problem.  For the food bank, the root issue was they don’t have a regular source of produce or a way to store them for a short period.   You could start your Take Action project by asking, “Why can’t they find produce and what do they need to store it?” After research, a Take Action project would eliminate the issue by working with local groceries or farmers to collect their extra produce and may include working with local companies to get one or two industrial refrigerators donated to store the produce for the weekly/biweekly distribution. This would provide the food bank with a regular source of produce and a place to store it. 

Take Actions projects go a step further than a community service project that stop when you stop.  Take Action projects, do not stop, they are continual, sustainable.  Both community service projects and Take Action projects are great opportunities to strengthen your communities and make the world a better place, just in different ways.  Everyone from Daisies to troop leaders, to life-long members can choose to serve in the way that is best for them.  Now that you know the difference you can work with your fellow Girl Scouts to make the best choice for your troop.  Like Juliette Gordon Low said, “The work of today is the history of tomorrow, and we are its makers.”

Quick Resources

You can take a look at the different ways Girl Scouts can give back with badges and Journeys.  As well as the awards Girl Scouts can earn that help build their skills to eventually earn their Highest Awards.

Jess Delp: GSHPA’s Rising Star

By Cathy Hirko

A couple weeks ago the team here at Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania found out that one of our own has been named to the 2021 Class of Forty Under 40 from the Central Penn Business Journal.

Jess Delp, our Director of Product Program and Retail, now stands with some of the brightest rising stars in our midstate community.

While we all happily congratulate Jess, we thought it was a perfect time to have Jess share a bit about herself, the award and all the goodness surrounding this honor.

Read on:

GSHPA: Congrats on being named to CPBJ’s Forty Under 40. You are now among a class of high-profile leaders in the Harrisburg business community. Tell us a little bit about your last couple years with GSHPA. What are some of your proudest moments? What are some of your biggest accomplishments?

DELP: Working for GSHPA has introduced me to some of the most incredible volunteers and girls. I am constantly inspired by all they do. During 2020 it was incredible to watch our Girl Scouts adapt to the ever-changing world to continue to build their cookie businesses, meet their goals and make the world a better place- all while staying safe!

GSHPA: Spill the beans on how you manage your workload with GSHPA. How do you stay on top of your projects and the new projects bubbling to the top every day?

DELP: I am full of energy so I am constantly working, connecting and creating. While completing one project I am already thinking of three other things I want to do. I am passionate about my work and that makes every day fun!

GSHPA: If you had a chance to share one need that GSHPA needs to fill, what would it be and how can your fellow Forty Under 40 class help out?

DELP: It is important to me that our community know how relevant and important Girl Scouts is. We love our history and traditions, but we also embrace the new world and work tirelessly to support our members and to make the world a better place. Having other community stakeholders speaking on our behalf and invested in our work is imperative.

GSHPA: I know the GSHPA team is very lucky to have you as a leader on our team and you inspire many. Want to give any shoutouts to those folks who inspire you, both in and outside the organization?  

DELP:  Lauren Linhard (Brittany Insider), Meghan Kahler (Northwestern Mutual) and Jen Hicks (Central Bark) are amazing entrepreneurs in the York community who I have the pleasure of working with and being friends with. JT Hand is the CEO of York Water Company and I love his work ethic and passion for the community. I also very much respect Jon Taffer. His business acumen is unmatched and he recognizes that the people are the most important piece of any business.

Cathy Hirko is the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Girl Scouts in the Heart of Pennyslvania. You can reach her at chirko@gshpa.org.

Making a Difference

Our Girl Scout Troop in Mechanicsburg is making a difference in the world.

By Ellie Peters 

It is incredible what Girl Scouts can do when they put their minds to it. Troop 15089 located in Mechanicsburg, PA, is an amazing example of what Girl Scouts can do.  I have been a part of this troop since I was a brownie, and I have had so many amazing experiences. 

One example is that when we were Juniors, we built native bee boxes to protect the native bees.  The population of the native bees are declining, so our troop decided that it was time to make a change.  With the help of our leaders, and a partnership with the Carlisle Tool Library, we were able to build 14 bee boxes to place throughout the community. After doing this, we received our Bronze Awards.  These bee boxes will hopefully help bring back pollinators to our community. 

Other things our troop has done includes picking up trash in parks and neighborhoods and helping people in need.  Two examples of this are when we sent water purification tablets to people in Puerto Rico after a hurricane, and when we sewed together craft draft dodgers (draft stoppers) to donate to Habitat for Humanity. They prevent outdoor air from seeping into homes and helps to decrease electricity costs.   

These activities helped to raise awareness about important issues like water conservation, helping others, and pollution/littering.  

Troop 15089 has had plenty of exciting and thrilling trips and adventures too!  Some of my favorites were camping (of course!), having a sleepover at the Baltimore Aquarium, horseback riding, and hiking trips. We paid for most of these trips with the money we made from cookie sales. After all, there wouldn’t be Girl Scouts having fun without hard work coming first! 

The current project of Troop 15089 is planting potatoes. It sounds kind of strange at first, but we are planting them in burlap sacks from local coffee shops. So, instead of throwing the sacks away, we are upcycling the burlap sacks. Troop 15089 is going to donate some of the potatoes we grow to a local food bank.  We are also working on a website and a pamphlet to teach others how to do this. 

It is obvious that Troop 15089 is making a difference in the world, and having lots of fun too!