Life Skills

Understanding Take Action Activity


How Take Action Projects Differ from Community Service Projects

Take Action and community service projects are different, but both are essential to Girl Scouting. Let’s explore their differences so you can focus on making the world a better place through your Take Action project, Bronze Award, Silver Award, or Gold Award!  Review the Girl Scout Take Action Guide for the Think Like a Programmer Journey. 

Activity Details

Time needed: 30 minutes  

Materials needed: no materials required.


Review the information below, then practice with the community service and take action project scenarios

Take Action and community service projects are different, but both are essential to Girl Scouting. 

Community service projects are acts of kindness and important ways to help something or someone right now. They are commonly short-term projects that almost always multiply efforts that are already in place. Examples include collecting food for an existing food pantry, providing clothing or toiletries to people who have suffered during a disaster, cleaning up a rundown playground, or picking up trash at a park, forest, or beach. 

Girl Scout Take Action projects address an issue by tackling the factors that cause or contribute to it. As you may expect, these projects have a far-reaching influence. They’re designed to change something for the better—forever. Projects associated with Journeys and the highest awards (the Girl Scout Bronze, Silver, and Gold Award) are Take Action projects.

When you take action, you work as a team to:

1.     Identify a problem

2.     Research the root cause of the problem

3.     Come up with a sustainable solution

4.     Develop a team plan

5.     Put the plan into action

6.     Reflect on what worked, what didn’t, and what you’ve learned

Here are three ways to create sustainable change:

1.     Make your solution permanent

2.     Educate and inspire others to be part of the change

3.     Change a rule, regulation, or law

Use this table to determine whether an idea is a community service or Take Action project. 

Community Service Project

Take Action Project

A short-term effort that helps something or someone fulfill an immediate need 

A long-term project with sustainable and ongoing influence that addresses a root cause of an issue  

Done FOR the community 

Done WITH the community  

Joining an existing effort to solve a problem 

Creating a unique initiative to address an issue 

Done as part of an existing team (usually as a volunteer) 

Creating and leading your own team of volunteers 

Working toward a goal that’s set by others 

Setting the goals and leading a team to achieve them 


Break into small groups and provide each group with a different scenario listed in table below—or as a full group, review one scenario at a time and work together to determine if it   is a community service or Take Action project.

a. If it’s a community service project, brainstorm how you might make it a Take Action project.

b. If it’s a Take Action project, brainstorm how it might meet the following requirements:

    1) it identifies the root cause of a community issue,
    2) it works WITH the community, and
    3) it has long-term benefits for the community.

Bonus: Can you imagine a goal you might set and how you might lead a team?

Community Service and Take Action Project Scenarios (the downloadable handout referenced in the video is now available as scenarios within this activity):

Community Service project scenarios

Take Action project scenarios

Volunteer to serve food at a homeless shelter

Create posters for your school or a local faith community that educate people about not dumping chemicals or other materials into storm drains

Donate toys to a children’s hospital

Lobby to have your school cafeteria serve more healthy snacks and drinks

Make blankets for an animal shelter

Work with other troops to organize an after-school tutoring center at a homeless shelter

Sing songs at an assisted living home

Build a pollinator garden for a local library and work with them to develop a curriculum to educate children

Donate toiletries to a homeless shelter

Work with your local community to develop a process for pedestrians to cross the street safely and educate the public

Organize a food drive before Thanksgiving

Work with the school to help make a mental health resources webpage

Now that you know the difference, you’re ready to go!

Prepare to take action by completing a Journey or, if you’ve already done one and you’re a Girl Scout Junior, Cadette, Senior, or Ambassador, get started on your Bronze, Silver, or Gold Award, respectively.

Troop Leaders:  The instructions for all badge steps are available free of charge in your  Girl Scout Volunteer Toolkit.

Girl Scouts at Home activities have been adapted from existing Girl Scout programming and optimized for use at home during a period of social distancing.

Adapted from Girl Scouts of Western Ohio’s Fast Fundamentals of Community Service vs. Take Action, the Guide to Going Gold and Girl Scout Take Action Guide for the Think Like a Programmer Journey.