The Make A Difference award is earned by planning and executing your own community service project. Projects must be submitted to the troop leader for approval prior to execution. (No service projects will be allowed in regards to controversial issues such as pro-life/pro-choice, sex ed., politics, etc.) Keep in mind that while girls can ask adults for help, they should lead as much of the project themselves as you can.
Make A Difference projects should take time and effort at each age level, but they do not have to be something grand. For example, cleaning up your local park could be a Make A Difference project for any level. If a girl gathers some friends to clean up for 2 hours at a time once a week, Otters would complete their project in two weeks, Dolphins in 5-6 weeks, Butterflies in 10-12 weeks, and Eagles in 20-25 weeks (EAgles would be required to find a way to keep the project ongoing after they were finished). The key is that girls are required to lead a group of at least 3 volunteers, so they need to make calls or advertise in some manner for help.
(Worn around level tab – remains on vest when advancing levels. Pins say, “Make a Difference” around the level gem)
A guideline for some age appropriate projects follows:
Penguins: This award is not offered at the Penguin Level
A Make a Difference project should take Otters roughly 3-5 hours to plan and execute and they should lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Some appropriate examples may be to gather friends and weed the church parking lot, pick up trash along a favorite hiking trail, make greeting cards for vets, etc. Even at this young age, girls should be able to make their own phone calls to gather friends, learn to set dates and times for the event, make a list of supplies, clean up after the event, and go with mom to pick up anything needed, or deliver any finished products.
A Make a Difference project should take Dolphins roughly 10-15 hours to plan and execute and girls should lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Some appropriate examples in addition to those listed above may be to organize a walk-a-thon to benefit a local charity, organize some story time projects at the local library, or organize a canned food drive. At this age girls should be able to make their own phone calls, talk to adults and explain what help is needed (such as asking businesses for raffle prizes), make their own fliers and learn how to advertise their event.
A Make a Difference project should take Butterflies roughly 20-25 hours to plan and execute and they should lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Some appropriate examples may be to organize a child care center for a Walk For Life event, or to organize volunteer days at a local animal shelter. Girls could write and perform a puppet show to teach children safety tips or coordinate a math day for younger girls. At this age girls should be able to handle every part of their project themselves, but shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help if they need it.
A Make a Difference project should take Eagles roughly 40-50 hours to plan and execute and girls should lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Eagle projects should be ongoing in nature. Find an organization you wish to work with and help them to organize a project that can be done year after year, or build something that will last for your community. One example is to work with the local fire department to create a program to teach kids what to do during a fire. Girls could not only help to write the program, but could also help to teach the class for the first year. Other examples might be to work with the local police department to put together a bike safety program and lead a bike rodeo where kids can have their bikes inspected, learn bike safety, and compete in biking competitions. Girls could even help establish a sustainable food pantry in their community or an ongoing food drive to support one. They could build steps around the water fountain at the local park so that small children could reach the fountain, or make trail signs for your local hiking trails. The possibilities are endless.
Girls at all levels may work on projects as a group as long as each girl has her own responsibilities and leadership role. Using the bike rodeo example, all girls could meet with the police department and help brainstorm on the programming itself. One girl may be in charge of helping to inspect bikes and organizing that station, another may be in charge of organizing the bike safety station, and a third may be in charge of organizing and running the bike competitions.
Leaders may wear a Make a Difference Project Award if they help their troop as a whole earn this award.