What is Take Action?
All girls in Girl Scouts participate in Take Action—a process for girls to give back to their communities while creating meaningful change.
The Take Action process occurs when girls complete one of the Journeys or earn a Highest Award. Girl Scouts can team up or work individually to connect with their community and complete a Take Action project. As girls bridge from one age level to the next, they can tackle new challenges; so the complexity of Take Action projects will progress (or increase) as girls get older and earn the Highest Awards.
Girls, volunteers and families can learn more through this interactive online activity (pleaes note, the video may take several minutes to load). During this eLearning module, you’ll learn about the basics of the Take Action process, and discover how you can apply this process to your own Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.
All Take Action projects have three things in common:
- Sustainable over time
- Measurable using numbers
- Target the root cause or underlying factors of a problem
Let’s look at what each one of these components means separately.
A sustainable project is one that creates positive lasting change, even when you are no longer involved in the project. If you give someone a fish, they can eat for a day—if you teach someone to fish, they can eat for a lifetime. You might want to travel the world giving each hungry person a fish, but wouldn’t it be better if you could work with other volunteers to help teach everyone how to fish?
Imagine watching a YouTube video that inspires you or teaches you a great lesson. You might share it with a few friends and hopefully they will be inspired and share it with their friends. Before you know it, the video goes viral and people all over the world will have seen the video. Each person who watches the video gains something for themselves, but also shares something with others. Every person in this chain is an important link in the process.
To make a sustainable solution, think about this viral video chain, and try to create a framework that allows people to become an important part of your process. Maybe others can learn something from your project that will change their behavior or attitude. Maybe your project will create new volunteer opportunities. Maybe you can create resources that help people do something like your project in their own community.
So, is building a really sturdy bench sustainable? You decide! Building a bench might be a great way to make your park more beautiful and it might last for a long time—but will other people be able to “share” your project? Will your bench change peoples’ attitudes, teach them something new or create opportunities for them to volunteer or make the community even better in the future?
Download the toolkit resource on sustainability to learn more.
Measurable means you can use numbers, facts and figures to count up your project in some way. Different tools help measure different types of things. Rulers can be used to measure your height. Surveys can be used to measure opinions. When you’re planning your Take Action project, think about what kinds of tools you can use to measure different aspects of your project. Think about how many people or animals are benefiting from your work, consider how many volunteers are helping you along the way.
Download the toolkit resource on measurability to learn more.
Root of the Problem
The root of the problem is the underlying issue or issues that cause a problem to happen over and over again. Usually, the first thing you notice about a problem is the symptom—the stuff that is happening on the surface. You may not be able to see or understand the root cause right away, but it’s important to dig deeper.
Imagine that one of your friends is having trouble staying focused in class. You might notice your friend frowning or staring out the window. These are the parts of the problem that you can see easily. During lunch, you might ask your friend what is going on and learn that she hasn’t been able to sleep well for the last few days because her younger brother keeps playing loud music around bedtime. The root of the problem is that she doesn’t have a quiet place to get enough sleep, and finding a way to make her bedroom quiet will help her sleep better and then she’ll be able to focus again in class.
Many problems have more than one root cause. A Take Action project may address one root cause or several root causes. When you understand the root of a problem, you will have more knowledge and you’ll be able to tell your story to others more easily. Addressing the root of the problem will help make your project sustainable too!
Download the toolkit resource on finding a cause you care about to learn more.
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