- Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Girl Scouts of the USA
- Girl Scouts have used the first aid skills they’ve learned to save lives.
- They’ve also contributed to their communities by starting troops for homeless girls and fundraising for charity.
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Since the Girl Scouts were founded in 1912, their slogan has been “Do a good turn daily.” Aside from earning badges and selling cookies, Girl Scouts engage in community service, using the skills they learn to help make the world a better place.
A 2012 Alumnae Impact Study from the Girl Scout Research Institute found that Girl Scout alumnae display a more positive sense of self, are more involved in community service, and are more successful in achieving their life goals than those who didn’t participate in the program.
Here are eight examples of Girl Scouts putting these values into practice.
Girls Scouts helped pass a plastic bag ban in Boston.
- David L. Ryan/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
The Boston City Council unanimously approved a measure banning single-use plastic bags in checkout lines in 2017, thanks to the hard work of Girl Scout Troop 68277. Girl Scouts collected signatures for a year in order to bring the issue to city council, and made and sold reusable bags. City Councilor Matt O’Malley said that the Girls Scouts were the “driving force” behind the ban that would reduce plastic waste.
Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri worked with the International Institute of St. Louis to help refugee families acclimate in the US.
- Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch/Tribune News Service via Getty Images
Girl Scout Gabrielle Carmichael won a Girl Scout Gold Award for her project hosting a picture day for refugee families to gift them with family portraits to hang in their new homes.
Diana Knobler designed wheelchair-friendly tables for Camp Ronald McDonald in Southern California.
Girl Scouts expanded its focus on STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) with new badges earned by building and programming robots – and it’s paying off.
ABC7 reported that Knobler, a high school senior and aspiring engineer from Montebello, California, designed wheelchair-accessible tables for the kids’ kitchen at Camp Ronald McDonald. She also raised $1,000 to buy more kitchen equipment. Her contribution to the camp earned her the Girl Scout Gold Award.
“If you do something that inspires you, like this inspires me, then it doesn’t feel like work at all,” Knobler told ABC7.
Girl Scouts around the country have used their training to save lives.
- via Fox8
The Girl Scouts of the USA National Lifesaving Medal of Honor Award is bestowed upon brave Girl Scouts who use their training to save someone’s life – and this training has come in handy more than once.
When 12-year-old Lila Szojka’s grandmother started choking on her food at an Applebee’s in Middleburg Heights, Ohio, the Girl Scout sprang into action, successfully administering the Heimlich maneuver she recently learned, Fox8 reports.
When Katelyn Hannah’s father, Christoper, fell from their attic and was unresponsive, she kept her cool and called 911, staying on the phone with the dispatcher to relay information about his injury. They later found out he had suffered a punctured collapsed lung, cuts on his head, eleven broken ribs, and a broken clavicle. Thanks to Hannah’s first aid training, he made a full recovery after a week in the ICU.
Girl Scout cookies raise millions every year for local councils.
Where would the world be without Girl Scout cookies? Even celebrities like Jennifer Garner can’t get enough of them.
Aside from being delicious, the cookies raise money that’s funneled directly back into local councils – to the tune of $800 million per cookie season. Selling the sweets also teaches girls about setting goals and managing money.
Some Girl Scouts have even gone viral for their creative sales pitches, like a father-daughter duo that wrote an original rap about the cookies to a Childish Gambino song that racked up nearly 5 million views.
You can read our ranking of every Girl Scout cookie flavor here.
A Czech Girl Scout inspired the world when she kept her calm despite being confronted by a neo-Nazi.
- Vladimír Čičmanec/Facebook
Vladimír Čičmanec snapped a photo at a neo-Nazi rally in Brno of a Girl Scout keeping her cool when faced with hateful rhetoric. The young woman pictured is a member of Junák český skaut – the organization of Scouts and Guides of the Czech Republic.
“The photo was taken after a friend of mine made me aware of the exchange taking place. It was heated, the neo-Nazi was clearly angry with her, but she stood her ground,” Čičmanec told IBTimes.
You can read more about the photo here.
Girl Scout Troop 4597 donated cookies to “Cookies for Christian,” a campaign started by Mark Chalifoux to send treats to a soldier he’d never met.
- Courtesy Mark Chalifoux
Mark Chalifoux was accidentally added to a family’s group chat as they discussed sending care packages to “Christian” (name changed to protect his privacy), a relative of theirs serving in the military.
Instead of replying “wrong number” and forgetting about it, Chalifoux started a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy cookies for Christian and his unit. The silly but heartfelt campaign gained momentum as it was shared by celebrities on Facebook and picked up by news outlets.
Girl Scouts Troop 4597 in Cincinnati heard about the project and donated boxes of Girl Scout cookies along with cards addressed to the soldier.
You can read more about “Cookies for Christian” here.
A single mom founded Girl Scout Troop 6000 for girls in the New York City Shelter System.
- DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images
When Giselle Burgess’ landlord sold her apartment building, she couldn’t find a new home as a single mom with five kids, NPR reports. She moved into a shelter in Queens housed in a budget hotel, where the family of six shares two beds.
Burgess was working for Girl Scouts of Greater New York when she had the idea to start a troop in the shelter where she lived. Troop 6000 is now expanding into 15 shelters across the city to empower girls regardless of their circumstances.