If you’re a Junior troop leader, you are probably a little nervous about embarking on an award project. Badge work took some time but now the stakes are raised.
The Girl Scout Bronze Award is the highest award that a Girl Scout Junior can earn. The project is done as a group but not all girls need to work on the same project.
You could have more than one Bronze Award project at any one time in your troop but it would certainly save time and effort to consolidate efforts into one project. You need to seek approval prior to working on your project and one of the most important criteria is that it needs to be sustainable.
So, you must be panicking a bit now thinking how your can get 4th-5th grade girls to create a project that will live on forever! However, Girl Scouts does allow for sustainability in that knowledge transfer or items that can provide value past short-term use are generally approved.
Your girls will need to own their project and that includes coming up with the overall project outline. While we as leaders certainly don’t want to dictate what project they should do, the girls are probably not used to thinking of sustainable projects.
For instance, my girls number #1 idea was to put on a talent show for a local nursing home. I told them it probably would not be accepted but I submitted it anyway. I felt it was important for them to get that official feedback from Council on why the idea didn’t meet the requirements.
So print out the list below and review it with your troop. See which projects inspire them and get them talking about how they best feel they can help your local community.
Some of these projects I’m sure you’ve seen on Facebook, in Council newsletters or even in your own local news. Others may be projects you’ve never heard of.
1. Little Free Library
These are free-standing book exchanges that were started about a decade ago. The premise is simple: Take a book, leave a book. You can even have your library receive an official designation through a charter with Little Free Library
2. Make Dog Beds
There are several options for girls to make beds for an animal shelter.
If your girls are up for a big challenge, they can take on a project making elevated dog beds using PVC pipe. Here is a pretty good tutorial.
Another popular option is to make no-sew fleet blankets. These are a popular option because once the girls get started, they can complete the blankets at home individually instead of trying to schedule additional meetings around everyone’s busy schedules. My girls have made these as part of a retired Pets badge. Here is a simple set of instructions.
3. Make Cat Posts
If your girls are more feline oriented, another pet option would be to create either a scratching post for your local pet shelters. I like this option because it looks more durable than some of the other designs.
4. Make Cat Toys
Catnip is ‘da bomb’ for cats and there are several versions of toys that your girls can make. Some are pretty basic using old socks while others have cute little mouse designs to cut out and stuff. Here is a site to get your girls’ creative juices flowing:
5. Blessing bags
Blessing bags are generally comprised of hygiene items in a Ziploc bag and are distributed to people in need. You can make these for a specific group of people or for a charity that works with the homeless. Thrifty Northwest Mom has a checklist for you to use and also encouragement cards to print. Your girls may enjoy creating their own personal message to include in the bags.
6. Pillowcase Dresses
This project requires sewing skills so it might not be perfect for a large group but not all girls have to work on the same Bronze Award project. If your girls do like this option and not all of them can machine sew, you may be able to suggest that they divide the labor up so that some girls cut the pattern and others do the actual sewing. This group has a pretty good tutorial that you can follow.
7. Weave plastic bags together to make beds
I remember this project being quite popular a few years ago. It really focuses in on several key aspects of the Girl Scout law – using resources wisely, considerate and caring and make the world a better place. Just get some cardboard and plastic bags and you’re ready to go. Here is a fairly straight-forward tutorial.
8. Stuffed animals for kids in the hospital
When my own daughter had to make an unexpected trip to the emergency room, she was presented with a stuffed animal. It really helped as sat there waiting for stitches to have something to comfort her. Your Juniors could create these stuffed animals and maybe even include it with other comfort items.
9. No sew blankets for children
Similar to the no-sew blankets for animals above, these blankets can also be made for children. Simply enlarge the pattern and fleece material to cover a twin-sized bed and you’ve got a great gift for kids. These can be donated to foster care projects or other charitable organizations.
10. Start a recycling project at school
If your girls all attend the same school, this may be an option for them to consider. As we discussed earlier, higher awards are supposed to have a sustainability component to them. Starting a recycling project that can be maintained by the school would certainly fit the bill.
11. Plastic awareness event
This is a great option for Juniors as I have found this age group is really becoming aware of single-use plastics and have a high level of enthusiasm. My own daughter has made me purchase metal straws that we use at home and carry paper straws with us while traveling. One option would be for the girls to create an awareness program they could present at a community event. Or maybe start a recycling project to create eco-friendly benches?
12. Community garden plot
Are your girls ready to tackle a bigger project? If your town (or church) has an empty vacant lot, perhaps they can use their influencing skills to persuade the city council to allow the creation of a community garden. This is definitely a project that could be carried on for years to come.
13. Anti-bullying event
This is a very hot topic at the moment and one your girls have probably experienced. Perhaps they are ready to be leaders and create a program that can be used in scouting, schools or other groups to help combat this very real issue.
14. Disaster prepardeness kits
If the recent COVID-19 pandemic has proven anything, we need to be prepared. What are the natural disasters that your area faces? Hurricanes, tornadoes or maybe blizzards? Your troop can help put together disaster kits or perhaps they can create an awareness program.
15. Camp improvements
Councils have recently begun to loosen restrictions on service projects geared towards Girl Scout camps. To that end, if your girls love to camp at Council properties this could be really exciting option. Hiking trails, fairies gardens, outdoor cooking areas – the list is endless. Take a look at what this Junior girls did at their camp.
16. Build buddy bench
Buddy benches are extremely popular now. My daughter’s school has even purchased one. But your troop can take on the challenge of building the benches themselves and donate them to schools in the area. Definitely a great way to make the world a better place.
17. Fire Safety/Carbon monoxide detector awareness
If your girls are looking to work with community partners, the fire department is a great option. Raising money for smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, developing a home fire safety program and getting families to commit to home fire drills are all possible under this fairly broad heading.
18. Create or improve play area at local hospital for children
Kids love to help other kids so helping out a children’s hospital or pediatric floor may be an exciting choice. Taking on the challenge of creating or renovating a play area is certainly within their abilities. Or maybe they can be inspired by these Girl Scouts who created unique ceiling tiles for their Bronze Award project.
19. Educate groups on bees and what they can do.
Bees!! Who knew how important these little pollinators are. There are so many options under the topic of bees. Bee awareness, home flower planting guides or even working with other groups to help save bee-friendly environments. Get your girls to brainstorming and see which path they would like to follow.
20. Create badge in a box for council or SU office
Is there a badge that your girls really loved to earn? Perhaps they would like to create a badge in a box to keep at Council HQ or Service Unit? This is a great way to ensure that some badges that may require specific equipment such as magnifying glasses for the Brownie bugs badge are available.
I hope this list was useful to your girls. I’d love to hear what your troop finally decided on for their Bronze Award project. Drop me a note in the comments!