The Service section of the Award offers youth the opportunity to engage with society and gain an understanding of the importance of their role within their immediate and global community.
The Bronze Award participants in the 2nd West Vancouver Rangers group are no strangers to giving back in their communities as throughout their years in Girl Guides, they have taken part in various volunteering initiatives. This year, as new Bronze Award participants, they were challenged to set measurable goals and take a leadership role in planning their own service initiatives.
Their Award Leader, Asae said “the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award program is a natural fit [for Girl Guides] as we already have the foundation of skills and infrastructure to run an Award unit. Our girls loved the fresh approach of choosing their own activities and creating their individual goals.”
Bronze Award Service Project
After reading about the increase in domestic violence and women seeking shelter from abusive situations during the pandemic, the girls in the 2nd West Vancouver Rangers decided to offer their support by organizing a toiletry drive for SAGE House of the Northshore Crisis Service Society, a safe and secure center for women seeking temporary shelter. “As many women are leaving their homes with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they are in need of essential items such as toiletries” says the group’s Leader, Asae.
Supporting women and girls in the community that are facing challenging times was a big reason the group chose to support SAGE House. “With the pandemic, we knew it would be harder for people to escape domestic violence and we wanted to support these women” said one of the Rangers, and Bronze Award participant, Kaira.
“These girls were going through very hard situations, and we wanted to help make their stay there a bit more comfortable, especially with Covid-19 making the need for clean toiletries so high” said Ranger and Bronze participant Nairi.
“It felt so nice to have helped girls our age who needed some comfort while recovering from their various experiences.”
Planning a Community Service Initiative
One of the key lessons the group learned when launching their toiletry drive initiative, was the importance of developing a plan and following through on it. Audrey said “this Award has taught me many important skills, but the one I think will stay with me the most is the importance of having a good plan, and that having a plan and taking action are two different things.”
“While I learned many beneficial lessons and skills throught this Award, the most impactful ones include the ability to make well thought out plans, make accommodations as needed for said plans, and remaining moticated throughout a long-term project. These skills were specifically developed and acquired through the volunteer project when we collected toilettries for the Sage House.”
There were many things that the group had to consider when planning their toiletry drive; how to collect the toiletries, which neighborhoods to target, how to get the word out, and of course how to ensure they could successfully launch the toiletry drive while adhering to Covid-19 safety protocols.
By creating and distributing flyers, the group spread the word about the toiletry drive in their neighborhoods. “We handed out the flyers in our allotted neighborhoods on pre-planned routes and included the pick up date and more information on what we were doing” said Kaira.
Audrey said “although the toiletry drive presented some challenges, it was a rewarding service project to take part in because I could see how much of a positive impact it would have on the community.” Thanks to the group’s service initiative, the toiletries they collected and donated to SAGE House went directly to helping women in need.
More information about SAGE House and how to get involved can be found here.
Discovering New Skills and Finding Motivation Through the Award During Challenging Times
Outside of their community service work, the girls in the 2nd West Vancouver Ranger group have also been working on the other sections of their Bronze Awards. For Audrey, her favorite Award activity so far has been learning how to crochet for the Skill section because while it is something she is not experienced in, she has been enjoying the challenge of learning something new.
“The Award allowed me to realize my love for crocheting, and it is certainly something I will continue to do once the Award is over”
Through her Service activities, Kaira realized that she can have a positive impact on her community, particularly during the pandemic. For that reason, it was the section of her Bronze Award that she has enjoyed the most so far. “With this Award, I was not only able to help many people through both the toiletry drive, crocheting scarfs, and making kindness cards, but also open up a path to many other future volunteering opportunities” she says.
Amid Covid-19 restrictions and unexpected changes to plans, finding motivation to push through challenges was difficult at times. Restrictions due to Covid-19 also meant that some activities could not be done as usual and the group had to find creative ways to overcome obstacles to make progress on their Bronze Awards. Meredith said “even though most of my plans had been changed, I pushed myself to put in the work to complete the toiletry drive, and I am so glad that I did. This helped me grow as a person and pushed me to complete my activities even when I was discouraged and at a loss for motivation.”
“The Award has pushed me out and beyond my comfort zone and I can’t wait to see where else it brings me.”
The group’s Award Leader, Cynthia said “in this strange year that we are coming into with the pandemic, [the Award] has given them first and foremost, structure. I’ve seen the Award give the girls something to give significance to their year in Rangers, it’s given them the opportunity to step up to some new challenges, to be innovative, and to come up with different ways to do things.”
The girls in the 2nd West Vancouver Ranger group have certainly shown that they can persevere through challenges, come up with creative solutions, and are committed to making a positive impact in their communities. We look forward to seeing the rest of their progress on their Bronze Awards and where their new skills and experiences take them in the future!Read More Stories