Typhoon Haiyan, known in the Philippines as Typhoon Yolanda, is being called the strongest recorded tropical cyclone to make landfall, with wind speeds up to 195 miles per hour. The cyclone caused devastation in the Philippians, particularly on Samar Island and Leyte, where the governor estimated that at least 10,000 people may have died in the city of Tacloban alone.
For those looking to contribute as individuals and support the people of the Philippians, please visit GSUSA's Blog post for a short list of reputable organizations already contributing to the relief efforts, as well as contact information for the Girl Scouts of the Philippians. You can also send messages on condolences to the Girl Scouts of the Philippians via Twitter. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this disaster.
Severe weather and more than 60 tornadoes casued damage in several Midwestern states in mid-Novemer. The destruction was widespread, leaving many with little the week before Thanksgiving. For those looking to contribute as individuals, please visit GSUSA's Blog post for a list of relief efforts to support.
Individuals can also support the local Girl Scout Councils that were affected. See the same Blog post for information on helping the Girl Scouts in those midwestern states.
In times of disaster and crisis in our communities and country, Girl Scouts are always among the first to react. Girls and volunteers alike are immediately eager to connect with and help those in need of assistance.
It is critical that we, as Girl Scouts, react responsibly, with compassion and consideration for the needs of the community. And as volunteers, we have the opportunity to teach the girls we serve how to take action in a meaningful way.
Here are some tips:
Let girls be the leaders
Remember that the first two Take Action Outcomes of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience are: 1) Girls can identify community needs and 2) Girls are resourceful problem solvers. (Transforming Leadership, page 37).
Each outcome is broken out by Girl Scout level and gives great examples of what leadership looks like at each grade level. The aftermath of a disaster is such an important time to help girls practice these skills age-appropriately before leaping into "doing something."
Troops can decide to donate their troop funds to organizations that they feel as a group are worthy causes. Remember, per national Girl Scout policy, girls are not to engage in fundraising activities for other organizations, unless GSUSA sets up a provision to do so.
Be careful about collecting "stuff!"
Every Girl Scout Journey contains ideas for girls about how to identify needs-- and develop realistic action plans. Troops and girls should discover a specific need and connect with local organizations and community members before beginning a collection drive.
Many times, the best thing we can do in disaster situations is to aid first responders and first responder organizations, such as the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, who are already out in the field leanding a helping hand. Working with organizations whose main purpose is first-response makes our efforts more effective.
Here are a few specific examples you might find helpful from Girl Scout Journeys:
- GIRLtopia Girl Scout Senior Journey:
The Case of The Goody Bags, pages 72-73
- Agent of Change Girl Scout Junior Journey:
The Good of Service and the Power of Action, page 66
A Food Drive with Great Taste, page 74
- Get Moving! Girl Scout Junior Journey
- Brownie Quest Girl Scout Brownie Journey:
Brownie Brainstown, Adult Guide pages 76-77