Make a Difference Award
The Make A Difference award is earned by planning and executing your own community service project. Keep in mind that while kids can ask adults for help, they should lead as much of the project themselves as they can.
Make A Difference projects should take time and effort at each age level, but they do not have to be something grand. For example, cleaning up your local park could be a Make A Difference project for any level. If a child gathers some friends to clean up for 2 hours at a time once a week, Level 1 would complete their project in two weeks, Level 2 in 5-6 weeks, Level 3 in 10-12 weeks, Level 4 in 20-25 weeks, and Level 5 is roughly a year (Level 5 would be required to find a way to keep the project ongoing after they were finished). The key is that participants are required to lead a group of at least 3 volunteers, so they need to make calls or advertise in some manner for help.
A guideline for some age appropriate projects follows:
Preschool: This award is not offered at the Preschool Level
A Make a Difference project should take Level 1 kids roughly 3-5 hours to plan and execute and they should lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Some appropriate examples may be to gather friends and weed the church parking lot, pick up trash along a favorite hiking trail, make greeting cards for vets, etc. Even at this young age, kids should be able to make their own phone calls to gather friends, learn to set dates and times for the event, make a list of supplies, clean up after the event, and go with mom to pick up anything needed, or deliver any finished products.
A Make a Difference project should take Level 2 kids roughly 10-15 hours to plan and execute and kids should lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Some appropriate examples in addition to those listed above may be to organize a walk-a-thon to benefit a local charity, organize some story time projects at the local library, or organize a canned food drive. At this age kids should be able to make their own phone calls, talk to adults and explain what help is needed (such as asking businesses for raffle prizes), make their own fliers and learn how to advertise their event.
A Make a Difference project should take Level 3 kids roughly 20-25 hours to plan and execute and they should lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Some appropriate examples may be to organize a child care center for a Walk For Life event, or to organize volunteer days at a local animal shelter. Kids could write and perform a puppet show to teach children safety tips or coordinate a math day for younger kids. At this age kids should be able to handle every part of their project themselves, but shouldn’t hesitate to ask for help if they need it.
A Make a Difference project should take Level 4 roughly 40-50 hours to plan and execute and participants should lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Level 4 projects should be ongoing in nature. Find an organization you wish to work with, or start one of your own, and organize a project that can be done year after year, or build something that will last for your community. Examples might include organizing an annual fundraising banquet for your school or building trail signs for your local walking trails. The possibilities are endless.
A Make a Difference project should take Level 5 a minimum of 50 hours to plan and execute and adults must lead a group of at least 3 others in completing the project. Level 5 projects should be ongoing in nature. Find an organization you wish to work with and help them to organize a project that can be done year after year, or build something that will last for your community. One example is to work with the local fire department to create a program to teach kids what to do during a fire. Participants could not only help to write the program, but could also help to teach the class for the first year. Other examples might be to work with the local police department to put together a bike safety program and lead a bike rodeo where kids can have their bikes inspected, learn bike safety, and compete in biking competitions. Establish a sustainable food pantry in their community or an ongoing food drive to support one. They could build steps around the water fountain at the local park so that small children could reach the fountain, or make trail signs for your local hiking trails. The possibilities are endless.
Kids at all levels may work on projects as a group as long as each child has their own responsibilities and leadership role. Using the bike rodeo example, all kids could meet with the police department and help brainstorm on the programming itself. One child may be in charge of helping to inspect bikes and organizing that station, another may be in charge of organizing the bike safety station, and a third may be in charge of organizing and running the bike competitions.
Leaders may wear a Make a Difference Project Award if they help their club as a whole earn this award.