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Helping Others: Girl Scouts and Natural Disaster Recovery

When disasters happen, Girl Scouts take action! We’re an organization of compassionate helpers who want to lead by doing. But we sometimes get bogged down deciding what exactly to do. Sometimes the need can seem so great that anything we could do just seems like a drop in a giant bucket.

But it takes every drop to fill a bucket (and meet needs), so don’t let that stop you from helping! The world needs large plops and small drops.

So what can you and your girls do? We’re so glad you asked!

How to Talk to Your Kids about Natural Disasters

First, you can talk to them about the disaster. Check out Girl Scouts of the USA’s latest Raising Awesome Girls post, “How to Talk to Your Kids About Natural Disasters,” in which Girl Scouts’ resident developmental psychologist, Dr. Andrea Bastiani Archibald, explains how caring adults can reassure girls and get them involved in recovery efforts.

Let her know that you’ll always do everything you can to keep her safe. And although you don’t want to give her false assurances that a natural disaster like the one she’s witnessing could never happen in your region, it’s also not helpful at this moment to dwell on the fact that it could.

What Can a Girl Scout Do When Disaster Strikes?

Once you’ve got a game plan for discussing natural disasters with your kids, check out two program resources also developed by Girl Scouts of the USA. With separate editions for girls and adults, these resources demonstrate how the Girl Scout Leadership Experience supports girls as leaders in times of disaster and provide tips and examples for engaging girls who want to help.

For Girls:

What Can a Girl Scout Do When Disaster Strikes? (PDF)

This girl-friendly tip sheet is made for girls of all grade levels! They can use to channel their leadership experiences toward helping out in times of disaster.

With three categories of effort — Offer a Thoughtful, Immediate Response, Prepare for Disasters and Help Others Prepare Too, and Change the World — your girl is sure to find some way to assist, both locally and globally! Plus, these tips are building blocks that she’ll be able to come back to in the future.

For Adults:

What Girl Scout Leadership Looks Like in Times of Disaster (PDF)

Developed for council staff and volunteers, this resource will help adults guide girls who want to know how they can help after a disaster.

In addition, the adult guide shares different examples of bringing the Girl Scout Leadership Experience and disaster relief together. If your girls continue to be passionate about disaster relief long after the news coverage has stopped, this resource suggests ways to bring these principles into Journeys, Highest Awards, and more!

These guides have great tips for how to offer a thoughtful, immediate response to a natural disaster but also how to prepare yourself (and others) for future disasters. Then they encourage girls to go a step furthers as they consider why disasters occur and look for ways to change the world to prevent future disasters.

Being a Sister to Girl Scouts Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey had a big impact on Girl Scouts throughout Texas. The devastation affected many staff members, girls, and volunteers, especially in the Houston area.

But if there’s one positive that can come from the experience, it’s the response of Girl Scouts around the country who are stepping up to help their Girl Scout sisters.

When one girl from Girl Scouts of San Jacinto was being evacuated, she even made rescuers wait while she ran back for her Brownie vest, telling the rescue and shelter teams “I can help. I’m a Brownie Girl Scout!”

How to Help Girl Scouts Affected by Hurricane Harvey

Since the recent devastation across Texas due to Hurricane Harvey, Girl Scouts of the USA is lifting fundraising restrictions to enable girls to raise money for recovery efforts at four councils impacted: Girl Scouts of San Jacinto, Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, and Girl Scouts of Louisiana–Pines to the Gulf.

Funds raised will provide membership scholarships and replacement Girl Scout uniforms and insignia to impacted girls. Participating in Girl Scouts can be one way to help them, and their families, regain a sense of normalcy.

Although material donations and troop offers of assistance have been greatly appreciated, as you can imagine, the councils are not currently in a position to process and organize them. However, Girl Scouts of San Jacinto have set up a Troop to Troop Connection site to connect with volunteers in the area who may need material donations.

To make a donation, visit

“Be Prepared” is our motto, and what better way to showcase it than helping impact emergency and disaster preparedness in your community? So gather your girls and make a plan. Together our plops and drops will make a difference!

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