Join Scouting families across the country in a spirited Summer of Service! As we have throughout our history, Scouting families are answering the call to work together in service of the greater good. From public health drives, to caring for the environment, to assisting neighbors in need, Scouts have always been a force for positivity and goodness in our communities. Now more than ever, our world needs that Scouting spirit once again. Let’s step up! Together, we can answer the call to make a positive impact in our neighborhoods and communities. Join us today, with projects big or small, in a Summer of Service!
Community Service Committee
Scouting was founded on the principal of service to others, and the organization remains dedicated to that purpose. The goal of the Community Service Committee is to foster that ideal, to assist Scouting units in achievement of their community service objectives, and to recognize units and Scouts who perform service to others.
The Legend of the “Unknown Scout,” whose good turn on a foggy London street in 1909 inspired William D. Boyce to establish the Boy Scouts of America.
Why Perform Community Service?
- The core values of Scouting are “to help other people at all times,” and to “do a good turn daily.”
- It’s a win – win for Scouting and the community, benefiting the organizations and people where we live.
- It teaches youth life-long lessons about the importance of community involvement and volunteerism.
- It gives your unit’s program calendar, greater structure, variety and worthwhile activity.
- It enables your unit to achieve its “Journey to Excellence” service project goals.
What types of activities are considered Community Service?
According the BSA Handbook, “A service project is a special Good Turn that puts Scout Spirit into action.” Some Good Turns are big—saving a life, helping out after disasters. But most Good Turns small, thoughtful acts—helping a child cross a busy street, or going to the store for an elderly neighbor. Scout Leaders are always the best source to ask regarding this question, as each Unit may have different ideas regarding the nature of community service the Unit wants to record.
Should a Unit record community service hours that are not counted towards advancement?
Absolutely. Scouting Principles embody a commitment to service. One of the purposes of community service is to show leadership in service work. Many Good Turns are done that are not advancement related and all should be encouraged to be recorded. (For advancement, Scoutmasters must approve the service).
Why is it important to report service hours?
Meaningful, visible service projects show the community the value of Scouting and permit Youth to learn leadership and demonstrate the Scouting Spirit. Recording service hours enables Scouting to validate its contributions to youth and the community. Internally, it builds pride among participating Units. Externally, it serves a valuable means to increase membership, and to promote Scouting overall.
We did a project months ago, is it too late to report the hours?
No. You may report the hours for projects at any time. While not preferred, you can also aggregate similar projects together as one entry. Reasonable, good faith estimates of time, people, and/or donated items are acceptable.
Should the hours of non-Scouts or non-Leaders be included in the total hours?
Yes. the hours of all volunteers should be included. We need the assistance of everyone in the community. Reported hours should include everyone who participates in the service project.
What about “double counting,” where a Scout used hours for school and for advancement or Scout?
These hours may be recorded. Advancement Guideline 18.104.22.168. contained a “significant change” and clarified “that counting service hours provided elsewhere in the community is not ‘double counting’ and they should be counted toward advancement.” If hours can be counted towards Advancement, then hours can also be counted and reported as community service hours.
What are some age appropriate community service activities for Cub Scouts?
The BSA has some great ideas on its website. You may want to check out the Council’s Facebook page to see some examples showcased by other Cub Packs. The Council’s Community Service Committee would be happy to help you come up with great ideas.
Do Explorer Posts or Venture Crews need to report our hours?
Yes. All Scouting groups are encouraged to participate in service projects, and to record those efforts.
Project Spotlight: Raritan Valley: Troop 154 Pluckemin, Pack 154 and Troop 1 Pumpkin Patch Project: Working with their charter org. , Pluckemin Presbyterian Church, every year these units and non-scout church volunteers work to arrange pumpkins. The church orders the pumpkins from a Native American reservation, so it’s a fundraiser for the Tribe and then the church who sells the pumpkins to parishioners, neighbors, and anyone else who happens to stop by. It’s a single activity that results in so much good with everyone pitching in all together, and a wonderful sense of community.
The SERV Award Program
Patriots’ Path Council has established its own service awards program called SERV, designed to recognize all participants in Council programs each year, for their hours of public service. Click Here to learn more about the SERV Award, and to apply.
The SERV Award can be earned by Scouts, Explorers, Venturers, Cub Scouts and adult Scouters