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Service Projects

Pay it Forward

Service is one of the most important values we have in Scouting. The Scout Oath calls on us all to “help other people at all times.” The Scout Law says a Scout is Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind. These are maybe the most important ideas a young person takes away from their time in our program, no matter how long they’re with us.

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Individuals or organizations outside of Scouting looking for help from Scouts or Scouting:
We’re honored you thought of us, and if there is a way our Scouts can help they’ll be happy to do so. Here are a few notes on what we do with all service requests:

  • Each individual Scout unit in each neighborhood or community works independently; we don’t just call or email them and say, “here’s a project for you to do.” They all have their own calendars and may already have service projects they support where they live.
  • We will direct all organizations or individuals seeking help to work with our partners as JustServe.org. This is a website that lists service opportunities big and small across several communities. People visiting this site can search by town or project type and find opportunities where they can be of the most help. The folks at JustServe.org will help you post your service request for free on their site. This not only makes your project visible to Scouts in Central Texas but also to thousands more people or groups looking to help.

Scouts or Scout units looking for service opportunities:
Our council has partnered with JustServe.org to help Scouts and Scout units find service project ideas in their communities. Visit the site and search by community or project type to find an opportunity near you.

No matter whom or how you help, make sure your report your service hours so they will count towards your “Journey to Excellence” (or JTE) score. JTE is a self-evaluation tool that lets unit leaders see, quantitatively, how well their unit is meeting the goals of Scouting. To reach JTE “Gold” status (that’s the best), Cub Scout Packs and Sea Scout Ships must report four service projects each year. Scouts BSA Troops and Venturing Crews must report six service projects each year.

Here’s what to do:

If you’ve never reported service hours information before:

Once you’ve registered, or if you’ve previously registered and have logged in, follow these steps:

  • Enter project information under one of these four areas: Food, Shelter, Healthy Living, Other
  • Click “Submit”
  • Repeat the previous step for as many service projects as you have to report
  • You should see a screen confirming your data has been received and recorded

If you’re looking for ideas for a service project you haven’t done before – or maybe want to start doing as an annual tradition – here are some ideas (list originally published at blog.scoutingmagazine.org). Remember, though – if you charge money for any of these you’re not providing service, you’re conducting a fundraiser:

  • Organize a book and magazine drive, with the collected items going to a daycare, overseas soldiers, a VA medical center, or a school
  • Conduct a canned-food drive
  • Go caroling at a local nursing home
  • Perform skits or songs at a homeless shelter, nursing home, or children’s advocacy center
  • Collect gifts and make gift baskets for elderly people with no families
  • Prepare and distribute holiday cards (Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc.) for people without families of their own
  • Assist in yard work for members of the community or businesses that need a hand
  • Help agencies cook and serve meals for the homeless
  • Make gift boxes to be distributed by a local charity
  • Stock shelves at a local food pantry
  • Place flags on gravesites for Memorial Day or other special days of remembrance
  • Create and deliver thank-you cards to veterans on Veterans Day (or any day)
  • Help religious organizations set up religious exhibits or activities
    Retrieve and recycle Christmas trees as part of a conservation project
  • Collect toys for Toys for Tots (or a local equivalent)
  • Prepare and serve hot chocolate or apple cider at the annual town tree-lighting ceremony
  • Assist with parking cars at a local event (but please follow strict safety protocols!)
  • Provide free coffee at rest stops on heavy travel weekends, such as Thanksgiving or Memorial Day
  • Help run a school’s fall carnival
  • Create or help create and run a haunted house
  • Assist at alternative trick-or-treat events
  • Assist organizations that provide home maintenance service
  • Help paint a school, house of worship, or chartered organization
  • Clean a Habitat for Humanity house before the family moves in
  • Clean a local animal shelter
  • Help walk the dogs at the animal shelter (consult the shelter’s rules first)
  • Perform janitorial duties for your chartered organization
  • Repaint fences at government or nonprofit buildings
  • Adopt a Highway or road and take care of it
  • Take part in a litter cleanup project
  • Help beautify city hall
  • Clean up and/or help inventory a cemetery
  • Clean up/beautify the local community center, campground, park, river, or school parking lot
  • Clear brush from a fire-prone area
  • Improve a town walking trail
  • Pick up trash at the chartered organization before or after a meeting (not just the trash you left — check out the entire facility)
  • Clean up the shoreline
  • Help package medical supplies to be sent to developing countries
  • Assist with a blood drive
  • Distribute organ donor cards
  • Provide the first-aid station at a school or public event
  • Create and distribute first-aid kits to residents in need
  • Help children make bicycle safety kits
  • Make welcome-home kits for victims of a disaster
  • Make bandanas, pillows, or other items for cancer patients
  • Serve as “victims” for a local first-responders training event
  • Adopt a military unit and send its members birthday cards and other holiday cards
  • Create video histories of veterans and share the edited results with their families
  • Organize a movie night at a VA medical center
  • Send calling cards to servicemen and servicewomen overseas
  • Assist in training search and rescue dogs
  • Clean and refill bird feeders at the local nature society or wildlife area
  • Collect aluminum cans and donate the proceeds to a local charity
  • Construct duck houses, owl boxes, or birdhouses
  • Build an education sandbox for a local nature center
  • Build a fence around air conditioners at a local establishment
  • Conduct a CPR training event
  • Build a ramp at a community location for the mobility-impaired
  • Volunteer at the Special Olympics — water station, handing out medals, etc.
  • Construct bat and helmet racks for your school’s baseball/softball teams
  • Build a horseshoe pit at the local park (check with the parks department first)
  • Host a dodgeball tournament and donate the proceeds
  • Refurbish the press box at a local ballfield
  • Serve as volunteer referees or umpires at a sports tournament
  • Staff a local run or marathon
  • Repair and paint bleachers
  • Plant trees
  • Hand out voting reminders in the community (not to be confused with campaign material for a specific candidate; Scouting does not endorse candidates)
  • Call residents and encourage them to register to vote (again, this is to encourage people to vote and NOT to canvass for a candidate or issue)
    Conduct a winter coat drive and clean and distribute the coats
  • Set up and help run a website or Facebook page for your chartered organization or a local nonprofit
  • Collect unused personal care items for a center for abused women and/or children
  • Create a poison awareness campaign
  • Paint over graffiti (but first check with your city/town government)
  • Sponsor a TV blackout event to encourage families to spend time outside
  • Host a free camping clinic where you share basic camping skills with residents
  • Plant, tend and harvest a vegetable garden and donate what you grow
  • Organize a pet show, with a portion of the proceeds going to the winning dogs and the rest going to a local charity
  • Design placemats for Meals on Wheels recipients
  • Rake leaves for elderly neighbors or your chartered organization
  • Lead a game of bingo at a nursing home
  • Hold a bike safety rally, where you teach bike skills and inspect the bikes