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Service Opportunities for Scouts
Are you a Scout looking to help someone?
- You can find project ideas by visiting JustServe.org. Visit the site and search by community or project type to find an opportunity near you.
- Here are service opportunities that have been submitted by members of the public. It’s possible that someone else has stepped in to help since this posting, so always check with the contact provided. Our council staff does not regularly check to see if these projects are still available, but we will remove projects that are three or more months old:
(March 8-9, 2024) – The Pace Bend Weekend is seeking help with directing traffic, course support, and presenting awards to participants at their cycling event. Anticipated volunteer shifts are 9:30am-1:00pm or 11am-4:00pm. Contact Barry Lee at email@example.com or 720-244-8228.
(December 2023-February 2024) – Casa Marianella, a nonprofit shelter housing migrant families seeking asylum, needs 2-3 picnic tables built for the backyard of its location in northeast Austin. Contact Spencer Foster at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-382-1557.
(Not time sensitive) – Woodcreek Parks and Recreation Department in Wimberley needs a rain shelter and rain collection barrel. The group has received a grant for this work. Contact Claire Palmer at email@example.com.
(Year-round) – Park Springs Cemetery, a 25-acre historic African-American cemetery in Manor, needs help every Saturday with groundskeeping and maintenance work. Examples include mowing, weed trimming, tree and brush cutting. The cemetery can also incorporate history tours and nature walks with these opportunities. Contact volunteer coordinator Tiffany Thorman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Year-round) – Unique week-long service opportunities each summer as part of a resident camp program conducted by Down Home Ranch in Elgin; click here to learn more. There are also chances to perform service while your unit does a weekend camp out other times during the year; contact Jennifer Shirley at 512-856-0128 ext 132 or email@example.com for more information.
Still need help finding ideas for a service project?
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. Remember, though: if you charge money for any of these you’re not providing service, you’re conducting a fundraiser:
Food – Food Collection
- This can include collecting nonperishable foods to take to local food drives or during seasonal food drives. Some locations to send Central Texas Food Bank, Hope Food Bank Austin, Caritas of Austin Food Pantry, Micah 6 Food Pantry, etc. To find more food banks, please see https://www.foodpantries.org
- Remember that this can also include food collection or drives for animals, either pets or wildlife rehab centers. Any Petsmart or local animal shelter will always accept new unopened pet food. Check out http://www.austinareawildliferehab.org/donated_items.html or http://allthingswildrehab.org/wish-list/ for a list of needs.
- Check out Urban Roots, which is farm which grows food for needy families: https://urbanrootsatx.org/volunteer/.
Food – Meal Delivery
- As a unit, you can volunteer to take a food delivery run, where the unit will need to deliver food regularly.
- For a one-time event, you can work with food groups to help take out food on special holidays.
- A good place to check is Meals on Wheels (https://www.mealsonwheelscentraltexas.org/get-involved/current-needs), Mobile Loaves and Fishes (https://mlf.org/volunteer), and Keep Austin Fed (https://keepaustinfed.org/volunteer), or your local house of worship.
Food – Food Serving
- Groups like Salvation Army, Mobile Loaves and Fishes, Angel House Soup Kitchen, and Carnitas all offer free meals but need volunteers to help serve. See https://library.austintexas.libguides.com/socialservices/food for groups and links.
- Some nursing homes need help serving food and visiting with home bound residents.
- Helping serve food at a church, community, district or council event can all count for service hours.
Shelter – Home Building
- Numerous churches have mission or building projects.
- Scouts can work for Habitat for Humanities (https://www.austinhabitat.org/volunteer) or local community building volunteer opportunities, such as MLF’s Community First! Village (https://mlf.org/community-first/) or Rebuilding Together Austin (https://www.rebuildingtogetheraustin.org/volunteers).
- Make sure to check in with sponsoring organization and the Guide to Safe Scouting to make sure Scouts are old enough to work onsite.
Shelter – Personal Care Collection
- You can collect and even volunteer to help create care kits for organizations like Front Steps (http://www.frontsteps.org/volunteer/volunteer-opportunties/ ), Homeless Backpack Network (http://www.homelessbackpack.net/ ), Mobile Loaves and Fishes (https://mlf.org/volunteer/), Feed My People (https://www.foundationhomeless.org/volunteer-fmp) and FreeStore (https://www.freestoreaustin.org/).
- During any natural disaster, kits of personal care items are always needed.
- Remember, personal care may not only be for people. Consider donating Dawn dish soap or making bird nest liners for animal rehab centers (https://wildliferescuenests.weebly.com/volunteer-registration.html)
- Collect personal care items for babies and kids for Rainbow Rooms (https://www.dfps.state.tx.us/Child_Protection/Rainbow_Rooms/default.asp) or to the SafeAustin Safe House (https://www.safeaustin.org/get-involved/in-kind-wishlist/).
Shelter – Blanket Collection
- Almost all natural disaster centers, homeless shelters, and animal shelters need basic, clean blankets.
- Consider making or decorating blankets to give to children’s hospitals or homeless shelters.
Shelter – School Supply Collection
- Contact your local school, libraries, or house of worship for local school supply drives.
- You can drop off school supplies to organizations like Foundation Communities (https://foundcom.org/), Salvation Army (http://salvationarmyaustin.org/get-involved/back-to-school-drive/), United Way (https://www.unitedwayaustin.org/get-involved/volunteer/), or Travis County ESD (https://www.traviscountytx.gov/news/2018/1686-sheriff-back-school-drive).
Shelter – Book/Magazine Drive
- Donate books to libraries, school, homeless shelters.
- Consider also donating books and/or creative materials to Austin Creative Reuse (https://www.austincreativereuse.org/)
Healthy Living – Blood Drive
- Please note, this one is mainly for adults. Youth under 17 cannot donate blood.
- Youth can help with promotion of blood donations and check-in for blood drives. See http://redcrossyouth.org/2018/11/23/volunteering-with-blood-services/ and https://www.redcrossblood.org/hosting-a-blood-drive/learn-about-hosting/why-host-a-blood-drive/k-8-blood-programs.html for kid specific blood drive volunteer ideas.
Healthy Living – Fun Run/Walk/Hike/Etc.
- Hosting or helping host any fun run/walk/hike/ride, etc.
- Serving water or fruit at such an event
- See https://www.runguides.com for a list of these in your area
Healthy Living – Bike Safety Event
- Hosting or helping host any bike safety event
- Serving water or fruit or manning check-in at such an event
- See https://bicycleaustin.info/events/ for more info
Healthy Living – Tree Planting
- Hosting or helping host a tree, shrub or native plant planting
- Serving water or fruit or manning check-in at such an event
- Planting trees or shrubs as part of a community project (planting a tree in your yard does not count)
- If you want to plant local, consider planting around your neighborhood through a program with your HOA or Neighborhood Association.
- Consider planting anything at your local camps – contact Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org
- See https://austinparks.org/, https://www.treefolks.org/,
Healthy Living – Litter Cleanup/Beautification
- Hosting and helping host a litter or ecosystem cleanup.
- Any amount of cleanup or beautification, which can include picking up trash, removing exotic or encroachment flora or fauna, clearing overgrown areas, putting in recreation items or habitat improvement.
- Consider working at any public park or one of our camps.
- Teaching merit badges at council or district level
- Serving as a NOVA or SuperNOVA mentor to other unit
- Serve as a Distinguished Conservation Award Advisor
- Serve as an Eagle Advisor or District Advancement Chair
Record your service hours!
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:
Record service hours performed by your unit or from Eagle Scout projects completed by Scouts in your unit using Internet Advancement. Here are step by step instructions:
1. Log in to https://advancements.scouting.org/login
2. Report unit or individual community service
units can report unit service by clicking the “Activities” button in Internet Advancement and clicking the “+” button
individuals can report service activity by accessing their activity log in Scoutbook and clicking the “CREATE OR JOIN” button
3. Eagle candidates click the “edit” button when their project has been completed. Then, click “save.” The leader will see the activity to be approved in the “Pending Items” in Internet Advancement. Once approved, the Eagle project information will be automatically pulled from the entry when the Eagle candidate generates their Eagle Application in Scoutbook.
CLICK HERE for these same instructions (with screenshots) from the national advancement committee