Patrols who build community service in their Operations Plan build Patrol spirit.
I’d say that nothing builds Scout spirit quite like service to others! When Scouts do real good in the world, something great happens. When we serve others, we become part of something bigger than ourselves.
You don’t have to look far; there are dozens of service projects that require very little preparation:
Picking up litter around your local park, neighborhood, school, or church
Helping elderly people with yardwork or home maintenance
Volunteering for a day at a community homeless shelter or food cupboard
Clean up trash by a stream
Plant seedlings or flowers
Recycle glass, paper, aluminum, or plastic
Help set up or clean up for a special event
Call your local town or city hall, talk with the mayor or council members for suggestions. Ask your parents, your Scoutmaster, your neighbors, or your pastor. You will find plenty of ways your Patrol can serve the community.
Start with a simple project that doesn’t require a lot of planning. For example; picking up litter only requires gloves, trash bags, and a place to dispose of the litter you collect.
Planning a Patrol service project is similar to planning a field trek; arrange the time, place, transportation, and equipment and off you go!
For more ambitious projects, go over your plan with someone who knows something about the work you will be doing. They may point out some tools or methods that would make the job easier.
Put your plans and schedule down on paper, get permission from the Scouts’ parents, the Troop Leaders, and the project beneficiary.
Service brings your Patrol closer together and grows Scout spirit. I was privileged to help out with other Scouts’ Eagle Projects that required hours of hard work in the heat. Even when we were worn out, there were smiles on everyone’s faces at the end of the day.
Your Patrol in uniform serving the community is a great advertisement for your Troop and Scouting in general. Not too long ago, I drove passed a fully uniformed Troop that was cleaning up and painting a run-down house. It was a wonderful sight and made me proud to be a Scout!
Have you helped with service projects? Have you done any Patrol service projects? Tell me your best experience of a service project and what made it so great. Leave it in the comments section below or join me on the GreenBar Life forum.