We talk a lot about fundraising on this site, but one way for people — especially today’s youth — to give back is with their time. Service projects are a great way for Cub Scouts, Eagle Scouts, Girl Scouts and other community service groups to help their community.
According to the Boy Scouts of America website, “a Scout should do his best to help other people every day, [but] a group service project is a bigger way to help people.”
These days, there is no shortage of ways where a helping hand would be appreciated. To help spark a little creativity, we’ve created this list of helpful service project ideas for Scouts and other community service groups.
- Help your local library sell used or damaged books with a book sale.
- Spend the day volunteering at the local animal shelter cleaning cages, grooming the animals and taking them on outings.
- Contact your local Park to see if there are areas of the grounds that need to be cleaned up or weeded.
- Coordinate a group to volunteer and cook a meal for the Ronald McDonald House, which provides free housing and meals for families of children going through medical treatment.
- If you have a strong suit educationally, volunteer to help younger students who are struggling with free tutoring in a particular subject.
- Grab the adults in your group and join Adopt-a-Highway to help clean up the trash on a stretch of road that needs it in your town.
- Support seniors in your area by forming a friendship. Start off as pen pals and commit to an in-person visit once per month to brighten their lives.
- Volunteer at the local donation center to help where it is needed. Fold clothes, organize racks, tag items and get things ready for sale.
- Figure out where your community could use some more shade and plant trees. This could be at a childrens’ bus stop or in a park. Even if the saplings take 20 years to provide shade, it will be fun to watch them grow.
- Lend a hand to a senior or another person who needs some skills that today’s youth have. This could be social media, computer help or learning how to use an iPhone.
- A classic service project, you can never go wrong volunteering your time at the local soup kitchen.
- There’s almost no more helpful service project you could commit to than feeding someone in need. Get your troop together to cook up some big batches of meals that can be easily frozen and distribute them to those who aren’t sure where they’ll get their next meal.
- Organize a coat drive before winter hits. Make sure to work with your local shelter or the appropriate organization to understand what sizes and types of coats are most needed.
- Put together a community garage sale. This is a win-win as your community will have a place to donate their gently used items and folks in need can get those items free or at a discount.
- Get your most able-bodied youth in the group together and shovel the local seniors’ sidewalks and driveways for them during the next big snowstorm.
- Skill up with a babysitting class and provide cheap or free babysitting service to families that need it.
- Visit your local hospital to see how you can volunteer your time. If you’re allowed, bring a well-behaved pet or read a story to the patients.
- Create birdhouses and feeders for your local park or outside of the nearest nursing home to provide a little joy.
- If your group is particularly handy, get together to design and build a bench. It could be in honor of someone or you could put your scout troop’s number on it. Place the bench in any location where someone might need to stop for a rest, such as a park or a local trail system.
- Bake pies for the local Police force to thank them for keeping your community safe. Hey, it’s an alternative to the cliché donuts!
- After Easter or Halloween, collect candy from your classmates and donate it to deployed service members as a remembrance of a favorite holiday.
- Contact your local animal shelter to see if they ever need foster families. This doesn’t mean you have to adopt, but they often need families to take in the animals for an evening or a few days.
- Teach a skill. Whether it’s a foreign language, painting or music, share some lessons with interested youth.
- Go to a neighboring town to see what they might need. If you live in a nice area, you might consider visiting other towns to see if the playground needs fixing up or if school-aged children need lunch.
- Find what your group is good at. Whether it’s quilt-making, baking, knitting or painting, figure out the common skills members of your Scout troop have and pool together to offer up something amazing to your community.
Supporting your community by raising funds for a nonprofit is great, but there is nothing like a service project where you donate your time to a good cause. Time is one of the most valuable assets we have. Giving yours to someone else is an amazing show of selflessness.
P.S. If some of these in-person ideas aren’t quite feeling right, be sure to check out our list of virtual community service ideas.