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Baloo's Bugle

November 2005 Cub Scout Roundtable Issue

Volume 12, Issue 4
December 2005 Theme

Theme: Faith, Hope and Charity
Webelos: Craftsman & Scientist
  Tiger Cub



Southern NJ Council

I thought this was a perfect time to run this article on Service projects as we get ready for the Holidays and we prepare to help others (e.g. Scouting for Food)  CD

.  Along the trail of Scouting, we promise…to “HELP OTHER PEOPLE”, and that, “THE CUB SCOUT GIVES GOODWILL”. It is important for a Cub Scout to gain an understanding and experience the satisfaction in helping those less fortunate than himself.

Do the Cub Scouts really know the meaning of:

“ I ___________________, promise to do my best

To do my duty to God and my country,

To help other people

To obey the Law of the Pack.”

“To help other people” not only is said each time the Cub Scout Promise is recited, but should also be lived daily by all Scouts.

By organizing home and community service projects, you will be giving your Scouts the opportunity to “reach out” into a wider community, making them feel a part of their community, and to recognize the importance of good citizenship. Your pack could select one or more service projects to work on throughout the year. Thanksgiving and Christmas are common service project times of the year, but the need exists year round. Collect food and clothing in your neighborhood to donate to a shelter for the homeless; families need warm weather clothing, too. Perhaps your pack could adopt a family for a year; help them with their food, clothing needs, and presents during the holidays.

As stated on the BSA Web Site, http://www.goodturnforamerica.org/  - “From barn raisings to soup kitchens, ordinary Americans have always made an extraordinary difference in the lives of their neighbors and in their communities by lending a helping hand. Today, America needs the service of its citizens more than ever. Hunger, lack of adequate shelter, poor health—these are issues that affect all of us. The Boy Scouts of America believes that we can do something about these issues—if we work together. That's why we've created Good Turn for America. Good Turn for America is a collaboration with The Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, American Red Cross, and thousands of other community organizations that focuses the power of volunteerism on these important community issues.” 

Packs can arrange to do on going projects for which responsibilities can be rotated among the dens. Volunteer to pick up trash and litter once a month around your neighborhood or church; each den takes a turn. Organizations that serve food to the homeless on a regular basis may need volunteers as servers, or for bussing tables; pick one day a month with each den taking a month to serve.

Your den could provide entertainment and or companionship to the elderly in the nursing homes; wear costumes and present a skit or sing a few songs. Give a puppet show to boys and girls at the children’s hospital. Collect magazines and donate them to nursing homes or hospitals; gather games, books, and puzzles to take to a day care center. Rake leaves for an elderly couple in your neighborhood.

One great way to encourage the Scouts to “Do a good turn daily” is for you to set a good example at den and pack meetings through your words and deed. When the boys see the adults around them picking up the trash after refreshments at the pack meeting, or stopping to help someone, they’ll feel the need to repeat your lead.

Before beginning a service project two things are essential.

  • Consider the boy’s age.
  • Regardless of age, how mature are they?

You must have sufficient leadership, two deep obviously. Decide when you will be doing your service project; in the den meeting or on a weekend. Requiring every Scout to get to the location on their own usually means a parent has to come and stay giving you plenty of adults to help.

When you are ready to pick out a project, don’t do it alone.

Get the Scouts involved in decision making. Give them a few ideas and let them choose democratically.

Make contact with organizations and GET PERMISSION.

Set a date in advance and inform parents.

For safety, if parent is not present at service project, get a signed permission slip.

If service project is not for the chartered organization you are with and you must travel. GET A TOUR PERMIT.

Follow through with your plans.

Limit the awards or recognition to a verbal thank you or appreciation, or at most, write it up in the newsletter. Credit can be given in their Scout handbooks. Remember keep it simple. Boys should learn that the true reward is the feeling you get when you help.

Service, best exemplified by the daily Good Turn, has long been a tradition in Scouting. Good citizenship is best taught by service in action. To get the most Cub Scouting has to offer, boys should have opportunities to take part in den and pack service projects. This is one of the best ways to show boys that helping other people is not only beneficial to others, but is fun and rewarding for themselves. They will experience a warm feeling that comes from giving service to others.

Below are some suggestions for service projects that Cub Scouts will enjoy:

  • Organize a spring cleanup.
  • Assist a person with special needs or an elderly person in the neighborhood.  Rake their yard, wash widows and screens, run errands. 
  • Conduct a paint and cleanup project at the building and on the grounds of the chartered organization.
  • Paint drums or other containers with lids for use as litter containers.
  • Adopt a stream. Clean debris and litter from a section of a nearby stream.
  • Send a care package to American troops.
  • Man a water station at a fun run.
  • Help pack Red Cross Friendship boxes.
  • Clean up the telephone poles of old signs.
  • Donate a tree for Arbor Day to a park.
  • Adopt a police or fire station and send Thank you's and goodies.
  • Do a fire prevention program for a day care center.

These are only a few ideas for service projects. You'll find many more in Cub Scout and Webelos Scout Program Helps and other Scouting literature.

Also, go to http://www.goodturnforamerica.org/ and find others.  Be sure to log your service hours here so everyone can see the good things our Scouts are doing.

Cub Scouts like being helpful. Scouting has always emphasized the Good Turn, and boys are never too young to start doing things for others. Scouting can offer one antidote to the many messages focusing on self-interest that boys receive from the media and the culture in general.

There are many ways to be helpful. Some service projects are "behind the scenes," like cleaning up the church parking lot or making gifts for people the boys will never see. Other services are provided directly to individuals. Both forms of service are useful and should be encouraged.

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