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  • definition of community service

    One of my scouts has been asked by a teacher to help with new student orientation. He in turn asked me if this would constitute communittee service? Where can I find a good definition?

  • #2
    BSA does not specifically define community service.

    From the American Heritage Dictionary -

    "Services volunteered by individuals or an organization to benefit a community or its institutions."

    Weather or not "helping with new student orientation" can be considered depends on a number of things.

    What exactly will he be doing for orientation?

    What BSA requirement does he want to use the service for?

    Has his SM (or MB Counselor) approved the service?


    • #3
      I'd get a few more details from the teacher and if there is nothing outta place, I'd count 'em!


      • #4
        I don't have a reference for this, but I believe that BSA has always defined community services as service rendered to groups or individuals outside of BSA. Thus, participating in an OA ordeal timed to help prepare the council camp for the summer camp season would not be considered to be community service. I would think the activity contemplated would be considered to be legitimate community service.


        • #5
          SOunds good to me. It's really up to the discretion of the SM as to what he/she will accept (within reason, of course).


          • #6
            As long as the scout isn't getting some sort of "extra credit" from the teacher then I'd say yes for the second class requirement. For Star and Life I'd have to know more about what the scout would be doing.


            • #7
              I would say that if the Scout doesn't receive some direct or indirect benefit from the service and it service doesn't fulfill some obligation the Scout has, then I would allow it.

              Work days at summer camp would be out because the Scout will benefit when he attends camp later in the year. Helping with an OA Ordeal would be out since that is an obligation of being in the OA. On the other hand, I would allow service for working at Cub Scout Day Camp, unless he is doing so as part of his obligation as a Den Chief.


              • #8
                I believe it is service that helps non-profit groups, that is to say helping a farmer bring in a load of crops and then helping him take those same crops to a local food bank would be considered community service, but helping that same farmer with his crops so that farmer would sell them for his own profit would NOT be considered community service.


                • #9
                  Interesting Twocubdad. When I was involved with a unit we counted Beaver Day's at camp for community service. Not sure I agree with not counting the service if the Scout receives benefit from it.


                  • #10
                    I did not address this in my earlier post, but for anything to be considered to be a community service, I would think that no payment of cash or any other consideration, such as class room credit, should be received by the boy rendering the service.


                    • #11
                      The School System I live in has set a requirement for high school graduation that the student do 100 hours of community service. If they do not do the service, they get a diploma in the mail at graduation, but they do not attend the graduation ceremony. Most scouts I know get to wear a silver cord on their mortarboard designating they have doubled the 100 hour requirement. Are you guys saying that since its a graduation requirement the scouts should not received credit for their service? That they choose either its for scouts or graduation?


                      • #12
                        I am aware that many high schools now require some level of community service as a graduation requirement. Such service is essentially coercive, not fully voluntary. I am not opposed to what the schools are doing. Frankly I have not given it a great deal of thought and my youngest is now 23 so I am way beyond worrying about this as a practical matter. Nevertheless, making such service a graduation requirement seems to me to be qualitatively different. If the only consideration received is the ability to participate in a ceremony, albeit a fairly important one, then that is much less coercive. I am not aware of any BSA guidance on this. It still is up to the unit as to what service they will recognize.


                        • #13
                          "Service" is really very simple. We all know it in our hearts. Service is helping another human being. Service is giving of your time, resources, talents, and sweat to benefit something other than yourself.

                          From the Handbook (amazing the answers found there!):
                          "Giving of yourself will improve the lives of those around you. It will also enrich your own life as you discover that your actions make a real difference. The more you give, the more you will get back - in satisfaction, in accomplishment, and in understanding that you have done the right thing."

                          More on page 88.


                          • #14
                            I don't have a lot of sympathy for the "I can't find service hours" or "If my School requires service hours can't I double dip by counting them for Scouting also" ideas.

                            The hours are out there, my son in the course of his daily life does service hours every month without realizing he's done them. I occasionally do, in addition to Scouting(do those count for Community Service hours?), 20 or so hours of Community Service in a month.

                            Outside of the Eagle Project, Scouting only requires, what 18-20 hours over the course of the entire program? As little as 2.66 service hours a year if they joined at 10 and a half. Even if they did the minimum time to Eagle it'd be less than an hour a month. Even in addition to high School requirements it doesn't seem overly onerous to me.

                            Now if they had to plan and run their own projects and document them like little Eagle projects, and get them through approval processes that some adults think they should throw roadblocks in the way of to test or build their character, I MIGHT(probably would) be singing a different tune.


                            • #15
                              Ok, let me explain a little more. His teacher from the previous year asked him over the summer if he would like to help with new student orientation. Help being things like helping them understand a new schedule, showing them around the school, helping the teachers on the initial orientation day. Basicaly, being a sponsor. I can see where he is providing a service to those of the community. It's not for graduation, I'm talking about a 13 year here, 7th grade orientation, for the boys coming out of elementary school going into middle school. That can be a lot for a young boy to take in when going through this transition. However, I can't really judge just how much service he'll provide.