1. May service be provided by individual Scout and their Family?
Yes, of course. If you have identified an opportunity right next door and your smaller working group is the right personal approach; great! Successfully addressing a defined need (even Next Door) will inspire youth and adults in and out of Scouting to higher levels of service and volunteerism.
However, be mindful that the life lessons learned by planning and working with others are invaluable and provide additional program experiences to help youth members learn qualities of good citizenship and gain a sense of belonging to, and being needed in, their communities. Particularly with COVID-19 disrupting Unit activities, it is hoped that units collaborating on service within their community will become better socially connected and revitalized as a team.
2. We see the FOUR suggested themes of emphasis for volunteer service. What if our initiative doesn’t seem to neatly fit any of them?
That’s fine. Although there are suggested themes, you are free to provide service that meets the needs of your community, whether it fits within a theme or not. The themes are simply “thought starters” for those who may need project suggestions or ideas. If you have questions about the appropriateness of a service project, talk with your unit leader. Unit leadership will be able to provide guidance as needed.
3. Can service done to meet Rank Advancement Criteria or Merit Badge Requirements count toward the Summer of Service?
Absolutely! If projects fall within the Summer of Service window (April 1 – October 31), they count!
4. Our Unit provides some type of Community Service each year. Can that service already scheduled be eligible for this national initiative?
Certainly, it can. If you have already planned a project meaningful to you; we’re all in! Register it on Tracking Portal and have your participants widely share it with their contacts on social media. We simply want to promote Units being active and visibly engaging with their communities. District or Council Events which are already planned that have qualifying service components are also eligible. Your ongoing good works are just the spirit of Scouting service we want to record in a unifying celebration across the Nation.
5. Are there specific criteria regarding what qualifies as eligible service?
Although the definition of service is intentionally broad to allow for maximum flexibility, there are parameters as follows:
- The service should adhere to and follow BSA standards and guidelines (i.e., Cub Scouts should not use power tools, YPT standards, etc.)
- The impact of any project should not benefit Scouting (i.e., trail maintenance at camp)
- Although Scouting should not directly benefit from the project, Scouting events can be launch points for serving the community (i.e., days of service as part of summer camp programming)
- The individual has flexibility to define what “service” is to them and identify topic areas that best resonate
6. Scouting is known for service; it’s legendary. Why this national campaign? Why now?
The Global Pandemic has disrupted many of the normal rhythms of Work, School, Home and Scouting in our society. Virtual work and learning via internet have bridged many basic gaps; but Virtual Scout Meetings and activities can only go so far. It is hoped that by planning and delivering on a commitment to others, Units will become invigorated and promote solidarity as a Unit and pride and purpose as individuals continuing down the Scouting Trail.
Scouting Youth will have the opportunity to learn about responsibility for others, Personal Discipline & Leadership, and about the real needs of their neighbors or greater communities. They will have formative experiences leading them to say: “I was there. We saw a need. I did my best. We made a real difference.”
Councils and their Districts will benefit from greater community visibility and general awareness of the value of Local Scouting. By featuring the multitude of good works produced by Local Scouts though all available Social Media, Print and Broadcast Media, communities and stakeholders will receive a clear message that Local Scouting is strong, valued, relevant and ready to continue serving our neighbors and our nation. Many new resources and friends can be garnered by the Scouting Community through collaborating with community agencies and Non-Scouting Families.
Communities, during these disrupted and stressful times, will have the opportunity to leverage the capacity of willing Scouts and Families in support of targeted initiatives to address pressing issues or unmet needs. While our Scouting Community will learn about the diversity of challenges and current needs of our fellow citizens; Community Leaders will become reacquainted with the invaluable public resource and enduring civic asset that Scouting has long constituted. Meaningful Service; faithfully delivered, will demonstrate that Local Scout programs continue to strengthen Communities, Families and Young Citizens.
7. How will Recognition items be administered?
Upon completion of the service, each participant will be able to print recognition certificates and order patches from this website.
8. What is the cost to participate?
No fees are required by the National organization to participate in the Summer of Service. The recognition patch will be available for purchase. The administration of printing certificates and ordering patches may vary between Councils. Check with your local Council to learn of their plan. Expenses related to any Service Project or Activity should be contemplated during evaluation, selection and planning. Cost of needed supplies or materials could be supported by Grassroots Fundraising, Scouts & Families, and/or the entity benefiting from the initiative. It is the responsibility of the person planning the project to secure the necessary funding.
9. How will the BSA SERVICEHours Tracking Portal be used?
It will be a mobile-friendly Project Entry & Management portal to capture the impact of your service. We’ll use the data you input to capture “stats” about the Summer of Service and its impact.
10. Time frame is April 1 through October 31, 2021. That seems like a wide window of time, but what if local circumstances dictate that we need to start early or finish late?
The focus is Local Scouts as community service collaborators doing purposeful work and making a real difference. Register your project and report progress and outcomes as realized. The April-October season is an opportunity to promote our whole movement to be in the field (highly visibly) at the same time on some phase of their activities and share the news with their friend and the World.