Scoutmaster Musings - 10 Winter Service Ideas

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10 Winter Service Ideas
scout service projects
Eagle projects tend to be about building things outside, and that tends to be done from April through October when it's warmer outside (around here anyway). Providing service to the community can drop off over the winter, but it doesn't need to be that way. There are many potential service opportunities out there, maybe not for Eagle projects, but certainly for scouts to get out in the community and help others.
Here's 10 ways scouts can pitch in and lend a hand:
  1. Spread the Word - Work with the city council, police, or fire department to distribute flyers, magnetic cards, or pamphlets about fire alarm maintenance, christmas fire safety, home energy conservation, organ donor awareness, community contact info (substance abuse, neglect, depression, ...), or whatever the city would like taken door-to-door.
  2. Ring Dem Bells - Volunteer a few hours ringing Salvation Army bells outside businesses.
  3. Toys 4 Tots - organize a toy drive, volunteer at a collection site, or help in a warehouse. Or, organize a toy/book/clothing drive after Thanksgiving to make room for all that new Christmas stuff that will fill closets again.
  4. Welcome Home - College students often have early January off. Plan your first troop meeting of the year to be an alumni party and invite past scouts.
  5. Shelter Support - Serve meals at community shelters. Draw and color placemats for shelters to use at Thanksgiving and Christmas meals. Clean shelters after especially busy times.
  6. Serve Seniors - Arrange a visit to a senior citizens home. Play games, sing songs, visit, write letters for them. Assist elderly with their holiday shopping by carrying packages, helping on/off bus, wrapping packages.
  7. Be Thankful - Write letters to soldiers away from home thanking them for their efforts. Write thank you cards to local fire, police, emergency, and mayor departments letting them know they are appreciated. Bake treats for fire and police units in January, the coldest month.
  8. Cheer for Children - Visit children in hospitals. Make simple wooden toys for local shelters to give to children. Set aside a December weekend when parents can drop off their kids for free babysitting while they do their holiday shopping.
  9. Free Fire Hydrants - After snowfalls, dig out fire hydrants in your neighborhood. Ask the resident whose property it is on if it's OK before you start. Many people will want to give money, but don't take it.
  10. Recycle Christmas - Give cards to Christmas tree lots to hand out with each tree that says the date and location to bring the tree for free recycling. Include an email to send request to have the tree picked up instead on that date for a fee. Could sell bags of wood chips or mulch at the recycling spot.

Plus a couple more:

Got any more to add to the list?
Posted: 9:45 11-15-2012 930
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Site Disclosure Statement

 Nov 15, 2012 - jlash
A word of caution: Scouts should not be in uniform when ringing the bell for Salvation Army, or otherwise collecting money for another organization.  

From  the Guide to Unit Money Earning Projects:
The BSA Rules and Regulations state, “Youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money for their chartered organizations, for the local council, or in support of other organizations. Adult and youth members shall not be permitted to serve as solicitors of money in support of personal or unit participation in local, national, or international events.”

For example: Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts and leaders should not identify themselves as Boy Scouts/Cub Scouts or as a troop/pack participate in The Salvation Army’s Christmas Bell Ringing program. This would be raising money for another organization. At no time are units permitted to solicit contributions for unit programs.

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