As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

What Can Scouts Use as Service Hours?

What Counts as Service Hours?

Service hours are an important part of being a Scout because they help young people give back to their community. These activities can include different tasks like fixing up a flowerbed at a local school or helping with a big charity event like Relay for Life. Doing these projects helps Scouts learn to take part in their community and make a positive impact.

Each service activity is chosen based on what is right for the age of the Scouts doing them. For younger Scouts, the projects might be simpler, like planting flowers or helping at a school event. Older Scouts might take on tougher tasks that need more planning. This way, every Scout gets a challenge that helps them grow.

It’s important to know what the rules are for each service project. Some projects might need to be okayed by someone in charge, especially if they are for earning a badge like Citizenship in the Community. Scouts need to make sure they understand what is required before they start.

Before beginning a service project, Scouts, their leaders, and parents should make sure they know what needs to be done and get any necessary approvals. This helps make sure that the project goes smoothly and that the Scouts get the most out of the experience. This careful planning makes sure that Scouts keep learning and contributing to their communities in meaningful ways.

It Depends on the Service Requirement

The type of service hours needed for Scout advancement depends on the specific requirements of each rank or merit badge. Service projects are grouped into different categories based on their focus and the skills they aim to develop.

It is always a good idea to get approval from a leader or merit badge counselor before starting a service project. This ensures that the project can be used to meet the specific requirement. Be clear about which requirement you are working on and ask if the project you are considering will fulfill it.

Here are some categories and ideas for projects that can help Scouts earn service hours:

  • Community Improvement: Projects might include cleaning up local parks, planting trees, or revitalizing community spaces. Scouts could organize a neighborhood cleanup day or help maintain trails in a local nature preserve.
  • Education and Awareness: Scouts can work on projects that educate others about important issues like recycling, water conservation, or safety. Setting up educational booths at community events or leading a workshop on first aid skills are good examples.
  • Assistance Services: Service hours could be earned by assisting at community events such as charity runs, food drives, or health fairs. Scouts might help set up for the event, manage registration desks, or distribute water to participants.
  • Supporting the Elderly or Disabled: Projects could involve visiting nursing homes to spend time with the elderly, helping build accessibility ramps, or organizing recreational activities for people with disabilities.
  • Environmental Conservation: These projects focus on protecting and enhancing the natural environment. Scouts could participate in river cleanups, invasive species removal, or building birdhouses for local wildlife areas.
  • Patriotic Services: Service hours may also come from participating in events that honor veterans or active-duty military personnel. This could include setting up for a Veteran’s Day ceremony, placing flags on graves for Memorial Day, or participating in welcome home events for troops.

Each of these categories offers a range of project ideas that can be adapted to suit the ages and abilities of the Scouts involved. It’s important to consult with Scout leaders and merit badge counselors to ensure that the projects meet the specific advancement requirements and are approved before starting. This helps ensure that the service hours contribute effectively towards Scouts’ advancement and personal development goals.

Consider the Scout’s Age

Considering the Scout’s age is crucial when planning service hours, as what’s appropriate for different age groups can vary greatly. Here are some age-appropriate service project ideas for various Scout groups:

Cub Scouts

  • Community Clean-Up: Young Scouts can participate in local park clean-ups which involve picking up litter and learning about recycling.
  • Greeting Cards: Making and delivering greeting cards to local nursing homes or hospitals can be a gentle way for younger Scouts to offer comfort and joy to others.
  • Planting Flowers: Scouts can help beautify local parks or school grounds by planting flowers and learning about different plant species.
  • Pet Shelter Assistance: Young Scouts can collect supplies like blankets, toys, and food for animal shelters.
  • Trash Recycling Education: Scouts can create posters or a small campaign to educate their peers and community about the importance of recycling.

Scouts BSA

  • Food Drives: Organizing or assisting in a food drive helps Scouts learn about community needs and the importance of helping those in difficult situations.
  • School Supply Kits: Collecting and assembling back-to-school kits for underprivileged children provides practical help and teaches Scouts about the value of education.
  • Beautification Projects: Projects like painting over graffiti or planting gardens in community areas can help improve local neighborhoods.
  • Assisting Seniors: Scouts can help older residents in their community with yard work or basic household chores.
  • Library Help: Volunteering at the local library to help organize books and assist in setting up for events can be a great way for Scouts to contribute.

Venturers and Older Scouts

  • Habitat Restoration: Participating in or leading environmental projects like planting trees or restoring habitats challenges older Scouts and helps them develop leadership skills.
  • Accessibility Projects: Building ramps or improving pathways for the disabled in community centers or homes pushes Scouts to undertake more complex and impactful projects.
  • Community Emergency Preparedness: Older Scouts can organize or participate in community safety drills, helping residents prepare for natural disasters.
  • Mentoring Younger Scouts: Serving as a mentor or assistant in Cub Scout packs allows older Scouts to teach and lead younger members.
  • Historical Restoration: Engaging in projects that restore local historical sites or landmarks, such as cleaning and maintenance, helps preserve community heritage.

Each project should be chosen not just based on the Scout’s physical capabilities, but also their ability to understand and reflect on the importance of their work. Engaging in these activities helps Scouts grow, challenges them appropriately, and ensures that their service hours are both meaningful and developmental.

Related Resources

Service Project Ideas for Cub Scouts

For those looking for more service project ideas for younger Cub Scouts like Lions and Tigers, there’s a great resource available. It lists a variety of simple and engaging projects suited to the abilities and interests of younger Scouts. These projects help teach the importance of community service and cooperation in a fun and accessible way. This resource is a helpful tool for leaders and parents wanting to engage young Scouts in meaningful activities.

Service Project Ideas

Service Project Ideas for Scouts BSA

For Scouts BSA looking for diverse service project ideas that suit their age and skills, a valuable resource is available. This guide provides a range of project suggestions that are perfect for older Scouts wanting to give back to their communities. These projects are designed to be challenging yet achievable, promoting both personal growth and community service. This resource can help Scouts fulfill their service hours and contribute positively to their communities.

Tips for Success

For Scouts and leaders looking for guidance on organizing successful service projects, the Scouting Journey to Excellence website offers practical tips and strategies. This resource provides helpful advice on planning, executing, and evaluating service projects effectively. It emphasizes the importance of setting clear goals and involving every participant in meaningful ways to ensure the projects not only meet the needs of the community but also enrich the Scouts’ learning experiences. This can be an invaluable tool for units striving to achieve excellence in their service efforts. More details on these tips can be found on the Scouting Journey to Excellence page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What counts as service hours for Scouts?

Service hours are activities where Scouts help others without getting paid. This can include community clean-ups, helping at animal shelters, or working on conservation projects. The main idea is to help the community or environment. Always check with a leader before starting a project.

Does all Scout advancement require service hours?

Yes, most Scout advancement require some form of service hours. These hours are part of earning badges and advancing to the next rank. Each rank has specific requirements for what kind of service is needed.

Can service hours be part of a group project?

Yes, in many cases Scouts often work together on service projects. Working as a group not only gets more done but also helps Scouts learn to work with others. Group projects are a common way to earn service hours. Check with a leader first though.

How do Scouts find service projects?

Scouts can find service projects through their Scout leaders, community centers, or local nonprofits. Sometimes, Scouts come up with their own project ideas and get them approved by their leaders.

Do Scouts need to track their service hours?

Yes, it’s important for Scouts to keep track of their service hours. They should note what the project was, how long it lasted, and what tasks they did. This information is needed when they want to advance to the next rank or earn certain badges.

Helping Hands

Service hours are a key part of the scouting experience. They are the hours spent by Scouts doing volunteer work that benefits the community or the environment. This could be anything from cleaning up local parks to helping out at a community event.

Scout advancement often includes a requirement for service hours. This means that in order to move up to the next level or earn certain badges, Scouts need to complete a specific number of hours helping others. The type of service required can vary depending on the Scout’s age and rank.

Scouts can do service projects either as individuals or as part of a group. Group projects are popular because they allow Scouts to work together, which teaches teamwork and helps accomplish larger tasks. Leaders in scouting or community organizations often have ideas for projects, but Scouts can also come up with their own projects. All projects just need to be approved by their Scout leaders to count for service hours.

It’s important for Scouts to keep track of their service hours. They need to record what they did, how long they worked, and any significant outcomes of their project. This record helps when it’s time to discuss their progress and when they are being considered for advancement.

Service hours are a chance for Scouts to learn the value of helping others while contributing to their communities in meaningful ways.


8 responses to “What Can Scouts Use as Service Hours?”

  1. aNDREW Avatar

    As an ASM and MB counselor my test for service is thus: Is the Scout doing something to improve the life of someone else in some beneficial way. I like to ask the Scout to examine the work and define it themselves to see if they think it is really service. Let them provide the answer, as this organization is led by the Scout they should be able to help make that decision. Then I encourage the scout to do it with a cheerful heart, and sometimes that is where the best conversations happen about how fortunate we are to be Scouts.

    From the 2017 Guide to Advancement:
    Counting service hours for school or elsewhere
    in the community and also for advancement is not
    considered double counting since the hours are
    counted only once for advancement purposes.

    When contemplating whether to double-count service hours
    or a service project, and apply the same work to pass a
    second advancement requirement, each Scout should ask
    himself: “Do I want to get double credit for helping others
    this one time, or do I want to undertake a second effort
    and make a greater difference in the lives of even more
    people?” To reach his decision, each Scout should follow
    familiar guideposts found in some of those words and
    phrases we live by, such as “helpful,” “kind,” “Do a
    Good Turn Daily,” and “help other people at all times.”
    As Scout leaders and advancement administrators, we
    must ask ourselves an even more pointed question: “Is it
    my goal to produce Scouts who check a task off a list or
    Scouts who will become the leaders in our communities?”
    To answer our own question, we should consult the same
    criteria that guide Scouts.

  2. Steve Cutler Avatar
    Steve Cutler

    does doing volunteer as a fire fighter for several hours a weekend count for adults in Service hours for helping the community and doing a good turn daily

  3. Brian Tobin Avatar
    Brian Tobin

    What do you think about helping another scout with a eagle project?

    1. Doug L. Avatar
      Doug L.


  4. John Avatar

    Would you count a scout teaching Chess to those who do not know how to play or are week players at a schools Fall Festival as a Service Project?

    1. Scouter Mom Avatar
      Scouter Mom

      In general I would, but it depends on the specific service requirement. And some of the service requirements need the prior approval of a Scoutmaster or merit badge counselor, so they should always check first.

  5. Mike Avatar

    Helping someone or teach them a game would be more of a good turn, or helping others at all times. The service should not benefit scouts. I don’t count Helping Eagle scouts on a project count as service since it is benefiting the scout. He needs to lead others and if he has been around and done his job younger scouts will volunteer cheerfully. Again following their oath an motto. Trail work is service, cleaning up flower beds and trimming trees at your local church. Finding a local stream and cleaning up graffiti and trash, or at a park. It’s always been a tough one. We have a pancake breakfast for our home church where the boys serve and cook for the congregation once a year and that counts. But the key is once they have done one, they can’t keep repeating the same service through all there ranks, so you need to change it up and challenge them. Every community needs help with something. Just my take on it.

    1. Sara Avatar

      Other scouts working on an Eagle Project isn’t benefiting the prospective Eagle Scout. I believe that service of the other scouts benefit the beneficiary of the Eagle Project.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.