In our November-December 2004 issue, Webelos Den Leader H.S. noted that service projects are required for several Webelos activity badges and awards. He asked for examples of good projects. Readers offered several ideas.
It seems that my den is in the middle of a service project all the time. Last fall we collected food for a local food bank that was depleted when Hurricane Ivan went through. We participated in a local fall cleanup, and we are in an ongoing aluminum can collection project.
I’m sure a church or other local group can point H.S. in the right direction to help someone.
Pack Committee Member T.M.,
Locust Fork, Ala.
Our town’s conservation agent, James Pjura, helps us choose projects needed by the town. He joins in working on the project and talks to the Webelos Scouts about pollution and how they can help the environment.
The project the boys liked best was picking up trash in a local park and along its riverbank.
Afterwards, we take a picture of the boys and Mr. Pjura with the collected trash and have a celebratory conservation pizza party.
Our elementary school PTA has a monthly fund-raiser selling foods that are delivered to the school. My old Webelos den served the PTA by bringing wagons to school and wheeling the heavy food boxes to customers’ cars.
The boys had a lot of fun doing it, and the customers and PTA were genuinely grateful. The boys learned a lesson about service by turning down the numerous tips that were offered.
Assistant Scoutmaster R.R.
Is there anything better than getting your feet wet, checking out bugs, and picking up trash? They can be combined in a fun-filled educational project for the World Conservation Award. It’s perfect for Webelos Scouts.
A stream survey combines ecology, community awareness, and a stream cleanup in one morning or afternoon. The main purpose is to monitor the health of a stream by identifying and counting the macroinvertebrates (bugs, worms, and crayfish). The healthier the stream, the more invertebrates.
You need a small-holed net, bug identification cards (available from the Izaak Walton League,www.iwla.org/sos/sostools.pdf), and tally sheets. An adult group that monitors local waters may help you get started, giving the boys an even greater sense of the work’s importance.
After the survey, ask the Webelos Scouts to pick up the ever-present trash in and around the stream, or ask them to restore an eroded bank.
Another project would be to get permission to stencil “No Dumping” at storm drains to remind people not to pollute waters.
Also good for Webelos Scouts is participating in a Scouting for Food project.
Our Webelos Scout den had a camping trip last year to Fontainebleau State Park on Lake Pontchartrain, where we arranged for a service project with the park rangers. We painted nature trail signs over two miles of trail through a swamp and down to the lake. We also identified plants and wildlife along the way.
The park rangers were so pleased with our work that they invited us back for a free weekend.
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I came up with a way to fulfill several Webelos requirements—a recycling project in which the Webelos Scouts collected aluminum cans from family, friends, and other pack members. Then we collected more cans while cleaning a park and redeemed the cans at a recycling center for cash.
Next we looked for a charity in the community to give the money to. (It’s best if the boys can help look, including a field trip if possible.) Finally, we invited a representative of the charity to a pack meeting to receive the donation.
With this program, the Webelos Scouts meet some of the requirements for Citizen, Naturalist, and Outdoorsman activity badges and requirement 4 for the World Conservation Award.
Webelos Scouts decided to collect cans to benefit a local animal shelter. Field trips included visits to a park and the animal shelter.
The boys collected cans for 11 months, purchased supplies needed by the shelter, and donated the supplies in the 12th month. It was a lot of fun, and the boys were so proud to have made such a large contribution to a worthy cause.
Webelos Den Leader J.Y.
H.S. could check parks, game preserves, or the local game commission to see if any areas could use bluebird houses, bat houses, or duck boxes. Webelos Scouts love to build things, and such a project would cover many service, advancement, and recognition opportunities. They might even get some press coverage when they set out their projects.
The den might plan field trips to monitor the effectiveness of their efforts.
We built birdhouses for our recently remodeled elementary school. Other possibilities for birdhouse projects are trails, museums, arboretums, and parks.
We pick up trash in and around local waterways to support a clean Chesapeake Bay. We have also collected newspapers to raise money for animal shelters. (Some people overlook such places because they think they get plenty of money from taxes.)
We do a food drive every November for our chartered organization, which makes up food baskets for the needy. Every December we fill Salvation Army stockings with hats, gloves, small toys, candy, and other items the boys have bought.
Scouts don’t have to travel far for service projects. City parks and recreation areas are excellent, but often overlooked, places to perform service.
For example, a canal or drainage area may be neglected and in need of volunteer environmental aid. The boys can learn by firsthand experience the role of ecology and ecosystems in the lives of people. A roadside litter pickup project might also be good.
Our Scout troop “adopts” a main thoroughfare and keeps it clean of trash.
Assign some of the boys to pick up recyclables (plastic, glass, and aluminum) and carry them in blue trash bags, say, while the rest of the boys pick up nonrecyclable trash and carry it in black bags.
Editor’s note: In any project involving litter and recyclables, all participants should wear protective gloves and use caution in picking up litter. Also, safety goggles can prevent injuries when potential danger to the eyes is present, such as in moving fallen tree branches.
H.S. might check out the Pocket Flag Project. Scout groups and other volunteers obtain miniature U.S. flags, fold them into palm-size triangles, and send them to frontline and deploying troops as a reminder that they are in our hearts and prayers. Details are at www.pocketflagproject.com.
Assistant Webelos Den Leader M.M.