This week’s blog post was going to be focused on 4th of July activities, including a Flag Retirement Ceremony, but our activities got rained out. Like torrential rains, so despite trying to stick it out, we ended up having to call off the Cub Scout activities including the ceremony and float for the parade to make sure the Scouts were safe.
But that doesn’t mean that we can’t still take about giving back to your community. Spending time in the military community gave us lots of opportunities to be involved in community activities, and once we returned to life in the civilian world, we are slowly finding ways to continue to be involved in making our community better.
Growing up it was something my dad instilled in up. Not only pick up after yourself, but if you see something, pick it up. We volunteered in various church and community projects growing up,a favorite was visiting with seniors at retirement facilities and senior communities. As an adult, community projects kept my mind and body busy when George was on yearlong deployments.
As Jamie gets older I try to show him the value of these types of activities. Last year his Cub Scout den participated in a beautification project at a local park, and the Scouts replanted and refreshed the flower beds and plaque areas. We’ve also provided donations to our associated Boy Scout Troop when they collect food there are donations and other other projects.
It’s so easy to get caught up in what we want our community to provide for us, but to be successful, we need to also ask what can you give to our community. This was important for me to teach that lesson to Jamie both verbally and by example.
You many remember when we went to the Texas Hill Country a few weeks ago. During one of the hikes we saw lots of water bottles and trash littering the trails. It would have been an amazing experience, walking through these natural areas with trails created by hundreds of others who travels them before us, but it was marred by the reality that people just don’t care about things outside of themselves. So along the way, we filled my backpack with water bottles and such along the hike to the beach.
Many high schools have volunteer requirements as part of their graduation requirements. There are many ways that you can incorporate giving back in your community with your kids, some that we have either participated in or had friends participate in include:
- Summer Camps: This is fun for teens who are great with young kids. We have had teen volunteers helping in the past few years at our community summer camps at the local Jr. High School, as well as seen Scout volunteers (Boy Scout & Girl Scouts) at Twilight Camp (or Cub Camp) which teaches Cub Scout age Scouts about a variety of outdoor and other skills (like carpentry).
- Soup Kitchens: We have friends who take their kids to serve meals at shelters and food kitchens. It give youth a chance to see how they can help others and teach them that serving others can help create stronger communities.
- Habitat for Humanity: This is probably one of the most universally known programs and is done with the help of thousands of volunteers
- Reading to Shelter animals: This is one that is beneficial for both animals and kids who may be shy about reading. We have several programs in the Houston-Galveston corridor that have this program available.
- Libraries: Many libraries have programs for both youth and adults to volunteer.
- Community Government: There are many ways that you can volunteer within the community for both teens and adults. There may also be some options for younger youth as well, so check with your community’s City Hall to see what options they offer.
Bonus Points for Mom:
- This is a great way for kids to learn about their community and community service.
- Its a great way to get out of the house.
- They offer some budget-friendly activity options.
- Great memory-making opportunity for the family.