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High School Service Hours Idea

There are a number of things that your child must do to have a great resume for college.  This includes a solid GPA, good SAT scores, participation in school sports and activities as well as community service.

I found that community service was the difficult one to successfully complete.  If your kids are like mine their sports and activities take up a great deal of time.  Once you reach high school the season really does not stop.  There is conditioning and camps that the coaches like the kids to attend to help keep them fit during off-season.  Add this to school work and any other activities that they may participate in as well as travel sports teams, and you begin to feel like you need more hours in the day.  In most schools there are clubs or organized activities that will help to provide service hours.   However, it must be able to fit into their already busy schedules.

What my son found online and really enjoyed was Relay for Life.  There are chapters all over the country and a number of these events take place on the grounds of colleges or high schools.  Relay for life, is a all night walk that raises money for cancer.  My son joined as a team captain and his event was at West Chester University which is located in West Chester, Pennsylvania.   This event was filled with people of all ages coming together with one goal in mind to "Fight Back". 

If you go to the Relay for Life website you can search for events by you zipcode and then decide what event works for you based on date and location.  Everything can be done on the website.  You can sign up to be a team captain or simply to join an existing team.  As a team captain it was his responsibility to attend meetings, organize a group of walkers, decide and organize an on-site fundraiser, and most importantly raise money.  Also, you set a goal for your team to accomplish and strive to attain.  Your fundraising methods can be as simple as sending out letters to family and friends asking for support to as elaborate as organizing some type of event. 

You must decide on a team name, a team song and you are given instructions on how to set up your website page.  There will be a theme for the event and you should decorate your campsite accordingly.  In addition, you may need to make a team flag.   This year the theme for our event was the Olympics so we had to make a flag as well as a torch.  We carried these items during the opening ceremony when our team was announced.   As a team captain you will earn about 40 service hours.  Each team member that registers in advance of the event and that earns a minimum of $100 will get a tee shirt and yes, the "pink" tee was for team captains.  I have to say that a pink shirt was not a bit hit!

At the event, you must have a representative from your team walking the track the entire time, even through the night.  So you bring a tent and camp out for the night.  Your team will get a reserved area where you can set up camp.  At this location you will also set up your on-site fundraiser.  You need to have a lot of volunteers, so if someone can only come for a few hours be sure to encourage them.  Everyone does not have to stay the night.  You will need to take some  snacks and lots of drinks but main meals are provided for you.  Normally the events are held outdoors but ours was rained out so we moved into the gym, which I found to be a great location.  Since we were indoors we did not bother to set up the tent.

 

You find that you have high energy for about the first 12 hours and then teammates begin to crash.  Most of our team went until about 3 A.M. before some of them needed sleep.

On-site fundraisers can be anything at all.  You can sell soft pretzels, baked goods, candy or flowers.  You may want to make up a basket and raffle if off.  You can set up some type of a game and charge to play it.  Be creative with your fundraiser and you will raise more money.

It is really just an all night party with music, entertainment, games, prizes and lots of fun.  There were skits, a hypnotist, speakers, a DJ and a band.  Each mile that you walk you can add a little foot charm to a necklace and compete with your teammates to see who can get the most.

All participants are encouraged to invite cancer survivors that they know to come and participate in the event.  This lap was to celebrate the birthday of the survivor, meaning the number of years since they were diagnosed with cancer.  Afterwards all survivors were invited to a reception that included dinner and of course a birthday cake.

In addition as part of the fundraising efforts, all participants can sell luminias in honor of or in memory of a loved one or friend.  At the event they have a heart warming lighting ceremony that includes a few laps in total silence with music playing and pictures of loved ones being flashed on a screen.

It was a terrific event that everyone enjoyed.  In fact, my son's team raised $1,849.00 and they walked a total of 90 miles.  When it was all over and everyone was tired and ready to go home several of the team members came up to me and asked if we are going to do it again next year!