Volunteerism with a side benefit – FUN!

By Jon Buzby | Posted 7/19/2019

As our kids make their way into the middle- and high-school years they typically are required to complete some amount of volunteer community service hours.

Sometimes we, and our kids, forget that it doesn’t have to be an unhappy, grueling experience to count for service. In fact, with a little creativity it can be a lot of fun and, in some cases, very beneficial for the volunteer.

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Just this past week, my rising seventh-grader stumbled upon a youth sports camp while wandering around the local high school as his mom attended a meeting. When the meeting was over she found him working with the youngest age group at the camp, teaching them the correct technique for that particular skill station.

When she saw him, he was smiling ear to ear. He was in his happy place, helping kids learn a sport he loves to play. He didn’t want to leave.

After the Monday session ended, the head coach invited him back for the rest of the week and by the end of the camp on Friday afternoon, he had racked up all 20 of the community service hours required for the upcoming school year.  

The best part was, we hadn’t even mentioned to him that the hours would count when he was invited and accepted the opportunity to volunteer. In his mind – how could being part of a sports activity count as community service hours? Yet, they did, because he was volunteering at a camp serving an underprivileged population.

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He not only earned the volunteer hours, but the head coach also told him to make sure to include the experience on any type of resume he might need to put together in the coming years.

He had fun, got some experience coaching kids, earned volunteer hours and, who knows, maybe opened a door for a future paid position as a sports camp instructor.

The moral of the story: Sometimes we have to think outside the box when figuring out how to find opportunities to earn community service hours. If we’re lucky, it’s a fun one that becomes an activity that generates more than just feeling good about giving back.

Jon Buzby has been involved in and writing about youth sports for the past 30 years with perspectives as a parent, coach and board member. Jon is an award-winning writer and his latest book, “Coaching Kids Made Easier,” is available on Amazon. Send comments or future blog topics you'd like to see to JonBuzby@hotmail.com and follow him @YouthSportsBuzz on Twitter.