This post may contain affiliate links.
Kids today seem to have things so easy, with so much ease and comfort surrounding them. It’s all too easy for kids to get lost inside of themselves in their own little world, and not think much about others.
I knew early on that I needed to be deliberate in helping my children learn to serve. I knew I couldn’t just leave it to the natural course of things for service opportunities to come up or for my kids to become aware of them on their own.
I needed to look for those opportunities and even create them. To point them out to my kids and help them practice serving. I wanted it to become a way of life for them. Something that their eyes would become trained to see and their hearts would become trained to desire to take action. To help them feel the joy of serving others.
I often look for ways to help them serve each other, or to be the ones to take a plate of cookies to the neighbor or to help a lady in the store with her cart of groceries. Opportunities like these are all around and are so great to participate in.
But there was one year when I knew I needed to do even more. I needed to purposely give my kids opportunities to serve others. To look outside of themselves, and to see other people’s needs and to seek to meet them.
When my older kids were younger, a great idea came to me one day, and that was to start a Summer Service Club! (Note, we did this club back in 1998! So the pictures are a little old, but hey! They still work! 🙂 )
Related Post: How to Get More Things Done as a Mom
This was the main group of our service club kids. We had some other kids who could come only once in a while. My two oldest are in the front row, and my third son is the little guy in my lap. Aren’t all these kids cute?!
Here’s how we did it:
My kids and I thought of other kids in the neighborhood who might enjoy being part of a service club. I created a schedule of when we’d meet and started looking for service ideas that a group of kids their age could do. I drafted up an invitation and had my kids deliver them personally to their friends.
I made name badges for each child to wear, so they would feel a little ‘official’ at our meetings. My oldest was ‘President’ of the club, and my 2nd oldest was the ‘Vice President.’ At the beginning of each of our meetings, they would take turns welcoming everyone and inviting someone to say an opening prayer.
Then they would lead them in repeating our little Service Club pledge at the beginning of each meeting, and it went like this: “I, (state their name), hereby promise to serve with all my heart during our Service Club meetings. I also promise to serve others with all my heart during the rest of the week.”
I would then share a scripture story that exemplified service and caring for others, to help them make connections between why what they were doing was so important. We would have a sweet little discussion about the story, and they loved it!
11 weeks of wonderful service
We met for 11 weeks and had a fabulous time serving together! They formed stronger and more meaningful friendships with these other youth and shared great common experiences together. It was a bonus to help these friends build a culture of service together.
Here is a list of all the service activities we did:
Helped the Nelson’s plant their garden
Made and delivered cookies to our sweet neighbors
Visited a rest home
Cleared rocks from a neighbor’s yard to help them prepare to get grass
Picked up litter at a nearby park
Rock clearing Day #2 (We talked about how oftentimes service isn’t needed just once, that there are times when our help is needed multiple times. There were a LOT of rocks! 🙂
Making birthday cakes for the Utah Developmental Center – for the center to give to their patrons on their birthday.
They got to take their cakes directly into the kitchen and put them in their big freezer so they’d know their cakes would be ready to go when needed!
Putting together school bags for the humanitarian center to take to kids in other countries
My kid’s grandma and some of her friends had made the school bags, and our service club filled the bags with all the supplies, then made nice cards for the children so they’d know that kids in America loved them!
Made thank you cards for people who have served us
Then at our last meeting:
I took pictures of each service activity and typed up a short summary of what we did each week because I had a plan in mind!
The last day of our club meetings each of the kids got to make a little scrapbook of their service experiences that summer. I wanted them to be able to look back and remember what they did, and rekindle those warm feelings that they had of the love that comes in serving others.
Each of the kids really enjoyed our Summer Service Club! They had great experiences, and you could see the light in their eyes as they caught on more and more each week about how much joy service brings, to both the receiver and the giver. Their kindness to each other increased and even their parents commented several times that they could see a difference in how their kids behaved at home. Everyone was so grateful and we all had so much fun!
That’s what we want, right? To raise kids who are kind and good, who are mindful of those around them and work to make the world a better place. What a joy.