The phrase “It starts with Scouts” suggests Scouts trying new things through adventurous projects. Woodworking helps to provide Scouts with skills that can be used for life. Why not take woodworking a step further and tie this hobby into community service projects?
Community Service Project Ideas
There is a wide variety of woodworking community service projects that Scouts can count toward hours for their Top Section Awards, or even for a Top Section Award capstone project.
Scouts can make toys for childcare centres, women’s shelters or other charities. Potential creations could include wooden puzzles, easels, wooden blocks and board games. There are also Montessori toys that can be created from wood. If you are looking to take toy building to the Group level, Scouts and Venturers could complete the woodworking portion of a project and then pass it on to Beavers and Cubs for sanding and painting.
“Buddy Benches” is another community service project idea. Buddy Benches are benches that are commonly placed at playgrounds for kids who have no one to play with to sit on until someone comes along and asks them to play. Typically, these benches will have the words “Buddy Bench” attached to them. These benches can be donated to schools, after-school centres and daycares.
Balance boards are another innovative project that even Cubs can take on. These boards are used to help with balance and sensory needs. They can be donated to children’s hospitals, daycares, and occupational therapy locations.
A themed reading nook in a children’s library could be great for Venturers looking for a more intricate project.
Crews, Companies and Troops should also check with their local Habitat for Humanity to see if they have any infrastructure projects (like assembling furniture or landscaping) that they can assist with.
Environmental Service Projects
Why not take woodworking outside? Outdoor woodworking can also provide an opportunity to learn about your local environment.
Traditional Scouting environmental service projects include birdhouses, bat houses and bee hotels. If you have not tried one of these projects, why not give one a go? These projects can easily be adapted for all Sections. For less confident woodworking youth and Scouters, inexpensive kits are also available. You can plan place your creations in a local park—just make sure that you get permission first, and provide upkeep afterwards.
Scouts can work at a local trail to provide essential maintenance and beautification. Projects could include making or repairing picnic benches, bridges and trail signs. Ecology information signs are also a great project. Take a look at a local trail and design signs that people can use to learn about the local plants and animals. Make sure that these signs are weatherproof. You can utilize nearby local trails with these signs already in place for inspiration. Contact your local park wardens for more information on how you can contribute to the design and maintenance of your favourite trail.
Spring is a good opportunity for making planter boxes for seniors’ homes, community gardens and outdoor meeting places. These planter boxes can include interesting and attractive design elements, like carvings or stencils of mountains, flowers and rivers.
Benefits of Woodworking for Scouts
Scouts learn many things through woodworking projects. Perseverance and focus are learned by getting measurements just right, and the ability to innovate is developed when a project does not go smoothly. Scouts also develop fine and gross motor skills, and hand-eye coordination. Most importantly, Scouts grow socially and emotionally, developing an understanding of responsibility, an appreciation for materials, an awareness of safety and a sense of self-confidence.