This section of the Award provides a young person with a sense of worth from having given service and help to others and their community. The opportunity to give service over an extended period of time also enables young people to witness and experience the benefits that their service provides to others and encourages them to become better citizens.
To learn how to give useful service to others and their communities.
Service is a part of the Award where participants will have a real impact on the lives of other people as well as in their own life. It is therefore important that participants are properly prepared so that this impact is positive and preferably enduring.
The time requirements for this section are broadly the same as the Physical Recreation and Skills sections. Bronze participants and direct entrants at Silver or Gold level will have to devote some extra time to one section of their Award, and they may choose to make up this time in the Service section.
- Bronze - at least 3 months
- Silver -at least 6 months
- Gold - at least 12 months
The list of possible activities is almost unlimited and is often dictated by available resources or opportunities. To ensure the essential balance of the overall Award, participants and Award Leaders should be careful not to pick activities that are too similar to the chosen Physical Recreation or Skills activities in line with the Award’s guiding principle of being ‘balanced’.
There are many people and organisations that are willing to provide participants with opportunities for practical service. These include social workers, doctors, religious leaders, schools, hospital or prison authorities, youth departments, conservation groups, local government authorities, voluntary youth organisations, animal welfare organisations, service clubs, and agencies who work internationally such as UNICEF and Oxfam. The Award Leader should encourage participants to do some research in the local area. The following list gives some examples but is not exhaustive.
People in the community
- Visiting people in need, such as elderly or disabled people, on a regular basis to provide assistance with shopping, gardening or other domestic tasks, or simply to keep them company
- Voluntary work in hospitals and care centres
- Visiting prisons or detention centres under the auspices of the proper authorities
- Helping with a local community radio, newspaper or blog
- Sports coaching or leadership
- First aid – doing a course and then making their skills available to the benefit of the local community, i.e. being a first-aider at football matches or dance competition
- Acting in a leadership role in a youth club or uniformed youth organization
- Assisting in the teaching of primary school children
- In the case of Gold participants, helping other young people participate in the Award by acting as a Leader for Bronze or Silver participants under the guidance of one's own Award Leader
Community education and health education
- Working with experienced persons to educate the local community, or specific groups within it, on important issues such as prevention of leprosy or malaria, combating HIV/AIDS, primary health care, immunisation campaigns, drug or alcohol awareness education
- Teaching a person to read or write
- Participating in a conservation project, e.g. clearing wasteland, cleaning a river, or caring for threatened wildlife or trees
- Caring for a public or school garden
- Providing, maintaining and encouraging the use of public waste collection
- Caring for animals
- Working in a clean-up campaign
- Promoting environmental sustainability
- Fundraising for a charity
- Creating or maintaining a charity website or newsletter
- Helping an emergency service team, e.g. fire services, surf life-saving, lifeboats, coastguard, police, mountain rescue or civil defence
You are not comparing yourself with anyone, you are not competing with anyone,
what you are actually doing is creating yourself.
- Brendan Kennelly
- Irish poet and President’s Award Leader