WyldLife leaders… meet Project Serve, a great way to fundraise for camp, do contact work with your middle school friends and serve your community all at the same time. This community service fundraising effort has been especially successful in suburban areas.
So how do you set up a Project Serve in your area?
First, brainstorm places that you and a pile of your kids could do a 4-5 hour community service project. It could be through a school, community garden or local volunteer center. In my community, we contact our parks department and tell them we need two Saturday dates in the spring when we can bring a group of kids to help clean up a park or two. Confirm a date for your Project Serve community service project.
Set Neighborhood Walk Dates
Choose several dates three to four weeks ahead of your Project Serve days when kids will visit homes in your neighborhood and ask people to become sponsors. We schedule the same day every week for three to four weeks – every Thursday afternoon in March, for example.
Communicate and Publicize
Once we have these dates confirmed, we communicate them to kids and parents who need to raise money for camp. We also print Project Serve materials for our neighborhood walks. (See example.)
On neighborhood walk days, we meet after school and visit homes together until just before dinner. This time includes:
- Prayer. Before we begin, we ask the Lord to lead us to generous-hearted folks, and we ask for help to confidently share this opportunity to "work our way to camp." (We pray this even with kids who don't have faith, because we know when God shows up for them in this, it's already telling them about his goodness.)
- Practice. Kids use a prep sheet to practice what they are going to say about working their way to camp by serving the community, and asking the person at the door to sponsor this community service project.
- Asking. To build confidence, I often sponsor each kid I take something that I can afford, or I start at the home of a Young Life friend or committee. When others we visit look at the pledge sheet, the pump is already primed and people will often match what I have begun. (We leave pre-printed envelopes that folks can mail in if they want to donate later, and leaders gather up any checks and cash given and make sure they get to the local Young Life office. Often we will socialize the funds raised so every kid sees success.)
On the dates of the community service projects, pick your kids up and get them to the project site. We ask each kid to serve at least 5 hours in order to take advantage of the money they've helped to raise.
Project Serve is a win/win! For several weeks before camp, I get to spend time building memories and relationships with my middle school friends outside of club. I’m also helping them raise money needed for camp, and we’re serving our community all at once!