Summer of Service Fact Sheet

What is Summer of Service?
Summer of Service is a campaign to engage more young people, particularly those from disadvantaged circumstances, in service during the summer months. The campaign is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service in collaboration with USA Freedom Corps. Summer of Service is supported by AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, Learn and Serve America, AmeriCorps VISTA, the National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC), and hundreds of non-profit organizations nationally.

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What is the Purpose of Summer of Service?
Without exposure to constructive activities, summer can be a difficult time for young people. The Summer of Service initiative recognizes the potential of all youth to contribute in meaningful ways to the communities in which they live through volunteer service. According to recent research, youth who are involved in their communities through service do better in school, engage in fewer risky behaviors, have a better sense of themselves, and feel more empowered to make a difference in their own lives than youth who do not participate in volunteer activities.

Who Can Participate in Summer of Service?
Any organization that deals with youth ages 5 to 21 during the summer months, plus individual youth, are encouraged to become part of the campaign.
• Independent Youth-Serving Programs: Independent organizations are encouraged to participate in Summer of Service by sharing their program models with others.
• Individual Youth: Individual youth can also participate in Summer of Service by independently helping to meet a need such as tutoring a child or helping an elderly neighbor, or by volunteering at a community-based organization. Youth can visit www.volunteer.gov to find a service opportunity in their area.

What Resources are Available?
The Corporation for National and Community Service has developed a Summer of Service Toolkit in collaboration with Youth Service America and includes links to examples of “high-quality service and service-learning projects” developed by participating organizations, as well as tips, best practices, and a variety of other useful materials. The 2008 toolkit is targeted toward summer camp program coordinators and staff and is intended for use with small groups of youth.

What Activities are Encouraged?
Virtually all community-serving activities by youth are encouraged. That includes previously planned summer activities for youth, as well as new activities.

What is 'High-Quality Service-Learning'?
High-quality service activities for youth typically incorporate one or more elements of high-quality service-learning, in which community service is combined with learning objectives, which may include the development of leadership or civic skills. High-quality service-learning includes the following elements: engaging youth in planning the service activity; having youth reflect in an organized way on their service in the context of the skills or concepts learned; engaging youth directly with the recipients of service; and ensuring that youth serve at least 20 hours per semester in direct service activities.

How Can We Recognize Youth for their Service?
There are several ways to recognize youth for their summer service:
• President’s Volunteer Service Award: Participating organizations are encouraged to become certifying organizations for the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) and use the award as the official recognition of the Summer of Service. Youth up to 14 years of age who dedicate a minimum of 50 hours of volunteer service, and those ages 15 and older who perform a minimum of 100 volunteer hours, are eligible to receive a PVSA pin, personalized certificate of achievement, note of congratulations from the President of the United States, and a letter from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. Visit www.presidentialserviceawards.gov for more information.

Is There a Cost?
There is no cost for the downloadable Summer of Service Toolkit or to become a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award. There is a nominal cost for the PVSA award pins and certificates.

What Initiatives Are Part of Summer of Service?
Summer of Service includes, but is not limited to, the following initiatives:

  • AmeriCorps NCCC Summer of Service: Like the year-round AmeriCorps NCCC experience, which is geared to young adults ages 18 to 24, the NCCC Summer of Service combines the best practices of structured team-based activities and service-learning programming. This residential NCCC Summer of Service program is available to 300 youth ages 14 to 17 living in or around Denver, New Orleans, and Sacramento. Youth from all backgrounds are encouraged to apply. AmeriCorps NCCC members will also engage 1,000 children and youth in a non-residential community service experience on various service projects in Los Angeles; Memphis; Camden, NJ; Baltimore; Washington, DC; and Houston. In both models, program participants will serve alongside and under the supervision of year-round AmeriCorps NCCC members.
  • AmeriCorps State and National: AmeriCorps State and National have numerous programs that engage youth in constructive summer activities. Through various partnerships these programs provide tutoring, recreation, art enrichment, service learning and many more opportunities for positive youth development.
  • VISTA Summer of Service: The VISTA Summer Associates program offers individuals the opportunity to become engaged in a community through an existing VISTA progect for 8 to 10 weeks during the summer. VISTA encourages existing sponsors and partners who work with disadvantaged youth to consider using the Summer Associates program to enhance their existing programs as appropriate by providing opportunities to engage disadvantaged youth in productive service activities in the summer.
  • Learn and Serve America: Learn and Serve America programs are filling the gap of positive summer activity for young people, by increasing the number of youth involved in service-learning, especially those from disadvantaged situations.

More Information
For more information on Summer of Service, visit the CNCS website or call 202-606-7514.

Corporation for National and Community Service
The Corporation for National and Community Service improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. Its main programs include Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America. Together with USA Freedom Corps, a White House initiative to promote volunteering, the Corporation is working to foster a culture of citizenship, service, and responsibility in America.

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