It’s graduation season. School’s out for summer. And all around us, young people are setting off on exciting paths – heading to college, to graduate school, or starting their careers. At graduations, we recognize and celebrate accomplishments, and the promise of what’s to come.
I read an article recently about a high school in Minnesota where students can letter in service, just like they can letter in sports or academics. How incredible is that? This school, and others like it, are recognizing service as an achievement and signaling to the entire student body that it’s worthy of celebration. At graduation, their service is lauded as an accomplishment.
This week, one of my colleagues shared with me that this summer her kids are attending a summer service camp. Using their time to serve others – and finding outlets for that service in their communities – is so important. Increasingly, young people are being celebrated for their service, and seeing role models and peers around them celebrating service, too.
The Civic Century we talk about so often at Points of Light depends on a generation of young people for whom service is second nature, and who understand it impact. It’s up to us to show them.
Next month, we’ll be in St. Paul for our annual Points of Light Conference. We’ve got a number of partners coming to the conference who will share what they’re doing to increase service and participation in their communities. While we’re there, we’ll also spend an afternoon outdoors, partnering in a service project with the Mississippi Park Connection, an organization focused on helping the city’s Mississippi River Recreation Area. We’ll join volunteers in planting native species, removing invasive ones and cleaning up the river area. I’m really looking forward to it being just one of the ways I’ll give back this season.
So, my question to you is: What will you do this summer? Will you take one day, one excursion, one weekend to give back? The same joy, the same sense of peace, the same feel-good feeling we find in traditional summer things, like a vacation or a trip to the beach, can be found in service. And the impact lasts a long, long time.
Tell us what you’re doing using #summerservice and tag @PointsofLight on social media.