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Home » Our Programs » Pre-Trip Requirements » Community Service

Each year, participants complete over 8,000 hours of service in their communities. What a positive impact! So go ahead, get involved!

When you’re on a GCY trip, you’re part of a small community where your actions can affect the whole group and where teamwork is key to a successful journey. To help prepare you for this, we want you to complete between 8 and 20 community service hours prior to your trip. Check our current schedule to see what’s required for yours.

Why do we require community service?

We want you to learn about your community, step outside your comfort zone, and help others. On the river, money is useless; getting involved in community service is a way to recognize that there are things that money just can’t buy. Many of our programs incorporate a service element as a way for you to learn, in more depth, about the places where you’ll be traveling. By completing community service prior to your trip, you’ll gain some insight into why doing things for other people or the environment is a worthy pursuit.

How do I go about completing my community service?

We recommend choosing a topic that interests you and then finding a community organization that fits your interest. For example, if you’re curious about animals, contact the local humane society to see how you can help. If you don’t know which organizations are tackling the issues that concern you, ask your parents or Trip Coordinators for suggestions. Be sure to track your hours on the documentation sheet and turn it in with your final payment.

Do I have to do it alone?

No. You can volunteer as an individual, with your family, or with a group from your school or community center. Many students who volunteer with their families continue this service after the trip.

Where have other participants volunteered?

They have volunteered at homeless shelters, food banks, The Nature Conservancy, schools, literacy centers, and rest homes, among other places; they also have volunteered for an elderly neighbor. What if I already volunteer? If you are already involved in community service, you can count the hours you have completed from the beginning of the school year.

Can I do more hours of community service than required?

Yes, and many participants do! This looks great on college applications. Just remember to track these hours for our records.

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