How to Earn Community Service Hours

How to Earn Community Service Hours

Each of our community service programs offers the opportunity for students to earn community service hours. The maximum number of community service hours for each of our programs is included in every program description and available online. The total number of hours a student receives is awarded based on the student’s hours of full participation in that service project.

Students will receive a Community Service Certificate from Rustic Pathways documenting the number of community service hours earned after their programs. Most high schools will honor these hours and count them towards graduation requirements.

Expectations for Student Service

In order to earn community service hours from Rustic Pathways, students will be expected to participate fully in all of the service activities that are a part of the program. Full participation means that students:

  • Complete assigned tasks to the best of their abilities;
  • Respect local hosts and host cultures, Rustic Pathways staff, and the environment;
  • Follow instructions from program leaders and local project leaders;
  • Dress appropriately and respectfully;
  • Actively and positively influence group morale

What counts towards a Rustic Pathways Service Hour?

Direct Service: Service hours are typically based on how much time students are engaged in direct service such as working on a construction project, cleaning up a beach, leading English lessons with local students, and other hands-on projects.

Indirect Service: Some programs award service hours for indirect service. Indirect service hours are awarded for time spent in activities that are necessary and preparatory for student-led projects that have a direct community benefit. For example, a program may award service hours for meetings conducted with local NGOs that prepare students to develop a health awareness campaign.

Project Preparation: Activities such as preparing lessons and activities for educational enrichment projects or arranging materials for a construction-based project are included in service hour awards.

What does not count towards a Rustic Pathways Service Hour?

Travel Time: Travel to a project site is not included in service hour awards.

Breaks and Lunch: Short rest breaks taken during a project activity are included in the service hours awarded on a given day, although lunch breaks and extended breaks from the project work are not included.

What happens when a project is canceled?

If a scheduled activity cannot take place (due to weather, changes on the part of the project partner, or other reasons), Rustic Pathways will work to identify alternative projects, hold a relevant service-related discussion or a planning session for a future project to make up the service hours that were planned for that time. If alternate activities are not possible, students cannot be awarded hours for that time.