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Service hours travel time

Does anyone count travel time to and from service events as service hours for their scouts?

For the Cubs in my den, no. But honestly, I have never thought about it. If a project was an hour or more one way travel time, I might consider it.

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Yes. For 3 reasons. If I wasn’t serving, I would not be making the trip. My business charges its customers portal-to-portal when traveling on their behalf. Mileage incurred may be tax deductible, depending on the circumstance.



I disagree with counting travel times for service hours.
For the 50 miler award you need 10 hours of service per person. Using your logic I could say that the 3 full days of hiking into the site would count as 24 hours of service. This would result in no actual service being completed.

I see traveling to the service sight like driving to work. I don’t get paid to do it, but if I don’t do it I won’t get paid.

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There’s some roundabout guidance on this from a Bryan on Scouting article related to counting hours for Eagle service projects:

What should be counted

Mike Lo Vecchio of the BSA’s Member Experience Innovation team sits on Eagle boards of review in his volunteer time, and he advises Scouts to “count the time they spend on the telephone, and to count the time of the person on the other end of line.

“I advise them to count their travel time to and from meetings with individuals and the project site. If the Scout does not drive, he should count the driver’s time as well. It is recommended that the Scout keep a log or ledger of everyone he spends time talking to in person or on the phone, and all those who, in some way, have assisted in planning, developing and implementing his project. These are project helpers.”

[Emphasis added]

I see the point that @ScottFergusson raises regarding counting service hours in the context of an extended trip, and I think I might handle that sort of situation somewhat differently than the guidance provided in the Bryan on Scouting article. It seems like the purpose of the trip in the case raised by @ScottFergusson is to go backpacking, not to go build a bridge (or whatever the hypothetical service project would be). The building of the bridge is a part of the trip, but not its purpose. In that case, I would count only the time working on the project, barring a persuasive argument to the contrary.

If the entire purpose of the trip is the building of a bridge, I would count all of the hours traveling to-and-from the project site, but none of them would count if the service isn’t executed. That would devolve, in my mind at least, back to the base case: if you didn’t do any service, then the purpose of the trip was to go backpacking. IMHO, any scout who would raise the argument that he or she didn’t need to do any work on the project because of the time spent hiking in likely has deeper issues with their scout spirit than just clocking-in and -out. And I’d be startled to find him or her on a 3-day backpacking trip billed as a service project. :wink:


For eagle projects you count every minute of planning, travel, and work. The goal is to complete the project.

Tenderfoot requires 1 hour of service. If it takes 30 minutes to drive to the troops adopt a high way section should the scout get the requirement signed off for the car ride without picking up any trash?

At the risk of a nettiquette violation, I’ll quote myself

In my opinion, the scout would participate in a project that lasted at least one hour, given the travel time of 30 minutes each way, plus however long the unit spent collecting trash. Otherwise, it’s a car ride if no service is conducted.

I think I understand your position, we just appear to disagree. That’s part of the reason that the BSA gave the unit leader the discretion regarding approval of the projects. Again, I’ll refer to a Bryan on Scouting article:

Service hours explained

The Advancement Team says:

As you can see, all service projects must be approved by the unit leader (Scoutmaster in this case).

If the unit leader approved the time including travel, then that’s at his or her discretion. If not, I can see an argument that, too, is at his or her discretion. As long as the unit leader is consistent and upfront in their policy with all scouts, I would say it’s fair. I may disagree with them, but it’s their discretion, not mine.

ETA:. Gah! Typo soup. Stupid tiny keyboard and big fingers…


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