Things to Know Before You Go (volunteer)


A Pre-Approval Form is required prior to the service activity (unless it is on the pre-approved list or something emailed by Mrs. Beguhn). This prevents any misunderstandings or qualifying hours. The form must be completed and turned in/emailed in to Mrs. Beguhn. Mrs. Beguhn will email the student whether or not he service activity has been approved. Verbal discussions with Mrs. Beguhn can also be done for pre-approval. Every effort will be made to respond to the student within one week of submittal.


Students MUST document all service activities on the Silver Cord Verification/Reflection Form (which is different from the online Pre-Approval Form mentioned above) – one form for each site or project. In order to validate the student’s hours, the Silver Cord Verification/Reflection Form must be signed once by the supervisor at the completion of service. Time for breaks, lunch, or travel cannot count toward service hours. For purposes of documenting hours, students should round hours to the nearest .25 hour (.25 hours = 15 minutes). Forms should be submitted to Mrs. Beguhn in Room 421, on the 1st of each month for ongoing activities or within 30 days of the completion of other activities.

Seniors must submit all Silver Cord Verification forms/documentation by April 15. Award forms for service completed by underclassmen during the month of May are due the last day of school.

As part of the Silver Cord Verification/Reflection Form, there is also a student reflection portion that the student must complete as part of the process. NOTE: Hours will NOT be credited to students until the student reflection form has also been completed.

Students MUST complete a minimum of 25 hours during the school year to stay in the program. If they are removed from the program at the end of a school year, or end of summer, they can re-enroll, but will have to start over with their hours. Previous hours will NOT count and students will still be required to complete 150 hours before graduation.

Guidines for the 2019-20 School Year

High school activities will NOT count for silver cord hours

Examples that will no longer count: Showzam, helping at athletic activities, helping at activities that HS clubs put on for high school students, helping with HS athletic events, etc.

Why the change? 

  • This should add clarity to what activities count for Silver Cord
  • Challenge students to get involved beyond the comfort zone of the HS

Any exceptions? Yes, here are a few examples:

  • Tutoring a HS student (set up through the counseling office)
  • Canned Food/Toiletry Drives set up by Student Council/NHS –because you are going out into the community to collect items this is not considered a “high school activity.”
  • Dragon Scholarship Fund.  While this is not a High School activity, it has the potential to help ALL graduating seniors each year.  This program is run by a small number of adults with big projects that require a large amount of manpower. The SC advisory board has approved most of the requests for volunteers submitted by DSF.

Student helper/coach for approved activities with younger kids: The number of students that can help/coach with an activity (for silver cord hours) will be determined by the age of the participants.

Why the change? 

We have been told by many adult sponsors, as well as students, that frequently there isn’t enough work for all the students that show up to help.  This change should help minimize that, but ultimately the adult sponsor can choose to use even fewer helpers if this number is too high for the activity/camp. Sponsors CAN NOT choose to increase this number without prior approval from Mrs. Beguhn and the SC advisory board.

Guideline for number of student helpers able to earn silver cord hours:

  • Preschool– for every 6 kids = 1 high school student
  • Elementary – for every 8 kids = 1 high school student
  • Middle School – for every 10 kids = 1 high school student

What type of activities does this apply to:

  • Little Dragon Football/Basketball, track camp, cheer camp, show choir camp, Vacation Bible School, Middle School swim team, MS mock trial, etc.

Examples of what this means:

  • Summer camp has 50 elementary participants = 6-7 HS helpers/coaches
  • Summer camp has 50 MS student participants = 5 HS helper/coaches
  • Middle School Mock Trial: 1 team = 10 MS students = 1 HS student coach

If you have ANY questions/concerns about these changes, please contact Mrs. Beguhn at

Summer Service

Summer hours earned prior to sophomore year do not count, as the program does not begin until school starts sophomore year. Service hours earned during the summer after the academic year may be applied toward EITHER the prior or following school year, with a maximum of 25 hours applied to a school year. For example, if 50 hours were completed during the summer, 25 hours could be applied to the sophomore year and the other 25 hours could be applied toward the junior year. Only enough hours to fulfill the previous years requirement will be applied backwards. Hours above the 25 will be logged, but will not count towards the completion of the 50 hours for the year. In other words, students can NOT complete all their hours during the summer….at least 25 hours must be done during the school year. If a student fails to complete 25 hours of volunteer work by the end of the school year, they may be removed from the program because they will not be able to complete the requirements. Summer hours begin the day school is dismissed for the summer break and end the day before the first day of school. Completed Verification/Reflection forms for summer service are due by August 31 and need to be turned in to room 421.

Pre-approval forms for summer hours should be submitted the week before final exams. Students should email Mrs. Beguhn if they have questions during the summer. She will attempt to respond within a week, but please allow extra time.

Acceptable/Non-acceptable Service Activities

Silver Cord hours must be providing a SERVICE or meeting a clear NEED for a non-profit agency, church, school, park, charity program or fundraiser, community event, or political campaign. The service should be “above and beyond” one’s usual scope of involvement. The volunteer hours cannot be fulfilling a requirement of an organization. For example: if a team/club/class requires students to volunteer at an event as part of a team building activity for the group. Some examples of activities that would NOT be considered acceptable service are: ushering at church, singing in the choir, rehearsing, “good deeds” (i.e. shoveling for one’s neighbor, watching a friend’s dog while they’re on vacation, etc…), orientation/training, work done for family, and anything one receives compensation for completing.

Religious Service

In order to be applicable to a student’s Silver Cord hours, an activity may NOT be directly involved with the rituals, services, or ceremonies of any specific religion or fundraising to support a specific religion or religious institution. Examples of invalid activities include, but are not limited to: singing in the choir, candle lighting, reading from religious texts, altar service, etc. The activity needs to be “above and beyond” being a good member of the church. Acceptable church related activities would be youth groups serving a meal at a homeless shelter, teaching Sunday School, being a Youth Group Leader, community service portion of mission trips, or other group activities that benefit the community.