Summer of Service

New SOS Report Shows Impact of Summertime Service-Learning

Summer of Service program imageThe Summer of Service (SOS) model engages youth as community problem-solvers in six weeks of summer style programming that integrates community service projects with out-of-school enrichment. In summer 2012 with support from Walmart Foundation, Innovations in Civic Participation partnered with The AfterSchool Corporation (TASC), Earth Force, and City of Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation to implement Summer of Service (SOS) programming for hundreds of youth from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Each SOS site integrated civic involvement, creative expression through the arts, team-building recreation, and academic skill-building activities to help bolster participants’ academic, social and civic skills.


Just released! Download the National 2012 Summer of Service Program Evaluation Report —  SOS 2012 Evaluation

Key findings from the report include:

– The SOS model shows tremendous potential for supporting youth learning and development on multiple levels — academically, socially and civically.

– Although “helping the community” was not a motivator for most youth entering the program,  the study shows that participants made substantial gains in their attitudes, interests and knowledge around civic participation; by end of term, more than 80% of the participants were committed to continuing to serve into the school year.

– Qualitative data also suggest that youth increased or enhanced their communication, leadership and interpersonal skills, as participants became more adept at interacting with the community and their peers over the course of the summer.

– SOS sites also succeeded in keeping the focus on school success throughout the summer. Youth engaged in a variety of text-rich materials, probed issues related to social studies and science content, synthesized research in multimedia formats, and learned about pathways to college and careers.

– Furthermore, this is a program that youth give rave reviews. Across multiple sites, 100% of the SOS youth interviewed said that they would recommend the program to a friend. Nearly 90% of participants reported interest in serving in SOS next summer.

Download the full  SOS Press Release.pdf.


Announcing the New SummerTrek Brand

Summer of Service had been rebranded as SummerTrek: A journey of self-discovery and community problem solving that begins in your own backyard. Find out more information here, including how you can use the SummerTrek curriculum in your out-of-school time program.


Summer of Service Resources