Red Bus on the Rainy Street of London in the Night, United Kingd

Parents know that getting children out of the house to do something is an uphill battle. They’re competing with technology for their children’s time making the task feel monumental. Video games, the internet, iPods, tablets and cell phones have become such an essential part of young peoples’ lives that even when outside, their eyes are usually focused on a screen. How does a parent get their children out of the house and away from cell phones, video games, Facebook and twitter?

Volunteer work gives children a sense of purpose, accomplishment and satisfaction. It also promotes feelings of self-confidence. When children see the results of their volunteer work, they feel proud of themselves which, in turn, boosts their morale. These tangible feelings carry more weight than killing zombies in a video game. Children ready and willing to volunteer have many avenues to choose from depending on their interests. They can volunteer to help animals, assist the elderly, work in the community building houses for the homeless or something more esoteric.

There are search engines available on-line that will help people find the charity work in the UK, as well as providing information on what volunteer work is available, where to do it and on the various resources and policies of charitable organizations. The Army Cadet Force, or ACF, is also a terrific volunteer organization in the UK that helps children find a purpose and develop self-confidence.

The Army Cadet Force has approximately 46,000 cadets ranging in ages twelve to eighteen. Adult volunteers number nearly nine thousand. There are plenty of adult volunteering opportunities with the ACF as they are located all over the UK with more than 1,500 sites. It’s easily the biggest youth organization of volunteers in the whole country. Having just turned 150, it’s also one of the most perennial.


Boys and girls come to the ACF from all walks of life and experience fun, adventure and educational opportunities parents would be hard pressed to find anywhere else. These challenges help the children grow in many aspects: physically, mentally and socially. There are military themed events combined with other activities which are centered on the community. The cadets benefit immeasurably from the programs which prepare them for their life ahead and help them build lasting friendships.

There are also scouting organizations for boys and girls: The Scout Association for boys and Girlguiding for girls. The Scouts have over 400,000 members, ages 6 – 25. Members participate in sports and game activities as well as community involvement and other programs. Girlguiding has over half a million members and welcomes girls of a variety of backgrounds. In Girlguiding girls are encouraged to speak out and perform to the best of their ability. Both groups encourage young people to achieve their full potential physically, socially, intellectually as well as spiritually. They are taught to be responsible citizens and to think of themselves as members of their local, national and international communities.

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