Independence Day is arguably the most beloved American holiday of the year, and when you’re a member of Scouts BSA, you’ll never miss out on the best 4th of July celebrations. Every Scout troop and council can make their own plans for America’s birthday, but many will take part in similar 4th of July activities. In fact, most Scouts will participate in many of the same holiday activities as other Americans. Here are some time-honored Scouting traditions to try this year:
Perform a Patriotic Service Project
Service projects are one way that Scouts keep their oath to “help other people.” The most helpful patriotic service projects are those that support or tie in with your community’s existing July 4th events. You’ll need to plan these in advance of the holiday, of course, but that just helps to build up the excitement! Some examples of complementary projects include:
- Decorating your town’s public spaces (such as parade routes, parks, or monuments) with patriotic items like American flags, banners, streamers, and balloons
- Helping to set up for or clean up after a local parade or other public event
- Handing out programs or bulletins for public events or performances
- Distributing flyers to remind your community about essential firework safety practices or ways to ensure your pets’ comfort and safety during fireworks displays
Hold a Fundraiser
Some troops organize Independence Day fundraisers that offer something to their community, such as selling concessions, hosting a public meal (like a pancake breakfast), doing yard work, or holding a raffle. These are festive, fun, and help your troop to reach their goals.
March in a Parade or Hold Flag Ceremonies
If your town holds a parade each Independence Day, there may well be a place for Scouts in it. Being part of a parade is not only fun and exciting, but is also a great way to make your community more aware of the important work its local Scouts do—and to encourage support for Scouting programs.
To get started, find out well in advance what kinds of marchers and performers your community typically includes in its parade and whether your troop can take part. Then stay connected with parade organizers, gather information about the parade route and sequence, and attend practice sessions to make sure everything goes smoothly on the big day. Do your troop proud!
Many July 4th parades also include flag ceremonies, and (almost) no one is better qualified to perform these than Scouts. Choose the ceremony type that best suits your troop’s rank and ability level. Be sure everyone in your troop understands how to perform the ceremony using proper flag etiquette, such as treating the American flag with respect and never allowing it to touch the ground or anything else beneath it.
Organize a Cookout or Picnic
Each Independence Day, Americans (and Scouts!) everywhere eat at cookouts and picnics. These outdoor meal gatherings can be big or small. You can organize one for just your troop and its family members, or hold one jointly with one or more other troops. You’ll need to get the word out in advance and reserve a space (if you aren’t gathering on private property). Assign each event-related task to specific Scouts or family members. Some tasks to organize include:
- Sending out invitations
- Gathering and transporting grilling equipment
- Setting up cooking equipment, food and drink stations, seating, etc. before the event
- Purchasing food and eating utensils (remember to include options for people who have dietary restrictions)
- Preparing food and beverages
- Ensuring that there will be adequate access to water, trash and recycling bins, and restrooms
- Cleaning up and returning all cooking and other equipment to the correct people/places
Attend a Fireworks Show
Easily the most fun and iconic Independence Day activity of all is watching the fireworks displays that bring the holiday to a close. If you plan to attend your community’s show with your troop, be sure to bring blankets, chairs, water, snacks, and smartphones or cameras to capture the best moments. Better yet, learn about how fireworks are made beforehand with your troop so you can appreciate the show even more!
Enjoy Independence Day Activities With The Laurel Highlands Council
If you live in the western parts of Pennsylvania, Maryland, or West Virginia, enrolling your child in the Boy Scouts of America Laurel Highlands Council is an excellent way for them to grow and enjoy the outdoors in every season. This July 4th, check out our fun and patriotic Independence Day activities.
Scouting’s programs and outdoor adventures give young people the opportunity to try new things, provide service to others, build self-confidence, and develop leadership skills. These experiences not only help Scouts while they are young, but help them grow into exceptional men and women that respect their family, community, religion, country, and themselves.
The Boy Scouts of America Laurel Highlands Council serves youth members and volunteer adult leaders throughout Western Pennsylvania, Western Maryland, and parts of West Virginia. We aim to beneficially involve every eligible child and their family in the fun and adventure of our programs. We provide extraordinary youth development programs that develop and strengthen the values of the Scout Oath and Law. However, we can’t do it without you. Give today!