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CAM Schools Silver Cord Program

*CAM Schools’ Silver Cord program adapted with appreciation 

from Nodaway Valley Community School District

The mission of CAM Schools Silver Cord Program is to instill in students the importance of community service, encourage volunteerism, and to develop leadership skills in the community while investing in educational pursuits.

A Silver Cord Program offers many benefits. One is to offer a graduation incentive through personal development for our students. CAM seniors who volunteer the minimum number of hours throughout their high school career will wear a silver cord at graduation. Silver Cord honors create opportunities to demonstrate community service, offer volunteer work experience, and encourage networking with individuals in the community. Volunteering can provide a constructive use of time, foster the exploration of career interests, support youth seeking employment and college admission, and give new graduates the confidence to serve in leadership roles after high school. Supervisors of Silver Cord volunteers can be asked to write letters of recommendation and might possibly be future employers for students in our district.​

While it is suggested that students complete 25 hours of service activities per year to reach the 100 total hours, students may accumulate their 100 hours in varying amounts during their four years of high school. Any student new to the district will be prorated according to the year they transfer or move into the CAM Community School District. Silver Cord hours can also be transferred from another district into our program with written verification of hours provided by the school and signed by the program coordinator or school administration.

Important Guidelines:


1) The Student-Parent Agreement form must be completed prior to beginning any activity. The form can be filled out once indicating the student’s desire to participate in the program. Next, complete the Sign Up form.

2) No more than 50% of the total volunteer hours should come from any one organization/activity. 

a) Student organization hours for service projects can be used toward the Silver Cord program if the teacher in charge approves.

    b) No more than 50% of hours can come from one organization.

    c) Meetings do not count.

3) All volunteer hours must accumulate from at least three activities and all volunteer hours must be unpaid.

4) The students must document ALL hours and have an organization representative above the age of 21, verify such hours. 

    a) Parents cannot sign documentation form unless approved in advance.

    b) Documentation forms are due within three months of completion of the activity.

5) The student should not volunteer more than eight (8) hours in a day.

6) Volunteer hours cannot be completed during the school day.


Strict adherence to eligible and ineligible activities as listed below.

How the Program Works:


The Silver Cord Program starts June 1st between 8th grade and freshman year and concludes April 30 of the senior year.  This is a self-directed program. The student is responsible for submitting all of their hours. Students may have volunteered this past summer, therefore we will accept volunteer hours meeting the requirements, and those that can be verified.   

Remember that Silver Cord hours must meet a clearly defined need for an agency, charity program, church, political agency, social service, group, or community event. If there is an activity in question, you should have it pre-approved by the Silver Cord Committee or School Counselor.

The more hours you volunteer, the closer you are to having the distinct honor of wearing a silver cord at graduation.  However, the most important thing is giving something back to the community.  Your service matters!

Examples of Eligible Activities (these activities must be unpaid):

  • Mentoring/Tutoring

  • Reading to youth

  • Field/Grounds clean-up

  • Playground clean-up

  • Community beautification or clean-up project

  • Community Events

  • Serving as an unpaid counselor at a camp

  • Coaching younger students in a sport or activity

  • Fundraising events for non-profit organizations

  • Fitness Center

  • Referee youth sports

  • Helping at an animal shelter

  • Political party/campaign work

  • Helping at childcare facility

  • Helping at the library story hour, summer reading program

  • Church service activities

    • Mission trips - only for service hours worked

    • Teaching Sunday School

    • Teaching/Helping at Vacation Bible School

  • Assisting at hospitals, nursing homes, adult day care

  • Camp counselor

  • Helping with 4-H camps

  • Scouting service activities (not to exceed a maximum of 10 hours)

  • Assisting/Helping with Special Olympics

  • Volunteering for school sponsored activities (i.e. music events, concession stand (after meeting initial event commitment))

  • Other activities as approved


This is only an example list to give you ideas.  If you are in question if the volunteer activity is acceptable or unacceptable, check with Mrs. Williams prior to starting the activity.

Examples of Ineligible Activities:

  • Travel time to and from volunteer activity

  • Internship hours done for credit through school

  • Court/school ordered activity

  • Anything that is paid

  • Practices for extracurricular activity

  • Fundraising for yourself/school/school organization

  • Doing "extra credit" or "special chores" for teacher at school

  • Attending church, confirmation, or Sunday School

  • Extracurricular activities

  • Working at a family business/farm or anywhere you are getting paid

  • Babysitting for siblings

  • If you are part of a team or organization i.e. Club Hours when sitting in a club or organization meetings for out-of-school activities. Ex: showing cattle for 4-H, or FFA, time completing record books, planning meetings in youth groups, duties, officers of church or community groups.

  • When supervising campers or mission trips do NOT count sleeping or down time


-Hours in question will be reviewed by the Silver Cord Coordinating Committee for approval.

-Any disputed hours between the student and Silver Cord Coordinator will be further reviewed by administration.

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