General Question

cdwccrn's avatar

How would you feel about having to serve one year of civil service between high school and college?

Asked by cdwccrn (3605points) December 19th, 2008 from iPhone

Not necessarily military. Maybe something like Peace Corps or work projects of 1930’s. Would it make a difference if you were assigned to work in an area of your interest?

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23 Answers

Perchik's avatar

I think it would be interesting. Germany does it.

jasongarrett's avatar

I’m thankful I was allowed to become a taxpayer one year sooner instead.

GAMBIT's avatar

So much can be earned by helping others not only do the clients benefit from the service but the volunteers have the potential to become stronger and more caring human beings.
I only have one reservation I would not force anyone to volunteer because some organizations have at risk clients, such as the handicapped, blind or physically challenged and if someone does not have a kind heart they may take advantage of the needy.

Here is a very good book on what it is like to volunteer in the United States.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&ISBN=9780809131358&ourl=Community%2Dand%2DGrowth%2FJean%2DVanier

jasongarrett's avatar

You cannot force someone to volunteer.

GAMBIT's avatar

Actually jasongarrett, I have worked with people who volunteered only because they had to complete a course in college. They did not care about the clients and most of the time they left the work to others who were doing it for humanitarian reasons.

jasongarrett's avatar

“Volunteer” and “unpaid” are not synonymous.

GAMBIT's avatar

When I volunteered the organizations paid a small stipend and provided room and board and basic health insurance in exchange for a commitment of 1 year of service.

dynamicduo's avatar

Mandatory volunteering is an oxymoron. I think it should be encouraged, as in giving a special award or recognition to people who choose to do so, but not be made mandatory. The best volunteers are those who truly want to be there, not the ones who are forced to be there.

We had to do 40 hours of community service in high school to get our diploma. I did my time (quite literally) at a playcare centre, so my volunteering was really just supervising kids and playing with them, which really should have been a paid position. You know what I learned from this experience? That the world is full of corruption, even in the purest of things. I was in the minority when it came to people who actually did the volunteer time and that’s cause I’m an honest right person. Most students found loopholes to have (previously involved) sports or drama events count as community service, or knew a family member who could say they volunteered. As well many people submitted hours were always overstated if not outright forged. Not one person was ever punished. In fact, there were people who at their last day of class still had hours to complete, but were waived (discreetly taken care of) if the person was popular or an athlete or whatever. This tainted the entire purpose of the program, although I do admit it’s a great lesson on how the real wold works (rules are not rules all the time, lying and cheating is viable in cases, people are disgusting).

GAMBIT's avatar

dynamicduo – I learned the same lesson and it was hard to come to the conclusion that some and I repeat some non-profits are nothing but a business just like everything else and the people that run them have the same CEO personalities as Chrysler.

EmpressPixie's avatar

At my school, we had to do three hours of work service a week, which was basically assigned, mandatory volunteering to help keep the school running. Kids did janitorial work in the dorms and high school building, worked in the cafeteria, etc. If you skipped too often, you were kicked out. It happened pretty regularly too. And was totally the lamest reason to get kicked out.

jasongarrett's avatar

You were basically assigned mandatory chores. There is no such thing as mandatory volunteering.

tonedef's avatar

The question doesn’t even have the word “volunteer” in it, so I don’t know where this argument came from.

Mandatory civil service wouldn’t be perceived as volunteering, just as a draft is not a form of volunteering. I think that a program like this would be wonderful, if the projects were worthwhile both to the country and to the young people who would be giving up a year of their lives. I don’t see it happening, though.

wundayatta's avatar

It is a custom in many countries and there are some religious organizations that do it. I’m thinking of Israel, Germany, and the Mormons.

I think it is a wonderful thing for eighteen-year-olds to spend a year working in other nations (particularly) and learning about the world, and their ability to survive in it.

It should be officially encouraged, or paid for, but not mandatory.

It could also be military service, and then it would be mandatory for everyone. I am not in favor of this.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@Jason: I would agree to calling them chores if they were all chore-ish, but my junior work service was “volunteering” at the National Center for Historic Preservation. Basically if they had too many of us, they farmed us out. Also, most of the seniors did TA -esque work for favorite professors.

Perchik's avatar

For the record, the definition of voluntary is doing something of your own free will. Therefore, a volunteer is someone who does something because they want to…not because they have to. If you’re being forced to volunteer, it’s civil service, not volunteering.

GAMBIT's avatar

@Perchik – good point

dynamicduo's avatar

EmpressPixie, that’s ridiculous, especially if you did not agree to doing such and did not have the ability to transfer to a different school which did not follow this rule.

Fair enough about the word volunteer. What can I say, I used it for a dramatic first sentence :) But let’s be honest and not deny the fact that volunteering and civil service do have a relation here. In my case, more than 90% of such “community service” opportunities were the usual volunteering activities (sorting canned foods at food donation banks, handing out water to marathon racers, picking up garbage in parks). Very few positions were created specifically for such community service servers, and those that did exist were mostly smart employers who figured out that they could get free labor such as my daycare center. While lobbying to get this added into the provincial high school graduation requirements, it was predictably heralded as being beneficial to communities and establishing volunteer habits in kids. But let’s face it – it is nothing more than 40 hours of mandatory work with no pay. One MUST finish these 40 hours before Grade 12 ends or you will NOT graduate and will not get your high school diploma. Since one cannot opt out, in fact one never opted in in the first place, it is equivalent to enslavement, albeit temporary, “for the better good”. To me this infringes my rights as a free citizen. I know people who felt the same way and petitioned to be excluded based on their beliefs, but they were ignored as always, and did not receive their hard earned (they passed all their classes) diploma. To me, that’s ridiculous.

The base point is that making such civil service mandatory is not the right approach in a country where life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are held as Number One. It denies all of these things for one year, “for the better good”. As discouraging as it is to assume corruption would occur, based on my small scale experience, such mandatory service is likely to become corrupt in some fashion. Highly encouraging it however, even having award ceremonies or presidential meet and greets for the greatest results produced by such participants, is an amazing approach, as it will generate passionate people who want to help and who will enthusiastically sign up and dedicate themselves towards bettering their world. As more people participate, it could become a cultural trend or at least gain more awareness, and more people will join of their own accord. And I have no doubt that many people may find a passion in life or a job opportunity, and continue working towards the goals even though their one year is complete.

GAMBIT's avatar

We must keep in mind that some teenagers are more responsible than others. If this was to become mandatory then we would be putting some clients at risk and I would not want to see this happen. You can call it by any name you want but if this became law it would open up Pandora’s box to young adults who would rather be playing video games then helping at the homeless shelter which could lead to danger.

I’m sorry bad idea.

EmpressPixie's avatar

@dynamic: Actually, we had every opportunity to transfer to different schools, it was part of the condition of going to that school which was ridiculously underfunded in some ways. But the school was worth it. It was a fantastic magnet school.

dynamicduo's avatar

I’m very glad to hear that, EmpressPixie. Good to know at least one district tried to do it right.

EmpressPixie's avatar

It was Louisiana. The school was Louisiana School for Math Science and the Arts. You had to apply to get in, then live at the school. It was probably the only thing Louisiana did that was right for its schools for a very, very long time.

augustlan's avatar

I like the idea of waiving a portion of college tuition in exchange for civil service.

Our schools do require madatory service hours before graduation, however, the student can decide how to serve those hours. As long as it meets the general guidelines, any type of service to any type of organization is permitted.

Nimis's avatar

In Germany, they’re given a choice between military service or community service.
I think it’s a fascinating idea. Though the mentality is much different over there.
Not sure how it would go over here in America.

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