Spring Youth Service Day Planning Guide


Spring Youth Service Day

Spring Youth Service Day (SYSD) allows us to make an incredible impact on thousands of youth nationwide and gives us an even greater platform to stretch our national community and brotherhood while developing ourselves in the servant leader model.


Participating in this national service event also provides an opportunity for you and your brothers to reach out to partner organizations and work alongside individuals with a similar mission in the pursuit of service to youth everywhere. Alpha Phi Omega has been in a partnership with Youth Service America for their Global Youth Service Day since 2001. This partnership has provided a wider network and a renewed resolve to fulfill Frank Reed Horton’s dream that Alpha Phi Omega would make the world a better place, particularly through our service to “the youth of all nations.”


Each year, we call upon brothers of every chapter of our Fraternity to step up and participate in Spring Youth Service Day by planning an event or program that helps advance Alpha Phi Omega’s goal to serve those of all walks of life and also helps provide service and compassion to our communities’ youth members. It is through Global Youth Service Day that we join with brothers from across our nation and with those who participate in a worldwide day of service. This movement now includes projects that serve more than 1 million youth in more than 100 countries.


We are now calling upon you to maximize the resources of your chapter to plan a project that:

  • Addresses the needs of youth in your community
  • Utilizes your chapter’s strengths and desires for service
  • Mobilizes and supports youth on a lifelong and continuous path of leadership and service
  • Strengthens the lasting relationship with partner organizations across the nation


Group of students gathered together wearing APO t-shirtsSelf-evaluation of yourselves and your chapter’s effort is essential to ensure we provide service that satisfies the greater needs of our communities. Now is the time as our Fraternity moves forward as an organization and we close in on a century of service to our chapters, campuses, communities and country.


Our goal is for chapters to strive for 100% participation among active members in a Spring Youth Service Day event. To best serve you in your pursuit of planning a Spring Youth Service Day event, we urge you to utilize this handbook and to reach out to resources beyond like your sectional, regional and national volunteers.


Additionally, don’t forget that your chapter is required to use Officer Portal to report back on your Spring Youth Service Day project, whether you did one or not. Any projects your chapter does this spring to serve youth, even if the event doesn’t take place during the SYSD weekend, can and should be reported by May 1.



“Service is life.”

– Fred Rogers [Mr. Rogers]



You must report your project (or report non-participation) by May 1. Chapter officers must submit a SYSD Participation Report through the Chapter Officer Portal at op.apo.org. This report has been one of two reports required each year since the 2002 National Convention for a chapter to remain in good standing with the Fraternity. Chapters are also required to submit a participation report for National Service Week each fall.


Completing this online form takes just a few minutes. You will be asked to include information like how many people participated in the project, how many hours of service were performed, names of other groups involved and details of any publicity that was generated.

Alpha Phi Omega first made a commitment to become a part of Youth Service America’s National Youth Service Day (now Global Youth Service Day) in 2001. Our involvement helps us meet part of the commitment we make to America’s Promise, the “Network for Youth” founded by General Colin Powell (Ret).


"Global Youth Service Day" text inside orange and teal decorative circleGlobal Youth Service Day gets young people involved in service and calls attention to the impact that youth service makes on the public. GYSD is organized by Youth Service America (YSA) and includes more than 100 countries and millions of young people worldwide. Projects are organized by communities, schools and local organizations. Global Youth Service Day is an opportunity to recruit the next generation of volunteers while promoting the benefits of youth service to the public.


For more information, visit www.ysa.org or www.gysd.org


America’s Promise – The Alliance for Youth, founded by General Colin L. Powell (Ret) – is mobilizing people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of our nation’s youth by fulfilling Five Promises for young people:


1. Ongoing relationships with caring adults in their lives — parents, mentors, tutors or coaches.black text logo for america's promise alliance with a circle logo to the left

2. Safe places with structured activities during non-school hours.

3. Healthy start and future.

4. Marketable skills through effective education.

5. Opportunities to give back through community service.


These Five Promises contain the seeds for a national movement capable of advancing the health and wellbeing of the next generation. We all must take responsibility and get involved to make this a reality.


Alpha Phi Omega has made a national commitment to America’s Promise’s national service program by continuing our strong tradition of youth service and by participating in Global Youth Service Day annually.


For more information, please visit www.americaspromise.org


Use this checklist to help plan, conduct and evaluate your chapter’s Spring Youth Service Day project. This timeline is to be used as a reference and your chapter’s schedule may vary. More time for planning usually results in a more successful project, but remember that if you cannot meet these dates, you may still participate in SYSD. Do not feel limited to the suggestions in this handbook. The planning of SYSD is supposed to be more involved than your regular projects – stretching yourselves to reach new goals with your SYSD project is part of the way SYSD is not just a project, but a learning opportunity as well. Ideally, your chapter should have a special committee dedicated to overseeing the planning of your SYSD project.

Late January - Early February: Choose Your Project

Determine what your service project(s) will be. Whether big or small, the service project will require planning. Use the list of resources provided on this page to inspire you as you begin to think about your project. Contact your regional service chair and other APO alumni volunteers if you need help getting started with your chapter’s planning.


Consider these items as the chapter begins planning:

  • What are the primary reasons the chapter wants to do this project?
  • What does the chapter want to accomplish by this project?
  • What resources are available?
  • Who is the targeted audience to be served?
  • What materials are needed to prepare? What is the budget for materials?
  • Are any outside resources needed? If so, what are they?
  • Will the chapter be partnering with other organizations?


Once those questions have been answered, the chapter will be prepared to do the following:

  • Create a checklist of items that need to be completed for this project to be successful.
  • Complete a proposed budget.
  • List any contingencies (if more brothers volunteer, adverse weather, etc.).

Mid-February - Early March: Prepare for Outreach & Assign Project Duties

Create a game plan on how the chapter is going to spread the word about the project, such as drafting promotional materials, proclamations, press releases, blog posts and other pieces of content to promote the project.


In early March, begin drafting promotional materials. Write letters to be sent to government officials requesting a SYSD proclamation. Check if your regional service chair has started this process at the state level and send requests to your municipal and state governments once final drafts are complete. In these letters, explain what your chapter is doing and which groups will benefit from the project.


This is also the time to draft news releases, blog posts and other pieces of content you will publish to promote your project, as well as organize any other social outreach efforts. Make calls to people, especially non-APO participants, who may be helping with the service project.


Make sure anyone involved with the project has access to these materials and confirm all planning duties to be completed by brothers and non-APO members. Remind all participants of the date of the project(s) and begin signing up volunteers

Mid-March: Publicize

All publicity efforts for SYSD should begin no later than mid-March. All materials prepared in the last step should now be final, and publicity efforts for SYSD should begin. Post flyers, submit information to the campus website or calendar and place reminders on campus anywhere permitted. Be proactive in talking about the chapter’s project to classmates, administrators and other organizations on campus and in the community.

Early April: Finish Preparations

Project details should be solidified by the beginning of April. At this point, outreach should be ongoing and consistent, including social media promotion.

Last Weekend in April: Perform the Project(s)

SYSD is always the last weekend in April, and thus always begins on the last Friday of the month before ending the following Sunday. Ideally, your SYSD project(s) should take place this weekend, though that is not required.


Have responsibilities for all project participants to manage.


Spring Youth Service Day is here! Keep these things in mind:


  • Designate a place for the volunteers to meet prior to the project.
  • Have a sign-in/sign-out sheet for all volunteers.
  • Take pictures of the project.
  • Write down any feedback received from participants during the project for improvement next year.
  • Most importantly, have fun!

After the Project: Evaluate and Report by May 1

It is important to remember reactions to this project when your chapter prepares for next year’s SYSD.


Ask yourself and others questions like:


  • Were any parts forgotten or planned poorly?
  • What did participants say they liked? What would they have changed?
  • Did the chapter receive any feedback from the partner organizations/charities?
  • How could the chapter have gotten more brothers involved?
  • What unexpected logistical issues should be given more time to arrange next year?
  • How could promotional efforts have been more successful?


While reflecting on this year’s project, you could write and submit an article or photos about it to the Torch & Trefoil on other media outlets, which can be done here. Follow-up with the appropriate contacts (media, volunteers, university officials, etc.) and thank them for their support. Chapter officers must submit a SYSD Report through the Chapter Officer Portal at op.apo.org by May 1. Reporting is required for chapter to submit for the Fraternity’s Chapter of Excellence Award. Please be prompt.

In addition to your chapter’s brothers, your project should involve the help of external people and organizations. Remember to ask your advisors for help. Other groups on campus are also potential partners. You might consider inviting other chapters in your section and region to participate in your project (if chapters choose to partner, remember that all chapters must individually report their participation). Partnering with others increases the impact the project may have, both in terms of completed service and fellowship!

Working with other student and community groups can give brothers access to greater resources that allow for the organization of bigger and better projects. Collaborating with other organizations can provide more volunteers, promotional and outreach opportunities and creative minds during the project planning process.


Make sure to do plenty of research before calling any groups with a request for partnership. When you call, keep in mind that the person who answers the phone may not be the one responsible for volunteer activities. When you are able to speak with the appropriate person, ask questions to better understand the group’s goals and inquire about their level of interest in SYSD. Maintain a record of everyone you have called, what you spoke about and/or with whom you have left messages.


In order to be prepared for conversations with potential partners, know the answers to these questions before you begin:


  • What is the project you’ll be doing?
  • What times of day/shifts are you expecting volunteers to work?
  • How many volunteers are expected to work on the project?
  • What type of education will be necessary prior to the activity?
  • Who else will APO be working with on this project?
  • What tools/items are required for this project?
  • Will everyone be working on one task? Or will there be a number of smaller tasks divided among participants? If there will be a number of smaller tasks, who will be working on each task?


It may be helpful to mention your chapter’s previous experiences working with the group you are contacting, or other similar groups with whom they may be familiar. You may also want to have a list of people in the organization that APO has worked with in the past. Have basic knowledge about APO and your chapter available, including:


  • The size of your chapter and an approximate number of service hours performed last semester or last year
  • The history and goals of NSW
  • Recent service projects the chapter has done in the community
  • Ongoing projects with other organizations that the given organization may be familiar with


It is important to be clear about the limitations of your chapter and avoid setting premature or unrealistic expectations of your role. Present your plans and requests in a confident, positive manner as you express your interest in working together for the same cause.


Below is a sample outline of a conversation you might have when speaking to other groups or individuals about NSW activities. Use this guide to help you prepare the right information for working with other groups. You should edit this outline for the specific purpose of your conversation. You can also use this guide to help draft letters to be sent to service organizations in your area.


Hi, my name is ________________ and I’m a student volunteer with Alpha Phi Omega [co-ed] Service Fraternity at _______________ College/University. We are planning our annual APO National Service Week service project for [DATE]. This year, our activities will focus on _________. We would like to explore the possibility of partnering with your group to:

  • Conduct/help with a service project at your organization
  • Provide more visibility for your group by working with you to publicize the activity/event
  • Invite your volunteers to help us in a project we have planned


A significant goal of NSW is to involve more people in our communities in service activities, especially people who might be new to service projects or who may have a particular interest in the National Service Week program theme.


Again, my name is ___________ and you can reach me at ###-#### or email me at ______. Thank you very much for your time!

At any point during your chapter’s NSW project planning process, help is available. Your advisors, alumni, sectional and regional staff are available to give you guidance, ideas, contact information and more, so don’t delay in reaching out for help.


Additionally, the Fraternity’s leadership includes a national service program chair, as well as elected regional chairs who are here to help answer questions and connect chapters with local support.




Region A ChairAlyssa V. Wong[email protected]
Region B ChairRyan Halvorsen[email protected]
Region C ChairLucas Niven[email protected]
Region D ChairCandace Barnhill[email protected]
Region E ChairDerek Ebel[email protected]
Region F ChairMatthew J. Smith[email protected]
Region G ChairKayleigh M. Schneider[email protected]
Region H ChairSabrina N. Zurhorst[email protected]
Region I ChairJohn T. Strada[email protected]
Region J ChairJabari Ben[email protected]
Region K ChairSusan Taylor[email protected]
Region L ChairHanna M. Fuller[email protected]
Region M ChairTre Kolling, III[email protected]
Region N ChairJesse Manchester[email protected]
Region O ChairJessica Lane[email protected]
Region P ChairLuke Langner[email protected]
Region Q ChairMichael Haber[email protected]
Region R ChairAri Fleischer[email protected]


Local News Coverage

Reaching out to your local newspaper and news stations before and after your project can result in tremendous coverage of your chapter and further educate about the environment. Prior to any media outreach, you must prepare a news release and media list. Your news release will share the basic newsworthy details of your project, as well as background on your chapter and APO. Your media list will be a comprehensive list of all reporters to contact at campus and community newspapers, television stations and radio stations.

Things to Remember When Reaching Out to Press

  • Reporters will not necessarily see APO the way we do. They may not care or see the need to publish or broadcast our efforts. If one reporter at an outlet rejects your outreach, look for another, possibly more appropriate contact at that outlet.


  • Don’t get irritated with media members. Reporters can’t plan breaking news. As you have many weeks available for a conversation with media members, be as flexible as possible in order to not lose opportunities to other stories that may be more timely or require immediate coverage.


  • Be prepared when reaching out to any members of the media. Have your facts – who, what, when, where, why and project-related contacts – available. Your contact may have questions, so be prepared to discuss both SYSD and APO.


  • Do not delay in responding when a member of the media reaches out to. If they have questions about SYSD, it’s up to the chapter to answer them as soon as possible.

The Basic Steps of Media Outreach

  • Build Your Media List: Most contact information for reporters and news stations is now available online. Search the outlet’s main website for instructions on how to submit news. Additionally, reporters and editors are often avid users of Twitter, so connect with them there! While gathering the necessary contact information for relevant reporters, collect the contact information of the main news desks as well (Example: [email protected] or [email protected]).


  • Proofread: Edit every news release and email multiple times before sending them. Editors and reporters are known to dismiss  press releases and pitches with misspelled words and/or poor grammar.


  • Reach Out: Send your news release to the news editor or news desk approximately two weeks in advance with a short emailed introduction of yourself and SYSD. Ask your contact in that email if they would be interested in learning more, either by email, on the phone or in person. Make it clear you want to do what is best and most convenient for the reporter that is working with you.


  • Work With Reporters: Remember that coverage can come in multiple forms, such as preview of the event, a profile on how APO members are contributing to the environment and how others can help, coverage on-site at the event by a reporter or a wrap-up report of the event with APO-provided information after the event has concluded.


  • Follow Up: If you do not hear back after your initial outreach, follow up two or three days later to ask if the individual you contacted is interested in learning more about SYSD or can provide you with the name of a contact/colleague who may be interested.


  • Remind the Press: As the project nears, it is okay to send the news desk (not a specific reporter) your news release once more. Another news story reporters planned to cover may have been canceled and there may be room for a last-minute replacement.

Sample Press Release

Chapter Contact’s Name
Phone Number







Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed National Service Fraternity active on more than 360 college campuses nationwide, announced today that [DATES] will be its “Spring Youth Service Day”.


“Spring Youth Service Day” is one of the largest college service efforts throughout the United States. The National Fraternity’s individual Chapters sponsor campus and community projects simultaneously throughout the country both to draw greater attention to a specific cause and to involve as many people as possible in a unified volunteerism effort. This year, Alpha Phi Omega Chapters nationwide will be working to provide service to youth in the community. Beta Beta Gamma, the Fraternity’s local Chapter at XYZ College, is planning (announce the project you have selected and explain it. Be as specific as possible and include the time and location of where the project will be held. If you are working with other organizations be sure to mention them here as well.)


XXX Chapter of (University) was chartered into Alpha Phi Omega National Service Fraternity on (date of charter). Since that date, the chapter has maintained a positive presence throughout the campus and surrounding community with projects such as (NAME OF PREVIOUS PROJECTS COMPLETED). The chapter has (NUMBER) members.


Alpha Phi Omega is a National Coeducational Service Fraternity — college students gathered together in an organization based on fraternalism and founded on the principles of the Boy Scouts of America. Its purpose is to develop leadership, promote friendship and provide service to humanity. Since 1925, more than 367,000 students have chosen Alpha Phi Omega, making the Fraternity the nation’s largest Greek letter fraternity.




If you would like more information regarding this topic, please contact (PUBLIC RELATIONS CHAIR’S NAME, E-MAIL, Phone Number)

Request a City or State Proclamation

A proclamation is an official declaration made as a public announcement by the government. You may seek recognition of SYSD at the city and state levels by sending a request to the mayor’s or governor’s office.


Provided in this handbook is a sample letter you can send to your mayor and/or governor. Retype this on chapter letterhead and don’t forget to fill in the chapter’s information. Ensure that you use the proper form of address. Ask your school’s public relations office or your chapter advisors for help getting contacts in government offices if you are unable to find the information easily yourself. This information is often provided on your city’s or state’s official website.


For proclamation requests being sent to your state’s governor, work with other chapters in the same state in a coordinated effort. Sectional and regional alumni volunteers can assist you. Remember that this process takes time, so try to send your requests more than one month in advance. Make sure they have been received and are being processed or reviewed promptly and follow up with the appropriate government contacts to answer any questions they may have as they decide to accept or deny your request.


Use any proclamations you receive to leverage your SYSD publicity– that is their purpose. You’ll want to receive confirmation of the proclamation early enough to be able to use it in your publicity efforts. Mention it in your press release(s), media contact outreach, blog content and communication with other individuals or groups that are working on the project with your chapter.


Whereas, Alpha Phi Omega – the nation’s largest National Service Fraternity will participate in Spring Youth Service Day, an event that the Fraternity has sponsored annually since 2001; and


Whereas, Alpha Phi Omega members seek to introduce volunteerism to individuals who might not otherwise become involved in paying tribute to those who gave so much in the past to make our lives better today, and


Whereas, Alpha Phi Omega Chapters at the [FILL IN SCHOOL NAMES HERE] will all work to promote these ideals and render service to their communities;


Therefore Be It Resolved, that [DATES] is hereby designated as “Alpha Phi Omega Spring Youth Service Day [YEAR]”, in the State of [YOUR STATE HERE], and I wish all Alpha Phi Omega members a very successful weekend of service to their campuses, communities and the nation.

Sample Proclamation

The Honorable Joan Bipartisan
Official Address




Dear Governor Bipartisan:


In support of the spirit of volunteerism, we ask that you proclaim [DATES] as “Alpha Phi Omega Spring Youth Service Day [YEAR]” in the state of [YOUR STATE]. We hope that you agree to support our efforts in this important cause.


Throughout that weekend, Alpha Phi Omega – the nation’s largest collegiate service fraternity – will again promote and perform service through Spring Youth Service Day. Our co-ed organization has sponsored an event like this annually since 2001.


Your proclamation would help us to focus attention on the importance of helping others and the world around us, specifically through our Spring Youth Service Day efforts. Such attention will also help us introduce volunteerism to individuals who might not otherwise become involved in their communities.


The primary purpose of Alpha Phi Omega, founded in 1925, is service to the campus, community and the nation. More than 500,000 people over our history have been members of the Fraternity. We are active on more than 360 college campuses nationwide, including [SCHOOLS IN YOUR STATE]. The service that the students involved in Alpha Phi Omega render is rewarded only by the satisfaction they receive in contributing to their colleges and communities, and all but a very few staff members volunteer both their time and resources in maintaining our organization.


Here at [YOUR SCHOOL], our chapter plans to [briefly describe your chapter’s Spring Youth Service ay project – multiple chapters may combine efforts here).


Should you have any questions, please call me at [PHONE NUMBER] or email me at [EMAIL]. I will contact your office on [SPECIFIC DATE] to coordinate arrangements for the proclamation. Thank you so much for your assistance in this matter.









Spring Youth Service Day Blogs

Does your chapter have its own blog? Blog posts are a tremendous way to spread news, announcements and stories about chapter accomplishments at no cost. You can post words, photos and videos on your chapter’s blog to get people excited and involved in SYSD, report its success and share news about next year (remember that your blog can be used throughout the year to talk about ALL chapter activities). For SYSD, consider posting about the following:

  • An introduction to SYSD and your chapter’s project
  • An interview with the head of the organization/charity/group your chapter is serving (founder, president, volunteer organizer, etc.)
  • A look into the planning and organization of this year’s project halfway through preparation
  • Ways alumni and community members can support this year’s project(s) or cause
  • Introduction to the SYSD committee members or brothers responsible for organizing your chapter’s project(s)
  • A look around the region/section – a post about other SYSD projects happening in your area
  • If you have multiple projects occurring during SYSD, share photos and daily summaries that update alumni, community members and other campus organizations on the work your chapter’s brothers are accomplishing throughout the weekend.
  • Don’t want to write? Make a video of interviews with project participants and candid footage of volunteers. You can edit the video footage using the basic software that comes standard on many laptops.
  • Summarize the work and results of your SYSD project(s).
  • Share ways people can continue to help the organizations, charities or causes your chapter supported during the week.
  • Highlight other ongoing and upcoming events or projects hosted by your chapter.
  • Remind readers, especially potential pledges and members of other organizations, about ways they can get involved with your APO chapter.

After you have written the press release and set up the blog, use the chapter’s social media accounts to drive attention to chapter events year-round. Instagram and Facebook are terrific for sharing photos and links back to your chapter’s blog. Use Twitter to share information and updates about your chapter’s activities and interact with other members of your campus and region.