Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity .” – 1 Timothy 4: 12

When Hank and Allison Middleton moved to the Coastal Church in Daytona Beach, Florida, they wanted to learn to serve God and the community as a family. “We greatly desired our two young kids to know the Bible by putting it into practice together, as a family, ”said Allison. Coastal Church’s emphasis on being “the hands and feet of Jesus” inspired the Middletons to accept a leadership role with the newly formed Hope Scout Troop #33. Hope Scouts engages young volunteers in meaningful community-based activities that enhance the lives of the poor and needy, foster a spirit of teamwork and friendship, and set the volunteers on a course towards a lifetime of service.

While walking in a community Christmas parade, Troop #33 was spotted by the principal of RJ Longstreet Elementary. When she discovered that the scouts learn about Jesus through serving, the principal asked if Hope Scouts could organize a weekly after school club at her elementary school. The door was wide open for the troop to create curriculum and activities for anyone who wanted to join the club! It took only three days after the Hope Scout Bible Club invitation was issued for the club to reach maximum capacity of 35students. Each week the club studies a characteristic of Jesus and participates in a service project at the school. The after school club kids have joined Coastal Church disciples at community project sites, like handing out Valentines at a hospital children’s ward, visiting a senior citizen home or caring for animals at a local dairy farm. Kids leave meetings with a “live like Jesus challenge” and come back sharing what they did!

For Alex and Nuria Rivas, mindfulness of the poor and needy has been a constant in raising their two children. When Nuria considered starting a Hope Scout troop in the Broward Church (part of the South Florida Church of Christ), her kids were already teenagers. But she had seen the impact of community service on her kids, and wanted this experience for other families in the church. In the past four years, Hope Scouts Troop #7 has found ways to make a difference in the south Florida community. Blessed with artistic talent, the Rivas’ arranged for the scouts to paint murals in a pre-school in an underserved community. Whether partnering with large organizations like the Million Meal Packing project, serving lunch to the elderly, making breakfast for the military or making single moms feel special on Mother’s Day, the Hope Scouts are learning to reach out and touch people that are very different from themselves. “I’ve been a Hope Scout since I was five years old. I like serving people and seeing the joy on their face, seeing that they are grateful,” said nine-year-old Saree Young.

After attending ICOC Youth and Family Conferences, both the Middletons and the Rivas’ leave with these two takeaways: each family has the responsibility to teach and train their kids to love and serve God, making a stronger church fellowship; and that we need to “start younger” – instilling faith in elementary and middle school age children who will develop unshakeable convictions for the next generation of believers.

Interested in what a Hope Scouts Troop can bring to families in your congregation? Go to and click on the “Volunteer”tab. As Saree confidently says, “You are never too young to serve!”