Regardless of which program you choose to do, it is possible to include a service-project component between the videos “Living History” and “Basic Training,” as time permits. (It may be described as a team-building challenge to support the troops in the field before the real training begins.) Although there are many wonderful service projects available, iWiRe has found that the following two projects: (i) may be done in 15-20 minutes using the instruction videos on the DVD or iWiRe website; (ii) involve relatively inexpensive materials; and (iii) are fun for teenagers.
Operation Gratitude ships parachute cord (“paracord”) bracelets to U.S. servicemen and women overseas. These bracelets are made of super-strong synthetic material that may be used for many different field tasks, ranging from hoisting a heavy load to suturing a wound.
A video demonstration showing how to make these bracelets is below. You will need (i) scissors, (ii) a lighter; and (iii) “jigs” that may be printed from this file. You also may order (i) pre-cut 550 paracord from a number of websites, or (ii) larger quantities (not pre-cut) from many sites. Be sure to select 550 paracord that is in a muted, gender-neutral color. (No reflective, white, or neon colors.) Selected cord should say "550 Paracord", as it has 7 internal strands of cord and can hold 550 pounds. The cords should be cut to 7 1/2 feet long strands and both ends should be heated with a lighter and squeezed with a pair of pliers to ensure that the inner cords do not come out during the bracelet-making process. Once the bracelets are made, they may be sent directly to Operation Gratitude using instructions here.
Paracord Bracelet Instructional Video (click to view on YouTube)
Soldiers’ Angels delivers cozy fleece blankets to hospitalized U.S. military personnel as a comforting reminder that people are thinking of them. Instructions for making these fleece blankets can be downloaded below. Each blanket needs two large pieces of fleece (each of which should be at least 45 inches by 65 inches or larger) and students may need rulers and scissors. Fleece often may be purchased on sale from local craft and fabric stores. (Soldiers’ Angels recommend patriotic prints.)
Once the blankets have been completed, they should be mailed to: Soldiers’ Angels, 2700 NE Loop 410, Suite 310, San Antonio, Texas 78217. Please include the attached form with your blankets for acknowledgement of receipt.