Service Academy for Youth (SAY) completed it’s 20th year in 2017, as a part of Great Days of Service. SAY exists to teach the value of service to teens and pre-teens in a camp setting. Combining fun and hard work, SAY was started to emphasize the importance of helping our neighbors in need. Because of the generosity of the Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation, there is no charge for students to attend, thus allowing a diverse mix of individuals to experience this unique program and the opportunity for growth.

Austin College has been the residential setting each year for 150 local teens to spend 4 summer days together, working on community projects, learning from adult and peer role models, and getting to know and understand one another. The City of Sherman each year identifies project homes, yards, and public areas that need major and minor tender loving care and our kids go to work. Tasks include sanding, painting, building, mowing, weed pulling and numbering curbs for 911 identification.

During the week, a motivational speaker inspires participants with personal stories and leadership cues. The purpose of these sessions is to introduce students from varied backgrounds to outlooks that might generate new thoughts and moral paths. Fun and festive activities provide respite from the Texas sun and enable social and teamwork skill development. Activities include Cookouts, Bubble Soccer, Park Volleyball, Field Day

events, Rough Rider Baseball games, Snow Cone outings, and Wheelchair Basketball. Pre-teens attend in a Day Camp setting at various local churches and develop service projects for local groups and individuals. Each year they visit retirement centers bearing gifts and with offers of songs and entertainment.

SAY recruits former participants to serve as volunteer counselors for the program each year. Counselors enjoy the opportunity to give back for their own time in the program, mentor young people, teach the value of service, and continue to develop their own leaderships skills. Local businesses and churches donate their time, transportation, and product to support the program each year.


TOOLS 4 SCHOOLS donate school supplies to campuses all across Grayson county. Due entirely to the generous grant funds from the Oliver Dewey Mayor Foundation, our program has distributed over 232,000 supplies since it began in 2015/2016 school year.

The supplies are distributed directly to the counselors at each school one week prior to the start of classes. Preferred items include notebooks, pocket folders, pens, pencils, washable markers, crayons, glue/glue sticks, scissors, and rulers and many other requested items from the schools.

We are currently able to accommodate 41 campuses in the 13 school districts within Grayson county. This includes Pre-K through 8th grade and is coordinated through a special needs assessment involving the school principals and counselors. Supplies are delivered directly to the campuses by community volunteers. Our mission is to help alleviate the financial burden many families in our community face when the new school year approaches and supplies must be purchased. It is our hope that supplying students with the tools necessary for learning will help set the foundation for a successful school year.



June 13th-16th

Great Days of Service began in 1996 and has grown each year.  Now, Great Days is a part of Grand Central Station, Sherman.  The last week in June, you can volunteer to help with Service Academy for Youth or one of the projects that Great Days has to offer.  You can volunteer for Home Improvement, Clean Up Sherman, Paint My Number, Working at Grand Central Station, and other projects.  In August, we hold the annual Tools 4 Schools where we help children in Grayson County with their school supplies.  If you would like more information on Great Days of Service or Service Academy for Youth (SAY) please contact SAY Director – Lauren Towles at 903.815.2690

You may download Applications for Service Academy for Youth below.

2017 Residential Application

2017 Day Camp Application

2017 Counselor Application