family volunteering vacations – this type of vacation, which combines vacation abroad, while experiencing a new country and culture, and in which we contribute to make the world a little better place. During this family volunteering trip, we also can pass good values to our children.
Volunteering abroad can take many forms, but it always involves traveling to provide assistance or volunteer effort in your destinated country .If you prefer, you can organize your vacation in such a way that only part of the family will volunteer during the overall trip. Keeping in mind that volunteer work can take many forms and volunteering time.
It’s all about common sense and where you go. staying safe abroad is usually not much more complicated than staying at home, it just takes knowing the danger zones. make sure the volunteer won't take place in war-torn countries or countries where there is a major disease break out. Another factor that must be taking into account is the violence and crime in the area - please make sure double-check it before going to volunteer vacation with kids.
Are my kids old enough for volunteering:
The answer depend on the type of volunteering selected - in case it involve hard work or difficult environment, than children should be old enough to follow the instructions and be helpful, but also mature enough to see the big picture: they may be required to work hard by serving food or clearing the field of waste. The most important factor in volunteering is the child's level of maturity, and only the parents are in the best place to assess their child's maturity. Parents should also consider what kind of environment your children can work and the situations that they may see and experience while volunteering abroad The questions: Are they ready (and emotionally prepared) to see poverty or see the injured animal closely? Voluntary work of various kinds from manual labor to skilled assistance?
On the other hand, taking young childs to such a trip got also some advantages:
- Unlike the industrialized world in the volunteer areas, your child will be able to eat fresh food every day, from a variety of fresh fruit, vegetables, rice, chicken, freshly prepared and not usually processed
- Seeing your kids react to roaring lions on safari, or learning the joys of giving while building an adobe stove in Peru, or seeing food delivered by mini trains at Japanese restaurants in Tokyo is quadruple the fun. Your young children will be less worried about the language barrier than you will, and the organization coordinator will be with you throughout.
- They may not remember all of this, but you will remember. Such an experience will allow you to create lifelong memories and because life is short, do not postpone what can be done today.
You will be surprised at what they absorb. Toddlers and young children do not take for granted what language, music, dress or food is the norm. They take on languages much faster than you do. Their palate is developing at this stage and their ability to learn and absorb is great
- Young children are often more portable than older children. They still think you know something and they actually want to be with you.
- Until age 2, they can ride in your lap for usually 10% of the cost of a normal ticket.
- With all the ipads/iphones electronic gadgets, keeping them happy with videos, games and more is much easier today on a plane than it was even 10 years ago.
- Traveling with a child is the biggest ice breaker ever.
- On each location you can find something your kids can do. Of course how much they can do will vary depending on the child. There are toddlers helping paint walls, pat adobe into place, and play games with local school kids their own age. Think of it less as work, and more about meaningful engagement. It really comes down to whether or not the programs are a good fit.
What type of accommodation while volunteering abroad should we prefer?
There is an opportunity to volunteer with kids at variety of ages, and numerous of accommodation possibilities:
- home-stay accommodation – recommended for families with children under 15, so entire family will be accommodated together in private rooms while having privacy.
- Dormitory style accommodation – this is a unique experience, living alongside a local family, while learning about their culture, cuisine and traditions.
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The time period for this type of vacation depends as on any vacation, on your family availability. It is up to you to find the most suitable volunteer project that fits your availability. If this is your first time on a voluntary family trip, it is recommended to combine your volunteer activity with a vacation and a visit to tourist sites in the area
Volunteer travel is not cheap, as counter-intuitive as that fact may be. Likely, you’ll spend almost as much to volunteer as you would to experience the destination as a tourist. The upside: nearly all volunteer programs are all-inclusive, minus airfare. Some volunteer trips, especially those attended by groups offer ways to fund raise pre-trip.
What type of volunteer exist?
The type of volunteer option can be in many areas: Building, preserving, working with children or volunteering with animals ext... In any case volunteering abroad as a family gives you quality time together while supporting your chosen goal.
Lets try to explore few sample of the volunteer ares:
- Preservation - Reef conservation in Costa Rica or Belize
- Working with children - Child care, Teaching and Community work in Ghana
- Volunteering with animals - Wildlife rescue in Cost Rica, Turtle conservation, Animal rescue in India, Horse rehabilitation in South Africa, Elephant and Wildlife conservation in Sri Lanka
- building: painting public buildings and planting community gardens
- Care: Care projects involve a lot of different tasks, from basic renovation to organizing of fun games and educational activities.
- Teaching: From helping out in the classroom to running extra-curricular activities, there is plenty of scope for everyone to get involved.
- Sports: Families can choose to coach a specific sport, or arrange physical education activities for children during and after school. There is also room to combine this project with a care programme, for some variety.
Which type of volunteer is best for my family?
Passions or interests of your kids. Pursue a volunteer vacation that is inline with your children’s interests. For instance, if your child loves animals, consider a trip aiding marine mammal rescue, or if your kids have a passion for the outdoors, get your feet wet with a trip maintaining trails or landmarks.
Their exist organizations which are helping families do simple and meaningful acts of kindness when abroad. for example: Packforapurpose.org - The nonprofit organization pairs you with schools, animal clinics, or orphanages that need supplies. Purchase and pack the requested items in your luggage, then give them when you arrive.
You Can Give An Afternoon or More, This type of trip allows you to see how your kids do before planning an entire trip around giving back. For example, in Orlando, older kids (12 and up) can spend a morning serving breakfast at Give Kids the World, a nonprofit “storybook resort” for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. Carnival Corporation’s Fathom recently began offering “Travel with Purpose” cruises, such as one to the Dominican Republic, where families can work on volunteer projects with island residents. Back on the ship, travelers can learn more about local culture with regional cooking or language classes. You get the benefits of the cruise, plus so much more.
Ready for a vacation wholly dedicated to service? Projects Abroad creates custom itineraries in 30 countries for families with kids as young as 4. Opportunities range from working on an organic farm in Togo to caring for sea turtles in Mexico to playing soccer with schoolkids in Argentina. Or check out Global Family Travels, which organizes immersive trips in which families spend several days living within a community in countries like Nicaragua or India and help with projects like building a library. Whatever you choose to do, I’m sure you won’t regret it!
How do we start?
Please find below different sites and organization which enable you to register and order a volunteer vacation for your family:
- projects abroad UK
- GVI UK
Other organization recommended by Nancy Schretter in USA today article:
- Best Friends Animal Sanctuary - Kanab, Utah - Kids will be excited about volunteering at the nation's largest no-kill animal sanctuary, where children from age 6 can work with their parents tending to cats, dogs, rabbits, horses, pigs and more. "It increases kids' self esteem to be able to care for and help these animals," Schretter says. This summer the shelter starts a kids camp, allowing parents to have a more intensive volunteer experience. 435-644-2001; bestfriends.org
- Sierra Club - White River National Forest, Colo. -The outdoors aren't just meant to be enjoyed, Schretter says; it also must be preserved. That's why she likes programs offered by the nation's largest environmental organization, which runs week-long trips throughout the country. Families may work on trails or create animal habitats. Trips run about $500 per person. 415-977-5522; content.sierraclub.org/outings
- Global Volunteers - Kincaid, W.Va. -Though this organization arranges trips as far away as Peru, it also addresses needs closer to home. Volunteers help Appalachian communities with projects like painting public buildings, working at day care centers and planting community gardens. "It's a great way for people to commit themselves to something larger than themselves in a part of the United States that needs that kind of help," Schretter says. Cost from $995.800-487-1074; globalvolunteers.org
- Solmar Foundation - Cabo San Lucas, Mexico - Schretter says kids should see the world that lies outside the gates of a resort. This foundation, affiliated with Solmar Hotels & Resorts, assists around the Los Cabos area. Twice-weekly free morning tours, open to hotel guests and non-guests, may let visitors help at a local shelter, an orphanage or a nursing home. "You're escaping that vacation bubble and making a difference," Schretter says. solmarfoundation.com
- Give Kids the World Village - Kissimmee, Fla. - Schretter suggests families take a day away from their theme-park vacation to help children who are facing a life-threatening disease. This storybook-land resort caters to sick kids and their families. Volunteers fill 1,400 weekly shifts, perhaps helping with pony rides, running a merry-go-round or scooping ice cream. "Bringing happiness to the lives of others is a really memorable experience to share as a family." Volunteers are also eligible for a discounted package from Universal Orlando. 800-995-5437; gktw.org
- Global Citizens Network - White Earth Reservation, Minn. - This Indian reservation in northern Minnesota welcomes families for 10-day projects that might include building a community center, teaching or even harvesting wild rice. Prices run $1,200 for adults. "This is an opportunity to see a culture outside your own within the United States," Schretter says. It's coordinated through Global Citizens Network, which has programs worldwide. globalcitizens.org
- Youth Rebuilding - New Orleans - Even eight years after Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans still needs help. Kids as young as 12 can work alongside their parents rebuilding homes that are sold to teachers, which stabilizes the area and promotes education. "Your family is helping to build a house for another family to live in, and that feeling is really powerful," Schretter says. Cost: $10 per person. 504-264-3344; yrno.com
- The Nature Corps - California state and national parks - For 26 years, this group has worked with Golden State parks like Yosemite, Sequoia, Morro Bay and Hearst Castle. Projects, which run three days, may include restoring meadows, revegetating wildlife habitats and replacing invasive plants. "You have opportunities to learn and have fun while working alongside biologists," Schretter says. Prices start at $390 per adult. 800-774-7275; thenaturecorps.org
- Globe Aware - Costa Rica and elsewhere - This international organization partners with communities in Costa Rica (and many other countries) on week-long projects that have families working alongside locals. "With these cross-cultural experiences, you're making a connection in an authentic way," Schretter says. Past projects: painting a library, fixing a pedestrian bridge and teaching English. Cost: about $1,300. 877-588-4562; globeaware.com
- Reading Road Trip - Sandals Resorts, West Indies - Schretter applauds this chain of Caribbean resorts (including sister properties Beaches and Grand Pineapple resorts), which helps guests contribute to local communities through a non-profit foundation. It offers Thursday morning outings to schools, where volunteers work with children. "It's a great way for kids to see the world of school outside their hometown experience," Schretter says. Cost: $20, children 8-12, free. sandalsfoundation.org