Travel has a new look these days and local families are opting for voluntourism, where participants get their hands dirty in service projects that help local communities while also affording them the opportunity to visit incredible sites around the world.
Based in Rye and founded by Rye Middle School teacher and former Peace Corps volunteer Craig Dreves, VolunTravel is a volunteer travel organization that promotes cross-cultural learning, a deepening awareness of our global interdependence, and a commitment to the common good.The group provides a more family-friendly, group volunteer experience to Westchester and southern Connecticut residents.
VolunTravel provides an abbreviated Peace Corps-like experience, where participants travel in intimate groups, interact with the local people, eat at and sleep in locally run accommodations, and conduct service projects devised by local organizations in the host countries. While the reward may seem to lie in the chance to visit the world's greatest natural and manmade sites, former VolunTravelers attest that their authentic interactions with the local people and the feeling of satisfaction after restoring a dilapidated, trash-filled playground, or providing supplies to and helping out at an orphanage outweighed the awe they experienced while witnessing the splendor of the Galapagos Islands or the majesty of Machu Picchu.
Trips are geared towards adventurous family travelers who are flexible and socially-minded. Kids are encouraged to attend 3-4 pre-service meetings where they learn about the destination and the difficulties faced by the society. They help set goals for the service trip and prepare presentations to teach the busy adults about the local culture, history, and goals of the trip in a final, pre-trip group meeting. Community service hours and fundraising help are also offered to VolunTravelers.
In 2014, VolunTravel will be taking trips to Havana, Cuba (February 15-22) and the Galapagos Islands (April 12-20).
Come learn more at one of three upcoming information sessions at:
- Tuesday, July 9 – Greenwich Library (2nd floor Meeting Room) – 7pm
- Thursday, July 11 – Rye Library (Community Room) – 7pm
- Tuesday, July 16 – Scarsdale Library (Auditorium) – 7pm