Young people nowadays aren’t the same as the youth of yesteryear. Somehow, they seem to be unmindful, disconnected and less interested in the world around them. Digital connectivity seems to be the culprit. And it’s getting out of control!
Much effort needs to be done to help young people connect with real people and face the real issues of life rather than smartphones, online games and social media.
Thank goodness, there’s voluntourism. More than a family adventure or a fun vacation, families are packing their bags motivated to make a difference in worthwhile humanitarian and conservation projects throughout the world. Many families volunteer together to enhance relationships and tighten bonds that can loosen in the clutter of our modern lives.
Whether it is a day at conservation center, or helping at food bank, soup kitchen or recycling center, or a week building a home for a needy family, parents are looking for ways to get engaged and immersed in new culture, bond with each member of the family, and introduce their children to the value of volunteering while vacationing. It’s a good strategy that also helps shape future world changers.
When volunteering with your family, it’s good to consider what kind of project is appropriate for your kids’ ages…
Finding the right project for different age groups can be difficult. Of course, you don’t want activities that are too taxing for children below 12 years old. The idea is to introduce them to the concept, open their eyes to another community and culture and be able to mingle with different people who live different lives. Arts and crafts, playing games, displaying of talents, gardening, working alongside with young people in different countries is a great way to introduce them to volunteering, creating friendship, working and caring for other people. Environmental and wildlife conservation is often ideal, especially for animal loving kids!
Examples of meaningful wildlife volunteering opportunities for young children include:
– elephant conservation in Thailand or India
– bear conservation in India
– sea turtle conservation in Bali, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka or Greece
– wildlife rescue center conservation in Costa Rica and South Africa
– kangaroo and wallaby conservation in Australia
– penguin habitat maintenance and sea chick rearing in New Zealand
For teens, projects with visible effects and tangible results can motivate teens to help and be good, boost self confidence, give them a real sense of purpose, and help them appreciate how fortunate they are. Working together with other teens will teach them to bond and break prejudice on cultural differences.
Some awesome projects for teens are:
– installing a disabled accessible bathroom for a paraplegic in Bali
Volunteering and being exposed to a different culture leaves a feeling of accomplishment and leaves a lasting impression on every member of the family. Voluntourism is a great way for teens from fortunate backgrounds to become more appreciative of what they have and to pass it forward to those in need .
Families return home fulfilled from the experiences and the contextual learning. They’ll be surprised to realize that the volunteer part of their travel is more valuable and memorable- more than the sightseeing and adventure. And for parents, working alongside their children can improve bonds and connection, something that’s hard to achieve in their busy lives.
Indeed, the family that volunteers together, stays together 🙂