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Family Bonding on Volunteer Vacations

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Here's why giving back on vacation feels so good.

family planting trees

Guest blogger Julie Wolfson: How many times have we heard our kids whine, "But, Mommy, I need another ice cream!" and wanted to yell back, "There are children starving in Africa"?

On those days, I try to take a breath and remember how good it feels when we have spent the day doing a volunteer project. Every year, we help a local church set up a Christmas dinner for the hungry and homeless in our community. We have read to small children at inner-city day care centers, sold solar cookers to help the women and children in Darfur, and made cards for hospital patients. So when I heard about The Ritz-Carlton's Give Back Getaways program, I was struck by the image of families spending their vacation time volunteering together.

The Ritz-Carlton Give Back Getaways offer unbelievable adventures such as gathering food to feed baby Blue Iguanas in Grand Cayman. In Marbella, Spain, guests of the hotel can plant trees, water recently planted trees or install bird nests in the most affected areas of the Sierra Blanca and learn about ecology and ways to protect the environment. A new program in Laguna Niguel, California allows families to go out fishing and prepare the day's catch to be donated to a local soup kitchen. Sign me up!

Volunteer vacations are a growing trend, and with some quick research, you can find places near and far to share some meaningful time with your family. Your family will feel a great sense of accomplishment. There is nothing I would love more than spending less time yelling "Turn off the TV!" at my kids.

Would YOU try a volunteer vacation?


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6 comments so far | Post a comment now
Doug Cutchins April 7, 2009, 6:53 PM

The 10th edition of Volunteer Vacations, recently published by Chicago Review Press, includes an index of organizations that offer family-friendly volunteer vacation opportunities.

nadine April 7, 2009, 9:38 PM

I am interested in taking a volunteer vacation with my teenage daughter. Tnaks for the information.

diane April 8, 2009, 5:27 PM

Camp Sunshine is a makes for a great family volunteer vacation for parents with teens. It’s a national non-profit that that provides a vacation-like environment at no charge for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. www.campsunshine.org

diane April 8, 2009, 5:29 PM

Camp Sunshine makes for a great family volunteer vacation for parents with teens. It’s a national non-profit that that provides a vacation-like environment at no charge for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families. www.campsunshine.org

- diane

sara December 24, 2009, 1:08 AM

I like every thing about it and glad to be the part of it.
Sara
flights to Sydney

sara December 24, 2009, 1:14 AM

Hii
I like every thing about it and glad to be the part of it.
Sara
flights to Sydney


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