By Amber Alarid, JVA Consulting
As the weather warms up, some young professionals may start dreaming of warm, secluded beaches and all-inclusive cruises. However, there are some who not only dream of the ideal getaway, but also a chance to give back this summer. Volunteering abroad or in another state (or even in your own town) can give you, as a young professional, the chance to see new sights while furthering your personal commitment to making the world a better place. If you’re looking for some help planning your first volunteer vacation, here are some suggestions so you don’t have to go it alone.
Gather up friends or coworkers
If your workplace is the type that enjoys annual retreats, why not suggest that at least one day of your retreat be devoted to service? Pulling together to complete a group volunteer project is great for team morale and is a good team-building exercise, and it also has the added benefit of getting everyone out of the office and into a new setting. Offer to orchestrate the trip and present the idea to your coworkers for final approval.
If your organization does not have the time, budget, etc. to take annual retreats, call on your friends. Find your most enthusiastic friends and take advantage of the summer weather by working on a volunteer site outside in the fresh air. Sites like VolunteerGuide.org have special guides to help vacationers find their ideal placement based on desired cause and location.
Call your alumni group or university
If your alumni group organizes service trips, this is the perfect time to network with old friends in a hands-on environment. This could also be an opportunity for you take a leadership role in organizing such an event if one doesn’t currently exist. Putting the trip together will give you a chance to give your input and build skills easily transferable when you get back to work.
Typically, universities provide students with spring break and summer excursions, but if you’ve already graduated, it seems like you missed the boat, right? Not necessarily. Contact the person in charge of such trips and ask if there is room for you; you will likely have to pay your own way, but it will save you time and money because most of the accommodations will be planned as a group.
Plan a volunteer “staycation”
If you are in need of a short respite that rejuvenates your commitment to your favorite cause, consider volunteering locally. Youth camps may need short-term volunteers, and if you are lucky to be here in Colorado near the mountains, you can help rebuild trails or even participate in a community clean up. Check community boards at local coffee shops and watch for articles or ads in the local newspaper about volunteer opportunities.
Summer vacations can be both fun and rewarding. What’s better than coming back to the office with a great tan, cool vacation photos and the knowledge that you have contributed to a cause close to your heart?
If you are planning a vacation around volunteering, let us know y leaving a comment below.