Let's face it. For many kids, Spring Break is a rite of passage. The BeachCorps Beach Bum had a wonderful Spring Break in the pre-Bum years. Though in retrospect maybe that jump off the motel roof into the pool was a bad idea. (Photo: USA Today)
BeachCorps believes that there is a market for a new kind of Spring Break, one that combines the best of the fun of a traditional Spring Break with the best of the learning, personal growth, and social responsibility of the growing Alternative Spring Break movement. For most of the hundreds of thousands of college students who celebrate Spring Break each year, the fun is undeniable. However, many Spring Breakers engage in excessive drinking, use illegal drugs and make bad personal decisions.
What about the Alternative Spring Break (ASB) Movement? An Alternative Spring Break is a trip where a group of college students (usually 10–12 per trip) engage in volunteer service and learning. ASB trips originated with college students in the early 1980s as a counter to traditional Spring Break trips. In 2016, a survey of 168 institutions reported nearly 23,000 students participated in more than 1,600 trips during the 2015-16 school year, according to Break Away, a national nonprofit that provides training and support for the trips. That represented an increase from 16,700 students on 1,300 trips four years before that reported by 130 schools. Even so, the growing ASB movement is still small compared to the more traditional party-based Spring Break and is in no danger of taking over.
BeachCorps Spring Break: The BeachCorps Spring Break in 2018 will combine the best of both worlds:
Who pays for these trips? Parents. And parents will be far more likely to want to send their child to a BeachCorps Spring break, which will stress alcohol and drug abuse prevention. Many students will also prefer the perfect equilibrium point between a typical rustic alternative Spring Break trip organized by universities and the excess of traditional Spring Break, particularly since their volunteer work will be part of a broader trend with real impact.
A while ago when BeachCorps was testing the market for a new kind of volunteer vacation, we contacted the head of marketing for the Catalonia hotel chain. Like many hotels in the Dominican Republic, Catalonia has a "No Spring Breakers" rule that says during the Spring Break high season they won't accept reservations from groups that don't include a person over 21 in every room. Most hotels in the Dominican Republic just don't want the problems associated with Spring Break. But when BeachCorps told Catalonia about our detailed plan to ensure that kids won't abuse drugs or alcohol but would instead focus on helping local communities, they waived their policy for BeachCorps. That's one of the reasons they are a BeachCorps partner hotel. And we promise that if we do a Spring Break with Catalonia, we'll have a lot of fun. And no jumps off the roof into the pool. :-)
#For more info on how BeachCorps will ensure our Spring Break 2018 is safe and fun, email: email@example.com
Photo: Dominican Dream Project, an amazing nonprofit with volunteer programs in the North Coast of the Dominican Republic (where one day BeachCorps will be!)
#SpringBreak #AlternativeSpringBreak #SustainableDevelopment #VolunteerVacation #Voluntourism #AllInclusive #Excursion #SustainableTourism #TravelForGood #Impact
BeachCorps is a non-denominational company focused on effective volunteer vacations. We welcome people and causes of all faiths, or even no faith. However, we believe that Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) can be particularly effective partners, especially in a country like the Dominican Republic with such a large number of different and thriving faith traditions.
Let's look at the Pro's and Cons in general of FBOs. First the Pro's. Supporters of FBOs believe that they can amass resources unavailable to groups not based on faith. First, they are capable of drawing upon large groups of volunteers with similar beliefs and values who can be easier to direct and lead as a group. Historically, FBOs show less variation in donation levels and are comparatively resistant to large decreases in funds during economic downturns. Consistency is key in planning long-term development, as local communities lose faith in organizations that come and go based on fluctuating economies and donor whims.
But probably the biggest advantage that FBOs have is in connecting with local communities through faith. People who share similar faiths are better able to engage and trust each other. Such trust allows foreign development groups to more quickly devolve responsibility and decision-making to locals, a key plus in any sustainable development plan. FBOs are often thus better placed to develop grass-roots initiatives that truly reflect local communities and not the implanted views of foreign aid givers.
Now the Cons. The most obvious criticism of FBOs is that they sometimes mix proselytizing with their development work. This can be a problem, but BeachCorps will work to ensure this isn't a problem for any partners because BeachCorps will not partner with organizations who openly proselytize to our volunteers as opposed to just showing volunteers "the fruits of faith." Our partners will also be open in sharing their faith but only as part of the overall "Zen" of organizations. Another criticism is that FBOs can sometimes pursue ineffective policies based on faith. BeachCorps will work to ensure these aren't problems because our programs will be targeting a broad array of religious and nonreligious travelers and because we will not be entering into controversial areas like family planning.
Finally, a more serious problem is the "halo effect" where FBOs are just assumed to be doing God's work when in fact there may be serious problems. This can be a serious problem. However, the BeachCorps model will help reduce this potential error by stressing measuring success with independent, verified data. As BeachCorps programs expand, BeachCorps will ensure that partners will give us the data showing their success, and verify that data with independent analysis, as a condition of continuing to work together.
In many cases, BeachCorps will target assistance into easily verifiable areas like scholarships for underserved youth, which creates an easy and publicly viewable monitoring system because universities and schools receive the scholarship funding linked to specific students. Other costs will support projects that ensure that beneficiaries of BeachCorps donations also "pay it forward" by doing their own community development work. Like all nonprofit organizations, FBOs must avoid the "white savior" mentality program and programs that reinforce a culture of dependency and "Toxic Charity." In short, BeachCorps funds will go into projects that are more easily verifiable and which volunteers can rest assured wouldn't occur without their support, their little grain of sand.
So while BeachCorps will continue to work with FBOs and organizations not based on faith, we recognize that in general an organization that can draw on faith is likely to be stronger as a result. The Dominican Republic is a country where faith runs strong, so FBOs can connect effectively in a wide variety of ways. We hope one day to work with many different groups of different faiths, including the historic Jewish presence in the North Coast of the country.
Say a prayer for our Faith Based and Non-Faith Based work! --BBB
#faithbased #SpringBreak #AlternativeSpringBreak #SustainableDevelopment #VolunteerVacation #Voluntourism #AllInclusive #Excursion #SustainableTourism #TravelForGood #ToxicCharity
The BeachCorps Beach Bum!
The BeachCorps Beach Bum loves great vacations and great volunteer work!