Life’s happiest moments generally have one factor in common: other people. Yes, there are many prayerful, introspective mountaintop moments, but for the true joy of living there’s nothing like enjoying a moment with others.
So probably the MOST important part of a volunteer vacation that is irreplaceable is people-to-people engagement. BeachCorps will always guarantee your volunteer project will include excellent people-to-people time. We will also guarantee that you will learn about the cause and why it’s worth supporting (wherever possible from the actual beneficiaries of the nonprofit cause, not just the nonprofit leaders). We will also guarantee you a fun, rewarding activity chosen by the cause that advances the cause, an activity that isn’t chosen to give a volunteer a false sense of having “made a difference.” But learning about the cause and having a fun activity can always occur outside of a volunteer project. It is the people-to-people engagement that really is the most rewarding and can only occur during the project.
We applauded the Carnival Cruise Fathom volunteer projects and were sad when they ended full-time operations on the Adonia cruise ship in June 2017. But Fathom continues today, having just finished an excellent series of cruises supporting Caribbean islands devastated by hurricane Maria, with new bookings coming on. And Fathom learned from their initial efforts that by far the most rewarding and memorable moments in their volunteer projects were not the working moments planting trees or crafting a ceramic water filter by hand. Rather, it was the real, honest-to-goodness people moments where Fathom volunteers got to see Dominicans in the places where they worked, ate, laughed, danced and lived. A beauty salon, a backyard meal of sancocho stew. Carnival received some of the highest customer satisfaction ratings from those projects focused on people-to-people engagement than any cruise excursion in the company’s history.
One of the top executives of one of our favorite nonprofit partners once told us “I’m getting tired of painting the same wall for the 10th time.” All of his volunteers had the false impression that the only way that they could contribute was by painting or digging or hammering something. If they didn’t do that, then it wasn’t “real.” We knew then that this nonprofit would love to work with BeachCorps.
Our BeachCorps volunteer projects may be service projects, with light work, or maybe the activity will be baseball. We’ll let the nonprofit cause decide what helps them best, and what helps is a variety of different activities. So we don't describe BeachCorps as "service travel" but "impact travel" because maybe you work, maybe you just play. What we will guarantee is that during your project, volunteers will learn about locals and locals will learn about volunteers. Too many volunteer vacations focus entirely on teaching the volunteers about the locals and their culture; BeachCorps recognizes that the cultural exchange has to be a two-way street to be respectful. Many volunteer projects supporting kids start with the kids performing some kind of native dance; that’s great, but why shouldn’t the volunteers perform something fun for the kids in return? Otherwise kids learn that they must "perform" to please rich foreigners. Hardly a way to change a culture of dependency.
It is from those two-way street, people-to-people connections that friendships and global citizens are born and truly great things can happen.
#Recycling #ToxicCharity #SustainableDevelopment #VolunteerVacation #DominicanRepublic #Sustainable #Voluntourism #Voluntourist #FaithBased #Nonprofit #SustainableTourism #SustainableTravel #Culture #Fathom #ImpactTravel #ServiceTravel #TravelDeep #LittleGrainofSand
The BeachCorps Beach Bum!
The BeachCorps Beach Bum loves great vacations and great volunteer work!