Feb 28th, 2012 | By | Category: Senior Travel

Seniors Volunteer While on Vacation

On your next trip, seniors consider this: Volunteering on Vacation . An organization that makes it easy for seniors to plug into fun and memorable volunteer efforts on behalf of Maui’s fragile natural environment. It’s part of a growing worldwide travel trend! Most projects are three to four hours. Choose from individual activities (done at your convenience), or pre-arranged group activities led by a local expert or naturalist. Some multi-day projects are available at Haleakala National Park.  And some projects provide free transportation from central meeting areas.

No special skills are needed. Physical exertion ranges from easy to moderate. Tools and training are provided.  Now entering its fourth year, Volunteering on Vacation is Maui’s own unique approach to voluntourism. Through Volunteering on Vacation senior visitors are matched with volunteer projects that allow them to spend a few hours off the beaten path, to visit remote areas that are often not visited by tourists, to learn about Hawaiian culture and wildlife — and to make a difference on behalf of the environment.

On Maui in particular,the Pacific Whale Foundation ( has a volunteers-on-vacation program, and Hawaiian Islands Trust offers free hikes. In general research the history of the community by reading old newspapers and talking to elders (or kupuna). It can transform the way you see the land by learning how others related to it before you. Interested?  Contact these good folks and they can put you in contact with the proper authorities.  This sounds like fun…and it’s in Hawaii folks. If this opportunity does not “ring a bell” with you, try one of these other projects.

Some links to check out in Hawaii
Malama Honokowai •
Hoaloha ‘Aina •
Haleakala National Park •
Ho’okipa Restoration Project •
Maui Coastal Land Trust •
O’o Farm •

Seniors Give to the World

Volunteer Vacations notes that for some, working on vacation is far more rewarding than sitting on a beach sipping daiquiris. Not the kind of work that comes from your laptop, but the kind that comes from your heart — a volunteer vacation. The American Hiking Society invites seniors to “GET OUT. GIVE BACK.” Rewards are great when senior travelers aid in relief.

This year, your volunteer vacation could be teaching basic math to students in a rural African community struggling to modernize. Next year, you could volunteer abroad to help research scientists save endangered sea turtles from extinction.  Imagine taking care of babies in one of Mother Teresa’s clinics in India. On another continent, you could teach English to children in Costa Rica, where there is little or no access to schools. Some volunteers may choose to work on sea turtle conservation in Ecuador or be interested in learning the basics of dolphin society in New Zealand.

Global Volunteers invites seniors to “Leave Your Mark on the World.” So consider leaving your mark on the world by volunteering while you vacation.  It can be done. jeb

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