Friday, November 19, 2010
Family volunteering abroad tips
Families who take vacations together are added meaning to their holidays by adding volunteering to the vacation. The family volunteering abroad could be made up of children, teens, young adults and grandparents. Family volunteer abroad work includes: construction projects, orphanage programs, conservation projects and mentorship programs. The advantages of family volunteering overseas are great rewarding experience; forming the children’s’ world view; empower the kids to see they can change the world; expands the children’s insight; gives families time to bond; and exciting travel opportunities. Volunteers who want to go abroad with their families should look for organizations that can accommodate everyone’s needs and wants. Family volunteers should look into the following when planning their volunteer abroad trip:
If the volunteer family has young children between the ages of 6 to 14 years extra precautions should be taken. Before leaving home, the parents should explain to the children what they are going to do abroad and inform them of safety precautions. With older kids, they should inform their parents where they are going and what time they are coming back. As parents, they should: get bright colored clothes for their kids for them to be noticeable in a crowd; stitch the names of the children on the inside of the clothes; keep a recent photo of the kids; one parent should always keep an eye on the kids while the other parent is doing something else; know what to do in case of an emergency; and keep medicines and other harmful objects away from kids.
Attitude is like expectations, explain to the children what they are going to do and what to expect. The volunteer parents should not give the kids false expectations and hopes; they should be honest with their kids. Also parents should find ways to change the attitude of their children. When the parent sees the child is developing a negative attitude they should try and improve it as quickly as possible. When the child gets a negative attitude, it will affect everyone else’s mood and make the work twice as hard. The parents should find way to make the volunteer work more engaging or stop working when they see the child has become too uncomfortable. During long flights parents should buy extra toys that would distract their kids. If there is something that is stressing the parents they should find ways of hiding their frustration from the kids. One way to change the children’s attitude is by engaging them in the planning process making them feel more important in the vacation.
The volunteer family should choose a volunteer program that suits the needs of ever member of the family. There are various programs available to choose from for example: conservation, orphanage, mentorship programs, sports, building and construction and agricultural programs. Depending on the age and desires of the family members they should choose programs that will work for everyone. For example grandparents may enjoy orphanage work more to sports activities, while the children could prefer the opposite. The family members’ capabilities should be put into consideration when choosing a program. Take note that overly physical jobs will be hard for the younger and older family members. Parents should involve their children when picking volunteer work in which everyone can enjoy them. Another option will be to different family members involved in different programs but in the same location.
Lastly, when planning for family volunteering abroad the volunteers should look into where they are going to stay. The options available to volunteers are hostels, hotels, dorms, homestay and couch surfing. The different accommodations are suitable for different type of travelers. Younger children will require more private accommodation while older kids would be better placed in less private accommodation like hostels. When volunteering as a family the accommodation options are homestays, hotels and hostels. If the volunteers have very young kids they should pick a place which has few potential hazards. When the parents arrive at the hotel or hostel, they should try to make the place child proof. They should teach the kids of emergency procedures just in case something happens and the children should be supervised throughout the stay.