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The VolunTourist™ is a premium Newsletter for the Travel Trade. For those interested in discovering what is happening in the world of VolunTourism™ and seeking emerging practices, general information, and case studies, this is your Source.

Volume 9 Issue 4 Highlights

Kathry & Mike Pisco


David Clemmons, Publisher/Editor of The VolunTourist, responds to some of your questions and emails.

Volume 9, Issue 3 Reader Comments & Other Mail

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Dear Scott,

Thank you for your email.

The information we have included on VolunTourism.org has tended to focus on organizations which offer voluntourism experiences over a more extended period of time. However, we have spoken about organizations which do offere support for individuals interested in traveling to a destination and taking out a few hours to engage in service activity. Some cities have been exploring this more and more over the last several years - Philadelphia, PA, is a good example. Denver, CO, is another city which has explored this as well.

One Brick is an organization in the U.S. which has developed a reputation of supporting short-term engagement for visitors. The Hands On Network also has affiliates throughout the U.S. which you could certainly consider when traveling to a given destination. The United Way has also been looking at these options, and VolunteerMatch has begun to explore this as well. Finally, I would suggest that you reach out to destination marketing organizations (DMOs) which are generally part of chambers of commerce in smaller cities and are usually referred to as convention & visitors bureaus (CVBs) in larger destinations. You will find that some CVBs will have a link on their websites referring to voluntary service activities in which visitors can engage. New Orleans is a good example of this.

Good luck in your endeavors and let us know if there is more we can do to assist you.

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Go Erin Go


Dear Daniel,

Thank you for your email and it is great to receive your question!

The tourism industry in the United States has primarily been supporting a program called Tourism Cares - an opportunity for tourism professionals to support volunteering projects that help to improve or preserve existing tourism infrastructures - cultural, historic, what have you.

I am not aware of another program similar to this outside of the United States.

I do know that there are some longer-term volunteer placements through voluntary service organizations that do focus on sustainable tourism inititiatives - VSA out of New Zealand is an example, but there are many others. However, these are long-term commitments, generally a year in length.

I am guessing that you are seeking shorter-term projects that you could select over the course of a week or multi-week travel experience. Currently, I do not know of such programs existing. Nonetheless, I will make an effort to contact some people in the voluntourism community and see what we might discover in terms of potential placements for interested tourism industry professionals.

Thank you, again, for your query.

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straight line

Dear Joe,

Thank you very much for your email. I really appreciate you taking the time and effort to reach out to us.

Specific programs for military veterans do exist. However, they are generally not aimed at what we would call "voluntourism" - a real blend of voluntary service and travel. Team Rubicon is a great example of a program that is tailored to U.S. Military veterans. I highly recommend connecting with them. They do not require fees from you to participate. They simply aim to put your skills into the context of a service deployment to an area that has suffered from disaster - sending a team to the Philippines, recently, in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan.

If you want to get your hands dirty, get out into Nature, and not run up a large bill, I do recommend the American Hiking Society, Wilderness Volunteers, and the Sierra Club, as options. You may also want to check in with some of the Veterans' Hospitals in the U.S., particularly those who are receiving veterans with spinal cord and other combat-related injuries. Many times these veterans can benefit more from you simply being present in their space, conversing with them, sharing your own experiences, and being able to relate to them on the same level.

I wish you great success in discovering a place to let your service shine - money or no money - and to appreciate the wonders of a given destination.

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The Beauty of Jamaica

My name is Amira, i'm a research and teaching assistant at HEC Geneva. My PhD is about Volontourism  and at the moment i'm in Nepal as a volunteer in an orphanage. 
I trying to collect testimonies to make the Orphanage known (nothing to do with my thesis, personal commitement)

I'm wrinting to ask you if it's possible to share testimonies on your weekly newsletter/ website, volunteers are also trying to write articles about their experience here in Nepal.

I will be very gratifull if you can help me. Please have a look on my 2 first testimonies :

Testimony 1

Testimony 2

Thank you in advance

Best Regards

Thank you for your email, Amira, and for your interest in sharing the testimonials.

We do not tend to share specific information about programs on our website. We do have the quarterly issues of The VolunTourist Newsletter, in which we are able to share letters like yours with other readers. And, I am certainly happy to share this letter with our readers.

What I really would like to touch on, as it pertains to you personally, is that as a researcher it appears you have grown fond of the institution with which you have become connected. This is not unusual. Look at the work of Stephen Wearing, for example, and his connection with Youth Challenge International. Or Anne Zahra and her work in the Maori communities of New Zealand or in the Philippines with RAD.

Researchers have been, and continue to play, a fairly significant role in the develpment of voluntary service programs across the globe. They become enamored with a particular group and work toward supporting a given organization, much as you are doing here. I think it would be fascinating to look at the researchers who have conducted volunteer tourism research and find out to what extent the relationships they formed through their research have carried forward over time. Do, therefore, let us know how you are doing, when you publish your research, and any next steps you plan with the organization - whatever those may be.

Continued success with your efforts.

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