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.
Wisdom & Insight
How Do I Get Started With VolunTourism?
VolunTourism must be reaching a new audience because the question of "How Do I Get Started?" is fast becoming a popular topic in my inbox.
When I was a younger fellow, I spent my afternoons mentoring youth in a community occupied by the two well-known gang fanctions of the West Coast - the Crips and the Bloods. Although I was not always able to render one-on-one aid to the kids, we definitely had moments and periods when this occurred. The connection was empowering for both me and the kids. The exchanges were genuine; the learning, on all levels, was palpable.
To me, there is no better way to learn, to more clearly understand and ultimately grasp a concept, than to spend time with someone, or some group, who knows. This model of learning has existed throughout history and has been implemented by artisans in their relations with apprentices, by gurus in their relations with disciples, and by masters in their relations with students.
You may think that you learn better by reading, researching, or going to classes, but nothing, absolutely nothing, compares to firsthand experience.
Therefore, I suggest that you connect with someone who knows because they have done, and/or are doing.
Use "The VolunTourist" as a resource to connect with VolunTourism Operators and Suppliers. Participate in a VolunTourism experience offered by one of these entities and begin to draw your own conclusions...
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What did I like about the experience?
What element was the most challenging for me?
How did the operator select this particular in-market contact for identifying voluntary service projects? Etc.
Continue to ply your host with these questions - AFTER the experience, of course!
This exercise will give you something from which to begin structuring your own VolunTourism operations framework. Or, for a relatively small investment, you may able to honestly say to yourself that this path is NOT for me.
Gratned, each VolunTourism operator will have a unique spin on the experiences they offer, but you will be able to garner enough ideas from the experience to initiate your own concepts and implementation strategies. Plus, you will be operating in your destination whith its specific community and residential issues and needs to be addressed. Likewise you will differentiate your own operations based upon the nature of the tourism products that pertain to that destination and those that you select to incorporate in your VolunTourism products and services.
But you want to invest your time, effort, and money wisely.
I suggest that you conduct your due diligence via research, phone calls, and discovering what you can through the web and other publications. Find a VolunTourism operator that, if at all possible, most closely resembles the style of tourism and voluntary service that most resonates with you personally. Contact this operator, let them know the nature of your visit, ask them initial questions so that they can highlight these areas of interest for you, and book your trip!
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