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VT Cast #25: Family Travel & VolunTourism

Synopsis

How are families connecting to VolunTourism? What are they seeking through these experiences? How are Volun-Tourism operators desinging products and services to meet their needs? These questions and more are addressed during this episode of The VolunTourist.

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Past Webcast - February 19, 2008
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Guests

Kimberly Haley Coleman, Founder of Globe Aware [Bio]; Kyle McCarthy, Founder of Family Travel Forum [Bio].

Quotables

[What about sustainability when it comes to Family VolunTourism?]

"And I think it's important to point out too, that, I mean, the way we look at it, you certainly - - a Peace Corps experience is a deeper experience and you get to do and experience more - - and I don't think anyone would say that going short-term is the same as going and living abroad for two and a half years; we think of this more as like lighting a lamp. If a child has an experience of helping someone side-by-side early on and you've lit that lamp of wanting to give back and wanting to volunteer and serving and knowing that joy early.

It's not about what is the most impact you can do, because really if all of us wanted to make the most impact perhaps we would just sell everything move, volunteer, and work in those countries for the rest of our lives. So it's not about what is the longest commitment or the biggest project, it's about how, in our experience what we're trying to do is light that lamp. Get the kids, families, everyone, excited about volunteering side-by-side as equals internationally, because the American experience, most Americans have only ten-days' vacation and out of the developed world we are second only to Japan in terms of the least amount of free time that we have. So in Europe, by having six weeks, they're much more likely to be able to go and live and experience and volunteer for longer periods of time. So we either have to drop out of our normal lives in order to do that, or find a shorter experience. And in many cases we find people who experience a shorter volunteer program and are so in love with it that they do decide to change their lives and alter it and go into a longer term volunteering type of opportunity.

So it's not about measuring what is the biggest contribution, it's how many people can experience what it's like to give back in this way - to live like a local and to work with them." Kimberly Haley Coleman

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[If you were putting one of these trips together, what would work better for your family - an experience with other families or one with a mixed group - adults, students, and families? Hopefully you understand the question.]

"Yeah, I do. I think it's a very good point. Where we see a lot of the organized tourism programs for families going, David, is that they often come from very long, established tour operators who are used to catering to, example, to adult groups or alumni groups from universities, and what most of these organizations have done is earmark a couple of departures each year, typically over the March/April Spring Break and the Summer months as family departures.

And I think what we've all seen through experience is that when families travel they tend to enjoy being with other families. Not only for the adults, often these are single parents, perhaps parents in a divorce relationship, so it's great for these families - for adults to get together where they have a lot of like-minded interests and for the kids to get into a situation where they are likely to have a peer and make a friend. I think that that's a very, very important aspect of participating in a group travel experience. I think it's a great point." Kyle McCarthy

[Listen To This Quote]

Guest Bios

Kimberly Haley Coleman, Founder of Globe Aware

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Tuesdays 10am ET/7am PT

Since 1990 Ms. Haley-Coleman has been establishing long-term strategic partnerships and projects in the non-profit and for-profit international arenas. Prior to founding Globe Aware, she was Vice President of Business Development for an aerospace company in Houston called Team Encounter/Celestis. Previously she spent several years heading up Business Development for a Canadian company, Infotriever, which facilitated global contacts and com-munication. As the Director of International Business Development at Telescan (now InvestTools) , she created strategic international relationships and developed a globalization strategy plan throughout 20 countries to put financial education tools into the hands of millions at no cost to the end user. During the launch of CNBC.com, she spent several months serving as interim Product Manager, where she managed and supervised all product development efforts and trained the entire on-air staff. In her off-time, she co-developed Dcipher, patent-pending, an online artificial intelligence engine which creates free, real-time analysis of stocks and portfolios to help those who cannot afford or understand how to pick investments for their future financial stability.  

Earlier in her career, Ms. Haley-Coleman worked at FCA Inc where she developed international joint ventures for small to medium sized companies to help develop the self-sustainability of West African markets. Certified with her Series 7, 65, and 63 licenses, she also spent two years as Ass ociate Portfolio Manager of the Capstone Japan Fund, where she researched international stocks, made investment decisions, and placed trades. Her background also includes several years at Documentary Arts, Inc, a nonprofit where, as Associate Director of Programs, she was responsible for organizing programs, writing and securing grant funding, and several volunteer intern positions at the Dallas Museum of Art and the High Museum of Art.  Throughout her career, Haley-Coleman would squeeze in volunteering while traveling internationally on business, and consulted with various international NGOs on how to achieve their goals. She was struck by the difficulty of trying to give time effectively in needy communities within the confines of the typically rushed American lifestyle. Over the years, together with a group of like-minded individuals with backgrounds in medicine, construction, sustainability and communications, she helped to co-found Globe Aware. The objective was to allow busy Westerners a forum for giving their time in an organized fashion in a way that was significantly meaningful and fun for the recipient communities and for the volunteer.

Haley-Coleman  holds an MBA in International Business from the University of Dallas,  where she graduated with Highest Honors, she is a recipient of the Texas Business Hall of Fame Scholarship Award, has an M.A. from Southern Methodist University and a B.A. from Emory University.  She currently serves on the Boards of a number of organizations, including the Executive Committee for IVPA (International Volunteer Porgram Association), an alliance of nonprofit, non-governmental organizations based in the Americas, that are involved in international volunteer and internship exchanges. IVPA encourages excellence and responsibility in the field of international volunteerism and promotes public awareness of and greater access to international volunteer programs. Haley-Coleman also serves on the Board of Groundwork Dallas, a grassroots effort to sponsor and coordinate community based environmental improvement projects in economically challenged areas, and is President of Dallas' Shore Acres Beautification Club. Globe Aware has been featured in the likes of Time Magazine, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, ABC World News Tonight, CNN, New York Times, several documentaries such as the ten-part, high definition series called Vacations from the Heart on the Equator channel, etc.

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Kyle McCarthy, Founder of Family Travel Forum

Kyle McCarthy is the co-founder and editor of the independent media company, Family Travel Forum Inc., founded in 1996 to serve the needs of members who "Have Kids, Still Travel."

In addition to its forum for seasoned travel professionals and expert contributors, Family Travel Forum’s global online network provides a venue for members to share personalized accounts of family vacations. The company’s family of award-winning websites contains vast libraries of destination research, including first-hand reviews of tropical and ski resorts, reunion destinations, attractions, multi-generational travel, holiday weekends, family festivals, cruises and volunteer opportunities. Family Travel Forum offers trip-planning consultation and discounts from preferred vendors to individual families, licenses content to Disney's Family.com and other major brands, and recently published its first guidebook with co-author Laura Sutherland, "Amazing Places to Take Your Kids in North America." In conjunction with its consulting division, FTF has also worked with Fairmont Hotels, Chrysler and Forbes, among others, to develop strategic marketing campaigns aimed at the frequent family traveler.

With Ms. McCarthy at the helm, FTF publications have been recognized with three National Parenting Seals of Approval and 'Best of the Web' awards from Forbes, Condé Nast Traveler and Yahoo! Internet Life magazines, among others.

As a family travel specialist, Ms. McCarthy makes frequent radio, TV and trade show appearances, consults with travel industry clients, and has served as a Family Travel Expert for Discovery Channel Online and Netscape’s Open Directory Project. She volunteers as a media participant in the U.N. World Tourism Organization's Tourcom Committee, National Geographic Traveler's Parks Survey Team, and at her son’s highschool.

Additionally, she has authored a dozen guidebooks for the “Frommer’s” series and contributed to several publications on Europe and Asia destinations. In 2004, her writing was honored with “1st Prize: Best Travel Article Written for Internet” by the North American Travel Journalists Association. Ms. McCarthy is based in New York City and enjoys any opportunity to travel with her husband, Ron, and teenage son.

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