Every year, EnviroKidz hosts an EnviroTrip that connects families to animals and the environment and puts them to work by helping to save endangered species. This year, the EnviroTrip contest winners are headed to Belize to help save sea turtles. Talk about a fun and educational trip!
Do you have a family full of animal lovers? How about adventurous and caring kids? We thought so.
Traveling and volunteering as a family has many benefits - bonding over a good cause and memories to last a lifetime are chief among them. Whether or not your family wins the EnviroKidz trip (although there's still time to apply!), you can still create an EnviroTrip vacation of your own. Read on to find out why an environmentally-minded vacation is the best type of trip for your family and HOW to design one yourself!
The benefits of family EnviroTrips:
1. Bond and Connect
Not sure what ecotourism is? In a nutshell, it centers on learning about the environment, supporting threatened environments and often engaging in conservation efforts. Everyone in your family pulls together to learn about a worthy cause and how to support it. For example, on the trip to Belize families will bond while helping researchers with sea turtle, manatee and dolphin surveys. There is a sense of shared purpose on EnviroTrips that deepens family connections.
2. Pass Your Values onto Your Children
Each person can make small actions that contribute to big change. You can express this theme in many ways. For example, by taking an EnviroTrip, you connect your children to the world, and they'll talk about the experience with their friends, who then talk to their families and other friends. It is a ripple effect that helps the environment little by little. No matter what your values are, these "small actions" show that you practice what you preach, and the lessons sink in much more deeply by "doing."
3. Help Increase a Child's Self-Esteem
Many children (and let's admit it, many adults) struggle with self-esteem issues, and one of the best ways to boost self-esteem is to help others. You take pride in your work and gain a sense of accomplishment. Helping animals and other people creates a natural, feel-good buzz, and you work with a group toward a common goal. You belong, and you stay physically active, which enhances self-esteem.
How to Create Your Own EnviroTrip
The EnviroKidz blog teems with great ideas to help you create an EnviroTrip. You need not start huge; for example, bird watching could be a mini trip. You can certainly go huge, however, and read this blog post about saving sea turtles. There are plenty of other great places to turn to for ideas.
- ME to WE can help you travel to such destinations as Kenya and Ecuador. Cornerstones of each trip include cultural immersion, building a legacy and fostering connections.
- Global Vision International provides a wide range of opportunities such as helping children. You can also help creatures such as elephants in Thailand and turtles in Greece.
- Global Volunteers has a focus toward sustainable development and change. It works to give underserved children around the world essential services. As with many trips, you have the opportunity for free time.
- The Nature Corps has trips such as a Yosemite volunteer weekend and a Hawaii volunteer vacation. Much of its focus is on preserving natural environments, but you'll be able to hike, picnic and enjoy other family adventures typical for a "traditional" vacation.
One great idea as you design a family EnviroTrip is to build it around an interest of the kids. Many kids are totally in love with a particular kind of animal, say, a turtle, monkey or parrot. There's a lot you can do to engage your children from such seemingly humble beginnings.
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