Summertime – warm sunshine, barbecues, and vacation. Typically, you might spend your vacation lying on a beach or by a pool, sipping a cool drink, or reading a book. But what if you gave some of that time back and poured yourself into your community?
Summer is the perfect season to either begin volunteering or to try a new area of volunteer work. The weather is suitable to being outside, and volunteering can be a wonderful, constructive activity for you and your family. There is no better time to teach your kids the importance of being a giving neighbor than when they are home from school for the summer break as it will give them time to try a range of activities and help decide what problems they are passionate in solving.
Consider trying some of these volunteer ideas this summer.
1) National Parks
Do you love being outside? Maybe hiking and the great outdoors are your idea of a perfect summer. Consider contacting your local national park to see how you can get involved in programs or services they offer. The National Park Service is always looking for new people to become part of their Volunteers-In-Parks, or VIP, program. Activities you can expect to work on while being a VIP includes answering visitors’ questions at information desks, leading guided nature walks, maintaining trails, or even designing and managing park websites.
2) Animal Shelters and Zoos
Most kids love playing with pets and visiting animals at the zoo, so maybe volunteering with animals is a good activity for your and kids to do together this summer. Start by finding your local animal shelter or contacting your local zoo or aquarium to inquire about volunteer opportunities. At an animal shelter, volunteers are asked to help in all steps of the adoption process, from paperwork preparation to bathing the animals to acting as a treatment assistant. At a zoo or aquarium, opportunities may come in the form of animal care, conservation education, conservation research, and visitor services. These groups are always looking for fellow animal lovers to assist in the upkeep and preservation of the organizations.
3) Kids Athletics
Baseball was your favorite game as a kid. Or maybe playing soccer was the thing you looked forward to most about summer vacation. Consider sharing your skills with a kid’s team over the next few months. This is a chance to get active, encourage kids to get moving, and to become a mentor to the next generation in your very own community. Find your local YMCA and offer to coach a sports league ranging anywhere from basketball to tee-ball.
Now that temperatures are rising and the sun is shining, go out and do something that will make both your neighbor and yourself smile.
What is your favorite volunteer activity?