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Five places you can volunteer during (an extended) Thanksgiving

By peter | Permalink | No Comments | October 10th, 2007 | Trackback

The stores may still be stocked for Halloween, but now is the time to start planning that Thanksgiving volunteer trip. You still have time to book most of these trips for the long holiday weekend, but not much.

5 places you can volunteer during (an extended) Thanksgiving

1. Pennsylvania

Make up for some of those Thanksgiving Turkeys that have graced your table over the years with a trip to help the raptors of Pennsylvania. For about what you might spend on cranberry sauce, stuffing and a plane ticket, you can spend four days hiking, camping and volunteering with the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Service. You’ll help with anything from construction to office work and watch 30,000 of these birds of prey fly by over four days. Hikes to higher elevations often bring them right to eye level where you can watch them catch thermals and soar even higher. A trip in the Fall during migration season will bring never to be forgotten thrills.

2. Texas

Fossilized reefs may not have quite the same appeal as Mom’s cooking, but Fall is the time for repair to the trail system in the Guadeloupe National Park and the group needs every pair of hands it can muster. Flash flooding and rain washed out a large portion of the trail system last year and the coral mountains of West Texas don’t rebuild themselves.
Changing foliage, ancient fossils, and walks through lush forested mountains surrounded by desert should entice a fair number of volunteers and fun-loving fossil enthusiasts into the mountains with picks and shovels.

3. Vietnam

You’ll have to get a few extra days off for the one-month minimum trip to teach in Vietnam, but the rewards will be worth the vacation time. The Global Volunteer Network accepts native English speakers in the Fall to teach at Vietnam’s Duy Tan University, a private non-profit in Danaang. Depending on your grammar and language skills, volunteers can teach classes for English language majors, in which students work to refine their writing, pronunciation and literary skills, or teach basic communication to non-English language majors. The program is limited to those 65 years and younger and volunteers must have a college degree and business visa.

4. Jamaica

It may be hard to remember that you’re volunteering when the plane lands in Jamaica and the crystalline waters and white sand beaches start beckoning. A Jamaica volunteer vacation with Globe Aware provides the opportunity to work with the Rock Springs community to develop sustainable agriculture and clean up sink holes, fix trails, clean caves, and generally improve the community.

You’ll bear the full brunt of Jamaican hospitality staying with a local family, but no one has ever been the worse for staying in Jamaica and eating traditional Jamaican food. Be prepared to dive in to the culture on this trip.

5. Thailand

Let all this time you’re spending on the computer pay off for the Thai people with a volunteer trip to Thailand. Multiple opportunities to give back to this heavily toured country exist, among them teaching computer skills and translating for Buddhist monks.

December is the earliest start date for this trip, but the ample opportunities to learn Thai cooking and the myriad reasons you’ll be thankful you went to Thailand makes this trip count as a Thanksgiving volunteer opportunity.

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