Volunteering on vacation can build rich memories and relationships within a small community. It’s a wonderful way to give back while escaping from your regular day-to-day. That said, a volunteer vacation requires careful planning—it is not something to do whimsically. You need to determine where you want to travel, who you want to help and for how long.
On short vacations, your aid is best invested in staffed organizations and charities. The reason: short-term volunteering is disruptive if given an important role. The resources put into training you are never fully returned. This is why positions that shadow permanent members are most efficient.
Similarly, long-term volunteer vacations vary in cost and commitment, so they’re best organized through larger entities. Such groups will help you plan and prepare for your adventure and ensure nothing goes wrong.
Types of Volunteer Activities That You Can Join
Picking a volunteer activity that matches your expertise benefits everyone. Not only will you thrive, but the organization needn’t train or oversee you as much. In some cases, you might even provide useful insights that improve existing processes. With that in mind, explore volunteer opportunities in the following categories.
- Community Services: Activities like coaching; counselling; cleaning and repairing; raising funds and planning events.
- Wildlife and Environmental Conservation: Activities like rehabilitating animals; assimilating and nurturing rescued animals; working on organic farms; cleaning up natural disasters and planting trees.
Of course, the activities above only scratch the surface. There are also programs with special prerequisites (i.e. administering inoculations at a local flu clinic). If interested in such positions, the best place to inquire is through your workplace.
Where to Find Volunteer Opportunities in Canada
A quick Google search will yield countless results of Canadian organizations and charities looking for help. Some of these listings might include:
- Local clubs;
- Arts and cultural event coordinators;
- Sporting leagues;
- Political campaigns.
You’re best to look through the municipality to find relevant volunteer positions. However, if you do not care where you visit, you can seek spots through national organizations like Habitat for Humanity, Canadian Red Cross, WWF-Canada and Parks Canada and go where you are needed most.