Designing Charity Vacations for Children

You may remember that our March 2011 CTAC eNewsletter featured an article entitled, "Teach Your Children Well... Mentoring Means Modeling."  The article included five suggestions for how to raise charitable children and Number 4 is reprinted here:

Take Them With You on Visits to Charities

"You may be surprised just how much children learn from being with you during your visits to charities.  Being exposed to the work can open a child's mind to a variety of ideas and conversations and give children experiences to think about for weeks to come.  In time, they will want to go on their own, and they will know what to look for and ask about."


In this article, we want to look more closely at how to design a charity vacation for children.  The main purpose of the visit is for children to experience the charitable program or project and to learn how it meets the needs of the people it serves. 

Children should be encouraged to become actively involved during the visit, not necessarily by engaging in the work at the charity, but by actively listening, observing and asking questions of program participants and staff.  Helping children to become actively involved during the visit requires that parents set clear goals about what is to be learned and how this knowledge may impact the child's life. 

What is just as important as setting goals and creating experiences for children?  Setting aside the time to allow children to unpack and process their experiences.  What the child does after he or she comes home determines whether the goal was met and what the lasting value of the educational experience was. 

Farsighted parents may schedule a specific time several months after the charity visit, to creatively remember the experience and any life lessons that were learned.  This reinforces the learning experience and encourages the child to build upon the insights that were gained.

Travel Tips for Taking Children on Charity Vacations

  • Clearly communicate the goals you wish to achieve from the charity visit.  These goals should be developed jointly between parents and children to foster a sense of ownership over the learning experience.
  • If the charity visit involves significant travel, involve children in the planning process.  Use maps, books and the Internet to find out about the places to be visited.  Gather as much information from the charity and the charitable project beforehand. 
  • Talk with the charity's representatives.  Tell them about the purpose of your project visit and goal expectations.  Be sure the charity understands that you are designing the visit to help your child understand their world and how they can impact that world for the better.

By: Dan Rice, Co-founder of CTAC

Back to the September 2011 eNewsletter