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The Rise Of Athletic Voluntourism: Get Active For Charity!
Recent articles noted upcoming travel trends for 2012—among them being the rise of athletic voluntourism. This, to me, is an incredibly interesting type of travel, and one that I’d actually love to do sometime this year.
So What Is Athletic Voluntourism?
You know those run/walks you can participate in for a cause? They were a staple of my high school community service career—seemingly every month I participated in a walk for HIV/AIDS research, or a run for breast cancer awareness. I loved it; not only did it get my friends and family involved in a great initiative, but it also promoted good health and provided a fantastic way for us to get out of the classroom, or out of the house, and do something different and worthwhile.
Athletic voluntourism is kind of like that, but with a catch: you’ll travel to a new location, whether it’s in your country or abroad, to participate in an athletic event to raise awareness of and funding for a particular charity or nonprofit.
If charity runs aren’t quite your thing, you can also take part in a cycling race, a swim, a tournament, or really any other athletic feat to get people excited about your cause of choice.
Where Can We Go?
Everywhere! Here are a few ideas to get you started:
The New York City Marathon
You’re almost definitely familiar with this one—when you’re accepted to run with a participating charity, you’re guaranteed entry to the 2012 New York City Marathon. Team for Kids, the NYRR Champion’s Circle, and Fred’s Team – Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center all are participating Gold Charities this year, with Silver, Bronze, and Community Charities to be announced this spring.
World Bicycle Relief
World Bicycle Relief’s mission is to provide “access to independence and livelihood through The Power of Bicycles” within underserved communities. To accomplish this, they work with manufacturers to improve bicycle design; enhance distribution by local suppliers; partner with NGOs, CBOs, and governments to further the cause; train local mechanics to repair and maintain bicycles; and by tracking progress and impact of their undertakings.
You can help World Bicycle Relief by fundraising for their projects—for example, Africa Rides 2012 invites you to build your own bike, then ride for nine days across rural Zambia alongside local healthcare workers, entrepreneurs, and students.
You also can design your own fundraising project, like Adam and Christy Coppola, who are spending one year riding across all 50 U.S. states to raise awareness and funds for World Bicycle Relief.
Learn more and get involved here!
Kilimanjaro Charity Climb
Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is absolutely on my bucket list—and I’m starting to think it might be a good trip to take this year! At 5,896m, it’s the tallest mountain in Africa, yet is accessible by climbers with little to no prior experience. Treks generally take up to one week, and travelers should have a physical checkup before embarking.
Read more about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro for charity here!
So, what are you waiting for?