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The adventure travel community is a generous bunch.
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of adventure travel companies build some sort of public service component or opportunity to give back to the communities within which they work. But giving begins at home, and these same companies often instill that commitment of public service within their own businesses, encouraging employees to donate time, effort, and money to organizations and initiatives within the communities they are based.
We’re excited to share just a few of the many homegrown initiatives in which Adventure Travel Trade Association (ATTA) members participate. For those companies in need of ideas for giving back to their local communities, consider this your inspirational guide!
- In June of this year, Turisme de Barcelona staff and others from local businesses working in the tourism sector picked up more than 120 kilograms of garbage along the coastline of Nova Icària Beach.
- ROW Adventures, which operates in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Washington, areas, holds an annual Raft for the Cure excursion, which raises $3,000-$5,000 a year for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. A similar initiative, Raft to Remember, raises awareness and money for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Icelandic Mountain Guides recently adopted a piece of land near Esja, a mountain in the Reykjavik area, where office staff planted 867 trees in May of this year. The company plans to place benches there as well.
- On two recent company-sponsored volunteer days (one in October 2016 and one in May 2017), Natural Habitat Adventures employees rolled up their sleeves and helped finish work for several thousand feet of a new recreational trail near the company’s headquarters in Boulder County, Colorado. The entire trail loop is scheduled to open for the community by the end of the summer.
- At Atali Ganga in India, staff at the resort help look after four local schools in the neighborhood by regularly assisting with infrastructure issues and providing clean water and laptops for the students.
- Staff and guides at AmeriCan Adventures, based in Santa Rosa, California, participate in a quarterly Santa Rosa Creek clean-up. In February 2017, they removed approximately 25 30-gallon garbage bags worth of waste. Additionally, AmeriCan Adventures has raised more than $40,000 and donated more than 50 volunteer hours for Bay Area Wilderness Training, which aims to create equitable access to outdoor experiences for youth of color and low-income youth.
- Each of the hotels in the explora portfolio has different community initiatives. For example, in Atacama, Chile, guides teach English in local schools, and on Easter Island, the hotel hosts learning experiences for local school children.
- In Fort Collins, Colorado, ExperiencePlus! Bicycle Tours staff hosts, and volunteers at, one of the 35 Bike To Work Day breakfast stations, which they’ve been doing for more than 10 years. The company also staffs a BikeMS rest stop for an annual 150-mile charity ride for multiple sclerosis.
- On any given day at Explore!, there are fun runs, sweepstakes competitions, and donation drives for a wide range of local charities and projects. Each month, an internal team chooses a local charity it wants to support and inspires the rest of the company to become involved by doing things such as donating toys or Easter eggs to local hospices, towels and sheets for animal shelters, and food for the homeless.
- In May, Mountain Travel Sobek staff went to Pinnacles National Park to weed out invasive plant species and collect wildflower seeds. Team members also assisted with a landscaping project in the gardens near Lake Merritt.
- In addition to being a generous fund-raising company, staff members at Seattle-based Alpine Ascents International have assisted with trail and route work in Rainier National Park, Mt. Baker National Park, and the North Cascades.
- Because Quixote Expeditions is one of the only tour operators with regular trips to Isla de los Estados in Argentina, the company organizes a trash clean up with staff and passengers in the Provincial Nature Reserve on every trip. Because of the wind and waves, there is always trash to pick up, but there is far less trash every time they make the trek to the south side of the island.
- Say Hueque has an internal philanthropic committee that oversees several projects in Buenos Aires, Argentina, every year, often in partnership with other local organizations. One project, for example, involved helping developing 41 community kitchens, help centers, and other safe and encouraging environments where children and teens can freely express themselves. The organization has also arranged city tours for orphaned children, put on plays and theater productions for kids, delivered hot soup to community members in need, and put in hours of labor to build houses for local families.
- Sydney-based World Nomads offers its employees an opportunity to have pre-taxed income taken out of their paychecks for charity, which is then matched by the company. Some of the organizations that receive the money are locally based, such as Save the Children, which hosted a youth block party where staff members volunteered. They’ve also volunteered their time to work in Save the Children charity shops.
- Staff at Wildland Adventures donates staff time and funds to purchase items to help furnish homes for refugee families that have recently arrived in the Seattle area. Working with World Relief Seattle, the staff breaks into teams to purchase household and personal items for incoming families, who often arrive at Sea-Tac Airport with few belongings, a difficult past, and high hopes for the future.
How do you give back? Share how your company contributes to your community in the comments below. The ATTA firmly believes we all inspire each other. You never know when your actions may spark innovative ways of doing good somewhere else in the world.