By Marie B. Fish
Retirement has given you a marvelous commodity—time. More time that you can spend with family and friends, time for your hobbies and fun activities, and more time to volunteer your services. Retirees do spend twice as many hours volunteering as those who still have regular jobs or careers. There’s a lot of satisfaction in this because you can choose to spend this time doing what gives you the greatest joy as opposed to working because you need the money.
There are many areas to select from; there are various areas where you can work with children, you can work in one of the thrift stores that help to fund various organizations. You can volunteer at the food bank or the senior center, animal rescue, Habitat for Humanity or your local church.
If you love to travel, Road Scholar (previously Elderhostel) has some very exciting service opportunities.
For instance, if you enjoy working with children, you can travel to Arizona to volunteer in Navajo Nation Schools. This would be your chance to not only visit the Reservation but to get to know the folks who live there. Teaching credentials are not a requirement.
Years ago, we toured Mesa Verde in Colorado. This has to be intriguing for history buffs, especially if you are interested in really ancient history. On this trip you can work with archeologists in classifying, cataloging and protecting these artifacts and, again, you have the opportunity to get acquainted with the locals.
If you are fascinated by really ancient history, they offer a service opportunity in the Black Hills of South Dakota. This is hands-on working with paleontologists to uncover and preserve the mammoths they have found there. Who knew? And while you’re there you can check out how far they have gotten with the carving of the Crazy Horse Monument, admire Mount Rushmore and check out other tourist attractions that have sprung up since your last visit.
If you love wildlife and are planning to travel to the East Coast, they offer work on the National Wildlife Refuge on Chincoteague Island off the coast of Virginia. This does sound like real work – repairing bridges and trails, cleaning up the beach but, hey, somebody has to do it and we tourists are a messy lot when we’re not thinking.
Hawaii is on every main lander tourist’s wish list. The service you can provide here is in helping to maintain the USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor. They will actually invite you to spend a night on board the Mighty Mo!
Have I piqued your interest? You can go online at www.roadscholar.org to find out the details on what is available. You might find exactly what you are looking for, even though you might not have realized that you were looking for it.
Travelers that I know and love certainly enjoy the scenery and the history. We truly relish the food specialties but, most of all, we want to get off the beaten track and get to know the locals as well as our fellow travelers. These trips really have it all. ISI