By Sierra Club

Reviewed for Fourth Grade, 2008

A Volunteer Vacation

Education is about more than teaching your kid fractions or grammar, it's about teaching her about the world at large and how she fits into it. This year, along with all the wrapped gifts you slip under the tree, consider gifting your child an experience that will shape the person she becomes. The Sierra Club is no fly-by-night vacation outfit-- they've been offering outings since 1901. Amongst their 300 or so trips are more than a dozen vacations created just for families, that present a chance to teach kids about environmental protection, ecology, and history in a fun, playful environment. The club's volunteer vacations particularly stand out. From a forest restoration project in the Sierra National Forest, to a week partnering with the National Park Service in Bryce Canyon, from clearing hiking trails after the winter snowfall near Aspen to helping with a real live archeology dig in Utah's Dixie National Forest, these are amazing adventures with knowledgeable guides. The trips plop kids down in some of the most beautiful terrain in America, and they're a steal price-wise, starting at just $300 for kids and $400 for adults for an entire week's journey, including all food, fees, staffing, equipment, and camping or lodging. Most volunteer vacations happen in the summer, and the final list won't be released until mid-December 2008. But certain trips, like those mentioned above, are annual traditions. Keep your eyes peeled for final dates and details, but announce the journey now. The planning's half the fun!