"Do Good" Tween Travel
Source: Tween Parent Staff
Extending beyond their immediate environments, our tweens have most likely been exposed to countless, ever-present images and news reporting of recent natural and man-made disasters (i.e., Middle East War, Asian Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina, Haitian Earthquake, etc.). In the past, coverage was mostly limited to print, radio and television to report on disasters. Today, with the vast abundance of new media (cable, high-speed computers, smart phones, even taxi screens and giant billboard screens) and the ever-increasing competition for audience share, there's no escaping it. And, it's a 24/7 phenomenon. In fact, there's a new appropriately coined term referring to the non-stop and escalating details reported about grim realities - "disaster porn."
While there's no denying that empathy and being thankful for personal safety are important aspects of understanding what's going in the world, being exposed to the ongoing media coverage can leave even physically unaffected children with concern and anxiety for their own safety.
Perhaps a silver lining of the awareness associated with natural disasters is the opportunity to instill a value of helping others in need. There are certainly local efforts to get involved in, via fund-raisers, relief drives, etc. There's also another avenue...turning family travel into family adventure and combining it with a component of "giving back." There are several organizations that have created enriching service-oriented experiences, mostly targeted toward the teen population. Virtually all, however, will create a travel opportunity for a family (or a group). And, once your tween gets a taste of this type of experience, there might be a future opportunity to create an independent spring break or summer experience.
Organizations that specialize in service-oriented travel adventures: