It's that time of year when many of us are planning to get away from it all for a week or two. Some head to the mountains, others to the ocean, and some may even cross the seas for an international adventure. For my family, it's the New Jersey shore. Every year we drive five hours south for a week of basking in the sun (hopefully), riding the waves by day and the boardwalk rides by night. It's all about relaxing and eating stuff we'd never try at home -- fried Oreos anyone?
But while the rest of us are using our cherished vacation days to unwind, there are others who take a different, more altruistic approach: mission vacations, which often means hard work in difficult conditions. Volunteers -- individuals, couples, entire families -- build, clean, teach, and more on behalf of the poorest people in this country, the folks who are, unfortunately, often out of sight and out of mind in our land of plenty.
Head over to Varia today by clicking HERE to read about one family's 17-year summer tradition of going to West Virginia to serve with the Passionist Volunteers. It just may inspire you to trade your hammock for a hammer.
Have you participated in a summer volunteer vacation? If so, please share your stories in the comment section and provide a link, if possible, for others who might want to give it a try.