If you’ve got a little extra time this summer, and you’re looking for a way to enjoy the warm weather, there are dozens of volunteer opportunities in your community. Volunteering outside this summer can help you stay in shape and connect with other people.
1. Local Park Service
Most of us enjoy local parks from time to time, whether it’s fishing in lakes or hiking trails, or using playground equipment. To keep enjoying those parks, however, volunteers are required to clean up litter, remove dead trees, and attend to other maintenance tasks.
Just a few weeks ago, my family attended a walking clean-up day, where participants walked a long nature trail in Houston, picking up litter as they went. Receptacles were set up at regular intervals along the trail, and hundreds of us showed up for the event.
2. Zoo or Wildlife Refuge
Those who enjoy working with and around animals might look for volunteer opportunities at zoos and wildlife refuges. These organizations are always looking for responsible people to help with administrative tasks, cleaning, feeding, and customer service.
When applying for volunteer positions at these types of institutions, make sure to inform them about any special skills you might have. For example, a general contractor could provide assistance with building animal habitats.
3. Trail Blazing
Volunteering doesn’t have to be a once-a-week or once-a-month arrangement. Many states offer trail blazing volunteer opportunities, where participants commit to a week or two in the wilderness, creating new trails through state parks and other areas.
This is hard work, and requires a certain degree of physical fitness. Make sure you ask about requirements and skills before you sign up for such a trek. If it seems like something you would enjoy, consider gathering a group of friends or relatives so everyone can participate together.
4. Home Building
Habitat for Humanity is the most well-known organization, but there are several others that build homes for those in need. This is a great way to volunteer outside this summer if you are good with your hands or if you enjoy work that benefits people rather than animals.
You don’t need to know how to install fixtures or lay brick in order to volunteer as a home builder. You’ll receive any training you need from the organization, and volunteers are sought for tasks unrelated to the actual building of houses.
You don’t have to participate in a marathon as a runner to get involved. Marathons, which benefit various charities and causes, also require volunteers to register participants, serve refreshments, manage traffic, and handle other tasks.
This is a great outdoor volunteer activity if you are interested in fitness or if you support the marathon’s cause. In some cities, two or more marathons are hosted every month.
Just remember, though, as you are volunteering outside, it is important to consume plenty of water and to take breaks in the shade.