To read more about the Island Interns' time at Boca Chica's little school, visit amble.com/ambler/category/islandinterns/
Voluntourism, or using vacation time to give back to the community or environment in your chosen destination, appeals to a wide range of travelers, from gap year youths to retirees.
As one of the foremost trends in travel, voluntourism is putting today's geotourists in touch with the aspects of travel they value above all others: cultural immersion, connection with communities on the local level, and environmental consciousness.
Although the 2011 Island Interns were not exploring Panama on a voluntourism mission, they did take the opportunity to spend some time teaching English to children of Boca Chica, a small fishing community located just a short boat ride from Isla Palenque. Island Intern Ben Brown called upon his skills as an elementary school teacher to quickly bring the kids up to speed on the ABCs and teach them a few useful English phrases.
Under the auspices of education consultant Dr. Donna J. Skinner, the little school in Boca Chica is now offering the local children an education much more complete than it would have been otherwise, even if college remains a distant dream for most of these kids. Thanks to the materials Skinner has been able to obtain through donations, and with help from dedicated members of the community, children of Boca Chica now enjoy better opportunities and incentives to learn.
"I love learning about people rising to the occasion around them to level the playing field of education a bit," says Stacey Holeman, teacher, frequent Central America traveler, and founder of The Beca Project. "You can read the importance of the project on the bright faces of the children."
Another initiative Skinner has taken in Boca Chica is "Orgullo en Boca Chica," a local recycling and clean-up program involving the entire community in preserving the natural beauty of this part of undiscovered Panama.
"This region has a lot to offer travelers," says Benjamin Loomis, Amble Resorts' founder and president. "Donna and Bruce Skinner, along with other leaders in this small community, are ensuring that the future of this area and its people is a bright and hopeful one. And we're happy to support them in their efforts!"
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