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Top ways to do good - and feel good - this summer

Flip flops, sand, sun block and tank tops—the telltale signs that summer has arrived, and it’s time to get outdoors! From cookouts to races and trips to the beach, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy when the sun’s shining. And it’s a breeze to make your next outdoor activity one for good.

Warmer weather means outdoor volunteer offerings abound—including the opportunity to kick-start a volunteer project of your own. So throw on those shades, get outside and brighten your community today!

Schools out - but learning's in

For many children, summertime means going to camp. Although it’s a break from regular school time, day and sleep-away camps alike offer youth a variety of learning opportunities—from team-building at soccer camp to new skills at band camp. Why not give your time to help enhance children’s camp experience? Be a counselor, an instructor or just an extra helping hand.

Volunteering at summer camp is a perfect way for you to stay active, too. Try coaching a sport—or picking up archery! You can also help youth learn the importance of volunteering themselves through volunteer camps.

Try search sites like the American Camp Association or Summer Program Search to find the right opportunity. With as many options to pick from as campers themselves, you'll be sure to find the perfect match.

Help ease travel season

Are you naturally inclined to avoid crowds? Fight the urge this year: Tourist destinations are often where extra hands are needed most. If you live near a monument, national park or another popular travel site, ask if the staff needs help handling crowds, guiding walking tours or punching tickets. Local destinations such as parks, botanical gardens and zoos alike could use the help.

Organizations like Tourism Cares offer ways for volunteers to help protect and restore valuable travel destinations across the country. Most travel organizations have a volunteer component to them as well.

If you’re the one traveling this season, there are many ways to connect to good, wherever you go. And many travel sites, such as international source Fly for Good, offer discounted trips if you’re traveling for philanthropy.

Preparing for weather's worst

June 1st marks the official start of hurricane season on the East Coast. The peak season for tornadoes runs parallel—although there’s no telling exactly when one could hit. As severe weather approaches this summer, volunteer your time for disaster preparedness and relief across the nation.

Local American Red Cross branches typically need funding and volunteer relief help after disaster strikes. You can also volunteer with a Red Cross training program, offered to help people be continually prepared. AmeriCares, the Salvation Army and other organizations have programs specifically focused on disaster relief and medical aid.

Prevention and preparation are just as critical. Help others assemble first aid kits to keep in their homes or help elderly neighbors prepare for other emergencies. Use Create the Good’s Operation Hurricane Prepare guide to help loved ones in areas susceptible to storms stay ready.

Double down on benefits

Start a walking group in your neighborhood. Get out in nature and clean up a local river. When you get active and help at the same time, you benefit both you and your community.

Are you volunteering for an upcoming 5k, bike tour or other benefit race? Why not participate in it too? You’ll not only help raise some additional funds, you’ll stay active and healthy yourself. Or to keep your mind active and healthy, try volunteering at a national or state park or local information center. You can gain new skills and knowledge as you share it with visitors.

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Cultivate a More Colorful Community

One of the best parts of warmer weather is the vibrancy of all the natural colors. Bring new life to your community by getting a team together and planting your favorite fall flowers and plants. (They'll be blooming the the time the temperature cools.) When you make shared spaces more beautiful, you make everyone's day a little brighter.

Keep cool, stay safe

In many states, summer’s temperature highs can be scorching. When you are out helping others, make sure you’re doing good for yourself too: Stay hydrated and take breaks. Drink plenty of fluids several hours before heading out to a summertime volunteer event. Or if it’ll be an early morning, hydrate the night before.

Many volunteers don’t realize they may be around colleagues at risk for heat exhaustion or stroke—or may be at risk themselves. Susceptibility is common in older adults but something everyone should take seriously, so keep hydration in mind when doing good in record highs.

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