TYPES OF TOURS:
Service Programs / Volunteer Vacations
Educational / Cultural Tours
   
2006/2007 DESTINATIONS:
Africa
Australia
Asia
Mexico
Central & South America
Caribbean
North America
   
GROUP DEPARTURES:
Galapagos Enchanted Isles: June 24 - July 4**
Best of Costa Rica: July 12 -24**
South Africa Wildlife Conservation Volunteer Vacation: September 25 - October 6 **
   
Other Programs:
Women's Expedition to Aconcaugua
Musician's Cultural Workshop in Ecuador
   
** These programs are available for credit through the Colorado School of Mines Teacher Enhancement Program.
   

STUDENT GROUPS

Kindred Spirits specializes in custom service learning programs for College and University groups. Kindred Spirits Tour and Travel offers participants an opportunity to make a positive difference in communities throughout the world. We offer programs to several countries and we would be happy to create a program that will meet all of your group interests.

In a world filled with fear and uncertainty people are returning to their core values of meaningful connections, education and a way to give of themselves to make a positive difference in the world. They are looking for a life changing experience that will create lasting memories and friendships. Kindred Spirits offers an opportunity to recreate existing connections and to create new cross-cultural connections around the world. Although Volunteer Vacations have been in existence for many years through companies such as Global Volunteers and Visions, most have focused on high school students and Church groups. Kindred Spirits is unique in that they offer these experiences to college and University students.

With Kindred Sprits you will experience an indigenous community first hand by interacting with the native population through meaningful community service work.  We have found the most successful approach is one that defers to the needs and goals of the local community. Volunteers are there simply there to lend a hand in grassroots initiatives that have already been identified by native organizations. Projects examples include: construction of a local school, poverty/hunger alleviation, education, agriculture, health care, infrastructure development and cultural preservation. In partnership with local communities, Kindred Spirits vacations foster peaceful relationships, awareness of global issues, environmental conservation and an empowerment to make a positive difference in the world.  As a result, our volunteer vacations promote self-confidence, a sense of community, and meaningful connections with fellow participants and community members. Participants acquaint themselves intimately with the local customs and lifestyles through music, dance, ritual ceremonies, and meaningful cross-cultural exchange often times even living with host families. Recreational activities are built around the core program and include experiencing the local scenic beauty, hiking, rafting, visiting local markets, and more! Wherever the destination takes them, participants come home receiving much more than they give, their lives forever changed and their new friends will always be welcoming them to return.

A specific example of a Volunteer Vacation is Kindred Spirits Tour and Travel program in Ecuador focusing on cultural preservation through tourism. Our primary host community of Chiguilpe is home to the Tsachila Indians, one of Ecuador 's original indigenous groups.  Past participants have joined in the construction of an ethnographic museum. Through shared labor on meaningful projects, in collaboration with the Fundacion Tsachila, individuals are given the opportunity to assist in the preservation of native beliefs. Currently, the most pressing needs in Ecuador are infrastructure development, health care, sustainable tourism promotion, and education. Kindred Spirits is hoping to address these needs through the formation of a non-profit foundation that will provide community-development grants for infrastructure development, a scholarship program for families of all economic backgrounds to share in this cultural experience and a website dedicating 100% of the proceeds of the sale of native crafts and music CDs to above-mentioned projects.

The following is a letter Kindred Spirits received from a participant in our Ecuador program. I have had a profound inspiration from the Ecuador experience. Inspiration from the Tschalias is leading me to act on making our community more cooperative and positive among all the people here in Georgetown , Colorado . My take on what the Tschalias have, that we in America lack, is a simple protocol for working out their collective projects. Their ways were quiet, respectful, positive, and productive. Their ways, showed me that beneath all the egotistical bravado that Americans endure from some of our leadership, there is still a love and desire to get together, in harmony, put any past grievance aside and focus on a greater good. The whole experience would do some of my friends and neighbors a world of good if they could (would) see how selfish and trivial their perceived problems really are compared to folks with nothing, relative to them, who are very happy and healthy in body and spirit. I am ready to go back for another visit. It is an honor and a privilege to be one of your Kindred Spirits. Robby Hodges

The gap between the worlds rich and poor is ever increasing. According to the 2003 annual report from the United Nations Development Program, 5% of the Earth's population controls roughly 90% of its economic wealth. In most developing nations, and even within our own borders, poverty rates continue to rise and access to education remains stagnant. It is the intention of Kindred Spirits Tour & Travel to address some of these imbalances within specific target indigenous communities. The people in these native communities live in humble surroundings, but all possess the will and desire to help themselves. They are incredibly humble and proud people. They have preserved their way of life through native dress, arts and crafts, language, and a largely unspoiled environment.

Kindred Spirits Tour & Travel has recently created a Foundation to lend long-term support to their communities and others around the world. Kindred Spirits Foundation is a grant-making organization based on an innovative philanthropic model, which combines financial support and hands-on partnership to strengthen impoverished communities worldwide. This unique approach accelerates community development through its grant-making and by enabling donors to work side by side with a given community on a project of its choosing. Kindred Spirits Foundation empowers groups to make their own decisions about how to use the grant money to best meet the needs and priorities of a given community. The Foundation supports a wide range of critical local development efforts such as education, economic development, healthcare, infrastructure development, emergency relief, cultural preservation and environmental sustainability. A percentage of all program fees are donated to support Foundation grants.

Take a risk on your winter or spring break and change the world while exploring it!

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Heather Lopez,
Owner/Director
PO Box 474,
Empire, CO 80438
303-912-7114
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