What is Voluntourism?
Volunteer tourism, or voluntourism, is one of the fastest-growing travel trends today. Voluntourism is a term that describes vacations where travelers volunteer their time to help a cause in a particular destination. It has grown in popularity because it is an excellent way for travelers to engage with and immerse themselves in the area they are visiting.
The Grand Haven area is home to many active community nonprofit organizations and countless annual events that offer volunteer opportunities for every skill level and age range.
Alliance for the Great Lakes – Adopt-a-Beach™
Adopt-a-Beach™ is the Alliance’s premier volunteer program, with some 10,000 participants ranging from individuals and families to schools and businesses. More than just a beach sweep, Adopt-a-Beach™ teams conduct litter removal and monitoring and complete a beach health assessment that includes science-based observation and testing. The teams collect information and enter it into our Adopt-a-Beach™ online system, where it is used to educate the public, share with local beach authorities and improve beaches. Grand Haven is home to the Alliance for the Great Lakes Michigan office and they host multiple area beach cleanups annually. Groups, families, and individuals are welcome to volunteer.
Jamie Cross, Adopt-a-Beach™ Manager
(616) 850-0745 ext. 12
Love INC Tri-Cities
Love INC is a non-profit agency which mobilizes resources, community volunteers, and church partners to help those in need towards self-sufficiency. We provide budget counseling, food pantries, a free health clinic, and connect clients with other services available in the community. We are committed to ensuring that 95% of each donation goes directly to serving individuals and families in the Tri-Cities. Groups, families, and individuals are welcome to volunteer.
Rebecca Eminger, Volunteer Coordinator
Greater Ottawa County United Way
United Way has been making a difference in Ottawa County for nearly a century. Known in the 1920s as United Fund or Community Chest, annual fund drives to address community needs were a fixture of life in many communities in Ottawa County. In the 1960s, Grand Haven and Holland joined Grand Rapids and Detroit as the first communities in Michigan to form a United Way. In 2000, four United Ways—Tri Cities Area (Grand Haven, Spring Lake and Ferrysburg), Northeast Ottawa, Holland, and Zeeland—united to form Greater Ottawa County United Way. The United Way’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all Ottawa County residents by identifying pressing community challenges and focusing the community’s collective power and resources to address those needs. Together, united, we can inspire hope and create opportunities for a better tomorrow. When we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all. Give. Advocate. Volunteer. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED. Groups, families, and individuals are welcome to volunteer.
Shannon Morton, Director of Volunteerism
(616) 396-7811 ext. 206
St. John’s is the only church in the Tri-Cities area that offers hungry people of our community nutritious meals on a regular basis. Our kitchen is staffed each week by volunteers from our parish, members of other churches, and individuals from our community. Loving Spoonfuls provides meals to the community twice a week including Wednesday evenings from 5:30-6:30pm and Sunday afternoons from 1-2pm. Groups, families, and individuals are welcome to volunteer.
Cindi Sanders, Parish Administrator
Ottawa County Parks & Recreation
The Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission was created in 1987 to oversee county park properties. Today the Ottawa County Parks & Recreation Commission manages 38 parks and open space lands totaling nearly 6,400 acres. These natural resource-based properties offer year-round recreational and educational opportunities for people of all ages and ensure that the environmental features and rich heritage of Ottawa County will be protected for future generations. Park volunteers provide a critical service to the County Parks in a variety of ways including events, park maintenance, and combating invasive species. Groups, families, and individuals are welcome to volunteer.
Melanie Manion, Natural Resources Management Supervisor
Tri-Cities Area Habitat For Humanity
Tri-Cities Area Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian organization founded in 1989. TCA Habitat has since built over 51 simple, decent and affordable homes in the Tri-Cities. Our hope is to eliminate sub-standard housing in our community. TCA Habitat works in partnership with area churches, businesses and individuals to build simple, decent houses that will become homes for our Partner families. Ottawa County has an estimated 529 homeless families. Children of homeowners are 25% more likely to graduate from High School and 116% more likely to graduate from College than children of renters. Through the donated time, hard work and resources of many in our community, Habitat houses are built at low cost and sold to the Partner Families without profit or interest. Partner Families must make a $500 down-payment and complete 250-500 hours of “Sweat Equity” before they can move into their home. Habitat provides a variety of supportive services to the families to help ease their transition to home ownership. Habitat is a wonderful way to give “hand-up” not a “hand-out” to needy families in our area. Groups, families, and individuals are welcome to volunteer
Nicole Bredeweg, Volunteer Coordinator
The Grand Haven area hosts hundreds of events each year and it takes thousands of volunteers each year to make them happen.
Grand Haven – End of January
Grand Haven Main Street Downtown Development Authority
The DDA hosts a number of events each year including Wine About Winter, Frozen In Time, Light Night and more.
Grand Pizza & Beer Fest
Grand Haven – March
Kick-Off To Summer Run
Grand Haven – Memorial Day Weekend
Spring Lake Heritage Festival
Spring Lake – Mid June
Feast of the Strawberry Moon
Grand Haven – Mid June
Grand Haven Coast Guard Run
Grand Haven – Last Saturday of July
Grand Haven Coast Guard Festival
Grand Haven – Last Weekend in July through First Weekend in August
Del Shannon Days & Car Show
Coopersville – Early August
Michigan Pirate Festival
Grand Haven – Early August
Holland Haven Marathon
Grand Haven – Early September
Grand Haven Salmon Festival
Grand Haven – Mid September
Grand Haven ArtWalk
Grand Haven – Mid September-Early October
Oktoberfest Marathon, Half Marathon, & 5K
Spring Lake – Late September
Spring Lake – Early October
Lakeshore Brew Fest
West Olive – Mid October
Grand Haven Jingle Bell Parade
Grand Haven – First Saturday in December
If your non-profit or event is looking for volunteers and have volunteer opportunities that would be of interest to visitors, please email Stefanie Herder at firstname.lastname@example.org