The 27th September is World Tourism Day and this year the theme is Tourism and Community Development, focusing on the ability of tourism to empower people and provide them with skills to achieve change in their local communities. The official celebrations are taking place in Guadalajara, Mexico in a day dedicated to different understanding the value of different forms of tourism, whether it be volun-tourism, eco-tourism, agri-tourism or adventure tourism.
At Misión México we have seen first hand the huge benefits alternative types of tourism can bring. Pam and Alan and the children have been truly empowered by people who choose to volunteer with us. From teachers, to engineers, builders, to surf instructors, each and every one of them have contributed towards Misión México’s education program, surf program, work training program and youth transition program. Each of them is specifically designed to improve the lives of each and every child, and in turn contribute towards achieving change in the local community.
Of course the benefits of volun-tourism also extends to the volunteers themselves; our previous volunteers have described their time with us as ‘the most amazing experience of my life’ ‘incredibly rewarding’ ‘truly inspirational’ and ‘a life enriching experience’.
Our firm belief in the power of tourism underpins the thinking behind our work training program, Misión Surf. This project aims to build a sustainable surfing community, complete with a Surf School, Surf Camp and Retail Shop, Surfboard Repair Workshop, Life Guard Services and a Restaurant. Not only will it become a top tourist destination for new surfers, it will benefit the lives of the children and bring change to the local community.
It will provide exciting tourism opportunities for those who visit the complex – our waves and location provide the ideal opportunity for surf lessons – and our burritos will be the best in town. Our complex will include football, netball and a skate park as well as a pool and cafe to relax in!
Misión Surf will provide the older children with the opportunity to develop important work skills like hospitality, tourism, business and retail. It will share the excitement of surfing with the local Mexican community by teaching them surf skills, sea safety and the importance of our environment, particularly around beaches and oceans.
By sharing knowledge on surfing techniques, conditions, awareness, safety and environmental issues with the local community it will lead cleaner, safer, friendlier beaches as well as bringing more business to the local impoverished areas. And the icing on the cake? This program will eventually lead to Albergue Misión México becoming self-sufficient.
We are inviting local and international professionals and tradesmen to volunteer and share their knowledge and expertise with the refuge’s young adults in what promises to be a challenging and rewarding experience.
Thanks to the amazing support from Guzman y Gomez in Australia, Compound Boardshop in Florida and the Norm Innes Foundation in Queensland, as well as many other fundraisers and donors we are on our way to completing this program.
We are hoping to open the doors in 2015! More support is needed to complete the project – if you want to get involved please visit our website, contact us or donate here.
We’d be stoked to have you part of our program and look forward to welcoming you to visit us at Misión Surf.