Barry and Julie Karp founded ShoreTrips over 12 years ago, starting an independent company that settled into a previously-ignored niche: providing tours and excursions in ports and major cities, offering hundreds of new activity options (and increased revenue) to agents in addition to what cruise lines or other suppliers offer. The company started by selling excursions in the Caribbean; in the past decade, they have expanded to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, South America, Europe and Asia.
Barry and Julie created a program called GIVE. GIVE is a new excursion product line of Caribbean volunteer tourism. Through this program, travel agents can now easily arrange a morning of charitable work for their cruising and resort-based clients who feel giving back to the people of the islands is an integral part of a fulfilling vacation. Taking just 4 hours out of their vacation, travelers can contribute to the people of the Caribbean by getting involved in the local culture and feeling great about what they do. Eight destinations are among the first to benefit from this endeavor. These destinations include: Antigua, Aruba Netherland Antilles, Barbados, Belize, Cozumel, Mexico, St. Lucia (Castries), St. Thomas, USVI and Tortola, BVI.
ShoreTrips co-owner, Julie Karp, says “We have recently joined forces with Hope Floats, a non-profit organization based in Lodi, CA, that has a number of volunteer based activities already set up. We feel privileged to be able to work together because they are dedicated, as we are, to the well-being of the islands.”
Though each activity is about four hours long and held in the mornings to avoid the mid-day heat, ShoreTrips GIVE tours differ in content from island to island. For example, in St. Lucia, volunteers will help plant and maintain a small vegetable garden at an orphanage. In Aruba, travelers will be asked to read a story, in English, to a class at a local grade school.
Tours will be priced at $61 per person. They are fully commissionable to travel agents and ShoreTrips will also give back 2% to the people of the Caribbean islands!
Part of my volunteer time was spent at The Antigua Preschool run by the Salvation Army. The preschool was an easy walk from the cruise port and when I arrived, the staff was very friendly and welcoming to me. I sat while watching their spirit-filled devotion time, which starts their school day. I read to 4 different classrooms from books that were ‘well worn’ and badly in need of repair. I helped out with a farm animal project for one of the teachers and also assisted with snack/lunch time, opening baggies/jello cups/plastic bottles. When it came time to depart, one little boy was given the job of getting up and giving their thanks for me coming to their school. I thought my heart would break as tears began to form on that sweet face. How could 4 hours have been so very special? I don’t quite know the answer to that, but I do know that as I walked back to the ship I DID shed more than a tear or two over the memory of what I had just experienced.
– Ann Lietz – Workman, Vacation Valet
There will be no participant minimum requirements, meaning even a single traveler will be accommodated. ShoreTrips GIVE is also available to groups up to 400 travelers.
For more information please refer to the ShoreTrips website where you can find ShoreTrips GIVE on the home page. Or call ShoreTrips at 888-355-0220.