Introduce your groups to a new experience - Volun-tourism. It's a wonderful way to travel and give back at the same time! This suggested itinerary works well for both adult and student groups.
Start your amazing day with the 9:30 a.m. shift at Feed My Starving Children who strives to eliminate starvation in children throughout the world by breaking the cycle of poverty. Volunteers hand pack meals specially formulated for malnourished children, the meals are sent to orphanages, schools, clinics and feeding programs all over the world. Participants should be able to stand for 1.5 hours though there are some jobs that offer sitting and breaks are encouraged for those who need them. At the end of your shift, the group will be informed of how many meals were packed, when and where they are headed to; it's truly inspirational how little time and cost can make such a difference! Note, this activity is at no cost to the participants however, your group or individuals may make donations and purchase items to help support the cause.
Just down the road is Lambs Farm where they've been assisting the developmentally disabled for over 50 years. Start with a group lunch at their Magnolia Cafe and Bakery which features foods and bakery items prepared on the premises. You won't be able to pass the glass case with delectable treats made at the bakery. Then head over to the Visitor Center where staff explains their mission and how your visit will help keep Lambs in the business of empowering others. Everyone can then explore the nearby shops where many of the residents work. At the Dogwood Pet Shop and Boutique, even guests without pets love to look at the interior of the original barn. The Cedar Chest Thrift Shop is a thrill for bargain hunters as donations pour in every day. And the Sugar Maple Country Store features Lambs' famous butter cookies, jams & jellies, sauces, mouth-watering confections and gift items.
And only 10 minutes away is the Wildlife Discovery Center at Elawa Farm, a living natural history museum and one of the region's unique hidden gems. Your group's learning journey continues and brings them to an intimate setting with a variety of reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals, many who were rescued out of dangerous living conditions or left abandoned. The staff will explain the history of Elawa Farm which was owned by the Armour family of the meat-packing empire and how it has evolved into a working farm with gardens, kitchen, artists and volunteers to keep it busy all year round. You may also start your day at WDC and visit their Garden Market which features their locally grown flowers and produce plus homemade soups, breads and cultivated honey. And should your group be more active, they will enjoy that WDC is also located on the Middlefork Savanna that features a mix of oak savanna and woodlands, wet and mesic prairies, sedge meadows and marshes. Take advantage of the 4-mile gravel trail perfect for hiking with two boardwalks to help protect sensitive wetland areas.
Should you want to extend your tour to stay overnight, we have many exciting entertainment options and we're home to 20 group-friendly hotel brands and resorts.
However you piece this tour together, it will give your groups a sense of giving back to the community and taking a trip that is just more than a mission!
Your knowledgeable Lake County Tour coordinator Jayne Nordstrom is on hand to assist you.