Voluntourism and a Tourism Master Plan and key initiatives being developed by Sonoma County Tourism to foster sustainable tourism in Sonoma County.
'Voluntourism' or 'Volunteer Tourism' is a form of tourism in which travelers participate in voluntary work, typically for a local charity. It is a rewarding way to give back to Sonoma County while you are here for a vacation, conference, your high school reunion, a business trip or visiting friends and family. Tag us at #SonomaCounty to share your voluntourism stories and photos!
The Webster family (from left, Tanya, Doug, Tali, and Dawson) loads food boxes at the Redwood Empire Food Bank. Photo by Will Bucquoy.
When Doug and Tanya Webster and their two children, Tali (age 11) and Dawson (15) boarded an airplane Dec. 23, 2017, heading to Northern California from Iowa, they had one plan: to lend a helping hand to the folks who were devastated by the October 2017 wildfires.
On their "voluntourism" visit to Sonoma County, the Websters sorted donations at the Redwood Gospel Mission, loaded food boxes and sorted perishables at the Redwood Food Bank, carried boxes on moving day for the re-opening of John B. Riebli Elementary School, and helped with erosion control for the Sonoma County Ecology Center.
By the time the Websters left for their home town of Sigourney, Iowa on Jan. 3, they had spent nine days doing what they could for those in need, all at their own expense.
Sonoma County Tourism celebrates the Websters for their generous donation of time and care. "By sharing the stories of visitors who support our community, we hope to encourage others to give 'voluntourism' a chance," said Nicole Bradin, SCT's director of community engagement.