Here's another spin on the notion of working vacations:
Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort has launched Give & Get, a Volun-Tourism program to reward travelers who give back to the community. Guests who spend part of their vacation helping others will receive a 15 percent savings on their stay through Sept. 30.
What qualifies as helping others?
In Give & Get, volunteer opportunities range from renovating a butterfly garden with Friends of Rookery Bay, building homes with Habitat for Humanity or helping out at Marco Island's first local high school. If resort visitors post photos or videos from their volun-tourism experience on the resort's Facebook page, they will receive a $25 resort credit for a return trip. Nightly resort rates start at $179.
Here are more details about the volunteer opportunities:
Friends of Rookery Bay: The Rookery Bay Reserve, which includes 110,000 acres of pristine forest and protected waters, is one of the few remaining undisturbed mangrove estuaries in North America. Working with the environmental group Friends of Rookery Bay, resort guests can participate in coastal cleanup or that butterfly garden restoration. Visit rookerybay.org for details.
Habitat for Humanity: Every third Saturday, guests are invited to join hotel employees working with Habitat for Humanity to build affordable housing for those in need. The next project date is Sept. 17. Visit habitatcollier.org for details.
Greater Marco Family YMCA: At the Greater Marco Family YMCA, five minutes from the resort, guests can volunteer for two-hour time slots to help maintain the facilities. Visit marcoislandymca.org for details.
Marco Island Academy: Marco Island Marriott Beach Resort is a partner of the first public high school on the island, which is opening this fall. Guest volunteers can assist with a variety of everyday tasks to help with the school's first year. Visit marcoislandacademy.com for more information.
For more on the resort's Give & Get Program, call 1-800-638-8410. For resort details, visit marcoislandmarriott.com or call 1-800-438-4373.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun