Thursday, 13 October 2011 10:34 AM
Working with children can be incredibly rewarding and it is even more so when your skills and abilities can help kids who are underprivileged. If you want to travel and give something back as you go, why not consider sports coaching as an option?
It doesn't matter whether your passion is for football, cricket, rugby or surfing as there will be a programme that can benefit from your expertise and enthusiasm.
Not to mention the fact that volunteer work is a great way for you to really get under the skin of the country you are visiting, interacting with local people in a manner that is difficult as a tourist.
So, how can you decide where to go on volunteer sports projects? The first thing to do is look for an activity that you are interested in - you don't need to be an expert, as you can pick things up as you go along.
The most important part of volunteering to work with children is to get them excited about playing sports - and of course to make it lots of fun!
Many schools in Africa are not able to afford to pay for a specialist sports teacher and, as such, you will find numerous opportunities on the continent to lend a hand where it's needed.
From having a kick around in the playground with a football to organising cricket games, there will be lots for you to do with the kids.
As well as helping in school hours, you may also have the chance to set up clubs in the evenings or on weekends to give those children with a real passion for sport a structured outlet for their energy.
Volunteering in South Africa is just one of your many options - and you can choose to be placed with a school during your stay if you wish.
Cape Town is a large city and one of its most underprivileged areas - Ocean View - always needs assistance with its sports teaching.
You can enjoy living in this bustling and vibrant city, while also getting to see a side to it that many miss and you will be able to form bonds with the children and other teachers at the school that will last a lifetime.
If, however, you are more at home in the water than on dry land, you might want to opt for a project where you work as a surf coach.
Even if you have never caught a wave before, you will be able to pick up a board and learn the tricks yourself, before passing these on to groups of children.
And if you are something of an experienced surfer, you can look forward to gliding along the swell at some of South Africa's top surf spots near Cape Town.
When you are teaching, you will be based at Muizenberg beach, which is a vast, flat expanse of sand where you will generally only find small waves, making it the ideal location for learners.
Just imagine how rewarding it will be to see the kids you are teaching stand up on their boards for the first time!
So, if you love sports and want to pass on some of your enthusiasm to children, a break volunteering abroad with a school or activity centre could be the ideal trip for you.
Combining travel with a worthwhile activity is a wonderful way to travel and ensure that the communities you visit truly benefit from your time spent in the country - while you will take countless memories home with you and even some new skills.