SWCs COMMUNITIES PLAY PROGRAM
Communities Play is SWCs sports equipment collection, distribution and supply program.
VOLUNTEER TRIP FAQs:
What do I need to travel with SWC to Mexico?
1) A valid U.S. passport. If traveling into Mexico by car, you must also have Mexican car insurance and a Mexican tourist visa (FMT) that can be obtained by visiting any Mexican consulate. If traveling by airplane, a Mexican tourist visa will automatically be issued to you on your flght into Mexico by the airlines. Keep your tourist visa in a safe place, as you will need it in order to leave the country.
What is required of me during the trip?
The ONLY requirement is that you save at least one of your check-in baggage spaces (preferable both) on your flight for a 50-lb. bag or box of sports equipment to be donated during the trip. If you can/do not collect your own sports equipment to be donated, we will provide it for you, all ready to go. After arriving, there are no further requirements. However, the trip costs do include all of the activities and functions of "the group," which include many meals, transportation to communities and schools to distribute the equipment and provide sports skills training, participation in exhibitions games or tournament, special events, etc.
I don't play sports. Can I still participate?
Yes! You do not have to be able to play sports or even be athletically inclined to help. First of all, we need as many volunteers as possible to help transport the sports equipment to where it's needed. Then we need help to load and unload it, organize and divide it according to community and school, keep kids in line during skills clinics, distribute baseball cards and candy, hand out water, take pictures and/or video, etc. If you do have skills, however, we will put you to work in our sports skills clinics, mainly baseball, basketball, softball, and volleyball. If you have skills in other sports, such as soccer, we will definitely put those to good use as well!
Can my child/children participate?
Yes! Many of our volunteers have found that our trip provides a unique and valuable experience that would benefit their children and have brought them in subsequent years. We welcome the opportunity to have them participate in all of our activities. SWC has even led several youth volunteer trips to Mexico. If you're interested in having a youth group work with SWC to distribute equipment abroad, feel free to contact us! Please note that all children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or responsible adult.
How large is the volunteer group?
We prefer to have a group of 24 or less, as we like to maintain a more intimate atmosphere. But we can/will accommodate up to 36 depending on the area(s) we plan to travel to. The schools where we work can have as little as 35 students to as many as over 300.
Where do the volunteers come from?
Even though the all the departure points specified in our Trip Brochure and Reservation Form are on the West Coast, past volunteers have included individuals from California, Washington, Massachusetts, Ohio, Illinois, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Michigan. We welcome all volunteers, and will work with each one to find the best travel options for them.
What will the weather be like?
Depends on when and where we travel. Details about the weather for a particular area will be provided to you in our "travel information" mailing that we send out before the trip.
What are the accommodations like?
All hotels/motel rooms that we book have air conditioning, hot showers, and flushable toilets. Most of the hotels/motels also have swimming pools. Rooms typically do NOT have clocks in them, or "extras" such as coffee makers, hair dryers, etc. Then, depending on the area, they may or may not have telephones or televisions. Regardless of whether there are phones in the room or not, we always have phone cards available for purchase that can be used at nearby phone card booths. These phone cards provide the most economical means of making calls to the U.S.
What about the water?
Bottled water will be provided to all volunteers throughout the trip. We advise NOT to drink any tap water (fountains, sinks, showers, etc.). However, hotels and restaurants are required BY LAW to serve bottled or purified water, and to use same for ice cubes and washing produce.
What is a typical day like?
Breakfast (not necessarily as a group). Meet in hotel lobby for transportation to first community/school visit. Arrive at the first community/school. Unload equipment to be donated. Conduct sports skills clinics (e.g., batting, catching, fielding, throwing for baseball/softball; dribbling and shooting for basketball, etc.). Then equipment donation/presentation "ceremony." Lunch, possibly in someone's home, on the road, or back near the hotel. Travel to second comminity/school, and repeat. Other group activities might include attendance at a weekly flag ceremony, helping serve meals to school children, newspaper and/or television interviews, and visiting historical and/or other tourist sites. Detailed itineraries for the week will be distributed to volunteers during the first, welcome meeting of the trip. Here are some examples of past trip itineraries (click on year): 2006, 2005, 2004, 2002, 2001, 2000.
Will I have time to sightsee?
Yes. Volunteers have at least one complete day for themselves. We offer many options for extra activities, often discounted, such as beach trips, diving, eco tours, fishing, jet skiing, kayaking, snorkeling, whale watching, and other land and water sports (not included in trip price). Free time is also interspersed each day between group activities.
What do you mean by "all unused monies will be reimbursed"?
All of the money paid by volunteers go directly to their trip expenses associated with the group. This includes airfare, accommodations, many meals and water, ground transportation, gratuities, taxes and fees. But because of the work we do, and the support we have received over the years in the areas where we have worked, we often receive discounts on hotels, and many meals and transportation are provided by government officials, local parent/teacher associations, and/or schools. So, after the trip is over, an accounting of all the trip costs will be provided to each volunteer, and all of the unused funds paid by the volunteers will be returned. No money is retained by SWC, except for the nominal SWC membership cost of $35, which includes an SWC T-shirt to wear to certain group events during the trip, such as sponsored luncheons or television interviews. This trip is not a fundraising event, but a program where we distribute sports equipment to where it is needed.
Feel free to email us with any other questions you might have, firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you would like to help the children but are unable to travel on this trip, please consider a tax-deductible contribution to SWC.
Sounds like a great trip... sign me up!