Why We Do What We Do

It always starts with an idea. Everything does. Show the people the world. Provide life-changing experiences. Create lasting change in developing world communities. Sounds easy, right?

From the beginning, Operation Groundswell resonated strongly among every young person we spoke with. With the growth of volunteer tourism, it seemed that everybody wanted to toss a little volunteer section on to their holiday. We, on the other hand, wanted to create a new experience. One that combined travel, tourism, development and adventure. So we came up with the idea of “Backpacking with a Purpose”.

Our biggest question from the beginning was: how can we create ethical and sustainable programs that actually benefit the communities we work with? Well, we started by finding grassroots organizations that had little to no international support. The kinds of organizations we worked with rarely had websites (and if they did, probably not in English) and never received external funding. After the successful completion of our second program to northern Ghana in 2008, our alumni from our first couple of years told us that they wished they had fundraised money beforehand. That’s right. They asked us to fundraise. Their reason: future participants would be able to impact our partner communities even more if they had a pool of funds with each group. These funds would be dispensed through consensus-based decision making by each group.

From that decision, OG participants began fundraising before each trip. Six years later, with over $300,000 raised, we can comfortably say that its been quite a journey. From supporting hospitals in Ghana, rainforest conservation in Borneo, Malaysia, park projects in Peru, and so much more, Operation Groundswell participants have truly created a lasting impact across the world.

This year, we are ramping up for our biggest year yet. We already have 150 eager OG’ers signed up for the adventure of a lifetime and expect quite a few more.

To learn more about our fundraising efforts, CLICK HERE.