The most common questions and answers as joining a community service project
How is safety for traveling in Vietnam
Vietnam is known as one of the safest and friendliest places to travel. There are no guns, terrorists or other threats, and we have a very well managed system of policemen. Our focus on keeping tourists safe and happy has made Vietnam one of the top tourist destinations in the world.
To get the most out of trip to Vietname, considser the following list of Do’s and DON’TS:
- Drink plenty of bottled water, especially when walking around sightseeing
- Keep your cash, credit cards, airline tickets and other valuables in a safe place
- Travel with identified tour agencies, especially with known taxis
- Watch out your bag, camera or belongings as sitting on motorbike taxi or rickshaw, to avoid bag snatchers
- Don’t wear a lot of jewelry or expensive accessories
- Photograph any political rallies or military buildings.
- Say or bring documents with anti-government contents.
- Decide to buy anything or pay for any service until you know the cost.
How safe are our projects?
Safety is paramount and drives everything that we do. Our programs are adventurous, so there is some element of risk involved in some of the activities that we do. However, when we are aware of the risk, we can better control it. In many cases, we use risk it in our favor to teach students that it’s okay to be outside of their comfort zone. Risk management is a key part of our operations, and we are constantly reviewing and refining our program offerings to ensure our students stay safe.
For example, we only choose community projects in malaria free zones. We equip each student with a mosquito net for sleeping, and make sure they use insect repellent at all times. Vietnam has made great strides in eliminating the risk of getting malaria anywhere in the country.
We also pay very close attention to make sure there are no accidents or injuries at our work sites. We set very strict rules, and make sure they are followed at all times. We insist students wear helmets and gloves. We take the time to instruct students how to properly use tools at every site
SAFETY PRIORITY AT OUR COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS
- Well-equipped tools, gloves, helmets will be provided, and we have a strict discipline of safety at work.
- Each site has in place a contingency plan to deal with local emergencies.
- Emergency Protocol and Medical Facility Contact Information will be covered in advance of the attendees’ arrival.
- Program leaders are trained with first aids and medical emergence response
For more information about safety and training, please view our safety page.
Are the plans in place for emergency evacuation, if needed?
Yes – we always have a Plan A and a Plan B. When necessary, we have Plan C as well. Our bus and driver are always nearby, ready for immediate assistance if needed. In the very unlikely event that a fast evacuation is needed, we are always prepared. We have other modes of transportation available to us at all times – such as boats, tuk tuks, bicycles, taxis, ambulances etc.
Our Program Leaders are very well trained in providing first aid support, and we are well stocked with medical supplies. Our Project sites are always close to medical facilities, so if any mishap occurs, we can immediately respond.
Since you are traveling to such remote areas, how do you ensure food is safe and plentiful?
Food plays a very important part of our community projects. Sharing good and healthy food creates great spirit and energy for working. We spend a considerable amount of time planning and organizing this aspect of our trips. We inspect kitchens and make sure they meet our high standards of food hygiene. We instruct cooking teams about the specific food preparation needs for our students, creating menus well in advance so we don’t repeat dishes. We are careful to consider all food preferences and allergies when planning our meals.
Food on our trips reflect the unique flavors of each particular region. Students will have the opportunity to enjoy the local cuisine – typically a highlight of their Green Summers experience.
How do you ensure that accommodations are suited for Western students?
We understand that providing comfortable and safe lodging is extremely important in ensuring our students have a memorable trip. To make the experience as authentic as possible, we stay in the homes of local villagers, ensuring their homes meet our standards. Houses usually have flushing toilettes, and beds come equipped with sleeping kits (mosquito net, blanket, bed sheet or thin mattress, pillow, etc). The beds are comfortable but basic – often resting on a tile floor, with brick walls and local Vietnamese furniture surrounding. The owner of the house often sleeps nearby.
We often rely on cottages to make sure that larger groups of students can all stay together. We feel this is an important component of team building. Boys and girls are separated within the space. Cottages also have tile floors, and some have walls and rooves made from coconut leaves. All have toilettes and showers.
ACCOMMODATION AT OUR COMMUNITY SERVICE PROJECTS
- Attendees will be staying at local family houses in the Ben Tre province of the Mekong Delta
- Beds will be shared and come with mosquito nets and fans
- Daily meals will be Vietnamese cuisine and will be cooked by the host
- Attendees will have access to clean bathroom facilities (e.g. flush toilettes, shower, etc.)
How do you handle the language differences?
When a language barrier exists, we rely on our Program Leaders to serve as facilitators. They are happy to serve as translators. He will be with the group all the time to make all translation.
What other activities are available during off hours?
Green Summers is a big believer in providing lots of excursions to support education. We know that engaging in other activities outside of the actual project will add to the overall experience and help build wonderful memories.
Among our most popular activities are a night fire fly catching trip, cooking with the host family, listening and dancing to traditional music, cycling along trails, boating along the Mekong River, and sightseeing. We also include opportunities for students to visit with war veterans to hear about the history, give presets to school kids, and visit local markets.
Can students bike?
Sure we can do. In fact, this is how local villagers typically travel every day.
What age ranges are allowed on your trips?
We develop our programs to accommodate a wide range of ages. We accept students who are in the sixth or seventh grade, all the way up to high school seniors. The nature of our community projects vary to ensure that they are age appropriate.
For more information about our community service projects and how they accommodate different age levels, see featured projects.
Are chaperones required?
We strongly recommend bringing chaperon. We believe that having a familiar face often helps the students negotiate the transition from a Western culture to one that is completely foreign. However, we often provide tours of students that are not chaperoned. In these instances, we increase our staff to ensure enough adults are present.
How do I know which program is right for me?
We offer a range of programs, all varying in geographic location, adventure activities and service projects. Some are more environmentally based while others focus on the human connection. Some programs require a lot of physical activity and some might only require interaction with the local community.
When picking the program that is right for your students, consider their interests, likes, goals and project complexity. Harmonizing the needs of your students with an appropriate opportunity is key to providing a memorable experience.
We are happy to help you decide which program might be best for your group. Give us a call or drop us an mail!
How long has Green Summer Campaigns been running programs for students?
We are proud to have been running our programs since 2010. We have had hundreds of students join us, and have completed many projects on behalf of villagers living in the Mekong Delta.
Do you provide certificates of participation?
After the project is completed, each student is awarded a certificate for completing 100 hours of community service on behalf of Green Summers.
Is Green Summer Campaigns like a traditional summer camp or a teen tour?
Green Summer Campaigns is definitely not a traditional teen summer camp. We are a hands-on community service learning program, and our programs have always been grounded in experiential education. Our focus is educational and experiential – and we lead by example that “to give is to get”. We use our projects as opportunities to teach Western students about their Vietnamese peers, and what it is like to live in a different part of the world. Our students learn important values and life lessons while supporting local communicates less fortunate.
How large are your groups, and are they segregated by age?
Group size varies from 6 to 16, depending on the location and the specific task at hand. Because we work hard to build a strong collaborative team that shares a common experience, the maximum number of years that separates students in any given group 3. We have found that it is easier for students to bond with each other when they are close in age.
What do I have need to bring?
You’ll find pretty much everything you need in your closet at home. After enrollment, we’ll be sending you Forms and a Planning Packet that contains a detailed packing list.
Are cell phones, laptops, iPods, and/or other electronic devices allowed?
We believe that part of the overall experience is immersive – and to that extent we try and limit the use of electronics during our trips. And practically speaking, many remote locations are not wifi accessible. Being connected to the modern world of technology and “instant communications” can, in certain circumstances, be a hindrance to personal and group processes. We seek to “live in the moment” and take full advantage of the extraordinary opportunities of traveling and serving abroad.
With this mind, Green Summer Campaigns recommends limiting the use electronic devices during the programs. Students are provided times to check e-mail, Facebook, etc. via local hotel internet supply and/or the staff computer. Depending on the schedule and availability of internet, typically students are offered access to the internet every 2 to 5 days.
We strongly suggest students carry cell phones during travel days to and from the program, so parents and our staff can make contact in case of an emergency.
What is your policy on alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use?
We have a zero tolerance policy. Any use, possession, or even association with these products is cause for immediate dismissal from the program, without refund.
What are the Green Summer Campaigns rules?
At Green Summer Campaigns, we refer to rules as “agreements”. These agreements provide the framework for living in a shared. We agree to be respectful of others, their property and beliefs and, in the case of our staff, their responsibilities. We agree to use only respectful language, and to abstain from smoking, drinking and substance use. Green Summer Campaigns is strictly a no smoking or drinking program, and any use or association with any tobacco product, alcoholic beverage or controlled substance, including misuse of prescription medication, may result in immediate dismissal from the program, without refund.
We will provide your students our ‘agreement’ for signature prior to departure so that expectations are aligned once the trip begins.