When I was in college, I spent my summers visiting family and friends, journeying on cross-country road trips, catching up on extracurricular reading, or traveling internationally (if I could afford it). I always started off my summer vacation with a desire to make my summer really count -- to do something purposeful and intentional to help other people. But after a few weeks in the sun, I often resorted to all my summer norms.
College students aren't getting away with that mentality so easily anymore -- not with resources like our World Vision ACT:S Summer Adventure Bucket List. It's 12 challenges meant to get you out of the house and experience the world around you.
So if you're looking for something different for your summer -- something unique, a little daring, a little crazy, and a lot of fun -- you can join others from the ACT:S network on an adventure to make your summer count. And each week, World Vision ACT:S is highlighting stories and ideas of how others are acting on each challenge. Check them all out at WorldVisionACTS.org.
The ACT:S Summer Adventure Bucket List
1. Immerse yourself in a different culture. Your community or city may be a mix of many cultures. Find one that is different from your own, and learn about it. Check out cultural festivals happening in your area. Visit a family-owned restaurant of a different ethnic group, and talk with the people who work there. Visit organizations dedicated to specific cultural groups. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
2. Explore a new church denomination or faith. Step out of your comfort zone and try visiting a church of a different denomination, or of a completely different faith. Notice the differences and similarities with the way you normally worship at your church. Find out what issues they care about and how they act on them. Allow this experience to help you think about your faith in a larger context.
3. Escape to the outdoors. Take yourself away from your typical routine and the noise of daily life. Hike, swim, kayak, go rock climbing, take a nature walk, or camp for a day or two. During your time outside, spend time reflecting on God’s creation and listening for His voice.
4. Map a local issue. Research your city or region. Find a specific issue (unemployment or poverty rate, commercial sex trafficking, poor school systems, etc.) that seems to be prevalent there, and seek to understand how and why it affects the community. Talk to people about the issue, and get their perspective. Look up organizations in the area addressing the issue. Take what you find, and make a physical map, web, chart, report, etc.
5. Challenge yourself to read a book on a justice issue you know little about. Approaching an issue from someone else’s perspective can be eye-opening. Consider getting a group of friends to read the book with you -- and don’t limit yourself! Reading books that make you uncomfortable or present views different from your own can help you gain a more holistic understanding of an issue.
6. Screen a film. Documentaries are a powerful way to learn about a specific issue. Invite a few friends over to watch a documentary, and take time to discuss the film afterward.
7. Document your environment. Grab your camera and a few friends, and head out into your community or nearby city. Find a way to capture the diversity in it through photos or video documentary. Discover something new, show contrasts between the different neighborhoods of your area, talk with people, and be observant and open-minded. You never know what you might find out, or what issues you might uncover along the way.
8. Create something that brings the urgency of a justice issue to life. Paint, draw, take photographs, write a song or poem, make a collage, or pull together a video. Explore why this issue matters to you and weighs on your heart.
9. Write. If there is a specific issue you are passionate about, write about it. Think about what faith and justice means to you. If you’ve traveled, or if you’ve studied an issue locally or internationally, write about your experiences, and share them with your friends on Facebook and through email.
10. Spend time volunteering with a local non-profit. Find a local organization or ministry focused on issues of poverty, homelessness, or care for creation, or find a group that helps orphans, the elderly, the mentally disabled, troubled youth, etc. Take time to get to know the people who work there or who are benefiting from the organization. Go and be willing to serve.
11. Meet your congressional representative or senator. Find a day to meet with your local Congress member and discuss a current bill or issue you find important. Use it as a time to advocate and learn more about a specific cause. If you aren’t able to meet in person, write a letter or try meeting with another leader in your community.
12. Create a bucket list for your own life! Here’s your chance to think about faith and justice in the context of your entire life -- your career, your calling, your passions. How can you use your talents and skills to make a difference? What goals do you want to accomplish? Whether you want to spend a month serving overseas, learn another language, write a book or publish an article, record a CD, start an organization, or simply impact someone’s life -- make your own bucket list. The journey starts now!