Everyday sunrise over the Grand Canyon - volunteering at its best!

Jack, 27, from Stafford, discovered a world of opportunities being a part of Volunteering USA, as he was asked to return to work on the project the following year. Here, in his own words, is his story.  


My top requirements for this trip were affordability and an exciting destination.  I chose to go with BUNAC as they ticked both of these boxes. I received an excellent level of support before I left the UK and whilst I was in America. BUNAC provided plenty of needed information on what I needed to take on the trip with me and what to expect while I was there. My interview was very relaxed and friendly and gave me a real flavour of what I’d be greeted with once I arrived on the project in America.

On Arrival?

The orientation that I received once I arrived in America was excellent! It was all very clear, very informative and well structured on what I was to expect and what was expected as me as a volunteer. The supervisors were brilliant, very knowledgeable and highly motivated. They eased us into the project and were willing to answer any questions I had and I always had someone to turn to if I needed to seek advice.


I was lucky enough to spend the whole of my volunteering in the Grand Canyon. It was spectacular. My day to day duties included trail maintenance, rock work, bridge repairs and a whole host of other exciting tasks. There was room for growth on my placement as I started working with all the other volunteers and progressed to help leading the crew and supervising parts of the work. 


I stayed in a tent during my stay. Even those who are not accustomed to regular camping can enjoy it, the facilities were excellent. There is little storage, but that comes with all camping trips!


Whatever team are working on the project prepare the meals, it’s a team work effort, and great socialising part to your day. 


I went with BUNAC for its affordability. I paid for what I got! I spent around £1500 in total, this included was used for socialising and road trips with friends. I worked to save before I left for America as I knew I would need some extra money for outside my time at the project. 


Living and being apart of the Grand Canyon landscape everyday. It is amazing, and each day I saw and learnt something new. I met so many great friends from varying backgrounds, countries and cultures, bringing home with me many wonderful memories. The biggest highlight for me was I was asked to return on a J1 visa the following summer to work as a supervisor.


The physical side of the volunteering was challenging. It was tough hiking and the work could be very demanding. However, this was what lead to the most rewarding side of my trip - overcoming these challenges and becoming stronger, mentally and physically because of it. 


If you head over to the project in the autumn/winter months pack warm clothes! It gets very cold camping at night and I saw temperatures drop to below zero. Set aside time to see the local area before or after your trip, it is beautiful. 


I travelled Tuscon to the rodeo, to Las Vegas, Lake Powell, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, the Lava tube near Flagstaff and lots of other local places!

Next stop?

Get my J1 visa granted and return to the Grand Canyon and back to the project!

If this has you thinking WOW where do I sign up?! Head to our Volunteer USA page now!

Want to tell the world about your BUNAC adventure? Send your stories, photos and videos topromo@bunac.org.uk