Volunteering myths busted: volunteering is just for youngsters

Volunteering is definitely not just for gap year students and teenagers. We firmly believe that older volunteers bring an amazing dynamic to volunteer groups, and bring unique sets of skills and experience to a team.


The myth that volunteering is just for kids, stems from the early days of volunteering, when it was mainly the realm of youngsters on a gap year or students on their university vacations – youngsters looking for a cheap way to experience new places and make a contribution to a worthwhile cause.

These days people of all ages volunteer, from children volunteering with their families, to over-80s bringing their grandchildren for a shared experience.

If you’re an empty nester or taking a well-earned career break, chances are you have valuable skills and life experiences that will have an enormous impact on the project, and ensure you get more satisfaction and fulfilment out of the work.

For retired travellers thinking about their next adventure, don’t be put off the idea of volunteering – now is the time to find your passion, travel overseas in a safe environment and have incredible experiences with a wide range of like-minded people of all ages.


Mature volunteer with three elephants in the background Elephant conservation and community outreach programme for mature volunteers Mature-volunteering-nature-enthusiast-header


If you weren’t convinced, we’d like to introduce you to Yvonne, a four-time repeat volunteer at our Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme in Zimbabwe. We asked her how she felt as an older volunteer, and for some advice for potential participants who are a bit nervous to take the plunge!

Read her amazing and inspirational story.

Find out more about our community and conservation projects, and read our other myth-busting blog posts:

  1. Volunteers take paying jobs from locals

  2. Volunteering is bad for communities

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