Beaches Social Media on the Sand Conference is one of my favorites, because it’s one of the only conferences I know of that includes the entire family in many of the conference events. Given that Beaches Turks and Caicos, who hosted the event, is a family travel destination, this makes sense. I was excited to dig into the soft white sand and discover what this resort has to offer.
Not everyone brings their kids along to conferences, even when it’s an option. But travel is a priority for our family, and so we brought along our 7 and 11 year old sons. Our boys really didn’t give us the option to say not. It was their second visit to this Beaches property and they love this resort, so much so that if you ask them (and my kids have traveled extensively all over the world) where they would like to go on a vacation, their #1 choice is Beaches.
You would think that it is the unbelievable clear water, non-stop smoothies, the waterslides and the amazing kids clubs with Xbox lounge that make this destination so appealing for my kids.
You’d be correct in that assumption.
But there’s a little more that makes this destination special and that also gives them a personal connection to the island. It’s the work done by the Sandals Foundation. Both last year and this year at Social Media on the Sand, attendees were given a backpack to fill with books and school supplies to donate to island schools. It can be hard to get all the classrooms need and every little bit helps. The Beaches resort enlists guests to lend a hand with their “Pack with a Purpose” program.
My kids take this very seriously. They attend a Jewish day school where the concept of Tikkun Olam or Healing the World, is a daily lesson and practice. They aim to leave the world a better place than they found it, and being given assignments like this one from the Sandals foundation, is a tangible measure for them. My older son really thought about his selection of books this year. He picked copies of his own favorite ones and wrote a note inside each, saying why he loved the stories and letting any future reader know how much he hoped they would love these books too. By packing the books and supplies, my family felt a certain closeness with the resort that I’m sure they would not have felt had they simply arrived and sidled on up to the smoothie bar. Their hands have touched others, if only in passing, but in brothership and a common shared goal of a better future.
This year my older son got to go one step further. He participated in a #BeachesTeen program with the resort and went with the group to help paint a local school. He returned paint streaked and happy – his yellow paint “highlights” in his hair even better than anything from the sunshine.
I’m grateful to the Sandals Foundation for turning travel into a chance to make an impact. They continue to do great things and this year have partnered with Scholastic to bring thousands of books to children in the Caribbean. This is a huge and exciting effort that is going to make a material difference for so many!