Published on June 25th, 2010 | by Scott James
Sweet Travel Company Takes Pride In Giving Back on Vacation
This weekend, LGBT communities and their allies across the country will gather to celebrate Pride with parades, parties and commemorations. With roots in New York’ City’s Stonewall Riots and the first Pride parades of 1970, Gay Pride celebrations have come to symbolize pride in sexual orientation and gender identity on a weekend of events recognized around the world. But what does Pride have to do with living green? Plenty. Shannon Wentworth and Jen Rainin are the ground-breaking founders of Sweet, a lesbian eco-travel and company based in the San Francisco Bay area that operates with the philosophy of “party with a purpose.”
“The idea is to give back to the places we love to go [and] …to break down big problems into bite-size, doable chunks so that women will feel empowered and inspired to take action.” – Shannon Wentworth, co-founder of Sweet.
Launched in 2008, Sweet is a mix of the passions of its founders: travel, gay rights, women’s rights and the environment, and the work they do seeks to “break huge global issues into fun-size chunks to get more people involved in the solutions.” The company offsets all of their carbon emissions for land, sea and air travel, in addition to doing eco-service projects when they get there. Sweet’s voluntourists, called “Sweeties,” make it their mission to give back to the places that they vacation. Recent trips have seen 152 voluntouristas pull 220 bags of trash off the beach in a 45-minute contest in Costa Maya, Mexico and 1,200 lesbians on vacation build a children’s library or paint a children’s hospital ward. As they say, it “makes the news and breaks down stereotypes and barriers with the rest of the world about gays and lesbians.”
Wentworth was recently featured in San Francisco’s 7×7 magazine as one of “7 LGBT Locals Who Give San Francisco its Good Gay Name,” and their programs are only expanding. Upcoming events include a Salmon River rafting trip, cruises in Alaska and Hawaii and an adventure to Cozumel. And with over 3,000 Facebook fans and 1,100 twitter followers, clearly Sweet has found the social media sweet spot. You can keep up with Sweet on twitter at @sweet_loves_you.
“It’s my dream that Sweet will inform and inspire the next generation of travel companies. That it will become the gold standard for voluntourism and for eco-travel in the world.” — Jen Rainin, co-founder of Sweet