Spotlight Project: Naiwaisomo Village
For over 15 years, ARCC students have ventured into the heart of Beqa Island, comprised of nine unique villages and known as the ‘Island of Firewalkers’. Here locals live as they have for centuries and struggle to improve their livelihoods due to a lack of support and resources. Through projects directed by the Village Chief, we have installed community generators, refurbished classrooms, constructed sidewalks and a seawall, incorporated English education in the local primary school and more. Continuing our work on milestone projects, we feel an overwhelming sense of community and impact.
Venture across the South Pacific to discover Australia and the tropical Fijian Islands. For over fifteen years, ARCC has cultivated relationships with our faraway friends and given back to their warm and welcoming communities. Teach English at a primary school on Beqa Island and lead after-school activities. Improve the infrastructure of a small island village by constructing a footpath, painting, and working to enhance the community center. Stay with families in traditional Fijian bures where you’re greeted by the village chief. Walk through the iconic Sydney Opera House and take in the exquisite views across the waterways of the Sydney Harbour. Encounter paradise on a perfect deserted island dotted with coconut palm trees. Experience the natural beauty and vibrant marine life of the Great Barrier Reef as you SCUBA dive and snorkel from a liveaboard boat. Participate in a conservation project in Northern Australia. Get up close with kangaroos and work with rangers to improve the habitats at a Wildlife Center. Stroll through the lush rainforest of Wooroonooran National Park, swim in waterfalls and slide down a natural rock slide. Return home with a sense of fulfillment and new friendships from across the globe.
“Having spent three summers at ARCC, I can definitely say ARCC is extraordinarily well run. I had fabulous leaders that helped me so much. Everyone becomes a family as you overcome difficult obstacles, share joy and spend your summer laughing. I've learned so much about myself at ARCC and would like to thank everyone who made my three summers at ARCC so unforgettable.”
— Helen E., ARCC Student
Travel to Fiji
Our groups meet in Los Angeles and fly to the tropical island paradise of Fiji. Shortly after arriving, we take a boat to Beqa Island and prepare for our service adventures ahead. Having welcomed our groups for over fifteen years, we are greeted warmly with smiling faces and excited children.
Primary School Teaching Service
As part of our community service program, we teach primary students 6-12 years old in Naiwaisomo Village. Through a series of activities, games, and songs, we instruct alongside the local teachers to further their student’s knowledge of English, Math and Science.
Our Own Fijian Deserted Island
Next, we travel by boat to an uninhabited island and set up camp for a day of fun and night under the stars. Locals may visit us to climb the trees and offer up coconuts while we play in the turquoise water. While enjoying 'island time', we reflect on our service efforts and collaborate on how we can continue to impact these small communities.
Beqa Island Village Service
We learn first hand about Fijian culture and traditions as we work side by side with our new Fijian friends during our next service project. We discover first-hand that any improvement to the village has a direct effect on the quality of life for everyone. We work hard to continue the construction of a walking path that connects the villagers to their community and eases the difficulty of getting around in the muddy terrain. Gathering rocks, mixing cement and laying the foundation, we truly feel a connection to these villages.
We say goodbye to Beqa Island and travel back to the main island of Viti Levu by boat. We celebrate our last evening in Fiji with a traditional meal and prepare for our adventures ahead - next on the list, Australia!
Wooroonooran National Park & Wildlife Refuge
After a connecting flight to Cairns, we make our way to Wooroonooran National Park, one of the most diverse places in the Wet Tropics World Heritage area and host to some of the oldest continually surviving rainforest in the world. We swim under waterfalls, slide down a natural rock slide and take in our surroundings.
Next, we volunteer at a wildlife center and refuge in Port Douglas. We have the opportunity to get face-to-face with wildlife which may include kangaroos, wallabies, birds of prey, goannas, snakes, koalas and an assortment of other Aussie animals. We lend a hand doing needed maintenance that helps keep the facility in working order.
SCUBA Diving Australia’s Great Barrier Reef
In Cairns, Australia, we have the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to SCUBA dive the world’s premier diving location: the Great Barrier Reef. We complete coursework and log 5 dives to become PADI certified Open Water Divers or upgrade to an Advanced Open Water certification completing 9 dives. We stay one night on a liveaboard boat that is moored at the reef allowing us to complete our dives among the brilliantly colored corals, giant clams, turtles and over 1,500 varieties of tropical fish.
(All students wishing to SCUBA dive must pass a thorough diving physical and cannot have used an inhaler or suffered from asthma in the past three years. Additionally, students with ADHD who are or have been taking Ritalin, or any of its derivatives, will NOT be permitted to dive. For those who are unable or not wishing to dive, alternative water activities are available.)
We say goodbye to the coastal community of Cairns and head to the bustling city of Sydney for a couple days of seeing the sights. Sydney is home to the world-famous Opera House and Harbor Bridge, both on top of our list of things to see. Located in the heart of the city, our hostel lets us taste the best Sydney has to offer. We are a short walk from Darling Harbor, and a beautiful ferry ride away from Manly Beach.