Six opportunities to give back 

It's summertime, and that means it's time to get outside, get active, and start working on your tan. But you don't have to sit on the beach all summer to get that bronze complexion. Put yourself to work and give back to your community with these six outdoor volunteer opportunities.

Charleston County Parks

From litter cleanup and recycling efforts to invasive plant removal and resource recovery, Charleston County Parks offers a range of volunteering opportunities at their various parks, including James Island County Park, Folly Beach County Park, McLeod Plantation Historic Site and the Mt. Pleasant Pier. You can volunteer to help out with a festival or a special event, or with day-to-day park maintenance. Volunteers who serve more than 30 hours are rewarded with a volunteer reciprocal pass for participating area attractions. Check out the full list of available opportunities online.

Middleton Place

Looking to inject your volunteering experience with a little bit of history? Look no further than Middleton Place, the historic rice plantation on the banks of the Ashley. Home to America's oldest landscaped gardens, Magnolia utilizes volunteers to help with everything from guided tours of the gardens, house museum, and stableyards to assisting with kayak tours and helping care for the center's reptiles and amphibians. Middleton Place Foundation also offers volunteer opportunities at the Edmondston-Alston House on the Battery in downtown Charleston. All volunteers will receive a complimentary membership to the Middleton Place Foundation and are invited to attend educational field trips and lectures.

Keep North Charleston Beautiful

Keep North Charleston Beautiful (KNCB) is an organization that works to "create a community where people want to live, work, and play." Volunteers can engage in hands-on-beautification efforts such as planting flowers, painting and cleaning signs, and litter cleanup or participate in one of their many events each year. In addition to their beautification efforts, North Charleston also supports educational initiatives aimed at teaching schools and communities about the importance of environmental stewardship and sustainability.

Charleston Parks Conservancy

Help to renovate and maintain Charleston's parks by volunteering to be a Park Angel with the Charleston Parks Conservancy. The Charleston Parks Conservancy is a non-profit organization partnered with the city of Charleston to help with upkeep of the city's parks, and the Park Angels are the face of this organization — they were the ones behind recent Colonial Lake and Hampton Park renovations. Park Angels have responsibilities such as organizing community park projects, planning community events, and, of course, getting dirty maintaining the city's parks. As a Park Angel, you'll be able to learn gardening skills and techniques through volunteering in community gardens or by becoming an educator for school groups and public programs. During the hot summer months, you can also volunteer to help water the many gardens as an Aqua Angel.

Green Heart Project

Volunteer with the Green Heart Project and help teach students about the importance of sustainability and local food systems. Founded in 2009 as a small school garden at Mitchell Elementary School, the Green Heart Project has since grown to include five schools in its farm-to-school program, which brings the concepts and theories behind sustainable agriculture into the classroom. Although school is not currently in session, the Green Heart Project still needs help with maintaining the gardens throughout the summer. Every Thursday evening are Community Volunteer Hours for those interested, and volunteers are invited to come out and get their hands dirty helping with garden upkeep. Once school starts up again, the Green Heart Project will also be looking for volunteers for their Healthy Hearts cooking classes and to act as Green Heart Buddies, volunteers who work alongside students to maintain the gardens.

Charleston Habitat for Humanity

If you're looking to contribute to the community while gaining some valuable skills of your own, look no further than Charleston Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a "world where everyone has a decent place to live" by providing affordable housing opportunities to families of modest incomes. The Charleston chapter of Habitat for Humanity serves the communities of Charleston and North Charleston, and volunteers will take part in all areas of construction including framing, shingling, landscaping, and fence building. No experience is necessary, and the Charleston Habitat for Humanity website insists that the organization can "take you from an unskilled volunteer to a skilled, qualified leader." Habitat for Humanity also has locations on Johns Island and Mt. Pleasant.

Summer Guide 2016

  • Our most muscle-bound Summer Guide ever

    Pumped Up
    • Jun 22, 2016
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    In case you didn't know, body builders create perfectly formed mini-body builders when they make babies. It's just one of those science facts. Buff babies are great fun, too, because you can take them on roller coasters way before other kids. Buff or not, your kids may enjoy the following locations and activities, with one festival starting this very weekend.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Seven music festivals you can drive to

    Unfortunately, Bonnaroo, the South's largest and most well-known music festival, has already ended. But who needs it anyway? Bonnaroo isn't the only festival the South has to offer, and, as this list shows, it's not even the best. Check out these upcoming music festivals to get your sonic fix while staying south of the Mason-Dixon this summer.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Seven spots to take fido

    Summer is the perfect time to bond with your dog. Let's face it, it's nearly impossible to leave your pal at home when he's giving you sad looks through the window as you walk away. Luckily, there are plenty of pup-friendly spots in the Charleston area where you can grab a bite and a brew and relax with your best friend. You can even socialize with some humans if you want.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • One way to have your best beach day on Folly

    You can have a great day on any Charleston beach — make sure to check out IOP and Sullivan's, too — but we have a soft spot for Folly. It may be the surfers scanning the Washout for waves, or it could be the always-smiling faces greeting us at Bert's Market.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Eight Fourth of July celebrations

    There are few things more American than hulky men and women tanned to a glistening glow. Don't take our word for it, just close your eyes and imagine our body builders bathed in the light of a fireworks show. Then head to these area July 4th shindigs, dinners, and throwdowns.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Four beach games for everyone

    There's a happy medium between extreme water sports and ocean-side lounging: easy, breezy beach games. The following games are body builder approved. And most only require one hand, so the other can be sipping a cool beverage*. Match point, eh?
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Six ways to get wet this summer

    While kicking back with a solid beach read (check page 28 for our 2016 selections) is our favorite way to enjoy the beach, sometimes we get to itchin' for more action. The following sports range from the extreme to the easy-going, so even if you haven't been hitting the gym as much as our body-building pals, you can still have a good time.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Six Charleston hot dog joints

    Nothing says summer like a good old-fashioned hot dog. The most unpretentious of cookout staples, the hot dog is best served with whatever topping you think it deserves. And the greatest dogs of all? You'll find those at a number of local hot dog joints, from Summerville to Mt. Pleasant. Hot diggity.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Five tips for no cook chefs

    It's hot in Charleston. There's no way around the weather, but there just might be a way to skip the brutal heat associated with cooking in the summertime.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Six beach worthy reads

    The Lowcountry is known for its beaches and bars, and we're sure you know that there's another B on that list too — books. With several prolific authors located right here in Charleston, we've got a wide array of novels to choose from, and you can bet your bottom (sand) dollar that they're the kind you want to read while lounging in a beach chair. Here are some books we think are just peachy, from near and far.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Six bars on top of the world

    There aren't many tall buildings in Charleston, but it seems like all of those that do exist are topped with bars. Because who doesn't get excited about a rooftop bar? In the spirit of full disclosure, some of these bars will cost you a pretty penny per drink. So save them for a night when you really want to treat yo'self, or, if you're a high roller, feel free to make yourself a regular.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Eight soothing summer sips and tips

    Here at the City Paper, we like to drink alcohol. Beer, wine, cocktails — you name it, we want it. When it gets this hot out, though, we aren't always sure what drink of choice to turn to.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Six ways to sweat

    It's hard to exercise in the heat, plain and simple. That's why we've rounded up a list of indoor workout studios that range from fun to fancy (hello espresso maker). Body builders hit the gym every day, and you may want to, too, after seeing what these places have in store.
    • Jun 22, 2016
  • Five places to buy a swimsuit

    Body Builders, by the very nature of their buff physicality, have the beach bods of the gods. And we say that not just because it rhymes, but because it's totally true. If you want to be like them, hit the weights, down your protein shakes, and visit the following Charleston shops.
    • Jun 22, 2016


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