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Authentic Vacations Gives Back

Posted December 13, 2022

Authentic Vacations Gives Back

Company Values Become Community Actions.


According to Simon Russell, CEO of Authentic Vacations, it was decided at the corporation’s semi-annual meeting in June 2022, that the team needed to set forth what they believed to be their core internal and external values. Authentic Vacations is based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and specializes in custom travel. “We agreed that we need to, and want to, give back to our communities by volunteering,” says Russell, “and it was a unanimous decision.”

To that end, Authentic Vacations worked with the Arizona Tree Council to identify a place that they felt could benefit from help. The business also got in touch with Feed My Starving Children to provide for children who are in a vulnerable situation regarding their access to food. Every member of Authentic Vacations participated in one of these two volunteer events, held Tuesday, December 6, 2022.

Desert Shadows Elementary School designed a beautification project this year to improve the beauty of their school and to create shade. They didn’t have the funds to make the project a reality and reached out to the Arizona Tree Council for help. A perfect match was made when Authentic Vacations reached out to the council, offering help. Partnering with Summer Winds Nursery, who donated wholesale pricing and free delivery, was the first step. Then thirteen team members from Authentic Vacations planted eight large trees plus various shrubs and flowering plants.

In the desert, shade from trees is not simply an esthetic luxury. It is necessary for people, especially children, to be able to handle extreme heat. Bryan Cunningham, Principal of Desert Shadows, said, “Our entire school, the teachers, board, parents, staff, and especially the children, appreciate the support and time that Authentic Vacations gave us. Thank you!” And Simon Russell, CEO, said, “It was a great day. Lots of work, laughs, enjoying the kids’ smiles, and that upbeat feeling you get when you know you’re doing something good for your neighbors.”

So many children around the world need help right now, and the Authentic Vacations team went to work, doing their part. Twelve members of the AV team donated their time and money to fill boxes with food for children in Haiti and Africa. Mary Beth Kelm, COO of Authentic Vacations, had this response: “Our team found it humbling and enriching to volunteer for this worthwhile project. We were gratified to learn more about the children who need sponsorship and food to survive, and then to thrive.” She believes many volunteers will be back again. Feed My Starving Children has several locations around the valley where individuals or organizations can donate their time and money to help make life better for these children.

“It’s a good feeling, connecting with the community,” reported Kelm, “and I know each one of us received so much from our experience. We’re already making future plans for giving back!”

Authentic Vacations has arranged over 200,000 trips and is a trusted member of ASTA, ITOA, and part of the UK based leading destination management company Tour Partner Group. They are affiliated with Tourism Ireland, Visit Britain, Visit Scotland, Cymru Wales, Italia, and Australia.

To learn more about Authentic Vacations visit