By Tys Sniffen
Are you in Servas to actually meet people? I am. Are you surprised that you haven’t heard from travelers lately? I was. When I checked my profile on Servas.org, I discovered that I had missed some key ‘flags’ on my Servas International settings and I want to make sure everyone is aware of these choices that may have been automatically set by the system.
An updated and well-edited profile along with a good photo conveys not just a sense of commitment and reliability to potential travelers, but it also fosters trust and builds strong connections within the SERVAS network. Incomplete or outdated profiles may lead travelers to question a host's availability and the whole Servas program, potentially causing missed opportunities for cultural exchange.
Here’s what you can do to check your profile: Login to the US Servas website then select “My Servas” and then “My Profile”, then read and consider each and every item! Specifically, check out the “Hosting” area. About the fourth thing down in that section, there are 3 items that have “NO” as their DEFAULT setting. I believe there are some translation issues that leave travelers believing you don’t want to host them.
“Can host families” - This is a strange question, and doesn’t really make sense, language-wise. “Family” might mean two parents and a small child, or maybe just a married couple, or a father & daughter, or maybe just *not* unmarried people. I think that unless you are adamantly against Servas members with children traveling with them that are under 18, you should mark this *yes*.
“Can host youth 18 to 25” - This is the one that completely shocks me. How in the world do we say people can be members at age 18, but then have a DEFAULT setting saying ‘no’ to the first 6 years of membership? Plus, guess who travels the most? People in that age group. Get over to your profile and mark this YES.
“Want more travelers” - this is also a strange thing to include in host profile, but maybe you are so overwhelmed by traveler requests that you *don’t* want to host… which would be fine, but then maybe don’t be a host? Just be a Day Host, or just a traveler? Anyway, I’d advise you go and decide how you want this marked, because I think the default is set at NO.
Check the rest of your profile as well, and make sure to add a profile picture. If you’ve ever tried to find a host, you know having a picture makes a huge difference.