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This page is devoted to the management of volunteer programs at the local level, including information for cities, counties, boards, commissions, and districts.

~ September 2004 ~ Topics

County Park Volunteer Opportunities

In counties and cities all over, many volunteers are serving their communities within Park Departments.

Here are just a few tasks performed by these highly valued volunteers:

  • Visitor Center Volunteers: Greet visitors, assist with special events, design and/or construct displays, and develop and/or lead programs.
  • Volunteer Survey Taker: Assist park staff by administering surveys to visitors to assess park services.
  • Dog Park Volunteer: Pick up litter, inform new visitors of the rules.
  • Gate Opener/Closer: Open and close park gates in accordance with park hours.
  • Mounted Assistance Unit: Riders and their horses, patrol parks noting any trail conditions that need attending.
  • Park Trail Walker: Walk trails and picking up litter as well as reporting any hazards.
  • Volunteer Photographer: Take photographs of events as well as the parks themselves that are printed in publications, displayed in public areas and on website.
  • Cross-Country Ski Program: Assist as members of the Ski Patrol during winter months.
  • Deer Population Monitors: Track, survey and monitor deer populations within park.
  • Waterfowl Nesting Structures: Design, build and maintain houses for waterfowl.
  • Fisheries Habitat Projects: Stock and maintain fish populations.
  • Campground Host : Greet and assist campers and visitors to campground.

Tips on Developing Positive Volunteer-Staff Relations

A volunteer services manager should always be monitoring the unique interaction of paid staff and volunteers. This responsibility of the job is ongoing and although challenging, it is not impossible.

Here are some tips on safeguarding relationships between paid staff and volunteers:

  • Speak at new employee orientation and share information about the volunteer services program. Also, include written information in employee orientation packets.
  • Provide training for staff on how to supervise volunteers.
  • Communicate the benefits of volunteer service to the organization in monthly reports, newsletters, E-mail, at meetings and in agency brochures.
  • Develop a Volunteer Advisory Team consisting of staff and volunteers who can give direction and guidance to the volunteer services program.
  • Emphasize the skills and experience staff will gain in supervising volunteers.
  • Address misconceptions and concerns staff may have abut volunteers.
  • Involve staff in the development of new volunteer positions based on needs.
  • Enlist the assistance of staff who are positive about volunteer involvement to promote the program with others.
  • Meet with managers at least once a year to evaluate volunteer involvement in their departments/divisions.
  • Spend time in departments/divisions to keep abreast of needs and workloads, assessing how volunteers may assist.
  • If a manager/staff member is resistant, yet still open to involve volunteers in his or her department/division, suggest an alternative staff member within that department/division who does desire to supervise volunteers to take on this role.
  • If a manager/staff member is resistant yet still open to utilize volunteers, start with a short-term project in which you can place your very best volunteers.
  • Create a feedback system for staff to express concerns and suggestions.
  • Meet periodically with the director to ensure s/he has buy-in to the volunteer services program.

Short description of this series: "Organizations are successful at achieving their mission when volunteers and staff are a team. Evaluate the elements of the relationships in your organization and outline the strategies to make things better."

Purchase this package by clicking on either of the following links, which will redirect you to a secure shopping site. Evaluation Only $25.00 and Evaluation & Consultation Package - Best Deal! $99.95 (Resource List not available on this package.)

The author of the Local Government Volunteer Programs page is Georgean C. Johnson-Coffey, M. Ed.
P.O. Box 15118 * Fort Wayne, IN 46885-5118 * Phone: 260-338-1414 * Fax: 260-338-1707
E-mail: georgeanjc@aol.com * Website: http://www.bluevisiontraining.com


The National Association of Volunteer Programs in Local Government (NAVPLG) is an association of administrators, coordinators and directors of volunteer programs in local government. Its purpose is to strengthen volunteer programs in local government through leadership, advocacy, networking and information exchange. NAVPLG is an affiliate of the National Association of Counties and is seeking affiliate status with the National League of Cities. Cost is $20 for individuals and $75 for group local government membership. An affiliate membership is $25 and is intended for those who are not local government members but may have an interest in the group. There is a quarterly newsletter, national network, and access to NACo's Volunteerism Project. For more information contact Robin Popik, who is a Volunteer Resource Supervisor. She can be reached by phone at 972-941-7114. Be sure to mention you read about this in Volunteer Today.

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