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
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
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
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
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
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.
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:
E-mail: email@example.com * Website:
ASSOCIATION FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENT
VOLUNTEER MANAGERS SEEKS MEMBERS
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.