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Getting started as a volunteer

You enjoy parks and have some skills, time and enthusiasm to share. You'd make a great Parks Volunteer!

How do you get started? Use this website to explore the many different types of volunteers we need and volunteer opportunities that we offer. Then let us know what is of interest to you by completing an online application or you can contact the staff person listed on each opportunity description page for more details. The Volunteer Services Office is always happy to assist you in this process, so if you are having difficulty, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Individuals
Families
Students
Eagle projects
Court-ordered
Group volunteering
Youth organizations (scouts, schools, etc)
Community groups

Individual volunteers

In General:

  • Explore our many volunteer opportunities – take note of the commitment and other requirements.
  • To get more information for a particular opportunity, click on Job Details then the tabs for the Description, Duties & Responsibilities and Contact Info. If interested, click on Apply to fill out the on-line application. For certain events, you will need to click on the Schedule tab to select a time slot to get to the application.
  • When filling out the on-line application you will be asked to create a User ID and Password. When finished you have created a Volunteer Record within our system. Remember your User ID and Password, and you can then “refer” yourself to any volunteer job or event in the future without having to fill out another application. Call 301-395-2504 if you forgot your User ID and/or Password.!
  • Filling out an application automatically sends your information and interest in a volunteer job to the staff person recruiting for that job.
  • Once you have sent your application, the rest of the process seeks to ensure that you are a good match for a current need and ready to volunteer:
    • For Special Events and Projects, the process is pretty simple – you will receive confirmation information with any additional instructions.
    • For longer term volunteer positions, you will be asked to meet with staff for an interview, given instructions on how to complete a background screening (depending on the volunteer position), commit to a schedule of volunteer shifts, and register for any required training for the volunteer position.

Families

Family volunteering is a great way to spend time together and give back to the community. In Montgomery Parks, our Family Volunteer program seeks to get work done while allowing younger family members to help to the best of their ability. One example of a popular Family Volunteer job is our Blue Bird Monitor position; weekly visits to assigned boxes to collect simple data can involve many family members – even those who need to be lifted up to peer in and count the number of eggs in a nest. Babies, toddlers and young children can come along, older children can help more substantially but an adult is registered and responsible for the completion of all tasks and for others in the family. Make sure you discuss your particular situation with the supervisor in advance; their decision about the suitability of a given assignment for family volunteering is made on a case-by-case basis. Click here to search for opportunities for children and families.

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Students

There are many types of student volunteers – the key is to make sure you understand the parameters of your requirement and communicate that with us.

  • Montgomery County Public School Students
    • High School
      Look for volunteer jobs or event that are noted as “SSL approved”.
      If you would like to propose some other service or project for credit, make sure your idea is approved by park staff and your school’s SSL Coordinator. Click here to search for SSL-approved listings
    • Middle School
      We receive many inquiries for service opportunities for middle school students – especially relating to science classes. We can assist students in developing a service project that can meet their requirement. An adult supervisor will need to be identified and it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that the school approves the project.
  • Private School
    Let us know how your requirement works and we will work with you to see if there’s a match in parks. With such a wide variety of school programs it is difficult to make generalizations. School staff seeking service projects for groups of students should see our “Groups” section. Individual students can search our existing needs and apply to those that are of interest and meet the service guidelines for your school. We will be happy to help you see if we have a match. Click here to search for SSL-approved listings
  • College Students
    Students from a wide variety of disciplines can find meaningful service and enrichment opportunities in parks. Groups of students seeking a project should see the “Groups” section. Individual students should explore our existing volunteer jobs and apply for any of interest to you. If you do not find what you are looking for – let us know. We are often able to develop a volunteer position for well-qualified and enthusiastic college students.
  • DAY OFF of School SSL Workdays
    Montgomery Parks is now offering Student Service Learning Volunteer Events for students on weekdays when Montgomery County Public Schools are not in session. These events will provide students with the opportunity to get outside, help with interesting projects in the parks, and earn SSL Hours. Projects will include stream & park cleanups, natural surface trail workdays, and others. Volunteers under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.

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Eagle projects

Eagle Projects and Montgomery Parks are a natural fit! We are fortuntate to get dozens of requests for Eagle Projects each year. Unfortunately not all are approved.  Demonstrating maturity, excellent planning skills, and having a well-considered and worthy project will increase the odds that a Scout’s project will be approved.  The Volunteer Services Office (VSO) often acts as a go-between Park Staff and Scouts, and our primary objective is to make sure is that communication between the Scout and our Staff is effective as possible.

Before contacting staff or applying for the Eagle Scout Volunteer Job opportunity, please follow the link below to see the guidelines we want Scouts to follow to guarantee a successful Eagle Project!
(Eagle Guidelines).

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Court-ordered or Pre-Court Community Service

Do you have some mandated service requirement to fulfill due to a court order or on recommendation of an attorney? We try to find volunteer placements for youth from Montgomery County's Teen Court; or for individuals 18 or older, from the Alternative Community Service (ACS) office through Montgomery County's Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, but not through other programs.

Teen Court participants should be the ones to contact us - not their parent or guardian. ACS participant's service requirement is arranged through their counselor and Park Staff. If you are interested in ACS, the number to call is 240-777-5444. There is a fee. ACS volunteers typically work during the week with our Park Maintenance crews outdoors (not at our nature centers, sports arenas, events or gardens). Contact our office at 301-495-2504 to discuss further.

If neither of these options apply to your situation, or if we cannot find an opportunity for you at this time, you can go to the Montgomery County's Volunteer Center's website at www.MontgomeryServes.org. Use their Find A Volunteer Opportunity form, and click on "Advanced" search. There is a field to narrow down those agencies that accept court-ordered volunteers.

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Group Volunteers

There are many different kinds of volunteer groups and each is unique. The make up of your group, date range and location preference influence the types of opportunities that may be available for your group. Most groups participate in short term service projects – like stream clean ups, trail workdays or invasive plant pulls. Others develop a long-term relationship with parks and organize many volunteer projects and services over several years. The key to a quality experience for your group and our organization is advance planning and a sincere desire to help. We do have some opportunities available to groups, but often times we work with groups to customize a project that meets both the Park’s needs and the organizations needs, be it team building, a desire to clean up the environment or several other possibilities.

Youth organizations (scouts, schools, etc.)

Many youth organizations perform service projects as part of a learning or enrichment experience and Parks are wonderful places for that! Youth groups must have an adult contact and appropriate adult supervision while working in parks.

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Community groups (corporate, civic, synagogues/churches, etc.)

Join the hundreds of community organizations that help out in parks each year. We will need a contact person who will be responsible for working out details and communicating between Parks staff and group members.

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Date of last update: May 22, 2008