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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 and simply apply for any volunteer job of interest to you.
  • The on-line application creates your Volunteer Record within our system.
  • You create a user name and password and can then “refer” yourself to any volunteer job or event at any time.
  • A referral 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 events and workdays, 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, set up a time to have your fingerprints taken (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.

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Eagle projects

We receive dozens of inquiries for Eagle Scout and other “service award” projects each year. While we sometimes have projects in waiting – most often it is up to the scout to propose a potential project to parks. Before you submit a volunteer application, please see the Eagle Guidelines and understand that your project must be reviewed and approved by parks staff prior to beginning any work. Once you have approval for your project, please register as a volunteer by going to the link "Search Opportunities", selecting "Eagle Scout Project" and completing the application.
(Link to Eagle Guidelines).

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Court-ordered service

We participate with the Alternative Community Service (ACS) program of Montgomery County. If you have been ordered to perform service or are seeking service hours in advance of a court appearance, please call ACS at 240-777-5409

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Volunteering as part of a group

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 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