Aquarium Extends Youth Volunteer Signup

March 18, 2009

Teenagers have fun, earn college credit and gain work experience

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is looking for teenagers to join its youth volunteer team. Enrollment is now open and has been extended until April 1, 2009 for the Saturday training sessions which begin May 9 and run through June 6 from 10 am to 4 pm. Young people ages 13 to 17 years old have an opportunity to make a positive impact on the local community and visitors from all over the country. Youth volunteers learn about the fascinating world of marine science and share their knowledge as Aquarium interpreters.

Youth volunteers spend 24 hours in training learning about marine science, marine animals, and conservation. Successful completion of training can earn young people 3 transferable college credits from the Oregon Coast Community College and high school credit in some high schools as well.

“Becoming a youth volunteer is a great way to learn more about marine life, share your knowledge and work with peers who have common interests. Friendships are made as youths volunteer together and work side by side with our staff and adult volunteers,” according to Tricia Ratliff, youth programs coordinator for the Aquarium. “Volunteers also get a realistic view of what it’s like to work in the marine science field. Students gain experience, walk away inspired and some continue to seek a career in the marine science field.”

Volunteer training offers an introduction to marine biology, animal husbandry and the inner workings of the Aquarium. They also study the Aquarium’s marine animal collection as well as the Oregon coast’s natural history. After completing the training, youth volunteers work with the public as interpreters. Volunteers work two 4.5 hour shifts a week during the summer, sharing their knowledge with Aquarium guests. Benefits include educational work experience, references, discounts in the Aquarium gift shop and complimentary passes for every 100 hours of volunteer service. After completing 50 hours of service youth volunteers receive an Aquarium membership.

Ratliff encourages young people who would like to join the youth volunteer team to apply for spring training, coming up in May. Enrollment is open until April 1 for 13 to 17 year olds for the youth volunteer training course, which runs Saturdays, May 9, 16, 30, and June 6th from 10 am to 4 pm. Applicants need to submit an application packet by April 1st and must attend every training session. Interested youths may pick up an application at the Aquarium, on the Aquarium web site at, by calling 541-867-3474 x 5312, or emailing youth programs coordinator, Tricia Ratliff at for more information.