Enrollment Open for Youth Volunteer Training

March 21, 2011

The Oregon Coast Aquarium is looking for teenagers to join its youth volunteer team. Young people have an opportunity to explore the fascinating world of marine science and share their knowledge as Aquarium interpreters. Youth volunteers spend 36 hours in training learning about marine science, marine animals, and conservation.  Successful completion of training can earn young people three 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 get involved in the marine science field and provides an opportunity for teens to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with others,” said Tricia Ratliff, Aquarium Youth Programs Coordinator. “Friendships, personal development, and networking opportunities are also benefits of the program. Volunteers will find themselves working alongside Aquarium staff and adult volunteers. Some volunteers go on to pursue a career in marine sciences based on their experience as a youth volunteer.”

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 café along with complimentary passes for every 100 hours of volunteer service. After completing 50 hours of service youth volunteers are eligible to 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 now through April 6th for teens entering 9th grade – 12th grade for the youth volunteer training course, which runs Saturdays, May 7th through June 11th. Applicants need to submit an application packet by April 6th and must attend every training session. Interested youth may pick up an application at the Aquarium, on the web at aquarium.org, by calling 541-867-3474 x 5312, or emailing youth programs coordinator, Tricia Ratliff at tricia.ratliff@aquarium.org for more information.

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