Youth Volunteer Training

February 02, 2012

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 will spend 48 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.

“It is a great time to get involved and spend the summer with friends, learning and growing as leaders together,” said Tricia Ratliff, Aquarium Youth Programs Coordinator. “There are so many opportunities for students in the program; working with the public, volunteering with summer camps, working around marine animals and at social events.  Becoming a youth volunteer offers an opportunity for teens to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with others.” Ratliff said friendships, personal development, and networking opportunities are also benefits of the program as volunteers 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,” said Ratliff.

Youth volunteers are enthusiastic about the experience as well. “I have learned so much about the environment as a youth volunteer, and thanks to the Aquarium, I was able to spread my knowledge to the community,” said Emily Branigan, former youth volunteer. “It is so rewarding to have an impact on a child’s life, whether it is encouraging them to recycle or showing them about the wonders of the ocean.”

 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 April.  Enrollment is open now through March 9th, 2012. The volunteer training course, will run Saturdays, April 7th through May 12th. Applicants need to submit an application packet by March 9th 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 volunteer@aquarium.org  for more information.

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