Last Call for Summer Volunteers

By Linda Denomme, Volunteer Services Manager

We have had a very successful volunteer recruitment season this spring. How lucky we are to be a place where people anxiously offer their time and energy. There is very little arm-twisting involved! Whether a Detroit Zoological Society member or soon to become one, the likely candidate is someone who already visits the Zoo quite often. Asking them to be here more isn’t a hardship, it’s a treat. By concentrating our recruitment activities into the spring months, we are able to have a solid corps of volunteers trained, ready and available for the busy summer season.

An interview with a Volunteer Services staff member is part of our orientation process. This allows us to get to know each applicant and to help them determine which role they will play as a volunteer. One of our interview questions is, “Why are you interested in volunteering at the Detroit Zoo?”

The answers are useful and enjoyable for us to hear. We expect responses about a love of animals, which is important since celebrating and saving them is what we are all about. Personally, I enjoy hearing how connected people feel to the Detroit Zoo. It is such a special place in many families, sometimes for multiple generations. It isn’t surprising that a child, who grew up with crystal clear memories of magical times at the Zoo, becomes an adult with a debt of gratitude and a desire to pay it back. I also enjoy the stories from those who grew up close by, usually having something to do with climbing a fence to get in! This year there was a new one about the time this volunteer splashed around inside Rackham Fountain in her youth. Clearly Park Safety was looking the other way that day!

As the summer season rolls on, we will see this love of the Zoo take various forms of dedication as our new recruits quickly find their niche and confidently strut with their red uniform shirts and ASK ME buttons blazing. If you or someone you know is interested in volunteering, we have our last Orientation Part 1 and Part 2 on the evenings of June 7 and 14 respectively. Following those, we’ll have one last round of trainings for Arctic Ring of Life Guest Assistant, Mob Squad at the Australian Outback Adventure, Gallery Guide and Zoo Ambassador in June as well. Then it is all hands on deck for what we hope will be a fun and exciting summer season. For those who already have full calendars for June, we’ll offer a session in October as well. A fall start gets you ready to help with Zoo Boo, a highlight of the volunteer calendar.

Contact us at [email protected] for more information on our programs.