Want to make a serious commitment to a whole lot of fun? Become a member of the Brazos Bend State Park Volunteer Organization (BBSPVO). Staff is accepting applications for the next round of training that will take place September 14, 21 & 28. All three dates are mandatory.
Park staff is seeking outgoing, self-motivated individuals who are able to donate at least 48 hours per calendar year and are able to assist park visitors year round. Volunteers operate the park’s nature center and volunteer gift shop. They conduct programs and hikes for the general public and school groups, maintain various customer services and assist the park maintenance staff with trail maintenance, etc. Volunteers receive hands-on training in all areas. Application, interview, liability waiver and criminal background check required. Application deadline is June 30, 2013.
Volunteer Rick Dashnau shares thoughts about his volunteer experiences: “When I signed up for volunteer training, I wasn’t aware of what a park volunteer did. All I knew was that alligators lived in the park, and I might be able to do something constructive while “hanging out” with the alligators. I swiftly discovered that there are MANY tasks performed by volunteers at Brazos Bend State Park. A volunteer is only limited by their imagination.
“In the 10-plus years I’ve been volunteering at BBSP, I’ve come to learn that one of our most important functions is to be “ambassadors” for the park. That is, volunteers are the human point of contact for most visitors at the park. Although the park staff and camp hosts are on duty , their tasks often keep them out of public contact. So, it is the volunteers who spend the most time talking to the visitors on the trails and in the Nature Center. It isn’t a hard task. After all, just about everyone who visits the park is here because they want to be.
“We have many out-of-state-and out-of-country visitors. Some are temporary or permanent transplants while others are simply vacationing. Upon finding out that it is someone’s first visit to the park, I immediately welcome them to the park, and try to find something to show them. It’s even better if the visitor is new to Texas, or the United States!! I saying “Welcome to Texas!” and “Welcome to our park!”. If we can share something unique to our park–whether it’s standing on a trail while alligators are bellowing around us, watching a River Otter swimming by, seeing any of our 300 species of birds or talking about our animals in the Nature Center–then the day has been well-spent.
“Few things are as satisfying as having a visitor that I’d met on the trail come up to me later in the day and thank me for being at the park–often sharing what they had noticed after we’d spoken,” Dashnau said.
Applications are also accepted for maintenance work only. (One may start volunteering immediately after the criminal background check clears and liability waiver is signed.)
Complete training information and application can be found at www.brazosbend.org. You may also contact BBSPVO Volunteer Coordinator Sharon Hanzik at 979-553-5123.