How to Volunteer for the Parks and Recreation Department

Becoming a Parks and Recreation Department Volunteer

Most parks and recreation departments offer hundreds of programs and classes, which for volunteers means one thing -- choice.

As a parks and recreation volunteer, you can help clean up local parks, keep score at sports tournaments, set up games, coach basketball, judge diving events, referee water polo matches, design flyers for events, send out press releases, write grants and run fundraising campaigns [source: City of Phoenix].

Those interested in history or archaeology can become docents at local museums, greeting visitors, leading tours and providing general assistance. Others may opt to become a volunteer in one of the park's botanical gardens leading tours, restoring and maintaining plant life and helping out at special events.

In New York City, for example, volunteers support GreenThumb, the nation's largest urban gardening program, helping 700 neighborhood groups create community gardens to revitalize blighted neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs [source: New York City Department of Parks & Recreation].

The best way to find out how to volunteer for your local parks and recreation department is through its Web site. Most departments require volunteers to be at least 18 years old (with some volunteer opportunities for teens that require parental consent), have a valid picture ID and fill out an application [source: City of Phoenix].

You may also be required to go through an interview and attend an orientation. Some parks and recreation departments require background checks and references.

Read on to find out the benefits of volunteering at your local parks and recreation department.