What benefits can I expect to receive as a volunteer?
Volunteers receive free admission to the park while volunteering, and may receive free camping or other accommodations as well, depending on the project and its duration (please see the housing question above). Meals are not provided. Annually, there is a "Volunteer Recognition event" where volunteers receive various service awards depending on their hours worked. And, of course, all volunteers have the opportunity to do meaningful work with interesting people in a National Park setting!
Can I use a government computer?
Yes, but only in conjunction with certain volunteer positions. Prior to being given access, a federal background check must be completed. Additionally, each volunteer must complete annual "security awareness" training.
What reimbursements are available?
As a general rule, volunteers are not reimbursed for out of pocket expenses incurred during their volunteer service. However, following is a list of reimbursable expenses per current Rocky Mountain VIP reimbursable Policy.
1) VIP Uniform Pants, (up to $20/pair.) Full time volunteers/interns may be reimbursed for two pairs of pants and less than full time volunteers may be reimbursed for one pair of pants. Please check with your supervisor to see if funding is available prior to incurring this expense.
2) Fingerprinting fees and postage to send the fingerprints to HR for required background checks.
3) Mileage for VIPs using their personal vehicle for work. Supervisor must approve this prior to the volunteer incurring expenses.
What if I get injured as a volunteer?
When you begin working as a volunteer, you will sign up either as an individual volunteer or as part of an organized group of volunteers. In both cases, your agreement form should include a specific position description, specifying exactly what kinds of volunteer services you agree to perform. When your term of service begins, you will receive training in how to perform your assigned duties safely. Safety is always our highest priority. If you are nevertheless injured "on the job," notify your supervisor or project leader immediately who will help you to arrange prompt medical care. As soon as you are able to do so, you and your supervisor will need to complete a form documenting your injury and treatment, and certifying that it took place while performing the duties spelled out in your position description. For purposes of liability or injury only, volunteers working within their position descriptions are fully covered by the Federal Government through the Workers Compensation program.
Can I get educational or community service credit for volunteering?
In most cases, yes.
Many schools require their students to complete service projects, or may offer educational credits for long-term assignments. We are happy to provide whatever proof of participation is required.
Can my group volunteer for a project?
Absolutely! We welcome group volunteers at Rocky! Please contact the Volunteer Program Manager to express your interest in volunteering, and we'll send you our group volunteer catalog and application. Please contact us at least a month in advance to request a project. We'll do our best to meet your needs and appreciate your flexibility! Also note that most projects have a minimum and maximum group size and a minimum age requirement. The group size might be flexible, especially if we can divide your group into several smaller groups working on separate projects.
Can I suggest my own volunteer project?
Sure! Contact the Volunteer Program Manager for details.
Are there other places like Rocky Mountain National Park where I can volunteer?
I'm glad you asked! Yes, Colorado has many wonderful natural areas, and their combined need for volunteers is vast. To learn about volunteering in other national park areas, visit www.nps.gov/volunteer. For information about volunteer opportunities with any Federal land management agency, go to www.volunteer.gov/gov. Contact individual local or state parks to ask how you can help.
I read in the brochure that several of the opportunities are for the "summer season," how long is that?
Our busy season starts with Memorial Day and continues through the Elk Rut ending in the middle of October. Once again, the season varies by position and the start and end dates are always posted in the announcement.
Do you have options for Eagle Scouts?
Yes-but we receive far more requests for such projects every year than we are able to accommodate. If you'd like to participate, contact the Volunteer Program Manager and ask what options might be available. Spring and summer are the most likely seasons to work on your project. Be specific about what kinds of work you'd like to help with.
I am a current volunteer, how can I apply for a new opportunity?
Simply send the Volunteer Coordinator an email indicating you are interested in a position listed on the website and it will be forwarded to the Supervisor responsible for selecting volunteers. Or you can always call the Coordinator at (970) 586-1330 and express an interest. You may also contact the supervisor of a particular position and express your interest directly to them.
I don't have time to volunteer. How else can I contribute?
We work closely with several local non-profit organizations that support the park and its goals. The Student Conservation Association helps with our youth volunteer and internship programs, and is actively involved in recruiting young people for work in public lands nationwide. The Rocky Mountain Nature Association (RMNA) is one of sixty-five cooperating associations nationwide that work with the national park system. Established on July 8, 1931 RMNA is one of the oldest cooperating organizations in the nation. Its nonprofit, corporate charter was issued on June 20, 1955.For more information, including how to donate to Rocky Mountain National Park, go to the Rocky Mountain Nature Association website. (www.rmna.org) The National Parks Conservation Association's website offers many tools for keeping informed about, and participating in, issues relating to national parks nation-wide. All of these organizations have websites packed with ideas for getting involved, from building trails to writing letters, from donating money to participating in discussions about park policy. Find your own way to get involved -- and thank you for your generous support!