Current Volunteer Opportunities - There are volunteer opportunities listed at the bottom of this page. Please refer to these if thinking about volunteering for the National Park Service at Whitman Mission National Historic Site.
Questions - Still have questions? Look over the Frequently Asked Questions and contact the park’s Volunteers-In-Parks Program Coordinator Mike Dedman by telephone at 509-522-6357 or e-mail. Thanks for your interest in helping out. Also download the Volunteers-In-Parks Program brochure to find more information about the program.
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I sign up to be a volunteer? Contact the park’s Volunteers-In-Parks Program Coordinator Mike Dedman by telephone at 509-522-6357 or e-mail. A list of volunteer project is available at http://www.volunteer.gov/ for our site as well as national parks and other resource sites across the country with different government agencies.
What can I expect when I show up to volunteer? As you register for a short-term volunteer project, review the project description carefully for the proper time and place to meet. The project agreement form must be signed by the Volunteers-In-Parks Coordinator prior to your beginning of work. Identify yourself as a volunteer at the visitor center and you will be welcomed without being charged an entrance fee. When you arrive at the work site, sign in with the project coordinator and get to know your fellow work party members. At the appointed time, the project leader will welcome you, brief you on the work at hand, and provide you with any training, tools, or protective gear you will need to accomplish the project safely. You can then begin the work!
What other benefits can I expect to receive as a volunteer? Volunteers receive free admission to the park while volunteering. Reimbursements for travel or other expenses may be available for some long-term projects. Participants in some projects may ball caps, volunteer pins, or other tokens of appreciation if sponsors are available. A reference thank you letter is written and given to you. This is kept on file for your use.
Can I sponsor a volunteer project? Sure! Contact the Volunteers-In-Parks Program Coordinator for details. Sponsors are needed to provide equipment, supplies, snacks, and recognition items for events, and will be acknowledged in all publicity for the sponsored event.
Can my children volunteer? Yes, though not all volunteer projects are suitable for children. Check the project description for details. All children under the age of 18 must have written permission from a parent or guardian before volunteering. Permission forms will be available at volunteer events, or can be completed in advance.
Can international visitors volunteer? International volunteers are welcome! Special regulations do apply, however. Long-term international volunteers must sign up for a specific volunteer project, then apply for and receive a J-1 Visa before traveling to the United States, a process that typically takes about six weeks. Proof of health insurance is also required. If you’re already in the United States under a J-1 Visa, or under an educational pass such as the F-1 Visa, you may volunteer with permission from your original sponsor. Short-term visitors may volunteer without a J-1 Visa only if they receive no reimbursement of any kind, including housing or waivers of camping fees. For more information about the international volunteer program, visit the National Park Service’s Office of International Affairs.
I’m a member of a club, organization, or business. Can we volunteer as a group? Absolutely! We welcome group volunteers. Please contact the Volunteers-In-Parks Program Coordinator Mike Dedman at 509-522-6357 or e-mail to express your interest in volunteering, and we'll match you up with an appropriate project. We'll do our best to meet your needs and appreciate your flexibility! If your group is very large, we may need to divide your group into several smaller ones working on separate projects. Finally, make sure you know how many people will be attending—it can cause problems if you commit to bringing 30 people but only 10 show up.
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 as required.
Can I suggest my own volunteer project? The projects listed on this website are the tasks that we have identified as the highest priority to accomplish with our limited resources. However, we are open to suggestions for additional projects, especially if you have special skills or resources to contribute.
Do you have options for Eagle Scout projects? Yes—If you’d like to participate, contact the Volunteers-In-Parks Program Coordinator and ask what options might be available. Spring, Summer and Fall are the most likely seasons. Be specific about what kinds of work you’d like to help with.
What if I get injured while working 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 signup form should include a specific position description, specifying exactly what kinds of work you are agreeing to perform as a volunteer. 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 on 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, just as if they were paid employees.
Are there other places where I can volunteer? I’m glad you asked! Yes, Washington State 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.
Current Volunteer Opportunities
Did You Know?
In the fall of 1842 Dr. Whitman decided to travel from Waiilatpu to Boston. He wanted to convince the board members to keep his mission station open. Dr. Whitman was in such a hurry when he left that he forgot his compass.