Volunteer Programs Booming at Richmond Battlefield and Maggie L. Walker Site
Here at Richmond National Battlefield Park and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, volunteers are a critical part of what we do. From Resource Management to Living History, we couldn't do it without our volunteers. Church groups, boy and girl scouts, and organized living history companies, as well as individuals, assist at the parks throughout the year.
Volunteers In Parks, or VIPs work in all of the National Park Service's approximately 375 units, from Maine to Hawaii, from big cities to remote wildernesses. At Richmond National Battlefield Park and Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, VIPs work side by side with National Park Service rangers and staff doing a variety of jobs. These include the following: working the information desk answering visitors' questions and handing out written information, participating in special park events, participating in EARTH, our summer activities program, and designing visitor brochures.
Over 850 visitors attended Artillery Through the Ages, a special event that took place at Malvern Hill last year. Volunteers from all over created a timeline ranging from the 17th century to modern day, and fired period artillery pieces. This event could not have been done without the volunteers. They provided time, uniforms and in some cases the weapons themselves to make this event a success. At the Maggie Walker site over 700 visitors toured the house during last year's Second Street Festival. VIPs manned the visitor center desk, guided tours through the house, counted the number of visitor contacts, manned a second desk in the middle of the festival and provided children's games and entertainment during the festival.
As for the future of our VIP programs, we would like to see it continue to be a big part of what we do. Recently our VIPs received a sneak peek at the future visitor center site at Tredegar Iron Works, which should open in the spring of 2000. Once the new facility opens, we will count on and need more volunteer assistance.
If you are interested in joining our VIP staff, please call one of our volunteer coordinators. At Richmond National Battlefield Park, talk to Ed Sanders; he can be reached at 226-1981. At Maggie L. Walker National Historic Site, call Celia Suggs; she can be reached at 771-2017. Be sure to visit the National Park Service's Volunteer in Parks area on the Internet at www.nps.gov/volunteer for more volunteer opportunities. An electronic application form is provided so that you can apply to become a VIP right from the Web. If you do not have Internet access, you can contact Richmond National Battlefield Park and receive a National Park Service volunteer application.
Please consider setting aside some of your free time to become part of our team. We hope to hear from you soon!