The Zoo Teens program at Brevard Zoo offers a unique experience to teens considering a career in the field of animal care. It is a hands-on approach that often sways a teen's decision in one way or another. It is also a great extra-curricular activity that teaches skills not covered in a classroom. Applications are accepted once a year and the application process is currently underway. The deadline for 2015 is October 4 and applicants must be willing to commit for one full year.
Zoo Teens, ages 13 to 16, work closely with the staff. They assist in a variety of tasks including Animal Husbandry, Kayaking, Animal Handling, and the zoo's educational programs. They are also expected to volunteer their time for Zoo Camp, fundraisers, and special events.
There are many benefits to joining the Zoo Teen Program. Students can use their volunteer experience to meet community service requirements for scholarships. Teens also have the opportunity to work directly with animals and the public, gaining valuable skills that will benefit them in a variety of careers. Zoo Teens gain an appreciation for the value of volunteer work and community involvement.
Once selected and trained, Zoo Teens volunteer at least one Saturday or Sunday a month. A schedule is provided ahead of time. Teens can select their assignment from a list of available positions. The day is divided in half so they can choose one job for the morning and then a different one for the afternoon. Some of the activities teens help with are:
- Educate the public with Discovery Carts and live animals
- Assist staff in the Petting Zone and Touch Tank
- Help with care of the educational animal collection
- Raise funds for conservation and educational programs
- Assist staff with spring and summer camps.
- Assist with special events and seasonal functions
Zoo Teen applicants must be between the ages of 13 and 16. Also important is the need to be interested in animals and to enjoy working with the public. They don't need to have an excessive amount of knowledge The strongest applicants share the following traits:
- The desire to try new and exciting things.
- The willingness to be responsible and polite while working hard.
- Parents who are willing to transporting the teen to and from the Zoo.
- Maturity required to represent the Zoo in a responsible manner and be able to communicate with guests of all ages.
Once they are accepted into the programs, Zoo Teens must commit to one year of service following a mandatory training program. They must receive a TB test annually and pass a final exam with an 80% or greater. Dues of $35.00 are required to join the program to help defray the costs of a teen manual, teen shirt, name tag and other various supplies (financial assistance is available.)
Zoo Teens are required to attend 7 out of 10 assigned Saturday or Sunday volunteer days. In addition, they must provide a minimum of 15 hours of camp assistance during summer camp and participate in “Boo at the Zoo.” Another must is attending at least one career/conservation event held throughout the year. By the end of the year, Zoo Teens can have over 100 hours of volunteer experience!
Brevard Zoo takes it's teen volunteer program very seriously. Those who are serious about signing up are encouraged to do so and reminded that the deadline for applications is October 4, 2014. For more details, contact Meg Lieth, Zoo Teen Coordinator, at email@example.com . The application itself can be found on the zoo website.