I love my job but I get paid to do it. Every day I am in awe of the hundreds of people that report to work at a Virginia State Park and don't get paid. They do it for the love. Volunteers fill valuable roles in our parks and we couldn't do it without them. In 2010 volunteers donated 256,418 hours of their time in support of Virginia State Parks!
But I want to talk about one particular volunteer opportunity in our parks.
The Virginia Association for Parks in an all volunteer organization that supports parks in Virginia.
Recognizing the potential for strengthening volunteer park support organizations in Virginia, the Virginia Association for Parks (VAFP) was launched at a statewide park volunteer training conference held in Fredericksburg in November 1997.
Since 1997, VAFP has grown to become the nonprofit umbrella organization for the respective citizen support groups (Friends Groups) and individual volunteers supporting the 35 state parks, 59 state natural areas, and the 22 national parks, monuments, and historic sites located across the Commonwealth.
Virginia Association for Parks members at the General Assembly Building
with the Virginia State Parks Booth
VAFP is unique in that we know of no other organization that is working towards the goal of a "seamless" park system from a user perspective. Our view is that a "park is a park" regardless of the funding source – national, state, regional, or local.
In keeping with that view, VAFP is supportive of all parks within the Commonwealth. We advocate for park issues at local, state, and national levels. We also offer free technical advice and assistance to those who wish to form a new support organization(s). And, we conduct semi-annual conferences that include training sessions and networking opportunities for attendees to exchange ideas.
Virginia Association for Parks member have lunch at Sky Meadows State Park
If you love parks in Virginia, are interested in working to strengthen community and government support for our parks, this is the organization for you. If you are interested, please email the Virginia Association for Parks President, Johnny Finch.
This volunteer opportunity is not for everyone. But don't worry, we have many more opportunities and I am sure there is one just right for you. You can apply right on line.