I spoke to Tamra Stafford, the Volunteer & Community Resource Manager for the Air Zoo. She shared some great information about volunteering at the Air Zoo….
Amanda: Can you tell me what your organization does in 2-3 sentences?
Tamra: The mission of the Air Zoo is to preserve the legacy of flight for present and future generations.
Amanda: What kinds of different things do volunteers do at your organization?
Tamra: We use volunteers for many different things, most of which require no experience. Things such as Information Desk Specialist, Retail Specialists, Security and Safety, Greeter, Aircraft Restoration and Maintenance, docents, camp assistants, survey takers, demonstration station volunteers.
Amanda: How many volunteers do you typically use during the year?
Tamra: We use more than 200 every year.
Amanda: Is there anything special a volunteer should know before they get started with your organization?
Tamra: Volunteers need to be willing to commit to 8 hours per month and we will train you. We are very generous with rewards for our volunteers. Potential volunteers should expect to fill out an application, take a background check and go through an interview. After that we’ll figure out where they fit, schedule training and give them a tour. We really want them to be where they want to be. Our orientation is done by Bob Ellis our Executive Director. Bob used to be an aircraft mechanic, and so he has a very hands-on approach and a lot of passion for the cause of the organization.
Amanda: What’s the best thing a volunteer ever did for your organization? Or one volunteer memory that really stands out in your mind?
Tamra: A man came to the Air Zoo and was interested in volunteering, but didn’t know how he could possibly contribute. Because of his history, it was suggested that he volunteer as a docent and share stories and information about the various aircraft at the Air Zoo. He wasn’t immediately convinced, saying, “I can’t do that….I can’t talk to people!” In the last 15 or so years, he’s been one of our BEST docents!
I think it’s important to realize that volunteers really can do anything and our volunteers really will do anything for us.
For more information about volunteering at the Air Zoo, contact Tamra at 269-382-6555 or via email.