Lily Slegal, a Girl Scout from York volunteered to plant tree seedlings April 28 at William H. Kain County Park.submitted
Lily Slegal, a Girl Scout from York volunteered to plant tree seedlings April 28 at William H. Kain County Park. submitted
School is out - or almost out - for summer vacation and students looking for something to do might want to consider local volunteer opportunities.

There are a number of groups and organizations that welcome volunteers. This a partial list of what is available to those interested in giving a bit of their time.

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York County Parks is always looking for volunteers to help with a variety of things.

"... we need people to help with trail maintenance. After a storm, they walk the trails and remove any debris or notify us if there is a fallen tree or something too big for them to handle," said Mike Fobes, manager of natural resources.

He hands out gloves and "loppers" and sends volunteers out to trim briars that might be growing out over the trails. Volunteers also cut ivy which, if left to grow, could kill the trees it grows around.

There are other options, too, program coordinator Jeri Jones said.

"Young people can join in on organized volunteer programs we have, like garlic mustard pulls or planting trees," he said.

Volunteers also are needed for events such as Reptile Week at Nixon Park Nature Center, which would include holding specimens, or lending a hand in the fossil pit during Rock and Mineral Weekend, Jones said.

"They can also do things such as volunteering at the train stations or Wallace-Cross Mill under parent direction, cleaning up garbage, trail work, gardening and marking trails," he said.

If volunteers are looking for winter opportunities, they can always volunteer at Christmas Magic by helping to sell food or helping with setup, Jones said.

Individuals and groups interested in volunteering should call York County Parks at 717-840-7440. A copy of the volunteer brochure is available online at www.yorkcountyparks.org.

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The York County SPCA has volunteer opportunities, too.

"You must be 18 years of age or older to work with the animals, but we have the Youth Volunteer Program for 13- to 17-year-olds," volunteer coordinator Lori Lauer said.

The group, led by Kay Kelly, meets once a month for a program that includes videos, a chance to meet service dogs and tips on meeting a new dog for the first time, Lauer said.

The goal is to involve young people in SPCA activities. Members could be called on to lend a hand with the Pet Walk, Doggie Egg Hunt and other fundraising activities. Members also prepare dog and cat food to be included with Meals on Wheels deliveries to senior citizens who have pets, she said.

There is a $10 fee to join the Youth Volunteer Program, and the application is available online.

"We have young people who do fundraisers for the SPCA. They may have a lemonade stand or, if their parents have a yard sale, they may sell some of their own things to raise money for the SPCA," Lauer said. "Some have birthday parties and instead of gifts for themselves they ask for gifts to help the SPCA. We have a wish list online and they choose items from that list to receive as gifts."

Those 18 or older can walk dogs, socialize cats or lend a hand with general housekeeping, laundry, clerical help or fundraising.

More information is available at www.ycspca.org or by emailing Lauer at llauer@ycspca.org.

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A number of local fire companies offer the Junior Firefighter program for young people interested in serving their communities through emergency services.

Eureka Volunteer Fire Company Station 54 in Stewartstown, offers a junior program for 14- and 15-year-olds and a probationary division for 16- and 17-year-olds, Fire Chief Ira Walker Jr. said.

The younger members of the organization "meet every week and drill," Walker said.

Volunteers learn about fire, emergency medical and fire police services, train in CPR, first aid, fire grounds support and emergency service operations, and are permitted to learn the use of some of the equipment used by firefighters.

Girl Scout Keli Watson reads animal stories to the children during a recent Sunday story time at Kreutz Creek Library.submitted
Girl Scout Keli Watson reads animal stories to the children during a recent Sunday story time at Kreutz Creek Library. submitted

"There are only certain tools they can use, and they get a little frustrated at times because they are eager to jump right in, but at their age, there are some things they can use and some things they cannot use," Walker said.

The junior firefighters run the fire house at public functions and teach children about fire safety and how to escape a fire. They help with fundraisers for the company and also manage fundraisers of their own.

It is not all work; there is time for play, as well. There are social activities such as bowling and paintball, Walker said.

The probationary members participate with the juniors in their training and take on some additional jobs.

Walker was around emergency services as a youngster and understands the importance of getting kids involved at a young age.

"I was rolling hose at 8 years old. I loved it," he said. "There is a lot of camaraderie with the junior members. It's all about molding lives. This is our future," he said.

In addition to Walker, junior advisors include C.J. Thompson, Dana Thompson and Alex Geroux.

For more information, email junioradvisor54@yahoo.com, call the station at 717-993-6180 and ask for a junior advisor, or visit www.eureka54.org.

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Local libraries welcome volunteers to take on a variety of jobs.

At Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center, 66 Walnut Springs Road, Hellam Township, teen volunteers are welcomed with open arms and plans are underway to increase the "tween" volunteer opportunities at the library, librarian Susan Nenstiel said.

"Members of Local Girl Scout Troop 20434, who are working on a Volunteer Service Award, will be trained to help with maintaining registration, recording minutes read by participants and handing out prizes. They will also help with the drop-in craft sessions and become Reading Buddies," Nenstiel said.

Cadette Girl Scout Keli Watson has been doing monthly story times since January. She is the fifth Girl Scout to take on this program as one of the requirements for her Silver Award, Nenstiel said.

Another Girl Scout earned a Gold Award by helping design a program for tweens and teens, and two Boy Scouts completed their Eagle Scout projects by creating a storage area for the library and building a pergola, to be dedicated this month, Nenstiel said.

Nenstiel said once young volunteers turn 14, they can become regular volunteers and serve a two- to three-hour shift at the library.

Call 717-252-4080 for details.

Kaltreider-Benfer Memorial Library147 S. Charles St., Red Lion, is looking for teen volunteers for its summer programs.

"Our teen volunteers over the summer perform the bulk of the behind-the-scenes work such as shelving, straightening, and prep work for crafts and family programs," said Gina Meinl youth services coordinator for Kaltreider-Benfer. "We wouldn't be able to do many of the great programs we have planned without our teen volunteers."

Call 717-244-2032 for details.

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WellSpan offers a variety of volunteer opportunities. While the summer volunteer program is filled, there is a year-round volunteer program for anyone 16 or older.

It involves 300 participants who are asked to give 100 hours over the year.

Duties include acting as a patient visitor or aide, delivering flowers or mail, working with administrative support or working as a greeter or receptionist. Volunteers also are needed to help with community outreach at health fairs.

More information is available by emailing volunteersvcs@wellspan.org.

All openings in Memorial Hospital's summer volunteer program for teens are filled. However, anyone interested in other volunteer programs can call 717-849-5511 or visit www.mhyork.org.


Other opportunities

LOCAL STUDENTS can visit the White Rose Senior Center, 27 S. Broad St., York, to help with the annual turtle race or fill boxes with food to be distributed to seniors. Other senior centers offer similar opportunities.

Students can volunteer with the York County Heritage Trust. Those entering their senior year of high school or attending college can apply to volunteer at www.yorkheritagetrust.com.

Community parks and local churches might be in need of some extra help this time of year to care for flower beds or repair park benches and picnic tables.

The United Way of York County usually has a wealth of volunteer opportunities. The agency can be reached at 717-846-4477.


Rent-A-Kid

IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HELPING A SENIOR and would like to earn a little cash, consider the Rent-A-Kid program sponsored by the York County Area Agency on Aging.

This is an intergenerational program for local students in seventh through 12th grade and senior citizens 60 or older.

Seniors who need help with indoor or outdoor chores can contact YCAAA to be matched with a young person who has signed up for the program. Seniors are asked to reimburse the volunteers at $5 per hour.

The applications must be signed by a parent and a school guidance counselor.

The senior citizens and kids are not screened by the YCAAA.

This program, started in 1982, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. There are 406 teens registered and more are needed. Applications are available at area schools or online at www.ycaaa.org.

About 50 matches are made each month and many have continued for several years.

For details, call 717-771-9103.