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Parks & Recreation


Community Parks & Recreation Centers

Contact: Department Volunteer Coordinator

Email: sdvolunteer@sandiego.gov

Phone: (619) 533-4017

Fax: (619) 525-8224

Hours: Vary; weekday afternoons or evenings; weekends.

Minimum Age: 13; Court Referrals: Yes (conditional)


Individual Volunteer Opportunities:
Aquatic Program Assistant

Help to provide recreational opportunities in aquatics. Program areas include: Learn to Swim, Adaptive Aquatics, Youth Swim Team, Youth Water Polo and Water Fitness. Assist staff with classes and/or programs, pool maintenance, and help to conduct special events.

Qualifications: 13 years or older; enjoys children; positive and enthusiastic; interest or experience in aquatics or other recreational activities; dependable; positive role model; must have the ability to pass the American Red Cross Intermediate Swimmer requirements.

Time Commitment: Hours vary.


Grounds Maintenance Assistant

Assist with grounds maintenance and custodial duties at park and recreation centers, including irrigation inspections; trash pick-up; restroom cleaning; planting flowers and shrubs; native plant restoration.

Qualifications: 18 years or older; able to lift and carry items weighing up to 30 lbs.; able to bend/stoop repeatedly; interest in park maintenance and plants.

Time Commitment: Hours vary.


Office Manager Assistant

Assist recreation center office staff in everyday office procedures including answering phones; typing; copying; filing; providing public information; entering computer data.

Qualifications:16 years or older; excellent customer service skills; flexible; able to type. Computer skills desirable.

Time Commitment: 12 hours/week; 3+ months.


Recreation Program Assistant

Assist Recreation Leaders in planning and implementation of Recreation Programs for elementary and junior high age youth at one of 75 sites throughout City. Includes arts and crafts, athletics, special events.

Qualifications: 13 years or older; enjoys children; positive and enthusiastic attitude; interest or experience in arts, crafts, sports or other recreational activities; dependable; positive role model.

Time Commitment: 3 hours/week; 3 months.


Referee/Umpire/Official/Scorekeeper

Officiate the following sports: flag football; track and field; soccer; softball; basketball; volleyball; swimming; water polo.

Qualifications: Referee/Umpire/Official 18 years or older; Scorekeeper 16 years or older; experience officiating at junior high level; good knowledge of sports and rules.

Time Commitment: Entire season (varies with sport); games are usually late afternoon/early evenings or Saturdays.


Youth Sports Coach

Coach the following sports: flag football; track and field; soccer; softball; basketball; volleyball; swimming; water polo. Teaches skills/rules of game; emphasizes sportsmanship; schedules/conducts practices.

Qualifications: 18 years or older; knowledge of game rules and fundamentals; enjoys working with children; friendly, helpful, enthusiastic attitude; can be firm as needed.

Time Commitment: Entire season (varies with sport); scheduled practice days; meets, games, tournaments.


Group Volunteer Opportunities:

Special Projects/Special Event Group Volunteers. Assist with special projects and special events at recreation centers citywide. Volunteers can provide pre-event assistance as well as assistance on the day of the event and after the event. Group opportunities exist in a variety of areas from designing, painting, and building game booths and Haunted Houses, to timing races at a swim meet. Note: Groups must provide own supervision; groups of children must have adult supervision.

Time Commitment: Discretion of group


Grounds Maintenance Group Volunteers

Assist in cleaning and maintenance of parks, playgrounds and recreation centers citywide.

Qualifications: Desire to help maintain quality of public parks. Groups must provide own supervision; groups of children must have adult supervision.

Time Commitment: Discretion of group; may be on a one-time basis, or "Adopt A Park".


Recreation Councils & Boards

Recreation Council/Advisory Council/Board Member (Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Member)

Serve on Advisory Board as a member or officer. Attend meetings and assist in development and planning of recreation areas/programs/events, perform duties that relate to respective position on the council/board.

Qualifications: Must be reliable, possess leadership skills, and be committed to your community.

Time Commitment: Attend meetings and special events as needed, may serve on committees. Note: Positions have term limits. Call (619) 533-4017 for more information.


Regional Parks and Open Space Parks & Preserves

Individual Volunteer Opportunities:
Botanical Volunteer

Balboa Park-Assist park staff working at the nursery or Botanical Building.

Qualifications: 18 years or older; Interest in or experience with plants; training provided.

Time Commitment: Monday-Friday (no weekends); flexible.


Grounds Maintenance Volunteers

Assist in cleaning and maintenance of coastal parks and beaches from Torrey Pines Beach to Sunset Cliffs Park.

Qualifications: Desire to help maintain quality of beaches and coastal parks. Groups must provide own supervision; groups of children must have adult supervision.

Time Commitment: One-time basis, or "Adopt A Park" (clean every 3 months).


Habitat Restoration Volunteers

Work with park ranger staff in removal of non-native plants, transplanting natives, and fencing of sensitive areas.

Qualifications: 16 years or older; good physical condition; able to perform strenuous physical tasks; enjoys working as a team.

Time Commitment: 4 hours/day; mostly weekends, available to large groups.


Interpretive Volunteer Tour

Guide works with Park Ranger staff, volunteers, and gardeners in learning the rich history and horticulture of Balboa Park. Off shoot tour guides provide interpretive guided tours of the park's history and horticulture every Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m.

Qualifications: 18 years or older; knowledge of the basics of interpretation; good verbal and written communication skills; able to work independently.

Time Commitment: one year commitment.


Trail Crew

Work with park ranger staff in building and maintaining trails and installing fencing, signage, water bars, and steps.

Qualifications: 18 years or older; good physical condition; able to perform strenuous tasks; enjoys working in a team.

Time Commitment: 1 day/month; 4 hours/day; mostly weekends.


Visitor Center Assistant Librarian

Assist in the organization and cataloging of library reference material; assist public with research; help with book sales and with promotion of library in community.

Qualifications: 16 years or older; enjoys working with public and assisting people; is familiar with library organization and research.

Time Commitment: 8+ hours/month; 12 months.


Visitor Center Volunteer

Assist park ranger staff in providing information to visitors and operating center, including answering phones; running audio visual system; operating gift shop; assisting groups in center.

Qualifications: 16 years or older in Visitor Center, 18 years or older in Gift Shop; enjoys working with public; interest in natural and/or cultural resources of region; interest in educating public on park purposes.

Time Commitment: 8+ hours/month; 12 months.


Volunteer Park Patrol

Assist park rangers in informing public about park rules and regulations; assist with nature programs; provide public assistance (first aid, CPR); etc. Patrol parks on foot, or on bicycle or horseback (must provide own).

Qualifications: 18 years or older; good physical condition; possess or obtain valid Red Cross First Aid and CPR certificate; good public relations skills.

Time Commitment: Varies; contact individual parks; generally 8 hours/month; 12+months.

Contact the Park Ranger:

Balboa Park/Florida Canyon: (619) 235-1123

Black Mtn/Crest Canyon/San Pasqual Valley: (858) 538-8082

Canyons and Parkland Program: (619) 235-5262

Kumeyaay Campground: (619) 668-2748

Los Penasquitos Canyon Preserve: (858) 538-8066

Mission Bay Park: (858) 581-7602

Mission Trails Regional Park: (619) 668-3276; (619) 668-3278

Mission Valley Preserve/Tecolote Nature Center: (858) 581-9961

Otay Valley Regional Park: (619) 235-5262

Presidio Park: (619) 235-5935

Shoreline Parks: (619) 235-5932

Tri-Canyon Parks (Tecolote Canyon/Rose Canyon/Marian Bear Memorial Park/Mission Valley Preserve): (858) 581-9952; (858) 581-9961

Locations: Vary

Hours: Weekdays or weekends

Minimum Age: 18 years or older, or younger with adult supervision

Court Referrals: Tri-Canyon Parks/Mission Valley Preserve and the Tecolote Nature Center (858) 581-9961

Canyons and Parkland Program: (619) 235-5262


Group Volunteer Opportunities:
Nature Lovers

If your group is interested in volunteering at a Park or Preserve please Contact the Park Ranger at the locations listed above.

Beach Combers

If your group is interested in volunteering for a Beach Clean-Up please contact staff at (619) 235-5929.