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Volunteer

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Explore the upside of outside and volunteer with us!

Our award-winning park system features 154 facilities across 56,000 acres of land, including parks, camping parks, sports parks, community and teen centers, open-space preserves, and historic sites. Some 380 miles of trails take visitors through multiple climates and habitats - from the coast to the desert and the valleys to the mountains.

That is a lot of outside! To maintain, operate, and enjoy these incredible locations, we engage local community members who volunteer their time so everyone can experience “the upside of outside” throughout San Diego County!

Becoming a volunteer is as easy as 1, 2, 3!

  1. Look at some of the fantastic volunteer opportunities below.
  2. Select an opportunity and express interest. (Some opportunities require you to visit the park location, while others start with an online form)
  3. Meet with Volunteer Services, complete any screening, and volunteer!

Volunteer Opportunities

Other Volunteer Opportunities

 
     

COURT-ORDERED COMMUNITY SERVICE ENROLLMENT:

For individuals who need to complete community service hours for court, probation, or another justice-involved program, enroll using our  Court-Ordered Community Service Enrollment Form.

UPCOMING VOLUNTEER EVENTS FOR EVERYONE:

March 2024

  • Sat., Mar. 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 - Park Beautification Saturdays at Stelzer County Park - Sign Up!
  • Sat., Mar. 9, 2024 - Tree Planting at Live Oak County Park - Sign Up!
  • Sat., Mar. 16, 2024 - Tree Planting at Collier County Park - Sign Up!

April 2024

  • Sat., Apr. 6, 13, 20, and 27 - Park Beautification Saturdays at Stelzer County Park - Sign Up!
  • Sat. Apr. 13, 2024 - Egg Hunt at Spring Valley Community Center - Sign Up!
  • Sat., Apr. 20, 2024 - Creek to Bay at Flinn Springs County Park (Coming Soon, Learn More)
  • Sat., Apr. 20, 2024 - Creek to Bay at Old Ironside County Park (Coming Soon, Learn More)
  • Sat., Apr. 20, 2024 - Creek to Bay at Rainbow County Park (Coming Soon, Learn More)
  • Sat., Apr. 20, 2024 - Creek to Bay at San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve (Coming Soon, Learn More)
  • Sat., Apr. 20, 2024 - Creek to Bay at South Lane County Park (Coming Soon, Learn More)
  • Sat., Apr. 20, 2024 - Creek to Bay at Spring Valley County Park (Coming Soon, Learn More)

May 2024

  • Sat., May 4, 11, and 18 - Park Beautification Saturdays at Stelzer County Park - Sign Up!
  • Sat., May 25, 2024 - Warrior Hike Challenge, Memorial Day Weekend - Sign Up!

June 2024

  • Sat., Jun. 1, 8, 15, 22, and 29 - Park Beautification Saturdays at Stelzer County Park - Sign Up!
  • Sat., Jun. 1, 2024 - National Trails Day (Coming Soon)

REGULAR VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES:

Campground or Park Host  (live on-site in your RV or travel trailer. Feel free to complete the  Campground and Park Host Interest Form.) - The primary role of a campground host (camp host) or park host is to provide park visitors with information, assistance, and services.  This is accomplished by encouraging compliance with park rules and regulations, acting as a contact if emergencies occur when a ranger or site supervisor is off duty, and collecting fees from visitors when trained and authorized. Camp Hosts are typically located in a campground, and Park Hosts are found in a local park, preserve, or attached to a nature or community center operated by DPR. Depending on the location, additional host roles may include staffing a nature center or historical site, interpreting natural and historic resources, maintaining facilities and landscaping, removing litter, making simple repairs, and performing light housekeeping and janitorial duties or other work as assigned to support park operations. Hosts may be specialized, such as maintenance-focused, interpretive/education-focused, or recreation-focused options, which will be indicated in recruitments and host agreements.

Camp and Park Host volunteers fulfill a minimum of 20 work hours per week in exchange for a waived-free campsite, which includes electrical, water, and sewer hookups, where hosts may park a suitable motorhome or travel trailer in good repair, with kitchen, bathroom, and shower facilities, subject to approval by the site supervisor.  (Please note, selected hosts need to have weekday, weekend, and holiday availability, and we are not able to accommodate all hours completed in two days)  It is also a requirement that hosts live on-site, meaning they sleep in their motorhome or trailer to be the off-hours contact at the location should an emergency arise. Sample License Agreement

*Complete the  Campground and Park Host Interest Form for an up-to-date list of available opportunities.

Seasonal = 3–6-month agreements
Year-round = 12+ month minimum stay 

CURRENT OPENINGS: As of 01/09/2024
Agua Caliente County Park (Seasonal, Fall/Winter)
Borrego Springs County Park (Seasonal and year-round)
Lake Morena County Park (Seasonal and year-round)
Mt. Gower (Year-round)
Pine Valley County Park (Year-round, must be bilingual, English/Spanish)
Potrero County Park (Seasonal, Spring/Summer)
Provence House (Sweetwater) (Year-round only)
Sweetwater Summit Regional Park (Year-round only, requesting 18-month commitment)

Campground Host Locations:  Agua Caliente County Park | Dos Picos County Park | Guajome Regional Park | Lake Morena County Park | Oakoasis County Preserve | Potrero County Park | Sweetwater Summit Regional Park | Tijuana River Valley Regional Park Campground | Vallecito County Park | William Heise County Park

Park Host Locations:  Borrego Springs County Park | Boulder Oaks County Preserve | Cactus County Park | Collier County Park | El Monte County Park | Eucalyptus County Park | Fallbrook Community Center | Felicita County Park | Flinn Springs County Park | Guajome Adobe, Rancho | Hellhole Canyon County Preserve | Jess Martin County Park | Lakeside Baseball Park | Lamar County Park | Lincoln Acres County Park | Lindo Lake County Park | Live Oak County Park | Los Penasquitos Canyon County Preserve | Louis A. Stelzer County Park | Mt. Gower County Preserve | Otay Lakes County Park | Pine Valley County Park | Provence House | Ramona Grasslands County Preserve | Santa Ysabel Nature Center | Sweetwater Lane County Park | Goodan Ranch/Sycamore Canyon County Preserve | Wilderness Gardens County Preserve

For individuals, couples, or families interested in hosting at one of our parks, please complete the  Campground and Park Host Interest Form.

Park Docent/Naturalist – Docents and Naturalists may lead hikes, tours, and/or provide interpretive programs at the parks, historic sites, and open-space reserves. In some cases, they may be involved in presentations or ongoing research and development. The most common places where people volunteer their time are Rancho de los Peñasquitos Adobe and Rancho Guajome Adobe. Docents lead tours of the historic adobes, create public presentations and brochures, work with school children, and help coordinate special events. Ongoing training is provided. How do I apply? Complete the volunteer application, visit the site you are interested in, and meet with the staff.

Los Penasquitos Canyon County Preserve | San Elijo Lagoon Ecological Reserve and Nature Center | Rancho Guajome Adobe | Santa Ysabel Nature Center | Vallecito County Park

Community and Teen Center Assistant – Just like our community, there is so much happening at the community and teen centers. Some ways to help are through administrative support, maintenance, gardening, coaching, and special event work.  Choose the center that works best for you from Fallbrook Community Center, Lakeside Community and Teen Center, Spring Valley Community and Teen Center, and Valley Center Community Hall and Park! How do I apply? Complete the volunteer application, visit the site you are interested in, and meet with the staff.

Fallbrook Community Center | Lakeside Community Center | Lakeside Teen Center | Spring Valley Community Center | Spring Valley Teen Center | Valley Center Community Hall and Park

Park AssistantProvide services in partnership with staff by providing visitors with information, assistance, and services. This is accomplished by encouraging compliance with park rules and regulations, acting as a contact if emergencies occur when a ranger or site supervisor is off duty, and, when trained and authorized, collecting fees, maintaining facilities and/or landscaping, removing litter, making simple repairs, and performing light housekeeping and janitorial duties or other work as assigned to support park operations. Take a look at all of our parks and find the sites that best fit you! How do I apply? Complete the volunteer application, visit the site you are interested in, and meet with the staff.

Park Patrol – Open-space areas and park preserves are often patrolled by individuals hiking, cycling (on your own bike), and on horseback (sorry, you must supply your own horse, but equestrians are welcome!) Patrol members assist the public by encouraging compliance with park rules and regulations, ensuring visitor safety, reviewing the status of newly planted trees, and aiding in the maintenance of trails and open areas. How do I apply? Complete the volunteer application, visit the site you are interested in, and meet with the staff.

Historical Interpreters and Archivists – Help to preserve our local history you are assisting in the management and research of park information, preserving documents and artifacts archives, delivering historical outreach, and developing our historical programs. How do I apply? Complete the volunteer application and send it to us.

Student, Youth, and Service Learning - We love working with the next generation of park ambassadors! Students, Scouts, and other individuals under the age of 18 are welcome to apply to complete community service, plan and implement a service project, or just volunteer to learn. There are many opportunities which may include but are not limited to trash and debris pick-up to protect native species, planting trees, and trail maintenance. How do I apply? Complete the volunteer application and send it to us.

Group and Corporate Events - We provide great team-building volunteer opportunities for organizations, corporations, and civic groups. Park clean-ups, trail building, planting native vegetation and trees, special events, and more! There is no limit to what you can do to experience “the upside of outside.” We encourage groups to consider a donation to the San Diego County Parks Society to support their project. Schedule your group event by completing our Group Volunteer Event Interest Form.

For individuals who need to complete community service hours for court, probation, or another justice-involved program, enroll using our  Court-Ordered Community Service Enrollment Form.

Volunteer Requirements:

  • A background check and medical screening is required for most County of San Diego Department of Parks and Recreation volunteer positions
  • Training is provided for all volunteer positions, and work records are maintained

Are you having trouble identifying the volunteer opportunity for you? Have more questions? Contact me!

Tony Richardson
Coordinator, Volunteer and Public Services

(858) 966-1335

ParksVolunteer@sdcounty.ca.gov

5500 Overland Ave., Suite 410 | San Diego, CA 92123 

Helpful Forms and Links    

Volunteer Timesheet 2023-2024

ID Card Request Form

 

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