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- Volunteer Programs
Are you excited to volunteer in San Francisco’s more than 220 parks and recreation facilities? Volunteers like you contributed 260,000 hours of service this past year, representing an invaluable contribution to our city through activities like planting California native and drought-tolerant plants, teaching Zumba at a local Rec Center, or painting faces at special events. Find opportunities in every corner of the city that are as diverse as your interests, skills, and abilities. Our volunteers include individuals and school, community, business, and international groups.
|Planting||Habitat Restoration||Litter Pickup||Water Conservation||Trail Work|
Volunteer in our Parks
Habitat restoration work happens primarily in the undeveloped outdoor spaces managed by our . Volunteers can participate in a wide variety of restoration activities, such as planting and propagating native plants, controlling erosion, and monitoring wildlife habitat.
We welcome drop-in volunteers! We can accommodate individuals or groups on a one-time or ongoing basis any day of the week.
For groups of 10 or more: Fill out a . Please allow up to five weeks to process your request. For groups of 100 or more, please allow up to three months for processing.If you are interested in any of the events on the Volunteer Calendar, please RSVP and register first via email@example.com before you submit your waiver entry.
Volunteer for Special Events
Volunteers assist staff with arts and crafts, game booths and sports activities at special events such as spring fairs, family fun days, holiday events and ribbon cutting ceremonies. to be notified of upcoming special event volunteer opportunities.
Volunteer in our Recreation Centers and Programs
Do you have a special talent you’d like to share with youth, teens, adults, or seniors at a local recreation center? Do you enjoy arts and crafts, theater, sports, dance, music, or tutoring? Contact your local recreation center or playground staff for a range of opportunities and find an available program to match your interests.
Volunteer at our Swimming Pools
Volunteer at one of our nine pools in the city. All Aquatic Volunteers must be between the ages of 12 and 18, or be a graduating senior from high school. Prospective aquatics volunteers must fill out an and receive approval from Aquatic Staff prior to getting a fingerprinting appointment.
HOW TO BECOME A RECREATION VOLUNTEER
(for recreation center, program and pool volunteers only)
|+ Find a program, recreation center or swimming pool you’re interested in|
+ Contact the respective program or facility coordinator and gain pre-approval to volunteer
+ Prospective swimming pool volunteers must also fill out an
|+ Download, read and complete a |
+ Bring a hard copy of your completed application to your fingerprinting appointment (Step 3)
Why do I need to get fingerprinted? State law requires all volunteers to pass a background clearance with the Department of Justice prior to supervising sensitive populations, including youth and seniors
+ Bring with you: a) A completed Recreation Volunteer Application; and b) A picture ID (CA Drivers License, School ID, Government ID, etc.)
+ Please do not be late to your appointment. Your appointment may be canceled if you are more than five minutes late.
|+ Background checks take approximately 1-2 weeks for processing|
+ Once cleared, please contact the facility program coordinator to arrange your schedule.
+ You will be asked to keep track of your volunteer hours with the Volunteer Hours Log.
|Youth Stewardship Program||Drop-In Work Parties||Community Service Projects|
The Volunteer Division’s Youth Services team coordinates and runs a variety of programs that offer youth and educators opportunities to connect with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s parks and open spaces city wide.
Youth Stewardship Program
The Youth Stewardship Program (YSP) runs from October through June of each year and engages youth and school groups, grades K-12, in environmental education and service-learning field trips in parks citywide. Our program mission is to foster in youth an understanding of their important role in building healthy social and natural communities.
YSP exposes urban students to an outdoor learning environment that proves to be engaging and challenging. Students are taught science, environmental education, local natural and cultural history, social responsibility, a personal connection to their communities, and fundamental life skills. Each trip is between 1.5-3 hours and includes an environmental education and restoration component.
The program is free of cost and available to any youth group or classroom in San Francisco.
If you’re interested in incorporating a youth stewardship component to your curriculum, please complete a . Someone from our Youth Services Volunteer Team will contact you within two weeks of receiving your application.
Drop-In Youth Volunteer Opportunities
Individuals are welcome to drop in to monthly youth friendly volunteer parties:
- 1st Saturdays 9am-noon Crocker Amazon
- 2nd Saturdays 10:00-noon Heron’s Head Park
- 3rd Saturdays 9:30am-noon at Heron’s Head Park
**Youth waivers are required for all participants under the age of 18. Youth under 14 years old must be accompanied by a chaperone.
Group Community Service Projects
To organize a service-only project for your group or class year-round, please complete a .
The Greenager Program is a San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Port of San Francisco youth stewardship and leadership program that runs from June through January each year. The program was created and designed to offer teens a chance to play an important role in the community by improving the city’s green spaces, raising awareness, creating place-based projects and/or projects based on issues or themes participants value and are interested in.
The Greenager Program is for teenagers that live in or attend a school in the southeast or northeast neighborhoods of San Francisco. Greenagers are trained and provided with multiple leadership opportunities. They facilitate workshops, lead public volunteer service projects, participate in community events, go on fun team excursions and more.
Our goal is to create a safe atmosphere in which youth can learn about the importance of the preservation of our parks and open spaces, voice their concerns about their environment and community, and take action while gaining fundamental job and life skills, push and challenge their perceived limitations, bond with like-minded peers and have fun all in their own backyard!
- Program established in 2012 with a crew based in southeast SF
- In 2017, added a second crew based in northeast of SF
- 70 teens have successfully completed the 8-month program, 12 have returned as leaders for a second year
- Coastal Clean Up site captains since 2013
- Engaged with over 500 community members and key stakeholders
- Service provided in over 20 different parks and opens spaces in San Francisco
- 8,300 hours of service to our city’s parks and open spaces, community events and rec centers
- Received Board of supervisor’s program commendation on July 29, 2014
- Annual sailing excursion with Blue Water Foundation and other fun adventures including camping to get youth outdoors
- 1st year Greenagers can earn up to $100/month
- 2nd year Greenager leaders can earn up $150/month
- Earn community service credit (varies by school)
- Forge new long-lasting friendships
- Gain valuable and transferable job skills
- Advance your leadership & public speaking skills
- Gain professional work experience
- Explore new parks, rec centers & open spaces
- Learn about SF’s native flora and fauna
- Network with various organizations and like-minded youth
- Meet physical education requirements if applicable (varies by school)
- Go on fun camping trips and excursions
- Looks great on your resume
Who can be a Greenager?
To be a Greenager you must meet the criteria below:
- You must live in or attend a school in the Southeast Sector of San Francisco (Excelsior, Portola, Bayview, Hunter’s Point, Visitation Valley, Crocker Amazon, or Potrero Hill) or Northeast Sector of San Francisco (Western Addition, Tenderloin and Chinatown); or you must be referred to us by one of our direct partners
- Must be a 9th to 12th grade student
- Must be able to commit to the full program
The San Francisco Parks Alliance is the fiscal sponsor of the Greenagers Program
The EcoCenter at Heron’s Head Park is a unique treasure in the Bayview Hunter’s Point Community. It is a space for environmental education, workshops, assembly and place where youth, families and community can gather and engage with nature. The EcoCenter facility was designed to be a classroom and serve as a model of green building technology. It is an off-the-grid facility with its own solar energy system including a living roof, sustainable building materials, on-site wastewater treatment and rainwater harvesting and reuse systems. In July of 2013, the EcoCenter was certified by the U.S. Green Building Council and Green Building Certification Institute with LEED PLATINUM-Leader in Energy and Environmental Design.
The EcoCenter was designed by Toby Long Design and was a collaborative project between Literacy for Environmental Justice (LEJ) the Port of San Francisco, the San Francisco Department of the Environment and the California Coastal Conservancy for the benefit and enjoyment of the Bayview Hunter’s Point Community and beyond.
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