Youth Volunteer Options at Local Shelters
A great way to start out your child on the path of volunteerism, if they are an animal lover, is to check out your local animal shelters. Ages allowed range from 7 years old and up (varies by shelter). Huge opportunities await them and you with animals as their teachers. After reviewing several shelters in the area, we found your child can either enjoy a half-day camp, a 2-week camp during school breaks and summer vacation or go on a weekly basis.
Photo by Marsha Steckling, courtesy of Longmont Humane Society
Kids & Critters Camps at the Longmont Humane Society (LHS) is for children from 2nd – 6th grade and runs during summer vacation. Children at this camp have the opportunity to walk dogs, learn animal body language, and responsible companion pet ownership and care. All proceeds from these camps benefit the lost and homeless pets at LHS.
Also at LHS Youth Volunteers ages 13 years and up can be involved in actvities that include socializing adoptable dogs or working as Junior Animal Care Assistants on the dog adoption floor. Commitment is between 1 ½ hour to 2-hour shifts weekly for 3 months.
Camp Muddy Paws at the Humane Society of Boulder Valley (HSBV) is perfect for kids’ ages 6-10. Camp takes place in five 2-week sessions during the summer. Campers can choose between activities such as learning to be a Junior Animal Trainer, Junior Veterinarian or Animal Adoption Friend. Other choices include creating digital photography or video of the shelter animals to be used on the HSBV website.
Another HSBV volunteer opportunity is the Pets & Pals program open for ages 7-14 accompanied by a parent or guardian. With this some of the choices your child has are dog walking, working special events handing out goodie bags, manning a booth or organizing paperwork. Pets & Pals Teams may also enjoy working at the thrift stores sorting merchandise.
Half-Day Camps are offered at Larimer Humane Society for days school is not in session such as Martin Luther King Jr Day, Presidents Day or local in-service days scheduled in the school district. Ages 7-12 learn a variety of lessons associated with each holiday and the importance of the shelter in the community.
Larimer Humane offers their Partner Up Program for children ages 10-15 (with adult parent or guardian). Children over 16 years old can volunteer independently. Choices range from animal care, community outreach, animal photography & videography, animal enrichment and office assistance.
A volunteer orientation is required for all shelters regardless of your age before you can start. Please check the individual organization websites for more detailed information.
Children can also benefit from learning how to train their own dog too. At Zoom Room we encourage children 8 years and up to participate in the training of their family dog. We have had some great experiences watching a shy child blossom at the end of the leash and we know this carries over to all aspects of their lives. Take a look at our SCHEDULE and sign up for a class your whole family will enjoy.