A look at volunteer opportunities at the center

Amy Riggins

Hello Shawnee! I hope this finds you doing well today. The staff members of the Shawnee Department of Parks and Recreation want you to know we’ve missed seeing our friends since we’ve been closed, and we look forward to reopening when we can safely do so.

While we don’t have a set reopening date yet for the Senior Center and Community Center, we hope it will be at some point during Oklahoma’s Phase 3. We will continue to provide updates here in the Shawnee News-Star, as well as putting information on local Oklahoma news stations and on the local KGFF radio station at 1450 AM or 100.9 FM.

Shawnee’s amazing Splash Water Park will be opening on Friday, June 12 with enhanced sanitation procedures and your safety in mind. Plan now to bring your grandkids, family, and friends to this fun and safe water park. For more information, visit our webpage at http://www.shawneeok.org/government/departments/parks/shawnee_splash_1/index.php

In my last article, I wrote about the valuable benefits of volunteerism. There are many places in our community to serve as a volunteer: non-profits, foundations, schools, churches, community organizations, etc. Here at the Shawnee Parks and Recreation Department, we want to expand opportunities for volunteers in our programs and services over the next year, including at both the Shawnee Senior Center and Community Center.

You may be wondering what volunteering for the Shawnee Parks and Recreation Department might look like. We have opportunities for individuals of all ages, interests, and abilities. Let me share a few examples for you to ponder over the next few weeks.

Do you enjoy meeting with people and facilitating groups behind the scenes? Then you might enjoy serving as a volunteer Program Host. We have lots of groups who meet and would benefit from a friendly host to assist them from start to finish. The Program Host could greet attendees, serve refreshments, visit with patrons, monitor safety, assist with any needs, and oversee clean up afterwards.

Do you have a special interest or talent? We would love to see volunteer Creative Specialists join us to share their gifts. Whether it be in music, painting, handwork, design, dance, drama, photography, or other arts and crafts, if you’ve got talent, we’d like to see it. You could volunteer to be a one-time presenter or an on-going instructor, it just depends on your availability and interest.

Do you walk for exercise? Would you like to walk with a group? Have you thought about starting a walking program, but don’t want to do it alone? Perhaps serving on our volunteer Walking Team is up your alley. We envision walking groups taking place in various locations across town for all ages. A group could start based on participants’ availability and similar fitness levels but could easily multiply and divide into new groups over time. Volunteers could assist us to provide organization and encouragement to a walking group.

Do you like the smell of fresh popcorn? Who doesn’t? A Popcorn volunteer could help us serve hot yummy popcorn to patrons who’d like it on a regular basis. We have the fixings, we just need folks who would enjoy fixing it, distributing it, and ensuring everyone has enough!

Can you navigate the technological world of digital devices? Would you like sharing your skills with others? Perhaps you would enjoy serving as a volunteer Digital Tutor. I know the last time I bought a new cell phone I sure could have used some tips. A tech savvy Digital Tutor could help an individual or small group, or maybe even teach a class.

Computers, laptops, tablets, cell phones, and even just basic Internet surfing are all areas in which we have opportunities to serve.

When is the last time you played Bingo? Do you like to have fun and win prizes? Us, too! Serving as a Bingo Volunteer is a great way to help out as we play Bingo on a regular basis at both centers. We could benefit from volunteers calling Bingo, serving snacks, assisting patrons as needed, organizing cards and prizes, and promoting fun!

Do you like to party? Do you look forward to gathering with others to celebrate a special occasion? Serving on our volunteer Special Event Team might be just the ticket! Volunteers will be needed to help plan special events, network, promote, decorate, set-up, or even serve refreshments. The possibilities are endless when it comes to Special Events.

Do you like to call and chat with others? Do you often check with neighbors or friends to see how they are doing? You might enjoy serving in our Member Care area, as this is especially important. We are looking for volunteers who will make phone calls and send cards to patrons who may have been sick, had surgery, or not recently attended. It’s always nice to hear from someone during these times, just to connect and know someone cares.

We will continue to have volunteers serve as Greeters at the Senior Center, and we have open time slots.

These individuals are the first smiling faces to great our patrons, answer questions, provide tours, and assist with general center operations. They shine in visiting with folks and making everyone feel welcome!

These are just a few of the areas for potential volunteers in the Shawnee Parks and Recreation Department. Stay tuned for more examples, plus information about how to apply to become a volunteer.

Thanks for reading, and be sure to tune in to listen to the “Mike in the Morning” Show on KGFF on Wednesday at 8:35 a.m. Disc jockey Mike Askins is joined by various guests for his morning show, plus he sometimes gives away prizes! You will find KGFF at 1450 AM or 100.9 FM on your radio dial.

Take care, and we look forward to seeing you soon at one of our reopened centers!