Best Outdoor Volunteer Opportunities For Families Around The Peninsula

July 19, 2013 5:00 AM
When families look for meaningful ways to share time together, they might overlook volunteer opportunities that can help them connect further as family. Sharing family occasions can be even better when they volunteer time, skills and energy in significant ways. Here are five outdoor volunteer opportunities a family can take part in.

City of Santa Clara
Volunteer Opportunities

1500 Warburton Ave
Santa Clara, CA 95050
(408) 615-2200

The City of Santa Clara website has numerous volunteer opportunities for all ages, and is an excellent starting point for families looking to offer their time in meaningful ways. Family members can peruse the site together and discuss the roles each of them can play in donating their skills where needed. The long list of volunteer opportunities highlights how virtually all ages, from adolescents to teens and adults, are needed in positions, including outdoors for the city’s Parks & Recreation Department. Positions such as Summer Teen Volunteer, Skate Boarding Class Volunteer, Senior Center Group Walker, Adult Sports, Art & Wine Festival Volunteer and other areas require needs both indoors and out. Visit the website to see full details on volunteer openings, specific requirements and contact information for each opportunity listed.

County of San Mateo
Department of Parks
Fitzgerald Marine Reserve
To volunteer email

You can make a commitment to help county parks at upcoming events ongoing in San Mateo County. Especially rewarding for family members interested in helping protect marine life is to volunteer at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, an amazingly beautiful and natural oceanic resource in Moss Beach. Here you will partner with county park rangers to help educate visitors on getting the most out of their visits to the reserve, while being aware of safeguarding the natural resources here, including the harbor seals that birth and rest on the beach. Thorough training is provided. Visit the website for more information on this and other San Mateo County Department of Parks volunteer opportunities.

Related: Best Places To Volunteer With Your Kids In San Francisco

City of Sunnyvale
Parks Volunteer Opportunities
505 W. Olive Ave., Suite 200
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
(408) 730-7533

Be a parks volunteer for ongoing projects or one-time events at one of several Sunnyvale parks that have volunteer needs. Sunnyvale encourages individuals and groups to volunteer and tells groups to contact the parks to come on board together. The City of Sunnyvale Volunteer Resources Program aims to advance collaborative civic engagement through its volunteer program, with opportunities available for adults and teens aged 13 and older. Visit the website to get more information, read the FAQ page and see a current listing of volunteer needs.

Volunteers For Outdoor California (V-O-Cal)
2745 Spring St., Unit B
Redwood City, CA 94063
(415) 367-3469

For a larger volunteer experience, contact V-O-Cal. The organization recruits volunteers for large-scale trail maintenance, construction projects, habitat restoration and related land management assignments involving 100-300 volunteers. The work is in beautiful locations ranging from Monterey to the Trinity Mountains. V-O-Cal believes the quality of the experience is the most important part of its efforts, and designs its projects to be sure every single volunteer has a wonderful time and leaves the project with a sense of accomplishment. The average V-O-Cal project uses 125-150 volunteers for a weekend-long opportunity, from Friday night to approximately 2 p.m. on Sunday. The campsites are comfortable with optional showers and time to relax and have appetizers before dinner is served. A hot breakfast is served in the mornings, plus there are lunch fixings and dinner to keep everyone well fed. Families with children 14 and over are welcome. The V-O-Cal website explains everything, so check it out and sign on for an unforgettable experience.

Hidden Villa
26870 Moody Road
Los Altos Hills, CA 94022
(650) 949-8650

Hidden Villa is a non-profit educational organization dedicated to providing opportunities for learning about the environment through its organic farm, wilderness and community resources. Volunteering at Hidden Villa is a meaningful way to be actively involved with nature while fostering Hidden Villa’s mission for a just and sustainable future. Both individual and group volunteers are welcomed and will be valued for their generosity. Families with older kids can be group volunteers, working together to complete large projects, such as organic farming or horticulture and ornamental gardening. No experience is necessary and training is provided to get you on track. There is so much to do at Hidden Villa for a day, a weekend or a week. It is a lovely locale to relax or take a walk, as well as learn. Visit the website to find out more about Hidden Villa and its volunteer opportunities.

Related: How To Help Your Kids Choose The Best Extra-Curricular Activities

Melanie Graysmith is a writer, artist and educator based in San Francisco. She writes on adult education, art and lifestyle topics, and enjoys writing short stories and poetry. She is also a member of an independent filmmaking group. Her work can be found at

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