Today, November 5, is International Volunteer Managers Day, and is the ideal time to recognize the people who work behind the scenes to ensure that the Vancouver Aquarium’s 1,000 volunteers each year are properly screened, placed, trained, supported, and recognized.

Volunteers have been integral in all aspects of the Aquarium’s operations since we opened our doors in 1956. However, the volunteer program doesn’t just run itself. What has been vital to the success of our award-winning volunteer program has been the 40 staff members who coordinate volunteers and motivate them to continue learning, growing, and contributing to our mission.

Volunteerism doesn’t just ‘happen.’ It requires careful planning, training, and management in order to motivate and equip volunteers to contribute to our communities in many ways.

Aquarium volunteers are involved in more than 25 departments throughout the organization, including Education, Visitor Experience, Interpretive Delivery and Marine Mammal Rescue, and each one is dedicated to ensuring that our volunteers are well looked after. Here are some ways that our volunteers appreciate their coordinators:

“Tessa sends us weekly emails of new and interesting world marine news and research. She makes suggestions for weekly programs and ensures we have plenty of props and information to make our presentations interesting,” says AquaNews booth/research volunteer Veronica Robinson. “She is very friendly and appreciative of all our work.”

“I really look forward to coming in for my shift because I know that I’ll be doing something useful and helpful,” shares external relations volunteer Shawna Perry. “Sam [coordinator] has contributed to my enjoyable experience because she plays to my strengths even if she doesn’t know it. She also keeps giving me more responsibilities which make me feel valued and trusted. She’s easy to get along with and very fun to work with!”

The efforts of these coordinators clearly make all the difference to the experience of our volunteers, and they are key ingredient in our recipe for effective volunteer involvement.

If you would like to join our amazing volunteer team, and be supported by a group of dedicated and caring coordinators, then visit our volunteer webpage for more information.

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