With the completion of dormitories, animal habitats and a therapeutic riding arena, Whispering Hope Ranch is in need of volunteers.
The Ranch is a place where children and adults with challenges can experience the outdoors and bond with animals who also have special needs.
"Volunteer opportunities are so broad that anyone can find a job," said Volunteer Coordinator Debbie Stephens. "Whether they are a strong hefty man or a lady that wants to tell campfire stories to the kids there is a place for them."
March 4 from 10 a.m. to noon is "Voluntine's Day," the day for potential volunteers to visit Whispering Hope Ranch, meet some of the animals, learn about the mission and see the additions that have kept the Ranch closed for several years.
"I love volunteering out here," said Kristen Crosiar, even though the last time she volunteered at the ranch she got soaked with rain. "I get to give back to the community."
Crosiar spent her volunteer hours moving rocks in the llama habitat to make the terrain easier for them to climb on. She created a soft place for them to lie down.
The Whispering Hope Ranch is looking for:
- patient adults who can coach games
- people who are familiar with horses and have the strength to walk next to a horse and help support a special needs child as he or she rides
- nature lovers with the knowledge to act as guides on trail hikes
- crafty people who are good at explaining and helpers to assist others with cutting, pasting, coloring and sculpting
- people who can sing or play a musical instrument
- hospitality servers who could help people check in, distribute raffle tickets and serve food
- people who are willing to clean animal habitats
- people who have construction, concrete, landscaping or electrical experience
- neat housekeepers for the dormitories
Volunteers are trained for their jobs. Before volunteers are assigned tasks, they will have their picture taken and given a background check.
The Retired Senior Volunteer Program has a mileage and meal benefit for those 55 and over traveling to help at the Ranch. There will be someone at Voluntine's Day to explain the program.
The time commitment for a volunteer can be once a month, once a week or even one time only.
"It's all helpful and we're flexible," Stephens said.
Volunteers need to be 18+ to be regular camp volunteers, but there are special days coming up and special organizations (for instance Scouts) that can come out with a leader and make a difference by doing specific jobs.
"We are going to have fun this year," Stephens said. "We are going to have a mother-daughter work day and a father-son work day."
Children 12 years old and older must be accompanied by a parent or grandparent.
The mother-daughter day is May 13 and the father-son day is June 17. Both start at 9 a.m. and include lunch. Reservations are required.
Youth volunteer day starts at 1 p.m. on July 29. Teenagers 16 and older are welcome to reserve a spot.
The ranch is located just east of Christopher Creek on Colcord Road.
Information on the individual animals can be found at www.whisperinghoperanch.org.
Reservations for the orientation or any of the volunteer days can be made by calling (928) 478-0339. It is not mandatory to go to the March 4 event to volunteer your time.