Conservation Youth Team

The Virginia Zoo’s Conservation Youth Team (CYT) is a youth development program for high school students that provides important volunteer services to the Zoo, our guests, and our communities. During a fun and intensive one-week training at the beginning of summer, teens learn their way around the Zoo, the basics of conservation and ecology, and how to educate Zoo guests. For the rest of the summer, CYT participants provide exhibit interpretation for Zoo guests or support Summer Safari Camp programs. As a member of the Conservation Youth Team, participants develop important job and life skills, build self-confidence, and earn community service hours. Regular conservation education, combined with hands-on conservation experiences, connect participants with opportunities to better understand science and conservation in the local community.

What opportunities are available?

CYT offers two “tracks” to first year applicants—Guide Track and Camp Track:

GUIDE TRACK

CYT participants in this track hone their informal education skills and provide enriching guest experiences. Guide Track CYTs will become familiar with Zoo stories and animals while sharing their passion for conservation with Zoo guests. Applicants should have an interest in educating and communicating with visitors of all ages and backgrounds.

Time commitment:

  •  CYT training: Monday, June 25, 2018 – Friday, June 29, 2018 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm
  •  Shifts: Four consecutive eight-hour shifts (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) every other week. Applicants select one of the following day groups. Applicants must commit to every week of the program.
    •  Guide Track 1: Sunday/Monday/Tuesday/Wednesday
      • July 8-11, July 22-25, August 5-8, August 19-22
    • Guide Track 2: Wednesday/Thursday/Friday/Saturday
      • July 11-14, July 25-28, August 8-11, August 22-25
  •  Conservation events: July 18, 2018, August 15, 2018, and one more date TBD
  • End of Summer Celebration & Awards Ceremony: Friday, September 14, 2018, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • End of Summer CYT Zoo Snooze (optional): Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm – Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 10:00 am
  • Click here to see the 2018 CYT Summer Schedule

 

Camp Track 

CYT participants in this track will mentor campers and assist our Camp instructors with our Summer Safari Camp Programs. Camp Track CYTs will learn how to lead games and manage groups while assisting in activities such as learning labs, zoo tours, behind-the-scenes experiences and animal encounters. Applicants should have an interest in mentoring younger students and gaining teaching experience.

Time commitment:

  •  CYT training: Monday, June 25, 2018 – Friday, June 29, 2018 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm
  • Shifts: Five consecutive eight-hour shifts (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) every other week. Applicants must commit to every week of the program.
    •  Camp Track: Monday – Friday
      • July 9-13, July 23-27, August 6-10, August 20-24
  •  Conservation events: July 18, 2018, August 15, 2018, and one more date TBD
  • End of Summer Celebration & Awards Ceremony: Friday, September 14, 2018, 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • End of Summer CYT Zoo Snooze (optional): Friday, September 14, 2018 at 7:00 pm – Saturday, September 15, 2018 at 10:00 am
  •  Click here to see the 2018 CYT Summer Schedule

    What are the requirements? 

    Student volunteers applying should:
  • Indicate a track preference on their applications
  • Be currently enrolled in high school or entering high school next fall and be at least 14 years old
  • Demonstrate an eagerness to learn and to work with people of all ages and backgrounds
  • Be proficient in English and comfortable with science vocabulary
  • Be willing and available to attend all important program dates
  • Volunteer for eight-hour days (8:30 am – 4:30 pm) as assigned (approximately 150 hours)

WHAT IS THE TIMELINE?

  • Attend an Information Session to learn more about the Conservation Youth Team:
    • January 14 from 1:30 pm to 2:30 pm
    • January 20 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
    • February 11 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm
  •  Application and Recommendation Form due: March 1, 2018
  • Potential interviews: March 21, March 24, or March 25, 2018 (if selected, applicants will need to attend one interview session in person)
  • Parent/Guardian Orientation: Thursday, June 7 at 6 pm or Saturday, June 9 at 2:30 pm
  • CYT Training Week: Monday, June 25, 2018 – Friday, June 29, 2018 between 8:30 am and 4:30 pm
  • Conservation events: July 18, 2018, August 15, 2018, and one more date TBD

Is there a cost?

If you are selected to participate in the Conservation Youth Team there is a required $100.00 registration fee. This amount covers your Zoo uniform shirt, name tag, and additional program materials.

How do I apply for the CYT program?

Applications for the 2018 CYT Summer Session will open on December 1st, 2017.

If you have any questions, please contact the Education Department at vazoo.education@norfolk.gov.