Volunteer Vacations: What Is In It For You

BF Cockatiels
"Someone Told Me Volunteering Is Fun!". Best Friends Animal Society

I can hear it now: Wait just a second. You’re telling me that I should take my precious two weeks of time off from work and go work somewhere else? Why yes! Yes, I am. 

Volunteer vacations are really fun. I’ve done quite a few of them and I have gotten enormous satisfaction from them. You come home having felt like you accomplished something. It feels uplifting and it certainly isn't boring. It’s a change of scenery (And Kanab, Utah is gorgeous!) but it’s different from a vacation where you’ve done nothing but lie around on a beach or stand in line in a cruise ship buffet line and avoid the art dealers who are trying to hustle some paintings.


I’ve done those vacations on the beach and I’ve always come home relaxed and rested. But it was never really a memorable experience. And to be honest, when it came the day before it was time to go home, I was really ready to go home because after a week of doing the same thing every day, I was bored. 

I was never bored at Best Friends Animal Society. Tired? You bet. Sore? Of course! Scrubbing floors and cleaning cages will do that to you. But I came home from that time feeling incredibly satisfied. I felt as though I had accomplished something. And I had. I worked my tail off while I was there and they appreciated it. It’s been said that change of work is rest. And if you are contributing to the welfare of something you love, all the better.

The Parrot Garden (PG) is one of the most well cared for and well maintained parrot adoption facilities I’ve ever seen. It really is impressive. The cleaning and care schedule is followed scrupulously.

They have a way of putting together Chop for their 120 plus birds in residence and get it done in such a way where it is efficiently made and it’s done with the vegetables in season so the cost is rock bottom. 

The Best Friends Parrot Garden has it rocking when it comes to caring for their charges. It’s well run, efficient and above all it’s clean.

In fact they have their daily routine down with such clockwork precision that they have time in the afternoon to work and play with the parrots. 

You may not think this is very important, but it is. Some of these birds have been through some tough times and sometimes the trust factor is low with some birds. By interacting and playing with them, they are establishing a trust. And in time these birds come around and become more open with humans as well as more comfortable. This comfort level is what makes them infinitely more adoptable. And that is precisely what Best Friends wants to happen. 

By giving of your time there, you are helping them keep the Parrot Garden moving forward. And believe me when I tell you that the fulfillment you get by volunteering there is wonderful. 

I was there at the same time as a woman who was volunteering there and wanted to volunteer at  the Parrot Garden. She had given time in the other areas and this was her last day. The problem was that she had a respiratory condition that didn’t allow her to work with them directly which was terribly frustrating to her. 

Quick thinker that PG Manager Jacqueline Johnson is, she settled the woman outside in the gazebo at a picnic table with a parrot in a carry cage as company and had her make bird toys and foraging bags.

The parrot near her outside in the gazebo wasn’t enough to make her ill out there in the fresh air and she was able to do something for the birds that was very valuable to the staff. Many times they simply don’t have the time to construct these toys so having a set of hands putting these things together was a godsend for them. And it all worked out. The bird was happy for the individual attention he was getting from the lady. The lady was happy that she was contributing something valuable. And the staff was happy to have the toys she made. In this situation it was a triple win.

There are many things you can do that you can help with at the Parrot Garden and Best Friends in general. They have all kinds of jobs you can do. You can help out with the maintenance team if you’re good at operating heavy equipment.

If you have a green thumb, I’m fairly certain the horticulture department would absolutely love having a volunteer put in plants and other tasks. 

You can walk a dog or walk a pig. You can fold bunny laundry and look after the bunnies if you prefer a really quiet experience. There are simply so many things you can do that need doing, your experience won’t ever be the same as the next person’s time there. 

But the important thing is knowing that your time there is valuable to them. They appreciate everything you do for them. 

Giving to Best Friends is a wonderful thing to do. They appreciate your money. But can give the Parrot Garden at Best Friends something that cannot be purchased: your time.