Volunteers wanted to mentor youth in out of doors recreation actions  | Cedar Springs Put up Newspaper

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Posted on July 22, 2022.

Sign up for a volunteer shift at the UP State Fair in Escanaba

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Pocket Park is a popular spot, especially during the August fair week in Escanaba. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

If you are looking for a volunteer opportunity to help young people enjoy outdoor recreation and a sense of Michigan’s rich natural resource heritage and traditions, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources is looking Them.

Mentors are needed to staff the DNR’s pocket park during the August 15-21 Upper Peninsula State Fair. Activities that volunteers help with include helping kids catch and release bluegills in the UP-shaped pond, shooting shotguns or bows and arrows, manning the fire station, or greeting visitors.

“Most volunteers at Pocket Park find it a very rewarding experience, and many are returning this year to offer their help,” said Kristi Dahlstrom, one of DNR’s volunteer organizers. “The park attracts a lot of people, which means we have a lot of free shifts for volunteers.”

DNR Pocket Park is a 1-acre site located off US 2 at the Fairgrounds. The park caters especially to youth who are looking for an outdoor adventure or want to learn an outdoor skill.

The UP State Fair attracts more than 95,000 visitors annually, many of whom visit Pocket Park to participate in recreational activities, experience nature programs, visit conservation officers, or enjoy a relaxing, shady place to sit in a natural resource environment. Pocket Park has a wooded landscape and a small waterfall.

A young girl measures her target after receiving instruction on how to shoot a bow and arrow at Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Pocket Park in Escanaba. Photo by Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

“Volunteering at Pocket Park is an all-round positive and rewarding experience,” said Jo Ann Alexander, one of the DNR volunteer organizers. “Youth enjoy a fun experience, parents can introduce their children to potentially new activities with the help of others, and volunteers gain the satisfaction of knowing they are helping guide youth in recreational activities that can help shape their future interests.”

Businesses and organizations or clubs and groups may wish to sponsor shifts during the fair by volunteering their employees or members as a group. Group or company recognition will be prominently displayed and announced.

Volunteer training for all activities is provided.

Shifts during the fair week include:

5-8 p.m. Monday (fair opening day August 15)

11:30am-3:30pm and 3:30pm-7:00pm Tuesday to Saturday

12-3 p.m. Sunday (last day of the fair August 21)

Volunteers must be at least 16 years old (except in pre-approved circumstances) and pass a background check. A meal and t-shirt will be provided.

Anyone interested in volunteering should contact Jo Ann Alexander at 906-786-2351, ext. 0 or [email protected] or Kristi Dahlstrom at 906-226-1331 or [email protected]

Pocket Park is open by appointment Memorial Day through Labor Day to host family reunions, picnics, youth organizations, school groups, athletic clubs, Boy Scout camps, and public events that include an introduction to fishing, shooting, or outdoor recreation.

Those interested in booking an event at Pocket Park can call 906-789-0714 or 906-786-2351 to reserve an appointment.