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ZooTeen Program

Be a part of the conservation of wildlife worldwide!

The Zoo Boise ZooTeen program inspires teens across Idaho to increase and share their knowledge of animals, conservation, and the environment. As a ZooTeen, you’ll focus on educating Zoo Boise visitors and will gain experience with teaching, leadership, and public speaking. You’ll also learn about animals and raise awareness about conservation projects supported by the Zoo Boise Conservation Fund.

2021 ZooTeen Registration is Now Closed

The ZooTeen program is generously sponsored by:
   

Duties

As a ZooTeen, you will work to educate Zoo Boise visitors while raising awareness and funds for the conservation of wildlife worldwide. ZooTeens provide informal educational presentations for zoo visitors, assist in the operation of seasonal exhibits, assist with summer camps for children, and support Zoo Boise’s wildlife conservation mission.

Time Commitment

  • Weekly 4-hour shift
    • Shift times: 9:15am – 1:15pm or 12:45-4:45
    • Minimum 40 service hours within June, July, and August (approximately 3 shifts per month)
  • One special event or after-hours rental during ZooTeen season (June-August)
  • ZooTeens that would like to assist with camps are required to volunteer from 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday, during the week of camp.

Orientation

Orientation will be held in two formats. Orientation will take place during the month of May, with sessions held virtually on Google Classroom as well as a practice day on zoo grounds for both new and returning ZooTeens. Both orientations are required for any teen who would like to participate in the 2021 summer ZooTeen program. Teens unable to attend orientation will not be able to participate in the 2021 ZooTeen program. See program calendar for dates and times.

Tuition

$100 tuition fee includes (non-refundable):

  1. Daily mentoring and supervision of Zoo Teens by skilled Zoo Boise staff members
  2. Initial orientation and continuous daily training in:
    • Professionalism & job skills
    • Leadership
    • Public speaking
    • Communication skills
    • Animal biology, wildlife habitats, and ecology
    • Wildlife conservation
  3. Program supplies & materials:
    • One Zoo Boise uniform shirt
    • End-of-summer party
    • Orientation and training
  4. Opportunities for FUN!

Age Requirements

Ages 13* (entering 8th grade in the fall) to 17 (entering 12th grade).

*Must be 13 by September 1 of year of application. NO EXCEPTIONS.

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A Note to Parents & Guardians

The ZooTeen program at Zoo Boise provides a fun and educational activity for your teen. We make every effort to maintain a quality program which also requires assistance from you. We emphasize to the student that they are making a commitment to Zoo Boise and it requires your support for them to fulfill their commitment. Please encourage your teen to take the application and interview seriously as it will assist Zoo Boise in selecting applicants.

As a part of teaching professional development skills, we also ask you to encourage your teen to complete application materials and communicate with Zoo Boise staff with minimal input from you.

2021 ZooTeen Program Calendar

2021 ZooTeen Calendar:

February 2: Online Applications Open.

March 20: Applications close by 5:00pm.

ZooTeen Info Nights for teen & parent/guardian (mandatory – must choose one):
March 30: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
April 1: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
April 7: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
April 10: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
At this time, all info hours are set to be held virtually through Zoom.

March 20: Returning ZooTeens notify us of their return.

April 12: Letters of Reference due by 5:00pm.

Interviews: April 12 – 23 (Mondays – Fridays) from 3:45pm – 5:00pm

April 30: Notification of acceptance by 5pm.

May 1 – 29: Virtual orientation for all teens (new and returning) will be open and active. Teens will have the ability to complete on their own time, but all components are due by 5pm on May 29.

May 8, 16, 22, & 23: Zoo Teen Practice Day (mandatory – must choose one):
9:00am – 4:00pm
Required for all new teens.
Optional, but highly recommended for returning teens.

June 1: New ZooTeen start date.

Sept 6: Last day of ZooTeen program.

ZooTeen Testimonials

“The most enjoyable aspect was simply learning about animals and being surrounded by people who have the same passion for nature and wildlife as I do!”

“It’s really helped me grow and become more comfortable interacting with people I’m not familiar with. In that respect, it’s also been a huge confidence boost.”

“I most enjoyed positive interactions with people my age. It was a great way to work on my lackluster social skills and bond with people who shared my similar interests.”

“I can’t begin to describe the positive impact this program has had on my life.”

“I think the ZooTeen program has a huge impact on how I view the wild and conservation. I know now that, even as a kid, my voice can make a difference.”

“I learned a lot about myself. I definitely became a better speaker and more confident in myself.”

“The Zoo Teen Program has a big role at the zoo. It contributes by bringing attention to conservation to visitors and teaching them about animals all over the world. I helped with animal encounters and talking about conservation at every station that I did.”

“It gives teenagers in the area a great way to get involved in community service and help educate the public about environmental issues and conservation.”

“I feel like this opportunity has made me better at speaking to people I don’t know, and because of this I feel significantly more confident when I meet strangers. Before this, I also had little experience being in a leadership role, and being a returning teen I really have had to start to develop those skills in mentoring and teaching others.”

“This year I gained a lot not just as a volunteer but as a person by being involved in the ZooTeen program, it’s difficult to explain but helping out with special events and especially camps were all very emotionally uplifting experiences that will stick with me for a long time.”

“I don’t have much to say other than I can’t wait till next year to be a part of this program again! I think that everyone should experience this opportunity at least once in their life.”

ZooTeen FAQ

What age do I have to be for the ZooTeen program?

Ages 13 (entering 8th grade) to 18 (entering 12th grade). Applicants must be at least 13 years of age by September 1 of the current year and have completed 7th grade.

What do ZooTeen volunteers do?

As a ZooTeen, you will work to educate Zoo Boise visitors while raising awareness and funds for the conservation of wildlife worldwide. ZooTeens provide informal educational presentations for zoo visitors, assist in the operation of seasonal exhibits, assist with summer camps for children, and support Zoo Boise’s wildlife conservation mission.

What is the time commitment required for ZooTeens?

  • Weekly 4-hour shift
    • Shift times: 9:15am – 1:15pm or 12:45-4:45
    • Minimum 40 service hours within June, July, and August (approximately 3 shifts per month)
  • One special event or after-hours rental during ZooTeen season (June-August)
  • ZooTeens that would like to assist with camps are required to volunteer from 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday, during the week of camp.

How do I apply?

  1. Fill out the online portion of the application before 5:00pm on Saturday, March 20. Once you have completed the online application, you will receive an email with a reference letter form attached. This form must be completed and submitted to the Zoo Boise Volunteer Department by 5pm on Monday, April 12.
  2. The 2021 ZooTeen Online Application must be completed in one session. Please allow at least 30-minutes to complete the process. Only one entry per applicant will be accepted.
  3. You and a parent or guardian must attend a ZooTeen Info Hour to learn more and ask questions about the ZooTeen Program. Attending the Info Hour will help you make the decision on whether or not this program is right for you and will help keep your parents informed. Teens that do not attend an info hour will not be eligible for an interview and will not be accepted into the program.
  4. Applications have three parts and are not considered complete unless all parts are submitted on time. The three parts include:
    1. An online application with all fields completed
    2. A reference form, filled out in full and submitted by 5:00pm on April 12.  If you do not receive an email after you fill out the application, please check your spam folder or email us at Zoo Boise.
    3. Attending one ZooTeen Info Hour.

2021 Info Hour Dates: Please attend ONE of the following
(Meet in front of Zoo Entrance)
March 30: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
April 1: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
April 7: 6:00pm – 7:00pm
April 10: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
At this time, all info hours are set to be held on Zoom.

What happens after I apply?

  1. Based on quality of applications, applicants will be chosen for an interview. If applications do not meet standards for an interview, you will not be contacted to schedule an interview. All interviews take place in April. Interviews must be in person. Requests for phone or online interviews will not be granted.
  2. After all interviews are complete, applicants will be contacted by email (by 5pm on April 30) regarding acceptance into the ZooTeen program.

What happens if I am accepted into the ZooTeen program?

If accepted as a ZooTeen, you will be expected to:

  1. Participate in all aspects of the program.
  2. Attend and particpate in all training sessions. New ZooTeens are required to participate in online training conducted through Google Classroom as well as attend a Practice Day held on zoo grounds. Please see the above calendar to view options for practice days. ZooTeens must only attend one practice day. Participation in both aspects of training are mandatory for new ZooTeens.
  3. Pay a $100.00 tuition fee (Due at orientation)
  4. Wear the Zoo Boise ZooTeen shirt (provided by the zoo) and khaki pants or shorts (no shorter than mid-thigh) that are provided by you. Closed-toe and closed-heel shoes are required. No sandals or flip-flops.
  5. Submit a medical form (this will be emailed in acceptance letter).
  6. Submit a negative TB test (due at orientation).

What does the tuition fee cover?

Tuition fee includes:

  1. Daily mentoring and supervision of Zoo Teens by skilled Zoo Boise staff members
  2. Initial orientation and continuous daily training in:
    • Professionalism & job skills
    • Leadership
    • Public speaking
    • Communication skills
    • Animal biology, wildlife habitats, and ecology
    • Wildlife conservation
  3. Program supplies & materials:
    • One Zoo Boise uniform shirt
    • End-of-summer party
    • Orientation and training
  4. Opportunities for FUN!