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ZooTeen Program

2023 ZooTeen applications are now open!

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.

Apply to be a Zooteen Today

The ZooTeen program is generously sponsored by:
   

2023 ZooTeen Program Calendar

2023 ZooTeen Calendar:

12/01/23: Online Applications Open

01/31/23: Applications close by 5PM

Virtual LIVE ZooTeen Info Hours for New ZooTeens & parent/guardian (mandatory – must choose one):
02/12/23: 3PM – 4PM
02/17/23
: 6PM – 7PM
All Info Hours will be held virtually.

02/28/22: Last date for returning ZooTeens to notify us of their return

02/28/23: Applicant Letters of Reference due by 5PM

03/01/23: Applicants will receive invite to interview if all applications materials are submitted.

03/06/23 – 03/12/23: Interviews from 4PM – 5PM

03/31/23: Notification of acceptance by 5pm

04/22/23 & 04/23/23: ZooTeen Orientation for New and Returning Teens (Mandatory for ALL Teens- must chose one) from 8:30AM – 4:30PM

NEGATIVE TB TEST IS DUE ON OR BEFORE ZOOTEEN ORITENTATION! Please keep in mind TB tests require you to return 48 hours after the initial visit.

04/29/23 & 04/30/23: ZooTeen Practice Day for New Teens (Mandatory for New Teens – must choose one) from 9:00AM – 4:30PM

05/30/23: ZooTeen start date

09/04/23: Last day of Summer ZooTeen Program

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

  • One ZooTeen info hour (new teens and their parents/guardians)
  • One ZooTeen orientation day (new and returning teens)
  • One ZooTeen practice day (new teens)
  • Weekly shift
    • Shift times: 9:30AM – 1:00PM or 12:45PM – 4:15PM
    • Minimum 13 shifts within June, July, and August (approximately 4 shifts per month)
    • 13 shifts must include one special event or after-hours rental during ZooTeen season (June, July, and August)
  • ZooTeens that would like to assist with camps are required to volunteer for the full duration of the weeklong camp. Most camps run from 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday

Orientation

New ZooTeens

Attendance is mandatory for either Saturday or Sunday of ZooTeen Orientation (to see dates available, please see program calendar).

Practice day is mandatory for either Saturday or Sunday of ZooTeen Practice Day (to see dates available, please see program calendar).

Teens unable to attend both one orientation and one practice day will not be able to participate in the 2023 ZooTeen program. See program calendar for dates and times.

Returning ZooTeens

Attendance is mandatory for either Saturday or Sunday of ZooTeen Orientation (to see dates available, please see program calendar).

Practice day is recommended but not required for Returning ZooTeens.

One orientation day will be required for all returning ZooTeens. Teens unable to attend orientation will not be able to participate in the 2023 ZooTeen program. See program calendar for dates and times.

Tuition

$125 tuition fee includes (non-refundable):

  1. Daily mentoring and supervision of ZooTeens 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
    • Career Development
  3. Program supplies & materials:
    • One Zoo Boise uniform shirt
    • End-of-summer party
    • Friends and Family Evening
    • 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, 2023. Cannot be 18 before September 1, 2023. NO EXCEPTIONS.

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.

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.”

“The ZooTeen Program has taught me both people skills and job skills, and now I can be prepared for future jobs. I have gotten to meet so many awesome people! I also love animals and get to work at a place that is full of them! Thank you so much for creating this program!”

“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.”

“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 have really loved being a ZooTeen this year. It has helped me be more confident talking to people. Parent comment- The ZooTeen program has been a great experience for my daughter. The program is very well ran and easy to help my daughter schedule shifts. Thank you so much for giving her this opportunity and making it so positive!”

“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 in the fall) to 17 (entering 12th grade).

Must be 13 by September 1, 2023. Cannot be 18 before September 1, 2023. NO EXCEPTIONS.

If you are under the age of 13 and would still like to be a volunteer at Zoo Boise, please visit zooboise.org/Volunteer and read about our “Zoo Ambassador – Family Volunteer” position.

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?

  • One ZooTeen info hour (new teens and their parents/guardians)
  • One ZooTeen orientation day (new and returning teens)
  • One ZooTeen practice day (new teens)
  • Weekly shift
    • Shift times: 9:30AM – 1:00PM or 12:45PM – 4:15PM
    • Minimum 13 shifts within June, July, and August (approximately 4 shifts per month)
    • 13 shifts must include one special event or after-hours rental during ZooTeen season (June, July, and August)
  • ZooTeens that would like to assist with camps are required to volunteer for the full duration of the weeklong camp. Most camps run from 8:00am-5:00pm, Monday-Friday

How do I apply?

  1. Fill out the online portion of the application before 5:00pm on Monday, January 31, 2023. 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, February 28, 2023.
  2. The 2023 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 virtual LIVE ZooTeen Info Hour to learn more and ask questions about the ZooTeen Program. Attending this 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 February 28, 2023.  If you do not receive an email with the reference form after you fill out the application, please check your spam folder or email us at Zoo Boise.
    3. Attending one ZooTeen Info Hour.

Virtual LIVE ZooTeen Info Hours for New ZooTeens & parent/guardian (mandatory – must choose one):
02/12/23: 3:00pm – 4:00pm
02/17/23:
6:00pm – 7:00pm
All Info Hours will be held virtually.

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 on or before March 31 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 including reaching the 13 shifts minimum which includes one event/rental requirement.
  2. Attend and participate in all mandatory training sessions. Please see the above calendar to view options for scheduled days.
  3. Pay a $125 tuition fee (due at orientation).
  4. Wear the Zoo Boise ZooTeen shirt (provided by the zoo), a watch, and khaki/grey/black pants or shorts (no shorter than mid-thigh and no denim) 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; due at orientation).
  6. Submit a negative TB test (due at orientation). Please keep in mind TB testing requires you to return 48 hours after the initial visit.

What does the tuition fee cover?

Tuition fee includes:

  1. Daily mentoring and supervision of ZooTeens 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!

What if the program is not a fit for me?

If you feel like this program is not the right fit for your needs, please visit zooboise.org/volunteer for more information on our other volunteer positions.

Apply to be a Zooteen Today