Volunteer FAQ

Learn more about what it’s like to give back with
Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC):

The Volunteer Experience

Who Can Volunteer

Registration & Cancellations

Other Ways to Get Involved

Additional Information

The Volunteer Experience

What kind of work is done on VOC volunteer projects? All of our volunteer projects are designed to protect, enhance, restore, and preserve Colorado’s natural places. Specific types of work may include trail construction and maintenance, gardening and planting, wildfire and flood restoration, invasive weed removal, ecological and habitat restoration, forestry management, and preservation of historic structures.

Where do VOC volunteer projects take place? Our volunteer projects take place across the state of Colorado, often on public lands including national forests, state parks, and city- and county-managed open spaces. Some projects are in the city, while some are high in the mountains, in wilderness areas, or on the rural plains. To view upcoming project locations, visit our project calendar or project map.

How long do VOC volunteer projects last? Some projects are only a half-day or a few hours in the evening; most are a full day or take place over a weekend or several days. Project durations are noted within the project descriptions.

How difficult is the work on VOC volunteer projects? VOC offers projects for people of all ages and abilities. To help you find projects that fit your desired level of physical activity, each project is rated as easy, moderate, or difficult:

  • Easy – These projects are great for youth and people looking for a lower physical effort. They typically have minimal physical demand and worksites that are easy to access. Easy volunteer activities include tree plantings, pulling weeds, or spreading gravel on trails. 
  • Moderate – These projects require greater physical activity, such as lifting and digging, and access to worksites may include longer distances and/or require hiking. Projects are typically a full day or longer with a minimum age of 12 to 14 years, though this can vary depending on the project.
  • Difficult – These projects are physically demanding with worksites that are often difficult to access and/or take place at high altitude. Tasks are often more technical, such as building rock walls or constructing trail steps. Volunteers are typically required to be 16 or older on Difficult projects. 

Click here to view our full difficulty rating criteria sheet.

How many volunteers typically participate in a VOC project? Some projects can have as few as a dozen volunteers, while others can have more than a hundred! If you have questions about a specific project, email outreach@voc.org or call 303-715-1010 ext. 116.

Will food be provided at the project? Food provisions vary depending on the project. Most one-day projects provide a light breakfast and lunch, while overnight or multi-day projects include breakfast, lunch and dinner. While we can accommodate vegetarians, we recommend bringing your own food for allergies or other dietary restrictions. Specific details on food provisions will be provided after project registration.

Can I volunteer for just part of a project? Volunteers are expected to stay for the duration of the entire project. However, some multi-day projects offer the opportunity to select the day(s) you wish to volunteer.

Where do I stay during overnight or multi-day volunteer projects? VOC provides the campsite and meals for overnight and multi-day projects; volunteers will need to bring their own tent and other camping supplies. Projects that take place in remote areas will require volunteers to stay with the group at the designated campsite, while other project locations may offer alternative accommodations nearby, such as a hotel. VOC does not facilitate alternative accommodations for volunteers, though volunteers may seek other accommodations for themselves.

What are Stewardship Adventures? Some of our multi-day projects combine adventure travel (such as canoeing, mountain biking, or sightseeing) with volunteer stewardship activities. These Stewardship Adventure projects may have a cost associated with the adventure part of the project.

Who Can Volunteer

Do I need any experience to volunteer? No. We offer volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and abilities! On each project, you will work on a small crew led by an experienced VOC volunteer crew leader who will teach you all you need to know and help you have a safe, fun, and rewarding experience.

I'm not 100% sure I'm well suited to volunteer on a VOC project. How can I learn more? Please review VOC's Essential Eligibility Criteria for more information on the mental and physical requirements needed to ensure safety on VOC projects. These criteria are inteded to be helpful and constructive for all participants who are considering attending our programs, however they do not encompass every criteria or function of the various activities you may encounter on a given program. Please read individual project descriptions prior to registering to help you determine if you are eligible to volunteer.

Can I volunteer with a group? Yes! Groups can register for the majority of our volunteer projects by emailing outreach@voc.org or calling 303-715-1010 ext. 116. Please note each project varies in size; some projects may not be able to accommodate groups while others can accommodate groups up to 10 people. For youth and corporate groups of 20+ people, VOC offers custom SWAT (Stewardship with a Team) volunteer opportunities. Learn more about Youth SWATs or Corporate SWATs.

Can I bring my kids? Yes! Please refer to the minimum age listed in each project description; this is based on the nature of the work and safety considerations. For families with kids ages 6+, keep an eye out for our "Young Stewards" projects exclusively for families with kids ages 6-12, and our "Family Camping" projects, in which kids ages 6-11 participate in educational activities while adults and youth ages 12+ complete a stewardship project. 

On single-day projects, youth under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult on single-day projects (16 & 17-year-olds must have signed adult permission), and minors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult on overnight projects. 

Can I bring my pets? No. While we love our pets, we unfortunately cannot allow them on projects due to safety considerations, their impact on wildlife, and other risks involved. 

Can I complete my community service hours through VOC? Yes! Whether you’re a student in need of community service hours or need to complete court-ordered community service for a non-violent offense, you can earn your hours on a VOC project. Register for any project on our volunteer calendar and bring any paperwork you need signed to your project; a VOC project manager will sign off on your hours at the end of the project. 

Please note: youth under the age of 16 must be accompanied by an adult on single-day projects (16 & 17-year-olds must have signed adult permission), and minors under 18 must be accompanied by an adult on overnight projects. 

Registration & Cancellations

Do I need to register for VOC volunteer projects, or can I just show up? You must register so that we can effectively plan for the number of volunteers expected with regard to tools, volunteer leaders, food, etc. VOC may experiment with flexible volunteering soon, though, so check back for further updates.

How do I register for a VOC volunteer project? Registration is simple. Visit our volunteer calendar and click on any project that interests you; you will be transferred to a project summary on a secure registration site. If you are new to VOC, the 'Individual Registration' button will prompt you to create a profile and provide the requested information. Once you complete registration, you will receive a confirmation email.

For help registering or to register a group, please email outreach@voc.org or call 303-715-1010 ext. 116.

I keep getting waitlisted. Why don't you close registration when a project is full? Our projects rely on a set number of volunteers to be successful. We always receive cancellations, so there is a good chance that you will be pulled off the waitlist! If you have tried to register and have been waitlisted for 3+ projects, or want to know where you stand on the waitlist, contact us at 303-715-1010. We can tell you the status of the waitlist and/or help you find an open project.

What happens after I register for a VOC volunteer project? Once you have registered, you will receive a reminder email approximately 4 weeks before the project. You will then receive detailed project information approximately 10 days prior to the project, including directions to the project, a map of the project site, when to arrive, what to bring, what meals will be provided, where to park, and information on overnight accommodations, if applicable.

Does VOC offer carpools to projects? When you register for a project, you will be given the opportunity to note if you are interested in carpooling and whether you can offer or need a ride. We will connect interested volunteers with each other two weeks prior to the project; it is then up to the volunteers to arrange any carpools.

What if I can’t make it to a project that I’m registered for? Please email outreach@voc.org or call 303-715-1010 ext. 116 as soon as possible to cancel your registration so we can adjust food and crew leader needs, and offer your spot to another volunteer.

Are projects ever canceled due to inclement weather? Projects are generally not canceled because of rain or light snow showers — weather conditions must be severe before we cancel or reschedule a project. If this happens, we will inform all registered volunteers as soon as possible. You may also call our Weather Cancellation Hotline at 303-715-1010 ext. 131 prior to any project.

Other Ways to Get Involved

Are there other ways for me to help on a project? Yes. We are always in need of people to help cook, assist with tool organization and transport, take photographs, or blog about projects! Please email Dan Williams or call 303-715-1010 ext. 117 to learn about other volunteer opportunities like these.

What are volunteer leaders and how do I become one? VOC projects rely on dedicated volunteers to serve as:

  • Crew Leaders –  Guide other volunteers in small groups of 8-10 people throughout each project; teaching them what they need to know and ensuring everyone has a safe, fun and rewarding experience;
  • Crew Chefs – Keep volunteers happy and well-fed by planning and preparing snacks and meals on all VOC projects, including single-day and multi-day trips;
  • Tool Managers – Ensure volunteer crews are well-equipped by organizing and transporting the necessary tools.

All volunteer leaders must undergo the proper training. Click here or contact Dan Williams to learn more about these opportunities.

I am unable to attend VOC projects. Are there other ways to help? Yes! If you are unable to make our scheduled projects, you can help care for Colorado by:

  • Sign up for our e-newsletter to learn about off-the-field volunteer opportunities such as helping VOC with marketing, photography, office support and other roles. 
  • Provide financial support. Your contributions help us put thousands of volunteers on the ground to care for Colorado and preserve our beloved outdoor places for generations to come.
  • Familiarize yourself with responsible recreation. View our shortlist of links to help you care for Colorado's outdoors while you hike, hunt, bike, sightsee, and more.

Additional Information

What if I have more questions? Please email outreach@voc.org or call 303-715-1010 ext. 116.

Ready to volunteer? View our project calendar.