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You can volunteer for one of several events or help clean up a park or coach a sports team

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Cheslie CarterAre you interested in giving some time and talent to better your community? Research shows that volunteering is one of the best ways to spend your time in retirement or at any age and not just because it feels good!

One of the better-known benefits of volunteering is the impact on the community. Volunteers truly are the glue that hold a community together. Even helping with the smallest tasks can make a real difference to the lives of people, animals and organizations in need. It's a two-way street: It can benefit you and your family as much as the cause you choose to help. Dedicating your time as a volunteer helps you make new friends, expands your network and boosts your social skills among other reasons.

Did you know that helping others kindles happiness? The London School of Economics examined the relationship between volunteering and measures of happiness in a large group of American adults. They found the more time people spent volunteering, the happier they were. Compared with people who never volunteered, the odds of being "very happy" rose 7% among those who volunteer monthly and 12% for people who volunteer every two to four weeks.

There are many opportunities for you to plug in and engage with Crook County Parks and Recreation District! We encourage individuals as well as groups of all ages and abilities to volunteer with us. Everything from coaching sports to park clean-up projects, we need your help! Here are a few ideas:

Rimrock Park, Disc Golf Course: Years ago, we had a course located in Rimrock Park. We need volunteers to work with our staff in redesigning the hole layout and installing baskets back into the ground. Volunteer work parties will be advertised so that fairway clearing, tee box construction and approach grooming can be tackled.

Santa's Workshop: Christmas already? On Saturday, Nov. 26, CCPRD will host its annual Santa's Workshop event at the Crook County Fairgrounds. This program offers Prineville's youth an opportunity to get a head start on their holiday gift list by making their own gifts to give away to friends and family.

If you have a love for crafts with glitter, pretty paper, bows and ribbon, we have a job for you!

Referees and Coaches: Love fall sports? Be a coach or referee! Volunteers are needed for youth soccer and football and are an essential part of CCPRD youth sports programs. Volunteer coaches are valuable teachers, mentors and friends for the children on their teams.

Volunteer coaches teach the skills needed for the sport, but even more important, they teach and model important life lessons like good sportsmanship and responsibility and help foster self-confidence.

Park Cleanup: Adopt-A-Park is a simple program designed to encourage people in our community to help keep our parks, trails and open space clean and in tip-top shape. Typically, this involves an individual or group making a commitment to volunteer their time to help with some maintenance related tasks.

There are many different projects that you can assist with. Weather and time of year also play a role in determining park projects as each season brings different needs. We need help with anything from litter pick-up to gardening, graffiti removal, painting and more! We'll figure out what's right for you. Parks can also be adopted by families, businesses and other organizations managed by CCPRD.

Movies in the Park: Do you appreciate films and want to help in providing movie experiences to the community? Join us as a volunteer movie assistant! This helps by completing set-up and take-down of movie equipment and preparing popcorn and snacks for patrons. Experience with audio/visual equipment is a plus but not necessary!

Park Host: Being a park host can be a rewarding experience. It gives individuals the opportunity to invest in a local community and bring joy and happiness to others. You get to be part of a team of parks and recreation professionals and share in their camaraderie. Park hosts get to meet people from all over the world and make lasting friendships.

Park host volunteers are stewards of Crook County Parks and Recreation District-operated campgrounds. As representatives of CCPRD, they provide support for park guests, staff and are instrumental in taking care of our camping facilities.

Park hosts support our community, receive full hook-up RV sites, receive training and free participation in CCPRD activities. The length of stay can vary, as well as the hours per week.

We recognize that your time is extremely valuable, and people's schedules tend to change constantly. Each area of our parks and recreation programs has its own unique needs, and therefore, we don't put specific demands on the amount of time groups and individuals spend. We work with you to figure out the best arrangement and support your ongoing efforts.

Lastly, don't forget to join us at the Prineville pool on Sept. 2 for a luau with snow cones and pool games before we tuck the pool in for colder weather! Watch our Facebook page for more details.

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