Building a stronger community and happier heart

Posted on May 17, 2024

Laura Bahl | Manager of Volunteer Services 

The power of volunteering

Seacoast Science Center (SSC) was built on a strong foundation of volunteerism, and the tradition continues today. As educators and ambassadors, volunteers play an essential role in advancing our mission to inspire the conservation of our Blue Planet. SSC volunteers are stewards of our coastal and ocean environment, advocates of education, and believers that it takes a village to build a healthier future for our community and planet. Volunteers bring a wealth of knowledge, skill, and energy that makes SSC the dynamic and beloved resource it is. Bottom line: we could not do what we do without volunteers, and we are beyond grateful for their contribution.

If you’ve visited SSC, you’ve most likely interacted with one of our many volunteers. However, not all volunteers work in a public-facing role. Finding a role that matches a volunteer’s interests, personal goals, professional or academic aspirations, and schedule is key to a rewarding and lasting volunteer experience. In my role as Manager of Volunteer Services at SSC, I meet with all prospective volunteers to ensure the right, mutually beneficial fit. 

Volunteers enrich Seacoast Science Center and our guests’ experience in so many ways. Some love interacting with our visitors at the touch tank, while some prefer to help behind the scenes or at one of our many mission-focused or fundraising events. There are larger corporate groups who are willing to take on bigger projects, like helping to clean up the trails for our annual Rescue Run. No matter the task, it is much needed help, it is rewarding, and we are ever so grateful.

Volunteers Laura Harris, Chaz Potter, and son Van.
Volunteers Laura Harris, Chaz Potter, and son Van.

“As a family, we love the opportunity to spend time together while supporting such an extraordinary organization,” says Laura Harris, Rye resident. “Our family is inspired to volunteer and support a place that is concerned about the wellbeing of our ocean, wildlife and surrounding environments. I find so much joy watching my 13 year old learn life skills while spending time at SSC volunteering and truly making a difference in personal experiences.”

Volunteering supports SSC and our mission, but it offers so many other benefits that go far beyond supporting nature-based learning and environmental conservation. If you have been thinking about volunteering consider these key benefits:

  • Helps you gain self-confidence, self-esteem, and a sense of purpose. 
  • Provides opportunities to learn new skills, gain valuable experience, and discover new interests and passions. 
  • Fosters continuous learning whether interacting with visitors, or working on a maintenance project. 
  • Offers opportunities to meet and connect with a diverse range of people who share similar interests and values.
  • Reduces stress and promotes overall well-being through increased social interaction.
  • Enhances career or academic prospects by providing opportunities to develop and demonstrate skills.
  • Expands your professional network and offers insight into career options.

In addition to the benefits listed above, volunteerism has a positive impact in the community. Not only SSC’s community, but our larger Seacoast community and beyond. Volunteering can inspire you to become more actively engaged citizens and agents of positive change. By witnessing the impact of their actions, volunteers often feel motivated to continue making a difference in the world. Our volunteers walk out our doors ready to share their experiences and what they’ve learned. They take this knowledge and contribute to local initiatives and causes, addressing community needs and further promoting civic engagement. 

CIT volunteer Nathan D
CIT volunteer Nathan D (left).

I would like to share a story from one of our staff members. Michelle Dillon joined our marketing team last year. SSC and Odiorne Point State Park have been a special spot for her family for years, especially her older son, Nathan. A former camper himself, he wasted no time stepping up to volunteer at SSC’s Environmental Day Camp as a counselor-in-training. His younger brother, Conor, however needed some convincing. One day, both boys were with Michelle. Nathan happily headed off to camp, but Conor planned to sit in his mom’s office until the day ended. Well, that just doesn’t happen when you have a parent that works here!

Conor was asked to help our Facility Coordinator and one of our volunteers work on a few small projects that needed attention around SSC. To his surprise, he enjoyed his day and left SSC feeling fulfilled and excited to return at some point to help again. Michelle notes, “At dinnertime, our house was filled with so much positive energy when both boys talked about their days. That is not always the case with two teenagers! After dinner, they stood at the sink together, talking and laughing about their days, and while it was very different for each of them, they were both filled with purpose, learning, and growth that excited them! What a feeling!” 

In 2023, 1,746 Seacoast Science Center volunteers gave 12,756 hours of their time, equating to 6.5 full time staff members valued at $405,640.80! This includes individuals who assist on a regular basis, those who help with special projects or events, and group corporate community volunteer days. 

Want to learn more about volunteering at SSC? Click here, or contact Laura Bahl at l.bahl@sscnh.org.

 

Seacoast Science Center will be CLOSED today: Friday, April 5, 2024. Our utilities are currently down and need to get repaired before we are able to open for visitors. Thank you for your understanding. 

CLOSED today.

Seacoast Science Center is closed today due to inclement weather.