SILVER SPRING, MD—The Montgomery County Department of Parks’ historic sites—Oakley Cabin in Olney and the Underground Railroad Experience Trail in Sandy Spring—reopen for the season Saturday, April 4 and the parks department is hosting FREE volunteer training sessions for potential docents and trail guides.
“Our season runs from April through Emancipation Day, the first Saturday in November with guided trail hikes and guided cabin tours every Saturday,” said Department of Parks Museum Manager Shirl Spicer. “But, we can’t offer these opportunities to the public without the help of a good group of committed volunteers.”
Individuals interested in volunteering with the Department of Parks as guides for the Underground Railroad Experience Trail or docents at Oakley Cabin or the historic Bussard Farmhouse at the Agricultural History Farm Park in Derwood are invited to attend the following FREE training sessions:
- For Underground Railroad Experience Trail guides, Saturday, March 14, 9:00 am – 1:30 pm, Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, 16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring. Minimum volunteer age 16 years. Rain date: Sunday, March 22, 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm.
- For Bussard Farmhouse docents, Saturday, March 21, 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm, Bussard Farmhouse at the Agricultural History Farm Park, 18400 Muncaster Road in Derwood. Minimum volunteer age is 16 years.
- For Oakley Cabin docents, Saturday, March 28, 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park, 3610 Brookeville Road in Olney. Minimum volunteer age is 14 years.
“We open up the Bussard Farmhouse during special events at the Agricultural History Farm Park,” added Spicer. “For example, we’ll be open, powered by volunteers for Springtime on the Farm, Monday, April 6.”
All volunteer opportunities require a commitment of at least six separate work shifts throughout the season. Volunteers must also complete an application and fingerprint screening. Potential volunteers are encouraged to submit applications online at www.ParksVolunteers.org by March 1 and prior to training sessions.
Student Service Learning (SSL) hours are available for student volunteers. The Department of Parks provides all materials needed for volunteer positions. Volunteers are outfitted with uniforms consisting of t-shirts and hats.
“We have about 30 active Underground Railroad volunteers, 18 Oakley Cabin volunteers and 5 dedicated to the Bussard Farmhouse,” noted Spicer. “Those who join us season-after-season say how much they enjoy it and we certainly appreciate them—we couldn’t do it without them.”
The Department of Parks recently thanked volunteers working at its historic sites during the 2008 season with an appreciation brunch. One volunteer attending the brunch commented on her experiences at Oakley Cabin by saying: “Over these past four years, I have made many friends at Oakley and I think of each of you as ‘family.’"
To apply to volunteer at Oakley Cabin, Bussard Farmhouse or the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, go to www.ParksVolunteers.org. For more information on these training sessions or the historic and cultural resources in Montgomery Parks, contact Shirl Spicer at 301-650-4373.
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Media Relations Manager
Montgomery County Department of Parks