April 2014


Jr. Interpreters use public interaction to help zoo visitors learn about animals and global conservation efforts. A Jr. Interpreter is friendly, enthusiastic, dependable and genuinely interested in people, nature, animals and conservation. It is essential that teens are outgoing enough to initiate conversations with our guests, as Jr. Interpreters assist with programs, birthday parties and on-grounds activities to educate others.

Teen Program Benefits:

  • Meet people with similar interests
  • Accumulate community service hours
  • Gain first-hand knowledge of various zoo careers
  • Free zoo entrance when not on-duty (excludes family/friends)
  • 1 – One day family pass to the Akron Zoological Park
  • Discounts in zoo gift shop and cafeteria

Statement of Purpose:

To aid and support the Akron Zoological Park in the areas of education and conservation through active participation in on-grounds educational activities, programming, birthday parties and special events.


Teens must be between 14 and 18 years of age, and entering 9th through 12th grade at the beginning of 2014 – 2015 school year. No formal training or background in education or work experience is required. Willingness to learn about animals and conservation, and how to relate this knowledge to the public is highly desirable. Ability to communicate easily and effectively with the public, as well as having excellent customer service skills, is essential for this position.

Jr. Interpreter Standards:

Once accepted, teens must follow uniform guidelines: wear a provided Jr. Interpreter uniform shirt, khaki or tan pants or walking-length shorts, with close-toed shoes. Jr. Interpreters are required to contribute a total of three days per week. This weekly total can be achieved by assisting in the following areas:

  • ZooCamp
  • Birthday Parties
  • Marine Animal Touch Tank
  • On-Grounds Activities
  • Special Events
  • Animal Show Operations
  • Overnight Snooze at the Zoo

Each Jr. Interpreter will be responsible for seeing that the above is carried out efficiently and in such a way as to be a credit to the Jr. Interpreter Teen Program and to assure the Akron Zoological Park’s continued growth as a viable community service.

Volunteer dates are June 14 – August 10, 2014, but will include weekends starting Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Days off and up to one week vacation can be arranged with advanced notice.

Application Requirements:

  • A completed Teen Volunteer Application, including essay question.
  • Two completed recommendation forms; give to adults providing recommendation letters.
  • Two sealed, typed letters of recommendation; one being from a teacher/administrator. (Home school students may use letters from someone other than a family member, such as clergy, coach, extra-curricular instructor, etc.)
  • Please make sure the recommendations and forms are from adults other than relatives.

Application Process:

Application paperwork must be received by the Akron Zoological Park no later than 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 15, 2014. Incomplete information will not be considered. The completed application, essay, recommendation forms and letters will be used during interviews to help determine selection into the Jr. Interpreter Teen program. After all the application materials have been received, students will be invited to our Volunteer Orientation in early March. 

We will be accepting a limited number of candidates into the program. Those who are accepted into the program will be REQUIRED to attend the following mandatory trainings; Wednesday, March 26th & Wednesday, April 2nd, from 6:00-9:00 pm, and Saturday, April 5th from 8:30 am -3:00 pm.

At least one parent/guardian is required to attend the March 26th training session with their child, as important information will be discussed and signatures are required.

Jr. Interpreter Program Fees:

There is no charge for training; however, successful candidates must pay dues of $100.00 to join the program. This fee helps defray the cost of Jr. Interpreter shirts, nametag, water bottle, manual, and various supplies.

In order to apply for our Jr. Interpreter program, both the application, essays and recommendation forms must be received by February 15, 2014. They should be sent to the Akron Zoo, Attn: Deb Brady: Education Specialist, 500 Edgewood Avenue, Akron, OH 44307. Please email djbrady@akronzoo.org or call 330-375-2550, ext. 7213, if further assistance is needed.