I Like It! And some other stuff I think is interesting about it.

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Posted by Wayne on March 04, 2003 at 19:06:15:

In Reply to: How do you like volunteering at the AOP? posted by DiverD on March 03, 2003 at 12:52:11:

I am on a night team. We all have regular jobs and it is easier for us to meet there after work and do our thing. Night teams are different in several ways.

First, we rarely feed the fish. The 12000 or so hand-fed fish get their meals during the morning and afternoon teams' shifts.

Second, we rarely do presentations (talkign to the audience via a full face mask and a PA system). We do them if there is a sleep over or other special occasion.

Third, we make the place sparkle! It does not sound that nice, but we are super cleaners. We use scrub brushes, tooth brushes, toilet brushes, baby diapers, grafitti remover type pressure washers, etc. It is a lot of fun and we all tend to take a lot of pride in the work we do. We enter an exhibit and do dives of up to 2 hours that seem to take minutes. I tend to get "in a zone" and become unaware of anything else in the world. It is the most stress relieving activity that I am aware of.

On every dive we are expected to spend time observing the fish to see how they are doing. Ever lay on the bottom next to a zebra shark just watching it breath for a while? Ever hover near the nest of a Sgt Major and watch him tend and defend the nest? Ever hang out at a cleaning station and observe the cleaner wrasses working on all the fish that come by? It is our job! :)

As to the committment, if you meet the qualifications )rescue, 50 dives, 18 or older, etc., you will take a written test and a confined water skills test. After this you will interview with some good folks. If you get through this sucesfully, you will be invited to join a team.

You are committing to a 1 year assignment to a specific team. You are to come every week and work with your team. They will be depending on you. You will also take a couple of interesting classes and orientations that are required along with the ability to take a bunch of interesting free classes through the aquarium.

You will probably find that your team mates are a bunch of really cool gals/guys. I did. The other teams I have met are equally fun folks, too. Even getting bit by a fish now and then is kinda fun -- the bragging rights are priceless!

I really like it and after my year was up, I never even considered stopping. As long as my job and schedule permit, I will remain a volunteer.


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