VOLUNTEERING
is a healthy part of civic & community strength.
START YOUR VOLUNTEERING PROCESS
South West Florida Horse Rescue
... is a volunteer-run organization, and volunteer support is necessary for its sucess.
Volunteers are the engine that keeps things running.
Horse knowledge, no knowledge, young, or older it doesn't matter there is always something to do around the facility.
We value everyone and their own abilities.
We need volunteers of all kinds. Horse related and non-horse related.
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GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT VOLUNTEERING

The Volunteer Program at SWFHR is always in need of well-mannered, caring, and responsible people within our community.  We do offer credit hours by way of community service hours for students, either high school or college, provide proper institution paperwork is provided by that individual.

We have the ability to offer credit hours for workers’ compensation programs.  Compensation organizations must contact us first before any volunteer commitments.

While we have small and large projects to everyday common tasks, no one volunteer is required for any demanded length of time or day.  Basically come when you want (within reason… i.e. time of day), leave when you need to.  As stated by our dedicated volunteer Gary D. “South West Florida Horse Rescue doesn’t just save horses but they also save people, by providing them a way to give back while enjoying their individual time.”

We have many volunteers with all sorts of skill sets and would love to have more.  We could not exist as we do without the tireless giving and tremendous efforts of our equine-loving friends.  If you are ready to join our team and start your journey, we ask that you tour our facility first to know what you’d be getting into, then we will go from there.

VOLUNTEER & PAY IT FORWARD!

Read more about our volunteer details and process below. If you are ready click the button below and schedule a tour first.

Want to volunteer? Read Below to Start

Volunteer Process & Procedure

NOTICE: We will no longer have a website application available to the public for security purposes and to avoid spam or information collection from folks who don’t commit to volunteering even after orientation.
All potential applicants must tour our facility first before applying (yes, the tour is a payment-required tour)

All new applicants must schedule a “Volunteering Tour” first.

  1. Schedule your Volunteer Tour through the calendar scheduler below

    VOLUNTEER TOUR SCHEDULER

  2. “Volunteering Tours” are similar to “General Tours”
    1. where applicants will have to cover a tour fee of $10 per adult
    2. there will be more focus on volunteering information during your tour
    3. tours will include ‘facility locations’ (as part of Orientation classes)
      1. basically, a general brief of where the feed, hay, tools, bathrooms, etc. are.
  3. When scheduling, know that the calendar shows 45 days into the future only. If you want to schedule further into the future, you will have to wait until then to apply later.
  4. This way you are familiar with our facility and have an inkling of what work you’ll be facing.
  5. You are not committed to volunteering by scheduling a tour
    1. you do have the option to come back at a later date if you need more time to think about volunteering
  6. All “Volunteering Tours” are to be scheduled between 8 am – 11 am any day of the week available through our scheduler
    1. We want you to see the volunteers in action
  7. You will sign a Liability Release form
    1. a standard policy for all individuals that enter the facility.
    2. this form is to be annually updated and required to be signed on the date of update.
    3. the signature portion for your form is to be signed on your orientation date.

If after the “Volunteering Tour” you still want to proceed with the volunteer process, your guide will take you to the volunteer computer to complete a volunteer application on-site at our facility.

  1. An electronic application is available for you to complete on-site only
    1. we may provide a paper application should
      1. we have problems with our computer or,
      2. you absolutely can not navigate a computer
  2. If you complete a paper application prior, we still would like you to enter your data on the computer (so we don’t have to try and figure out your handwriting)

After your application is complete.

  1. your volunteering direction or Area will be decided. Areas such as
    1. Equine Care
      1. charge with the upkeep and wellbeing of the rescued equines of SWFHR
    2. Maintenance
      1. Grounds
      2. Construction
      3. Vehicle
    3. Fundraising
      1. Event operations
      2. Grant Writing
    4. Administrative
      1. Accounting (must have experience)
      2. Supply
  2. your guide will introduce you to the facilities as a volunteer will need to know
  3. you’ll be introduced to safety and critical procedural expectations when in and around the horses

Once your orientation is complete.

  1. you may be allowed to tag-a-long with a volunteer for a lite exposure of daily work if there are volunteers to do so
  2. you do not have to do this  it is not a requirement but an allowance if you care to do so

Will be held on your first full day of volunteering activities. Anywhere from 3 to 5 hours normally.

Pertaining to Equine Volunteers (98% of volunteers tend to be in this category)

  1. ‘Shadow volunteers’ or Probationary Volunteers will be vetted after multiple visits for knowledge and ability
  2. You will be expected to show up at the normal start time for the day you’ve chosen. (i.e., 7 am or 8 am depending on the day)
    1. Exceptions can be made. Discussion with the volunteer coordinator will apply.
  3. You will be attached to the senior volunteer or volunteer coordinator of the area you are assigned to. You’ll be taught the protocols for
    1. safety & procedural expectations when in and around the horses
    2. feeding
    3. treatments
    4. grooming
    5. barn & paddock cleaning
    6. If deemed needed, you may be marked for class instruction needed
      1. At present time instructors are limited and may not be readily available
      2. Classes may be held on a later date

ADDITIONAL VOLUNTEER INFORMATION

Questions related to volunteering that you might have are listed below.

Policy On Age Ranges:

It is the policy of SWFHR to make it possible for all to give their time to a noble cause. But we do have a policy on age ranges which are listed below: If you are:

  • [1 - 11] --> Only if accompanied by a parent organization.. such as Girl Scouts or 4-H. As much as we appreciate the willingness we just don't have the staff to maintain a safe enough environment for those under 12. Special conditions do apply.
  • [12 - 15] --> You must be accompanied by a legal guardian or someone identified by your legal guardian at all times.
  • [16 - 17] --> You must have a parental consent letter on file to perform volunteer activities without them present.
  • [18+] --> You are free to volunteer without restriction.

COVID-19... a concern not to be taken lightly, we've taken steps to reduce our staff and current volunteer's exposure to new people, at least at our facility:

  • Masks are currently not a requirement but distancing is.  New volunteer training will still consist of pairing with an established active volunteer but the use of the same vehicle (riding together) is up to the active volunteer.  We only have so many vehicles.  This means provisional & candidate volunteers may need to walk to and from paddock areas.

Credit/Service hours earned by volunteers can help, especially in school environments, for graduation. For your help through volunteering to a local charitable organization such as SWFHR, we can in turn help with your credit hours. The most critical part to all of this is your Volunteer hour log times. Initially you should notify the volunteer manger of your intentions/ needs for credit hours. Your creditor/ institution (school) should have a form or process to accept credit hours. No one institution is the same as the next… they are all different. You need to be clear with us about the process or provide us the forms so we may properly track your hours. It is advisable that you track your own hours to avoid discrepancies.

We will create a special file for each credit hour volunteers. In that file is our in house Service Hours Form for official documentation. You will be presented a copy of this form initially for keeping track of your hours on your own. Should you need another SWFHR Service Hours Form you can ask the Volunteer Manger for one or pull one from the information box in the Volunteer Room. Overall your official hours are tracked through the volunteer hours log which all volunteers must sign when at the facility.

For hours earned by things done away from the facility, such as running a bake sale, you must first be authorize to do so by the volunteer/staff manager. The process for volunteer hours logged in this case, will be similar to the facility with one exception. You must note what was done on each day pre and post project included.

Organizations such as Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, or even academic groups (i.e. Fraternities or Sororities) are more than welcome to aid in our community effort.  The manner in which any group helps SWFHR is entirely based on the group and in fact, is called a “Group Volunteer Activity” (GVA).  Some examples of helping are General Volunteer duties, Fundraising coordination, and Specific project efforts.  No matter the situation we can make something work.

Setting up and arrange a GVA request you must make contact with us about your groups needs if your not sure how to choose.  Next, we will need you to fill out our GVA Request, Roster & Statement of Understanding Form.  Going forward the group point of contact (POC) will have to touch base with our volunteer director and confirmed the date, time, and the number of people associated with the GVA request.

For GVA requests that have the group doing site activities… there will be a mandatory safety brief before any activity is done.

Group Volunteer Activity request

The Areas Available to those who Volunteer

Some areas are only available to Core Volunteers who may apply when a position is open.

PROGRAM / OPERATIONS (98% of Volunteers choose this area)

  • Equine Care & Keep
    • Feeding, cleaning stalls & paddocks, filling & cleaning water troughs, and other tasks that need to be completed daily
  • Handlers & Groomers
    • Grooming, hoof care, and socialization.
  • Equine ER
    • In severe cases, those who are approved may tend to non-common medical needs for any equines
  • Equine Training:
    • We reserve horse training and development (halter training, groundwork, saddle training, exercising, and other related activities) for training professionals however, we do exercise equine–human socialization beyond paddock environments. We welcome those with training experience but in order to perform coordinated training, you must be approved by the board and trainers first.
  • New Construction

Development / Fundraising

  • Event Organization
    • outreach, special projects, and independent event-ing outside of planned events
  • Event Operations
    • General event help & Event management
  • Grant Writing & Research
    • Specialized volunteers only (experience is highly needed)

Administrative

  • Data Entry
  • Form Management
  • Call Processing
  • Accounting (must have experience)

Logistics

  • Supply Tracking & Inventory of,
    • Organization materials
      • medications & chemicals
      • gear excess
      • volunteer gear
    • Donation materials
      • donated tack items
      • donated household items
  • Material Procurement
    • price pointing and tracking
    • management of items access
  • Maintenance
    • Facilities / Grounds
      • Barn maintenance, fence checks, fence building and repairs, weed control, tree maintenance, hazard watch, general maintenance and repairs, and other typical activities
    • Transportation / Utility

Communications

  • Website Maintenance
  • Tour Guide
  • Media Management
  • Social Media
  • E-Newsletter
  1.  

Active Volunteers
performed some volunteer activity within the last 30 days

Semi-Active Volunteers
performed some volunteer activity between 30 and 90 days ago

Dormant Volunteers
snowbird volunteers that are due to return

In-Active Volunteers
performed some volunteer activity between 90 days and 1.5 years ago

Expired Volunteers
no involvement for 1.5 years
no advisement of return or delay

Retired Volunteers
those who've moved and obtained an Established Activity while volunteering
advised of completion of volunteering

Probationary Volunteers:
those not knowledgeable enough about their area to operate on their own

Established Volunteers:
volunteers who operate without heavy direction and can work by themselves
Usually between 5 & 10 visits
Once you can verb your section of the facility and its horses and chores and other senior volunteers can vouch for your abilities. You’ll then be classified as an Established volunteer.
Even when you are considered established or independent, you may find yourself paired with another volunteer at the discretion of the volunteer coordinator. For reasons like equally distributing daily volunteers and work for the day.

Core Volunteers:
deemed as a volunteer with more than 50 total days of volunteering and more than 6 months of continuous volunteering.
these volunteers are allowed to hold positions of administration or other areas associated with the organization.

Dress Code: The title is meaner than the intent.

Due to the nature of the general area/habitat and working with horses, for volunteer safety, SWFHR requires that all volunteers wear proper foot protection (no open-toed shoes). Jeans are suggested to be worn but not required. SWFHR also suggests gloves, a hat, and sun/safety glasses, when and where appropriate. Additionally, due to the inherent risk associated with horse-related activities, SWFHR suggests volunteers have a valid health insurance policy before participating in volunteer activities. Volunteers will receive an SWFHR Volunteer t-shirt, when available, and the t-shirt should be worn (but not required) while participating at SWFHR Facility but at any SWFHR event, some representing shirts must be worn.

Understand SWFHR is not liable for missing or damaged belongings brought to the facility. If an item is of value, please secure it in your vehicle. We have an open to all refrigerator inside the volunteer room that has beverages available to the volunteers. If you’ve brought something for yourself, please label it.

Volunteers value their experience at our facility. There is a lot of liberty for volunteers to chart their own paths. Without ruining our family of cause-connected friends, we still must have policy rules that apply to our volunteers. Read the list of Volunteer Rules below.

  • The minimum age expectation for volunteers is 18 without guardians. Under legal guardian consent 16 and anyone under 16, an adult guardian must be present. No ages under 12, unless approved by SWFHR representatives, exceptions made for organizational groups such as 4-H and Girl Scouts.
  • Do not bringing pets of any kind as this may cause unexpected problems with the equines at the Rescue.
  • No feeding of equines of any foreign items unless pre-approved by Coordinators.
  • Do Not enter any fenced area unless you’ve been approved to do so.
  • Always close gates to include the main gates behind you and use the chain clasps.
  • Pick up all trash behind you and any you may find while at the Rescue.
  • Personal items are the Volunteers' responsibility. SWFHR is not responsible for any loss of personal property, yet if any items are found that don’t belong to the Volunteer it is requested that they turn them into a Coordinator. SWFHR will mark it and date it so as to hopefully return the item to the owner.
  • Visitors may accompany a Volunteer only after visitors fill out a ‘Liability Release Wavier’ before any activity to include showing them around.
  • Children may accompany you as long as someone watches them at all times and they remain orderly. Absolutely no children under 16 in any fenced-in area containing equines allowed unsupervised by Coordinators.
  • Do Not go any further into the house at the Rescue than the volunteer room.
  • No climbing through wires to access any fenced area. Most of the fencing is electric.

Normal Volunteer Hours are either 7 or 8 am (depending on the day) to Sundown daily. In special circumstances, volunteers may start earlier than 7 am.

On average most volunteers come out 1 to 3 days a week.

The amount of volunteering time on any given day, depending on the shift a volunteer covers when they come out.

  • AM Shift is about 4-6 hours
  • PM Shift is about 2-4 hours

AM Shift - starts at either 7 or 8 am depending on the day.

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