Long serving YATZ retire

Long serving YATZ retire

#Taronga Western Plains Zoo Dubbo

Posted on 17th December 2019 by Media Relations

Recently Youth at the Zoo (YATZ) volunteers Chelsea Gaio and Connor Stewart retired from the program at Taronga Western Plains Zoo. The pair have clocked up over 1300 hours of volunteering at the Zoo since joining the YATZ program.

Chelsea Gaio joined YATZ in July 2014 as she always wanted to work with animals. Chelsea loved her role as a YATZ volunteer and especially enjoyed helping the keepers when she had keeper duties on a weekend.

“A real highlight of being a volunteer was going to Taronga Zoo with YATZ coordinator Rhonda Betts and a small group of YATZs volunteers,” said Chelsea Gaio.

“The YATZ program has been really beneficial as it provides you with new skills like how to work as part of a team because in every work place you have a team,” said Chelsea.

Connor Stewart joined YATZ in June 2012. He joined the volunteer program because it sounded like a fun thing to do and he was too old to attend the Zoo Adventures program which is for primary school aged children.

“I loved all the different things about being a YATZ volunteer but my favourites were helping with the Zoo Adventures and Zoosnooz overnight program,” said Connor Stewart.

Through the YATZ program Connor has developed lots of new skills, he has met lots of different people and had to communicate with them in different environments.

“I learnt how to follow a roster, increased my skills to work with kids and how to get along with other people, it really increased my confidence,” said Connor.

“Chelsea and Connor have been such dedicated and passionate volunteers, we are really proud of the skills they have developed whilst being a part of the program,” said YATZ coordinator, Rhonda Betts.

“They both have had such big impact with so many volunteer hours during their time as volunteers, we wish them all the best in the future endeavours,” said Rhonda.

Youth at the Zoo program (YATZ) gives teens aged 13 – 19 years the opportunity to learn more about how our Zoos operate, develop skills for the future and spend time with like-minded people who share a passion for animals and conservation.  YATZ has an annual induction day which is planned for 23 April 2020. If you are interested in joining the YATZ volunteer program contact YATZ coordinator, Rhonda Betts on 6881 1467 or email rbetts@zoo.nsw.gov.au to request more information.