Spring 11 Masthead
In This Issue
Volunteer User ID Card
Junior Naturalist Program
Surratt House Museum
Seasons for Volunteering
Welcome Teresa
Quick Links
  Spring 2011
parks and recreation and envision logoGreetings!

Each day, volunteers like you help the Department of Parks and Recreation provide fun and educational programs and quality services to the members of the Prince George's County community. This newsletter highlights the service of volunteers, provides information to help you in your volunteer service and shares news of upcoming events and activities.

Read on to see what great things are happening in our volunteer community.
I make a difference more.
volunteer ID cardDo you have your Volunteer User ID Card? This card makes it easier for you to log-in to report your volunteer hours, sign up for new volunteer opportunities or to update your profile.  The back of the card has space for you to record your User ID and Password and step-by-step instructions to log-in. Pick up your card today at a community center, at the M-NCPPC table at a community event or at your next volunteer training.

Did you know...?

junior naturalist logo The Junior Naturalist Program at Clearwater Nature Center was established in 1971. After completing at least 50 volunteer hours, youth can apply to participate in the program. Once selected for the program, youth must complete seven activities, including identifying more than 75 plants and animals native to Maryland and planning, preparing and conducting a craft, field trip or other program.

Since 1971, 84 individuals have completed the training. Today, 9 of those individuals work with M-NCPPC. 

Click here for more information about teen volunteer opportunities at Clearwater Nature Center. 

Spotlight on Service

surratt 2

Sue Perrotta grew up in southern Prince George's County and learned the story of Mary Surratt from her father. It was an interesting and intriguing story that she never forgot. In the late 1980s, a friend told her about volunteer opportunities at the Surratt House. After her initial training, Sue persuaded her husband Gus, an avid Civil War enthusiast, to sign up also. Sue and Gus have been volunteering together at the Surratt House ever since. "I love history and the opportunity to share that with people. It's also a chance to learn more."

surratt 1The Surratt House was built in 1852 as a middle-class plantation home for the Surratt family. It also served as a tavern and hostelry, post office, and polling place during the decade before the Civil War. During the war, it was a safehouse for the Confederate underground - which flourished in Southern Maryland. Restored in

1976 by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission as a museum, the Surratt House currently presents a variety of programs and events that recapture the history of mid-19th century life and focus on the fascinating web of the Lincoln conspiracy. Sue and Gus Perrotta are two of the thirty volunteer docents who interpret that history for today's visitors to the Surratt House.

Docents are costumed volunteers who give guided tours of the Surratt House Museum. Docents are trained in the art of giving tours, in the history of the family, the house and its furnishings and life in the Victorian era. Docents must acquire an authentic costume of the 1850-60s period.  Sue enjoys bringing the history of the assassination to people and enlightening them. "We don't present in the first person but our goal is to look as authentic as possible - including different pieces of jewelry and accessories." While the training and staff members help with costume selection, the docents themselves have such an interest in history that the training that they can provide each other is incredible. Sue has a special interest in mourning accessories. She learned about mourning accessories while attending an exhibit at the museum. Now, she visits antique shops and shops in Gettysburg for many items for her costume.

Sue and Gus feel a real sense of pride when they can tell this important story in our history. People from all over the world visit the Surratt House.  When asked for highlights, Sue recalls the afternoon that a visitor arrived just as the museum was closing. It turns out that the visitor was a man from New York visiting the area for the day, stopping at Lincoln sites. Not wanting to turn this traveler away, Sue gave a tour of the house. He was so appreciative. "It's that appreciation that visitors express and the sharing of history that makes me stay," Sue states. "It's also great to see that moment when visiting school children become totally engaged in the story of the house."

surratt 3Another important part of the Perrottas' volunteer service to the Surratt House Museum is their work with The Surratt Society. Founded in 1975, the Surratt Society is a volunteer organization dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of historic Surratt House. The Society encourages on-going research into the role that this historic site played in the drama surrounding the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the way of life in mid-19th century Southern Maryland. Both Sue and Gus have served on the society's executive committee and other leadership roles. The Society supports M-NCPPC's program by hosting fundraising events, publicizing the research resources available at the House's library and supporting staff initiatives.

Sue and Gus are also looked forward to the April 15 release of The Conspirator, a movie directed by Robert Redford and based on Mary Surratt's story. The timing is perfect - Lincoln was shot on April 14 but he died on April 15. When asked if they were going to see the movie - "Most definitely."

Volunteer docents must be at least 18 years old and serve at least once a month. Volunteers enjoy special appreciation functions, awards for hours worked, and a 15% discount at the gift shop. Click here for more information about Surratt House Museum, volunteer opportunities and The Conspirator.

Spring and Summer, Great Seasons for Volunteering

volunteers planting trees
As the weather gets warmer, there are more and more outdoor volunteer opportunities with the Department of Parks and Recreation. Do you want to help with a spring festival? Help plant a garden? Help clean a river or park? All of these opportunities and more can be found on our website.

And it's not too late to sign up to volunteer with a summer playground or summer day camp. Individuals must be age 14 or older to volunteer with summer playground and age 15 or older to volunteer with summer day camp. Training is provided and students who successfully complete their volunteer assignments will earn student service learning for volunteering with playgrounds and summer camps.

Click here to see a list of current volunteer opportunities.

Teresa The Department of Parks and Recreation is pleased to welcome Teresa Gardner-Williams, CVA as its new Volunteer Services & Community Partnerships Coordinator.

As Volunteer Services & Community Partnerships Coordinator, Teresa will lead the Department's Volunteer Committee, work with staff throughout the Department to recruit and manage volunteers for festivals, programs and special events; provide training programs; offer the Building Block program for teens; manage the volunteer registration process and Samaritan software, and more.

She is an experienced volunteer resources and nonprofit management professional whose experience includes service on the Maryland Governor's Commission on Service and Volunteerism and the United States Steering Committee for the United Nations International Year of Volunteers 2001. She also has served as Executive Director of Prince George's Volunteer Center, Inc. and President of the Maryland Volunteer Centers Association. In 2008, Teresa was recognized by Southern Prince George's Business and Professional Women with its Woman of Achievement Award, and currently serves as President of The Arc of Prince George's County.

She is a graduate of Baylor University and Georgetown University's Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program and has earned her Certification in Volunteer Administration.

Feel free to contact her at 301-446-3321 or Teresa.Gardner-W@pgparks.com. The Volunteer Services Office is located within the Department's Public Affairs and Marketing Division.

Former Volunteer Coordinator Marybeth Dugan, currently serves as Facility Manager of the Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center. Marybeth served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Department for the past nine years. Her education and background include a Bachelor's Degree in Therapeutic Recreation from the University of Maryland College Park and facility management experience with M-NCPPC. Though most of her 25 years of professional experience have been with M-NCPPC, she also worked with the Howard County Recreation Department as a Community Supervisor and Senior Adult Program supervisor where she managed the Howard County Senior Adult Program section at the Florence Bain Senior Center. The Laurel-Beltsville Senior Activity Center is scheduled to open Summer 2011.