Below Krys shares her volunteering story with us and why she wanted to get involved:
“My family has lived in Upton for as long as I can remember. My early recollections are going on an elephant, we had the polar bears and walking on the public footpath that splits the zoo. It’s really ironic as my first summer job at 17 years old was actually at the zoo, working in Coronation Hall, many moons ago!
“Before I started volunteering, I worked for a large housing association as a PA, the role kept me busy however changes in the organisation got me thinking about other exciting opportunities. It was actually my husband who saw the opportunity in the summer newsletter. I got very excited when I saw the advert and applied straight away.
“To get the confirmation that I had been recruited as a volunteer was fantastic; I couldn’t wait to start the training. I was made to feel part of Chester Zoo from day one. The training taught us so much about conservation and the work the zoo does. The training was far more than what I thought it would be, I came out thinking I could really make a difference and engage with visitors.
“My first shift was brilliant; I was paired up with an existing volunteer called Jillian who was great. She really helped settle my nerves. Putting on my uniform for the first time gave me a huge sense of pride and walking through the zoo getting smiles of acknowledgement really was the icing on the cake. We all knew we were part of a fantastic team. Applying what we had learnt in the training …
“No day is the same! You have to be prepared to answer things on the spot; it definitely keeps you on your toes! There are over 20,000 animals in the zoo and we can’t know everything!
“We don’t know where we are going to be when we arrive, so it’s always a surprise. I have made so many new friends who all share the same passion for the zoo. I love being at Coral Sands permit office (on Islands at Chester Zoo) welcoming all excited families into Islands. You are the first face they see and we have the potential to really make an impact.
“As I have finished work, volunteering has given me something to focus on, to engage my brain and do something so different. All of my friends and family have commented on my positivity in life since starting and generally how happy I am. Volunteering at Chester Zoo is now huge part of my life and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I didn’t come here to get paid I came here to volunteer and give something back.
“If you’re thinking of volunteering at Chester Zoo, go for it! You will learn so much whilst also helping spread the excellent work of Chester Zoo.”