"Hang around here long enough and they'll put you to work." You have probably heard that statement made about any number of locations, but it seems to ring true more often at the Tennessee Aquarium than many places. Visitors are engaged by volunteers frequently and many are intrigued by the idea of joining this outgoing group. Many people enjoy meeting people from all over the world and learning more about the animals and exhibits. In some cases, volunteers are also directly involved with feeding and care of the Aquarium's animals and plants. And according to Irby Hartley, the volunteer diver shown in the pictures above, volunteering is also a way to stay fit and feeling younger than your years. Irby just celebrated his 82nd birthday and as you can see, is very fit and active. Irby encourages everyone to give a little time and energy to any organization. "Volunteering is an excellent way to get self confidence and a great way to give back a part of what you have gotten out of life," Irby said. Irby even convinced his wife Sara to become a volunteer docent at the Aquarium. In fact, for many couples volunteering at the Aquarium is a joint effort and another way to have a rewarding joint experience. New volunteer recruitment is an on-going effort at the Tennessee Aquarium as people's lives change, but a large number of volunteers at the Aquarium enjoy their experience so much they stay with the program for years. Nearly two dozen volunteers have been helping the Aquarium for 10 years or more. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Tennessee Aquarium by following this link: http://www.tnaqua.org/Get_Involved/Volunteer.asp
Right now is the perfect time to sign up as a docent at the Tennessee Aquarium. The next training session for volunteers begins on September 23, 2008.
So we say hats off to Irby and happy birthday! You are a shining example of the volunteer spirit that's so important to our community....and a role model for younger people who hope to live a happy, healthy and full life.