Please note:  we are currently accepting volunteers 18 years or older for the Winter Lights event only. Check back in February for information on regular volunteering opportunities.

Volunteering during Winter Lights

Looking for ways to give back this season? Volunteer with us at Winter Lights! Last year, we were grateful to have more than 300 volunteers donate almost 4,000 hours during the course of the exhibit. From greeters to fire pit attendants to G-scale train operators, there are a variety of volunteer positions available. Click here to sign up!  Opportunities are available for individuals and groups!

Volunteer Requirements

  • All volunteers should visit VolunteerHub to register and sign up for volunteer opportunities. To sign up for events, simply click “sign up” on the shift (or event) that you are interested in. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up for 2 shifts or more during the 45 nights of Winter Lights. Volunteers that complete three volunteer shifts during Winter Lights will given two free tickets to Winter Lights. You can bring a date to the show or pass the tickets on to a friend!
  • Training is highly recommended and will take place November 1, 13 and 14, 2017 from 5:30-7:00 p.m. When you sign up for the training, a confirmation email will be emailed with the details.
  • If you sign up after the volunteer trainings,  registered volunteers will receive a confirmation email with the training materials attached. Volunteers should read over the appropriate training materials prior to reporting for their shift. Specifics on when, where and how to report to the event are all covered in the Winter Lights Volunteer Training.
  • Winter Lights volunteer shifts are scheduled from 5:30-10:00 p.m., seven days a week. We recommend that volunteers give themselves ample time to arrive on campus by 5:30 p.m. You should consider work, commute times and other engagements before signing up for events.
  • Winter Lights will take place rain or shine. In the event of a severe weather warning or other unforeseen condition, we may have to cancel Winter Lights for the evening. Event cancellation will be decided no later than 3:00 p.m. on the date of the event. Cancellation notice will be posted on the homepage of the Arboretum’s website www.ncarboretum.org.  Volunteers may also contact the main line at (828) 665-2492. We will attempt to contact volunteers by phone or email regarding cancellation as soon as possible.

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteers learn new skills, meet like-minded people and participate in the Arboretum’s largest fundraiser. Funds raised during Winter Lights help improve programming, exhibits and  gardens and help achieve the Arboretum’s mission of cultivating connections between people and plants. In addition to receiving discounts at The Savory Thyme Café and Connections Gallery gift shop, all active volunteers receive special invites to workshops, events and training throughout the year. We appreciate all the time and talents that our volunteers give but we also recognize volunteers that give more!

Volunteers that complete three shifts will receive two complimentary tickets to attend the show or pass on to a friend! Volunteers with 5 hours or more are invited to the Winter Lights Wrap Up Party on January 4. Volunteers that complete 10 hours or more will also be invited to the Winter Lights preview in 2018. Volunteers with 40 hours or more, will also be invited to the 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon. All active volunteers who give a minimum of 50 hours of service a year receive a free parking pass for the extent of their commitment.

Volunteer Positions

Crafts Assistant Assist visitors in creating a craft. Clean area and store supplies at end of shift. This position requires exceptional customer service skills and the ability to be on feet for duration of shift. Must enjoy interacting with guests, especially small children. This is an indoor position from 5:30- 10:30 p.m.

Fire Pits/S’mores Station Tend small fires in fire pits, monitor visitors for safety and assist visitors with s’more making as needed. This position requires great customer service skills, ability to manage fires safely and the ability to be on feet for duration of shift. This position is not recommended for volunteers with wood smoke sensitivities. This is an outdoor position from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Firepits are located at Heritage Garden, RCRR Stairs, and Oh, Great Spirit.

Rocky Cove Railroad Oversee and trouble shoot the operation of g-scale train, greet visitors and answer basic questions about the railroad exhibit. This position requires great customer service skills and the ability to be outside, sitting/standing for duration of shift. Previous experience with g-scale train operation is not required. Mandatory training is provided. This is an outdoor position from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

Wayfinding Greet and direct visitors at designated outdoor stations, provide event information, answer basic logistical questions and act as a liaison to staff and campus police. This position requires great customer service skills and the ability to be on feet  for duration of shift. This is an outdoor position from 5:30-10:30 p.m. Wayfinders are located at BEC Lawn, Core Gardens and Wishing Tree.

Ticket Scanners Scan barcodes on tickets as guests enter. This position requires great customer service skills and the ability to multitask. This volunteer must enjoy high energy and fast paced work and have some computer experience (using a scanner and ipad). This volunteer must be able to stand for duration of shift. This is an indoor position from 5:30-8:00 or 9:00 p.m.

Admissions Stamp guests’ hands after their tickets have been scanned and assist guests with event related questions. This position requires superb customer service skills and the ability to sit/stand for duration of shift. This is an indoor position from 5:30-8:00 p.m.

Greeter/Floater This volunteer will split their time at the Baker entrance and as a Floater. For the first part of the shift, assist guests with event related questions, ticketing and check-in. This position requires great customer service skills and the ability to be on feet for duration of shift. For the second part of the shift, float to each volunteer station so other volunteers have the opportunity to take a break. The various stations range from Rocky Cove Railroad, Crafts, Wayfinding and others. This is an indoor/outdoor position from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

Gift Shop Assistant Assist staff with general customer service, sales, and restocking (at gift shops and Cocoa Shacks). This position requires great customer service skills, attention to detail and physical activity. This is an indoor position on select days only from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

Reindeer Games Assist guests with interactive light displays located outside Education Center. Games are called Snowman Says and Tic Tac Snow.  This position requires superb customer service skills and the ability to stand for duration of shift. Must enjoy interacting with guests, especially small children and be outgoing. This is an outdoor position from 5:30-10:30 p.m.

Corporate & Group Volunteers

Service organizations, corporate teams, garden clubs, fraternities and sororities…any organized group, up to 20 participants, can provide invaluable assistance during the Winter Lights event. To find out how to sign up your group,  email volunteering@ncarboretum.org or call 828-665-2492 ext. 219.