National Volunteer Week is April 16-22, so the City of Bettendorf is thanking all its volunteers while it raises awareness about its award-winning park ambassadors.

“The Park Ambassadors are a group of volunteers who commit to helping keep the City’s parks safe and clean,” said Meredith Fabrizius, recreation coordinator for the Bettendorf Parks and Recreation Department, in a news release. “They volunteer their time to monitor parks in the evenings, which is an added resource to the Parks and Recreation Department and the Bettendorf Police Department.”

The Park Ambassador Volunteer Program was founded more than 20 years ago in 2001. Since 2004 – when record-keeping started – there have been 104 Park Ambassadors who have given a total of more than 10,000 hours of their time.

These “Good Will Ambassadors” give directions, provide information on park activities, watch for
vandalism, offer help to park patrons, encourage patrons to abide by established park rules, and serve as an extra set of eyes and ears for police. Ambassadors are typically sent out in pairs, with few exceptions.

Each ambassador usually volunteers two or three nights per month between 6-11 p.m . from Memorial Day Weekend until Labor Day Weekend. The Parks and Recreation Department gives each volunteer a hat and a shirt so they can be easily identified, as well as a city vehicle in which they patrol the parks.

To be a Park Ambassador, you must be over the age of 18 and have a valid driver’s license. You should be in good physical health and must pass a criminal background check. You are not
required to live in Bettendorf.

Applications can be filled out online here, or picked up at the Bettendorf Community Center, 2204 Grant St.