Thank you for signing up to our email!

Now, before you leave, do you want to make a seal's day?

Youth Crew

Want to become part of a global network of ocean stewards that empowers communities worldwide through engagement and education? Find out more information about Youth Crew, a service learning program for high school students at The Marine Mammal Center’s main hospital in the Marin Headlands.

Youth Crew is an annual service learning program for high school students to become animal care and education volunteers at the Marine Mammal Center’s main hospital facility in Sausalito California. Recruitment and application to the program occurs in the fall and the program runs from January through August each year. 

Program Overview

Youth Crew is an annual service learning program at The Marine Mammal Center for high school students in the greater Bay Area and beyond. To participate in the program students, apply online in the fall, interview in the winter and are inducted to the program in January. The program commitment runs from January through August, in which a youth volunteer accumulates on average 120 hours of volunteer service.

Selected applicants first receive training to become animal care volunteers through the winter and spring. Afterwards, youth receive training to become youth counselors or youth interpreters for education programs at The Marine Mammal Center. The combined volunteer experiences will see participants through the work of rehabilitating marine mammals, engaging guests, and inspiring the next generation of ocean stewards. Trainings, professional development workshops, and continual support are hallmarks of the Youth Crew experience.  

Graduates of the program become Youth Alumni, also known as advanced youth. They will have acquired the skills and knowledge to continue volunteering in education and animal husbandry at The Marine Mammal Center. Youth Alumni are eligible for more advanced responsibilities and tasks on their crews as determined by their training and supervisors. All Youth Alumni are encouraged and invited to remain involved in the Center’s mission by participating in learning exchanges with partnering organizations, mentoring with new youth volunteers, and education programs. 


Information Sessions

All applicants and their parents interested in learning more about this program are strongly encouraged to attend one of the Information Sessions in the Fall.

If interested, click here to sign up to be notified when the application periods opens and the Information Sessions are scheduled.

Applicant Qualifications

All Youth Crew program participants must:

  • Be a high school (or equivalent level of homeschool) student between the ages of 15-18. Please know that all students enrolled in high school must apply to Youth Crew to volunteer at The Marine Mammal Center even if they are 18.
  • Commit to a weekly 4-8 hours shift every week from January–August.
  • Attend all mandatory training days and workshops.
  • Arrange their own transportation to and from the Center.
  • Have an interest in veterinary science, marine biology, education, conservation and/or other related fields!

Youth Crew Duties

The Youth Crew program year is divided into two sessions, animal care crew and education. Both sessions are mandatory and all students are required to commit to the full program year (January-August).

No prior work/volunteer experience is necessary for applicants. Trainings will be provided before the start of each session. Due to the discretion of the program, we do not offer short-term volunteer opportunities or accept youth under the age of 15 into the program.

Animal Care (January-May):

During their first session as a youth volunteer, youth will work closely with their animal care crew supervisors and fellow adult volunteers to maintain the health of active marine mammal patients in our Veterinary Science department.
Responsibilities include:

  • Washing dishes
  • Meal preparation
  • Cleaning patient pens/pools
  • Laundry

Education (May-August):

In the second session as a youth volunteer, students will become youth counselors or youth interpreters in our Education department. Youth will be required to support Camp Sea Quest or Guest Experience.
Responsibilities include:

  • Greeting and interacting with the Center’s visitors
  • Assisting with onsite programs
The Alumni Program:

After students complete their first year of service, they are encouraged to continue volunteering at the Center as an animal care or education volunteer. The alumni program offers more opportunities to the students including the Youth Advisory Board, expanding their animal care responsibilities, advanced workshops, field trips, assisting with outreach events and much more!

How to Apply

Applicants apply by submitting an online application, teacher recommendation, and an emergency waiver before the Fall deadline. Incomplete applications or application materials received after the deadline will not be reviewed. For further information regarding the program and the application process, interested applicants are encouraged to attend an Information Session at The Marine Mammal Center. We strongly encourage all prospective applicants, parents, and teachers to attend this free event.

Application Requirements

Fill out Youth Crew Online Application (Opens Fall 2018 for Youth Crew 2019)

 Teacher Recommendation Form

Emergency Waiver

• $50 Registration Fee* (only for accepted youth)

* Financial assistance is available for those who qualify.

Application Calendar

  • Youth Crew 2019 Applications open Fall 2018

Frequently Asked Questions

When will the Youth Crew application be available?
The application will be posted online in the fall between October-December. 

How can I find out more about Youth Crew?
Download the Youth Crew program flyer or attend an Information Session.

Can I volunteer if I am younger than 15? 
No. All youth must be in high school between the ages of 15-18. You must be at least 15 years old at the time your application is submitted. There are no exceptions.

What if I'm 18 years old, do I still have to apply to Youth Crew?
We require all students enrolled in high school to volunteer through Youth Crew. 

Can I volunteer for less than eight months, if I volunteer daily for several weeks?
No. All interested youth must commit to be in the Youth Crew program from January-August. All youth volunteers will be placed on a weekly crew, selected by the Youth Crew Team.

Can I just join animal care crew?
No. Education is a large part of The Marine Mammal Center’s mission. Not only do we work to rehabilitate marine mammal patients but we also want to spread awareness. All selected students will be required to participate on an education crew in the summer. They can either be a camp counselor with Camp SeaQuest or a youth interpreter with Guest Experience.

How often do I have to come to The Marine Mammal Center if I am accepted to the Youth Crew program?
Participants will be required to come weekly for their shift and attend a few additional workshops and trainings during the five-month program.

How can I learn more about Youth Crew?
Before the application deadline, we offer Information Sessions for students, parents, and teachers to meet the Youth Crew leads and ask questions.

For More Information Contact:

Cameron Steinback 
Marine Science Educator:
Youth Crew Lead


Thank You to our Supporters

The Marine Mammal Center is grateful for the generous support from Bank of America and the SATO Foundation, which has made it possible to remove cost as a barrier for youth participation.

If you are interested in sponsoring Youth Crew or other education programs, please contact Jennifer Morrow, Foundation and Corporate Relations Officer, at

Collect 'em all!

Adopt-a-Seal® of the Month Club!

Adopt-a-Seal of the Month
Visit Us!

Daily tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm.

Visit Today!
Education Docent
Be The Hero!

Use your super powers and join monthly today!

Elephant seal hero