Youth volunteers keep Critter Barn running

Posted at 4:58 PM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 18:36:30-04

ZEELAND, Mich. -- The Critter Barn in Zeeland lets kids get up close and personal with farm animals, but the crew who makes it possible is smaller than you'd think.

“The Critter Barn got started about 33 years ago," explains owner Mary Rottschafer. "We moved here to live out in the country and have a bigger garden. Move the clock ahead 27 years and we have a lot of folks coming out here to learn about farming and about the animals.”

Teaching alongside Rottschafer at the Critter Barn is a small army of volunteers called the "Critter Crew".

“We have to give hay, put out straw, do bedding and answer questions from visitors," Critter Crew youth, Brianna Hernandez and Alayna Wisdom tell FOX 17.

“They’re the core of the Critter Barn," Rottschafer explains, "They’re what makes the Critter Barn special, I tell them they are customer service to the nines."

Without the kids' help, the Critter Barn would probably not be able to offer the free experiences for the community that they currently do.

Rottschafer says, “We have an open door policy and we try to get that word out there so that folks who can’t take five kids and pay $10 a head somewhere, you’re welcome here."