The Gift of Time and Expertise

Thank you for your interest in volunteering at Spirit Rock. Volunteers are an integral part of our organization and we could not exist without you and your offering of time. Thank you for being here!

In appreciation of the service of our saṅgha of volunteers, Spirit Rock is pleased to offer free or reduced fees to our programs, as well as a supportive, community atmosphere, a chance to meet new people, and our deep gratitude for your time and energy.

We do not have a residential volunteer program. Volunteers are needed for weekly commitments as well as periodic and one-time projects. If you see an activity that interests you or if you want to inquire about other volunteer opportunities, please contact our Volunteer and Campus Operations Coordinator at (415) 488-0164 x227 or email [email protected].

If you have previously sat a retreat at Spirit Rock and are interested in serving as a housekeeping or kitchen work retreatant on a scheduled retreat, please note that this program is suspended temporarily due to COVID-19.

Types of Volunteering

All of our volunteering opportunities are a kind of work exchange, in which participants earn credits for hours worked that can be applied to various Spirit Rock programs, but the volunteer types differ as to when the credits are applied and for what kind of program.

Event Volunteer

Volunteering on the day of a program waives or reduces the fee. Event volunteers arrive between 60-75 minutes early to help with set up and agree to stay 60-75 minutes past the event end time to help clean up. Volunteers must be available to help during breaks, part of the lunch break, as well as during some of the non-instructional periods.

Event volunteers don’t accrue hours for other programs unless they volunteer for a dāna/by donation day or as an adult volunteer assisting with a Family Day. Please contact the Volunteer Office to be signed up in advance for day-of-event volunteer spaces, starting 4-6 weeks ahead up to the weekday morning before the event.

Work Exchange Volunteer

Work Exchange volunteers earn credit hours that can be ‘banked’ and exchanged, at a later date, to reduce or waive the fees for online and non-residential programs and events as long as space allows. Volunteering for our kitchen, housekeeping, land, facilities, or administrative departments or volunteering for a dāna/by donation day allows you to accrue hours for future use for online or on-land day programs where registration is required. Work Exchange credit hours cannot be used for drop-in programs (these are currently by donation).

Dedicated Volunteer

Dedicated Volunteers work closely with a Spirit Rock staff member, offering a high level of support. Dedicated Volunteers are asked to commit to 8 hours/month of service accruing a minimum of 100 service hours equal to 5 nights of a residential retreat prior to use of hours. This is the only volunteer opportunity that accrues residential retreat benefits. Other benefits include a 30% discount at our bookstore, lunch with the staff, and access to Dharmaseed code for each Spirit Rock residential retreat offered on the land.

If you are interested in including ongoing service as part of your practice, please contact our Volunteer Coordinator at (415) 488-0164 x227 or [email protected]. Thank you for your interest in becoming a Dedicated Volunteer!

Apply to be a Volunteer

Thank you for your interest in supporting the Spirit Rock community!

Types of Volunteer Shifts

Event Volunteering

Volunteers arrive 60-75 minutes before the event and stay up to 60-75 minutes after the event. Service include registration, greeting, bookstore support, helping with set-up, and parking. Volunteers offer the event coordinator 15-20 minutes of help during the break if needed. At the end of the program, volunteers help put away chairs, sweep the hall, empty the garbage and recycling, collect and label lost and found items, and tidy up the hall.

Retreat Greeting

Help welcome incoming retreatants at greeting, directing luggage and answering questions at the welcome kiosk, Community Meditation Center or Dining Hall. Retreat experience and golf cart driving experience is helpful but not essential. Timing is 2pm to 6pm.

Housekeeping & Hospitality

Offer your time and energy to help create a welcoming space for yogis on retreat. Your contribution helps set the tone and initial impressions for retreatants. We need help on most retreat opening and closing days to help clean dorm rooms and bathrooms. We appreciate a commitment of at least 2-5 hours between 9:30am-3:30pm.

Land & Trail Care

Work outdoors on the landscaping crew, clearing and maintaining the plants and trees on our campus and network of hiking paths. Volunteers are always needed to join our land and trail team, weeding and caring for our gardens, serving out in nature, and earning credit hours for Spirit Rock programs. Shifts available Tuesday and Thursday mornings.


Want to help us spread the word about Spirit Rock's programs and volunteer opportunities? Know places in your community that would welcome our marketing materials, such as yoga studios, co-ops, eco-friendly stores, or community centers? We are often looking for help with outreach in San Francisco, Berkeley, Oakland, Sausalito, Tiburon, Mill Valley, Novato, and Santa Rosa.

Community Service

If you have community service hours from a traffic ticket and would like to contribute your hours to Spirit Rock, please fill out our online volunteer application and indicate how many hours you have to complete by what date and your availability. Then contact the volunteer office to verify that we can find appropriate shifts and enough hours for you by your deadline.

Family Program Mindful Leaders

Help mindfulness unfold in the lives of children ages four to fourteen by using your teaching skill and love of Dharma to lead mindfulness-based games and activities for children. Opportunities are available for our annual Family Residential Retreat and our bi-annual Family Daylong. (Requires application.)

Volunteering FAQ

How do I sign up to volunteer at a day event I’d like to attend?

If you find an event you’d like to attend and volunteer for, contact the volunteer coordinator ([email protected] or 415-488-0164 x 227) to inquire about available spaces. We schedule volunteers starting from four to six weeks prior to the date of the event, but sometimes have last-minute need for helpers so don’t hesitate to reach out. If we have a space for you, we will register you for the event and there is no need to sign up online. Volunteering is typically in exchange for event fees, with the exception of benefits events (for these, volunteers are asked to contribute half the base tuition).

How much time is required for a day event, what will I be doing, and will I miss any of the program?

Typical Event volunteer hours are 9am to 5:30 or 6pm, with the volunteer shifts being primarily 60-75 minutes before and 60 mintues following the program, depending on the timing and size. Event volunteers arrive early to help set up chairs in the program room, greet folks as they arrive, check off people who have already registered or collect payment from folks who register at the door. Volunteers help with CE registration and direct parking for larger programs. Volunteers offer the event coordinator 15-20 minutes of help during the lunch break. At the end of the program, volunteers help put away chairs, sweep the hall, empty the garbage and recycling, collect and label lost and found items, and tidy up the hall.

Volunteers generally miss up to 10 minutes of the program and should be open to doing any of the tasks assigned by the event coordinator, which usually include lifting up to 20lbs and some physical chores. If you are unable to do so, please let us know in advance so we can match you with an appropriate task or offer you a scholarship when available.

Where do I sign in and record my hours?

When volunteering for an event as a Event volunteer, there is no need to sign in, as you’re registered already, and your time is in exchange for attending on that day.

When volunteering in a department for Work Exchange credits for future programs, we ask that you please record your hours. There are binders and clipboards with volunteer timesheets located in the various department offices around the campus, usually close to where you’ll be volunteering. You may be oriented by the volunteer coordinator before your shift as to where to sign in, or ask your department supervisor to show you the location of the timesheets when you’re on site. If you don’t find the timesheet or forget to record your hours, no worries—just email the volunteer office with them when you get home to get your credits.

How do I use my credit hours to attend Spirit Rock programs?

Work Exchange credit hours can be ‘banked’ and exchanged, at a later date, to reduce or waive the fees for programs and events when space allows. Volunteering for our kitchen, housekeeping, land, facilities, or administrative departments or volunteering for a dāna/by donation day allows you to accrue hours for future use for programs where registration is required.

Contact the Volunteer Office ([email protected] or 415-488-0164 x 227) to request to redeem your credits and register for class series or day programs (the deadline to register is usually noon the day before for weekday programs, and noon Friday for weekend programs). Provide your full name and the date and title of the program you’d like to attend. Registration for day programs is on a space-available basis.

Work exchange credit hours can be used for non-residential programs only. Four volunteer service hours equal 1 daylong event. The exception is benefit events which require 1/2 the base rate of the program.

How can I earn credits to attend a residential retreat?

For volunteers looking for a longer-term commitment, which when completed earns credits that can be applied toward residential retreats, we offer the Dedicated Volunteer program.

I have certain specialized skills I would like to offer to Spirit Rock, what is the best way for me to do that?

Spirit Rock is fortunate to have a pool of creative and talented community members with a variety of skills and the desire to share them. At times we need special skills and seek out volunteers with those skills. Contact the Volunteer Office ([email protected] or 415-488-0164 x 227) to inquire about our current needs.

Are meals included with volunteer shifts?

If you’re volunteering 4 or more hours in a department at Spirit Rock (not as a Event volunteer) on a day when lunch is being served in the Dining Hall, and the timing works with your shift, you may be invited to join for a meal. Ask your supervisor if one is available on the day you’re volunteering. If so, you will go (usually with the staff member you’re working with) through the line in the (silent) Dining Hall, and eat in a designated staff area (not silent). Please do not eat in the Dining Hall during a residential retreat as that space is reserved for retreatants.

Can I go to the Dining Hall or Upper Retreat Center when I’m volunteering?

Unless your work shift takes you there, you will not be going beyond the wooden gate that marks the boundary of the Upper Retreat Center. Be mindful of this fact and keep voices low when you’re near the gate. If you do need to enter the Upper Retreat Center for your volunteer shift, please be aware there may be a silent retreat in progress, speak in a whisper when necessary, and maintain silence as much as possible. Please avoid making eye contact with retreatants so that they may stay engaged with their practice. Work Exchange volunteers are not invited or allowed in the Upper Retreat Hall for Dharma talks and meditations during residential retreats. Please do not use your phone or any electronic devices in the Upper Retreat Center.

Can I bring my dog to Spirit Rock?

Only service dogs specifically trained to support physical limitations are permitted at our retreat center and community meditation hall. For the safety of your pet and the animals that live on this land, and out of respect for the experience of other attendees, Spirit Rock strongly requests that you leave pets at home. It is not safe to allow pets to run free on the land, be tied up outdoors, or be left in a car.

What kinds of service opportunities are available to a Dedicated Volunteer?

Dedicated Volunteers make a commitment to serve approximately 8 hours per month in support of Spirit Rock staff, with some flexibility depending on the role and to accommodate schedules. Dedicated Volunteers work in a variety of departments and work with a specific staff member or department for the duration of service. Depending on our current needs, these include Land Care, Communications, Volunteer Department, Bookstore, Accounting/Data Entry and other possibilities.

Hours may be used upon accruing 100 hours of service (5 nights of residential retreat).

How do I get started as a Dedicated Volunteer?

We encourage people to volunteer for a period of time on an occasional basis, but will consider new volunteers with exceptional skills for these roles. Send an email with your availability to [email protected] and if possible, include a cover letter and resume or additional information about what related skills you would bring to the position.

Can I use my accrued hours toward residential retreat time?

Dedicated Volunteering is the only volunteer opportunity that accrues residential retreat benefits. As a part of the Dedicated Volunteer Program, volunteers work approximately 8 hours per month, depending on the role. Hours may be used after accruing a minimum of 100 hours (5 nights of residential retreat) after a 1 year period.

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Spirit Rock is committed to being a spiritual sanctuary and refuge for all. We value and celebrate diversity, inclusivity, and respect for all beings. We know that diversity practice and Dharma practice are not separate. We recognize and value both our global connectedness and our differences.

We ask our volunteers to exemplify these values during your service here by acknowledging and appreciating difference based on race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, age, education, background, opinions, experience, physical ability and other social and economic differences.

To better reach this goal, we regularly provide training to all volunteers to better understand how to create a space that is open-hearted to people from all backgrounds.

Learn about our diversity, equity and inclusion goals and initiatives

Land Acknowledgment

Spirit Rock is located in the San Geronimo valley of West Marin County, California on unceded Coast Miwok territory. We name the history of this beloved place as a gesture of respect and reparation toward the Indigenous residents of the colonized land we now call home.