Anastasia Our First Two Weeks

ASP12012015 (2)Anastasia our first two weeks as campground hosts has been a unique experience so far. Although we have loved almost every single one of our assignments so far, this one is just a bit different from the others. The park has a very large camping area with over 130 camping sites. They are divided into 4 sections with two loops each and a bathhouse in the middle of each of these two loops. The campground hosts are all in two Volunteer Villages. One has 5 spaces and is in the back of the back. The other one has 3 spots near the park’s administrative office and in the parking area of the St. Augustine Amphitheater. The last one has a single campsite set up on the other side of the park’s admin office by itself. You don’t have to deal with campers all through the night. These Admin Volunteer campsites have to put up with the visitors at the amphitheater when they have them which can get a little congested and sometimes loud when they have concerts. They also have a weekly Farmer’s Market that draws a fairly large crowd on Saturday mornings. That is nice though because you can just walk over and pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables each week. The main volunteer village area is by the back gate which gets a lot of local residential foot traffic every single day but is a locked gate. This area also has the Washer/Dryer house where the volunteers sign-up for days to wash our clothes. They are in excellent condition. There is a small library in the little shack as well.
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Working Major Events as Park Hosts

SSRPSP10162015 (107) (Copy)Working major events as park hosts can be really trying on your body and your required volunteer hours. Even if you are one of the volunteers just getting the park ready for the events you will end up using quite a bit of your hours. If you are working the event then even more because after the event you will more than likely be asked to help clean up afterwards. Residential Park Hosts as opposed to Campground Hosts are usually required to participate with park events. While we are at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park they had events almost every single month of various kinds and some were offered more frequently like a “Walk through the Park with the Park Ranger”. Since we don’t have any “Maintenance” skills we generally help out getting ready for the events, cleaning up after the events and sometimes we even demonstrated old time skills during the event or collected fees for the event. It was fun to learn about these types of things, demonstrate them to the visitors and dress up in costumes. If you are a history buff them volunteering at one of the historic parks may be just for you.
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Summer on the Suwannee

Summer on the Suwannee River is going to be exciting and it will be hot and muggy too. It’s a very good thing that we will be in a Florida State Park that has a cool spring for swimming. As we speak our little RV air conditioning unit is thinking about quitting on us and we just don’t have the money to get it fixed. 🙁 Major bummer for us. We may have to move to the front of the park behind the ranger’s station to get under the shade of some trees pretty soon. The barn area campsite for the residential hosts is extremely nice with a huge yard, electric, water and sewer set up, a fire ring and picnic table. We also have an extra bathhouse inside the barn that we use. It was made for the boy scouts who primitive camp in the park in exchange for some service project they do for the ranger. They were trying to get equestrian primitive camping approved to utilize this great horse barn that came with the property as well. But due to some “right of way on private property” snafu that has been put on hold indefinitely. The bathhouse is A.D.A. accessible. However, there are no shade trees where we have to park in order to reach the utilities. It gets pretty warm in here fairly quickly in the morning then all the way until dark.

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Winding Down Here at Stephen Foster

AntiquesVillageWhiteSpringsFL (5) (Copy)We are winding down here at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park. The campground is looking better as we, and our fellow volunteers, slowly rake, sweep, clip and blow the leaves and trim the bushes in and around the campground area. We finally found a hand blower that I can start myself and I try to use it every day on the campsites. In the mean time another volunteer couple, Linda and J.T., are trimming the trees, bushes and along the roadways. They pay to stay on their campsite and work all day most of the week to whip the campground back into shape after a long fall and winter season. Our co-campground host couple, Dennis and Liz, are doing a great job as well as we learn to use the “automated” cleaning solutions station that was put into the storage areas of the bathhouses. This is suppose to help deliver the “right amounts” of cleaning solution with water ratios for proper cleaning and to help the park save money in the long run. We are still having to use a watered down bleach solution on the shower areas though as it stays so damp in the bathhouses between the rain and humidity. But, we do our best with what we are given and we are still receiving compliments from our fellow campers about how clean the bathhouses are and how nice the campsites are being kept.
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Its Cold Then Its Hot

Campsite at Stephen Foster
Campsite at Stephen Foster
March is such a strange month in Florida. Yes, I know our poor neighbors to the north and out west are almost frozen in and we really are not complaining but, man!, will mother nature please make up her mind. First we’re cold and then it warms up and then it rains and gets cold again. Then we start all over. These past three days were so nice, breezy, temps in the high 70s and a day or two in the low 80s but then the rain came and now it is back to being cloudy and gloomy all day long. Of course, right now it’s sprinkling again and supposed to go down to the 30s. Again, I know the rest of the country is frozen over. Hey! We’re in freaking Florida for goodness sake. Anyway, our little space heater fell in the water yesterday when we went to dump our waste tanks. Why, you ask, was the heater in the shower where the water overflows when the gray water tanks are full? Well, there wasn’t anywhere else to keep it out of the way and I really thought we would get the tanks dumped before it overflowed again.

Mom has put a moratorium on all new Volunteer Workamping assignments in the future. NO MORE SITES WITHOUT SEWERS! Even though we really love being here at Stephen Foster Folk Cultural Center State Park. The sites are all nice and big, under large oak and pine trees. The shower rooms always have lots of nice hot water. We even like being campground hosts here. We do work more during our three or four days on than we have at just about any other assignment. We do have to fight each morning to get a working golf cart to clean all the fire pits, barbecue grills and rake the sites on those who have left and before they let others in. Granted, the bathhouses are pretty large and we have to clean both of them every day we are on. It would really make it more convenient for us to have a sewer on-site.
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