Cleaning Up After the Storm

Cleaning up around your park after any storm can be time-consuming and back-breaking kind of work but all of our public land areas really appreciate the help of their volunteers. Cleaning up after Hurricane Irma is and will continue to be a tough ordeal for any of the volunteer workampers (and park personnel) who can make their way back to whichever park, forest or preserve they were assigned to at the beginning of the month.

Cleaning up around your park after any storm can be time-consuming and back-breaking kind of work but all of our public land areas really appreciate the help of their volunteers. Cleaning up after Hurricane Irma is and will continue to be a tough ordeal for any of the volunteer workampers (and park personnel) who can make their way back to whichever park, forest or preserve they were assigned to at the beginning of the month. Most of all of the volunteers were probably asked to vacate the parks prior to the storm happening and we hope that all of them come back as soon as they can. Of course, if the winter volunteers want to come a little early that would probably be nice as well. We can say that one of our favorite Florida state parks we volunteered at is still experiencing some problems and may not be able to accommodate any volunteers yet. Dade Historical Battlefield State Park had quite a few downed trees and a few of them fell on the park hosts sites. Luckily, some of the Missouri State Park Rangers have come down to help cut up all the trees and they may be up and running pretty soon. You should call ahead to make sure you can come back. This is especially true of any of the park down below Ocala and points south.
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Getting Ready for Local Author Expo

ONF05052016 (18)We have been at our current assignment for 3 months now and have been really busy during our stay here. With no other volunteer we have been working 7 days a week since we got here. We have been updating our online stores with new items and I am working on a new book. In the mean time we have decided to offer our eBook version of our current book for 1/2 price for retail customers and $0.99 for Libraries. Below is a cute little widget from Smashwords to help promote our new pricing. We will be changing the Amazon Kindle price as well but not the paperback version. We only get a couple of dollars on these anyway.
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Busy Busy Here at Anastasia

ASP02102016 (2)We have been so busy over the last couple of weeks and now we are down to less than 4 weeks remaining in our assignment here at Anastasia State Park. We have been having a pretty good time here and the weather, for the most part, has been quite nice. Between working in the campground, working here and there around the park, updating all our websites, getting our craft business ready for the Florida Folk Festival in May and trying to gather more material to write more articles for all my various blogs I haven’t had time to update this website.

We have also had some changes to the volunteer’s roster over the last two months with family emergencies and illnesses calling them home. Not much they could do about it but the volunteer coordinator here seems to have a long list of volunteers waiting to get in so she had replacements fairly quickly. Now we are getting ready for the big annual charity Poker Ride this coming weekend. Katie and I have volunteered our time to help out. Should be pretty interesting to have some of the bikers from Daytona Beach riding through. There will be music, games, and lots of food. We will have to take a some pictures and post them on our Facebook page.
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Working Holidays as Park Hosts

ASP12292015 (6)Working holidays as parks hosts or campground hosts in our Florida State Parks will take up quite a few of your required hours for the month. Not only do you have to get your regular duties done but you will more than likely get called in to set-up the park for any special events planned during the holiday, replace park staff that will be taking off for said holidays and there will probably be more people in the park during those holidays to deal with. It seems that almost every single Florida State Park that offers camping will be full during every single holiday that falls on a weekend. Of course, this generally corresponds to the kids getting out of school for the holidays. Mostly, you get local residents every weekend with a few out-of-state visitors as well. This includes Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Independence Day and Memorial Day. As hot as it gets in Florida during May and July there will be lots of people camping in the state parks.

This will make your duties a little harder to get done but the mission of the parks is to encourage attendance as much as possible. It can be nice to talk to the different kinds of visitors, find out where they are from, ask the locals for recommendations of restaurants, stores and the like. You are one of the park’s ambassadors and as such you want to project a friendly and knowledgeable face so that they will keep coming back. We also try to talk to each of them about the benefits of volunteering. You can never have too many of those!
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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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