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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Getting around SSRPSP (St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park) as park hosts can be a little daunting to new volunteers. Of course, with any new assignment it will take a while for you to get your bearings as to where everything is, whom to contact when you need new supplies or equipment as well as getting your new duties for that week or the rest of the month. The Volunteer Coordinator will be the main person you ask most of your questions, get your assignments and requests to be trained on whatever equipment or tools you are not familiar with. If he or she is unavailable you can always ask of one of the other park personnel but if it is not urgent you should email or text the coordinator. It helps the coordinator to be able to keep track of the volunteers, what they know and what they are doing so please make them your main point of contact. For the next two months our Volunteer Coordinator will be on maternity leave so the park hosts will be asking the Park Manager or the Weekend Park Ranger-in-Charge. Of course, if one of the other park personnel request your assistance to help them complete their current task and you feel comfortable doing it then by all means help them out.
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St Sebastian River Preserve State Park has been a fairly great experience for us these last two and a half months. The staff has been great to work with, helpful to the volunteers and each other, and always willing to teach us volunteers anything that needs doing within the park system. The Volunteer Coordinator, Heidi, is an extremely nice lady who just wants her volunteers to have a good time while working in the park. She has tried her best to accommodate everyone’s schedule and preferences while coordinating all the projects that the park needs to get done within the month. And as a good volunteer coordinator she makes sure that all of us have been properly trained in all the duties assigned as well as any equipment that needs to be utilized in getting those jobs done. We would not have any problem coming back here again for another assignment. If you are looking for a quiet place to spend a couple of months in south Florida, especially during the late spring to early fall, we hope you will contact the park for a live on-site volunteer position!
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We have left Troy Springs State Park and have made it to St. Sebastian River Preserve State Park in Fellsmere, Florida which is 20 miles west of Sebastian Inlet State Park in Vero Beach, Florida. This is a fairly new state park and being a “Preserve” it doesn’t have a lot of things to do here. They do have a new Visitor’s Center at the North Entrance with very nice and informative displays. We start working the center tomorrow so we will be able to take some pictures for our readers. There is primitive camping here is specific areas of the park, fishing at the spillway along the canal and lots of trails all over the 23,000 acres. They have a Volunteer Village on the north side with electric, water and sewers onsite. They also provide the live on-site volunteers with a washer and dryer to use once or twice a week. They are currently working on getting a shower area but at this time it is just a shower head with cold water attached to the back of the storage shed. We are assigned days to wash and dump our black water as the sewer system in this area is not very big. Someone donated a very nice double door refrigerator that the volunteers can use. Of course, the first thing I did when we got here was clean that puppy up. It is so nice to have ice cold drinks and space in the fridge so we can now buy more food at one time.
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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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