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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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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Getting Around SSRPSP as Park Hosts

SSRPSP Horsemans CampGetting 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

EagleCampOct2015St 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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