Wisconsin State Parks Volunteer Jamboree 2016*

Re-published with permission from Karen Pfundtner Blog RVing: The USA is Our Big Backyard
Every year the park department sponsors an event called a Volunteer Jamboree. Through the hard efforts of the friends of Wisconsin State Parks and the Friends of Devil's Lake State Park, we enjoyed a wonderful 3 day getaway.  It is a Thank You to the volunteers who gave of time and effort all year long.
The location changes from park to park over the years, and this year it happened to be at Devil's Lake State Park near Baraboo, Wisconsin. We were treated to three days of paid up camping fees, programs, wonderful meals, prizes, and a lot of outside activities and tours to choose from.
We arrived early so we could get into our campsite if possible and tune in to the Packer game at noon. We could see that the people on our site were packing up and ready to leave early. They really didn't have to vacate until 4 p.m. But with the pending rainstorm they packed up as quick as they could.
Soon our other High Cliff volunteers began to arrive. We have seven volunteer couples that work for a month each throughout the spring, summer and fall at High Cliff.  Steve and I help out with camphosting as needed ---  in case of scheduling conflicts. Steve is also the Camp Host Coordinator for our park, in charge of training and setting the schedule for the camp hosts in our park. Each couple takes a one-month long stint. In return for a free electric/water campsite, the couple is required to put in a certain number of hours of work per week. Their duties include cleaning fire pits and grills, and picking up trash whenever it is seen anywhere on the trails or in the park. Mainly, their job is to be an ambassador to the public, answer questions, hand out information and be goodnatured friendly faces to the patrons of our park.
Upon registration we were given a goody bag full of some wonderful items and souvenirs about Devil's Lake State Park. We had the park map and decided to drive around to become acclimated with the very large park. There are almost 500 campsites here and a 360 acre lake with 500 ft high bluffs.
The weather was kind of iffy but they had a welcoming social event down in one of the enclosed pavilions. These gorgeous buildings were constructed by the CCC workers during the Depression.  I think of all the young men who were learning skills and working with their hands, earning money to send home to their family.  Now our parks benefit from those long ago laborers.
The staff lit up a fire outside and had a buffet table of snacks and all of the makings for s'mores.  The rain had ended for the evening and we had a nice campfire circle.
About 80 of the volunteers arrived and we were also treated to an acapella group of singers from Milwaukee to furnish the evening entertainment.  Another 50 or so volunteers were due to arrive tomorrow.
Monday morning we awoke to beautiful sunshine. It was a total surprise because it was supposed to be rainy and icky all day.
We were treated to a continental breakfast and got to visit with other folks from other parks. It is interesting to hear about the varying  job descriptions that camphosts take on in other parks. Our folks have it pretty easy!   We had some speeches with various State Park staff from Madison... and they gifted us with a variety of items. I got a nice state park T shirt and Steve got a thermal cooler for packing along bottles of wine.
Some of these great things were being sponsored by the Friends of the State Parks Organization.
We attended some discussions and meetings, and then we were treated to a wonderful box lunch. For the afternoon we were given seven or eight choices of things in the area to go and see. The whitecaps on the lake prevented us from kayaking, canoeing, or heck --- even stand up paddle boarding!
They had evening entertainment of a blues / Rock / oldies band.  After our wonderful dinner and dessert of this great cake...  the leaves are not quite this color yet, but it is coming, for sure!~~