We are thrilled to be in our third year of a contract with AmeriCorps to have their members work in our Virginia State Parks to help with educational and adventure programming as well as community engagement.
We asked our members to share the best thing about working in our parks and here are some of the responses along with photographs they selected to share.
From Waverly Gardner, serving his second year at High Bridge Trail State Park:
What is the best thing about serving as the AmeriCorps Volunteer for High Bridge Trail State Park? My answer is: the people. Whether I am on point or on a program, the people who come, wide-eyed to the High Bridge, and who exchange stories with me as we converse near the once largest bridge in the world, is an experience that tops all others. When a visitor comes and has an experience that drives them to the point of self-actualization, when they see the magic of the place I am interpreting, their experience and mine mesh together into one of the greatest of human experiences. Interpreting creates mutual understanding and nurtures perspective.
Entrance onto High Bridge, High Bridge Trail State Park
True too, the bonding between park staff, if strong, cannot be beat. I have enjoyed talking to every one of High Bridge’s staff, and have gained more pieces of wisdom and knowledge from these few incredible people than I have ever learned in any other position before. The spirit of the visitors may keep the park alive, and may donate to its spirit, but the staff drives the heart of the park, and contains those who care the most about its well-being.
The High Bridge, High Bridge Trail State Park
I suppose, to combine both of my answers, the greatest thing about serving in AmeriCorps is being part of an extended, slightly eccentric, awesome, nature/history loving family, of which I am a proud member.
From Kate Owen, attending the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, serving at False Cape State Park
The best thing about serving as AmeriCorps at False Cape State Park is the fact that I get to meet all kinds of people who are inspired to learn more about nature and experience something new, such as paddling. Also I get to be outside every day as an AmeriCorps Volunteer. Who could ask for anything better? Kayaking 5 times a week and seeing something different each time and getting responses from guests about their enjoyment, that is what makes this experience worthwhile.
Editor's Note – You will notice that Kate has a flair for creative photography!
Storm Coming, False Cape State Park
Waiting for a Paddle
Staff view of pristine False Cape State Park beach and the Atlantic Ocean
Eric Glass, serving at Staunton River State Park
The best thing about serving as AmeriCorps at Staunton River State Park is that I have the privilege of meeting some of the most awesome people ever. Everything from our discovery center programs to our programs out on our private lake are nothing short of amazing. You've heard of "Green Acres being the place to be," well Staunton River is the only place to be.
Canoe Trip Anyone?
Future great fishing story
Obviously these kids had fun!
Seems like there is a universal them in these comments – we sure have some amazing visitors! Hope to see you in a Virginia State Park soon!