What Should I bring: Long sleeve work pants, long sleeve shirt, work boots, cup and folding chair to sit around fire. A waterproof tent, sleeping bag, clothes to sleep in, warm clothes, shoes for around camp, toiletries, sunblock and mosquito repellent. This is car camping bring more than less, if you are not sure if you need an item bring it. If you have any questions call or e-mail the HSVTC office (contact us).
A day in the life of a HSVTC volunteer at BASE CAMP actually extends over the duration of a base camp event. Base camp events (sometimes called trips) use a group camp site as a base of operations. These camp sites work well for car camping and in some cases will accommodate small trailers. There will be a central kitchen and eating area, wash station (for hands and dishes) campfire pit, and shower enclosures for solar shower bags. Campground toilets will most likely be US Forest Service pit toilets. Our water source is a campground hookup or a tank trucked in with our mobile kitchen.
Most volunteers arrive the afternoon or evening before their first work day. When you arrive look for the common area identified by several canopies and a variety of tables. On one of the kitchen tables you will find a binder containing a volunteer sign-up sheet. There will be a name for each person in your party. Sign your name and check the days you will be attending. There will always be other volunteers around ready to help you get settled and find a tent site.
Once you are settled, grab your camp chair and head for the kitchen where you will find hot coffee, hot water for tea and hot chocolate as well as lemon-aid, gator-aid and cold water (previous instructions indicated volunteers should bring their own cup and bowl). Later in the afternoon the cooks will set out snacks to hold volunteers over until dinner. Most volunteers will begin to gather around the fire pit at this time in anticipation of the evening meal. Trail Maintenance Crew Leaders will chat with new volunteers to assess your desires and capabilities for the next day’s trail projects.
Around 5:30 to 6:00PM when dinner is announced, volunteers grab a camp supplied plate and utensils and line up to be served an excellent meal. When the meal is over volunteers wash their own dishes and place them in drying racks. Volunteers are free for the evening. Some go for walks, enjoy private time or stick around the campfire area and chat with other volunteers. As the evening goes along more and more people gather around the campfire to enjoy the warmth of the campfire and the companionship of others. Sometimes we get to enjoy storytellers or musicians. All talented volunteers are encouraged to share their skills. By 10:00 PM the last of the group has called it a night.
Camp starts to stir around 6:00AM but the cooks are already up and have started the coffee and hot water. Makings for lunch are set out on one of the tables. Early risers will have restarted the campfire as volunteers begin to gather. Food and bags for lunch are laid out and volunteers make a sack lunch before leaving for the event. Experienced volunteers make their lunch as early as possible to beat the rush and get the choice pieces of fruit, fill their water bottles and ready their day packs. Breakfast is served around 7:00AM. When people are finished they have less than an hour to take care of their personal chores (including selecting a helmet, gloves and eye protection, and packing a lunch) before the morning camp meeting around 8:00AM. In the background, Crew leaders have selected volunteers for specific projects and set out tools and equipment for the day.
When the Event Director calls for all volunteers to gather, the morning meeting soon begins. Introduction of new arrivals are made as well as camp wide announcements. Crew Leaders describe their individual projects and announce their crews. The meeting is complete at the end of a discussion on potential safety hazards during the trail maintenance projects. At this point crew leaders gather their crews; distribute tools, double check to see if each person has a lunch, hydration and personal protective equipment as well as a quick discussion on who is carrying a first-aid kit, and or toilet paper.
They will also ask if anyone on the crew has any serious allergies or severe reactions to insect bites and carries an Epipen Auto-Injector. After instructions on the proper way to carry the tools, crews then head out on foot or in vehicles to their project.
Throughout the work day volunteers are encouraged to pace themselves, drink lots of fluids and take time to eat something. Crews might perform routine trail maintenance like removing brush in the trail, removal to tripping hazards and the cleaning and repair of water diversion structures. Some crews will remove logs blocking the trail or preserve trails by building rock walls and steps. Lots of instruction on proper methods and safety is discussed as work progresses. A lunch break is welcome around mid-day as the crew leader starts to think about what time the crew needs to head back to camp. The goal is to reach camp by 4:00 PM.
When crews return to camp they find the kitchen crew have laid out snacks and refreshed the hydration coolers. Volunteer’s trade stories about their trail experience relax and recover from the days effort. At that point showers are contemplated and thoughts of dinner and campfire activities get people out of camp chairs and moving around until the dinner bell is rung.