I last set foot in a Girl Scout camp more than 40 years ago. The memories, and more than one annoying camp song, came flooding back when we arrived at Paris Landing State Park, the site of our 3rd gig with A Year to Volunteer (Y2V for short). The creaky metal bunks, the smell of dusty cabins, the sound of wooden benches scraping the dining hall floor, the bug bites, the tall trees and crunching leaves — all were right there with me again.
The objective for Y2V at Paris Landing was to renovate structures at an old Girl Scout camp that the state had purchased for the park in 2009, and had fallen into disrepair. By refurbishing Camp Hazlewood’s dining hall, bunk cabins, counselor’s cabin, and bathroom/shower houses, we gave the park a giant leap forward in their vision of offering the site as a revenue-generating group camp, special event venue, and outdoor education center.
And by the time our stay was up?
This local newspaper article about our work caused quite a buzz amongst the women who had spent childhood summers at Camp Hazlewood. One who came out to thank us in person, Vicki, was moved to tears, and that got the waterworks going for more than a few of us volunteers too, so yes, we really did make a Girl Scout cry, and in the best possible way.
Here’s the video, with Vicki right at the intro and again at about the 11-minute mark (but don’t skip through all the impressive “befores” and “afters” to get there).
Let me walk you through the camp and show you what we did.
Each of our Y2V experiences has provided a perfect combination of rewarding work, fellowship, and fun, and more than a few additional perks. At Paris Landing, the park comped our sites, their friends organization treated us to a pizza picnic lunch, spring came, and Tim took me to Paris for my birthday dinner.
Where are we now, and what’s next?
We’re still in Tennessee, working our fourth Y2V project, at David Crockett Birthplace State Park. Our mission here involves constructing a new amphitheater and footbridge, creating signage, building a trail, and more.
My mess-up: Using “we” and “our” is tricky in these posts. Sometimes it means the whole Y2V crew, sometimes it means a small Y2V team, and sometimes it means only we two Rohrers. I hope nobody thinks that Tim & I are taking credit for having our hands in every single project or doing any one of them on our own, because we just don’t have that many hands. In this post, I’ve described the tasks the two of us worked on, and bragged on one that we didn’t. To learn how we got involved with Y2V in the first place (wine), read this.
For more about Y2V and their upcoming projects, visit them on