… we joined a Y2V (A Year To Volunteer) work crew for a 2-week service project at Stephen C Foster State Park.
It was so remote (audience: How remote was it?)… it was so remote that it took almost 25 minutes to drive to the nearest town with a store, and that one and only store was a Dollar General.
Cell service was about as reliable as a stoner delivering pizza, and wifi at the campground trading post was about as strong as rest stop toilet paper, so we did not spend a lot of time online.
But that was bearable. We were busy working, making new friends, spotting wildlife, and enjoying the solitude. Here it is in a nutshell.
How We Got Hooked (blame it on the a a a a a alcohol)
The Worker Bees of Y2V
There were 30 of us, all RVers, mostly couples. Most stayed the entire duration of the project (Jan. 25 – Feb. 5, 2021), and a few came and went. Some already had Y2V experience under their tool belts, and some were newbies like us.
There were retirees from a wide variety of backgrounds, a sampling of which includes military veterans, nurses, teachers, a business owner, a contractor, and even a pair of NASA engineers.
I won’t even try to calculate the combined years of home improvement, building, and fix-it experience. Tim has about 40, and he was one of the younger men on the job, so there were several lifetimes worth of skills and knowledge in play every single day.
The Honey-Do’s? Honeys Did — And Then Some
We were given 5 projects by the park. Our team completed those + 20 more, and still finished a day early! A sampling of the tasks:
- Parking lot striping
- New AC/exhaust system in maintenance shop
- 3 new camp host sites (timbers, leveling, graveling)
- Sanding and painting metal cabin doors
- Sanding and painting porch & walkway rails
- Installing new flooring in guest cottages
- Sanding and painting rocking chairs
- Cleaning AC drip stains & touch-up painting in guest cottages
- Replacing fire rings in campground loops
The park itself shouted out some love too.
Oh, And We Had Fun
“Have fun!” is in fact codified in Y2V’s core values, and we were nothing if not obedient. Even while we worked, we joked around and kept each other entertained, and also made lasting friendships.
But there was also ample time for campfires & cocktails, hiking & biking, wildlife spotting, boating, and more (yes, socially distanced or masked or both).
The work schedule was not strict — roughly 9-4 each weekday, with a lunch break — and we were advised to take time off as needed for things like ouchy muscles or injuries, personal errands, and especially for any symptoms of illness.
Having the weekend off allowed us time to explore the park ourselves, and also kept our tools, paint, dust, and noise from creating mayhem for park guests during peak visitation days.
UPDATE, 02/17/21: Now that the footage is live, I can divulge that yes, those were dance lessons, and here’s why we needed them! That’s me in the yellow safety vest; Tim’s behind me in the back row, wearing a red flannel shirt. If you make it all the way to the 4:30 mark, you’ll see how I live to be an embarrassment to our sons and any future generations.
Tomorrow we head to Tennessee for the next Y2V project, at Fall Creek Falls State Park. The to-do list includes building bridges, clearing and re-routing trails, and painting maintenance buildings.
Can’t wait to see some of our friends again, meet new members of the crew, and knock that list right out of the park. Hahaha! Out of the park. Get it? I crack myself up.
To learn more about A Year to Volunteer and their upcoming projects, visit them on
Stephen C Foster State Park was our first service project with Y2V. Others were/will be
- Fall Creek Falls State Park, TN
- Paris Landing State Park, TN
- Davy Crockett Birthplace State Park, TN