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
What doesn’t kill you might make you stronger, but what doesn’t freeze you solid makes you wonder why you weren’t smart enough to choose a February service project in The Bahamas.
Wow, was it brrrrrrrrcold that first week with A Year to Volunteer (Y2V for short) at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Spencer, TN, with temps in the teens, ice and snow, even the eponymous falls looked like they were inside a snow globe.
But other than a single snow day off for safety (which we made up the following Saturday), our Y2V team showed up, manned up, warmed up, and put it up. All of it. Like we knew we could.
And we knew we could because this was our second Y2V service project, so we’ve seen the whirlwind in action. The recap of our first (a state park in GA), and how we got involved with Y2V (wine) is all right here.
The list of objectives for Y2V at Fall Creek Falls included building two new bridges and demolishing an old one, rerouting trails, renovating a set of public restrooms, and painting guest lodge interiors. But by the time our stay was up?
All the COVID precautions Y2V participants adhered to on our first gig were also in place for this one, with the addition of TN’s state mandated daily temperature checks and symptom questionnaires.
Tim and I started off the 2-week adventure (Feb. 15-26, 2021) on the Pretty Potties Crew, a.k.a. Potty Posse, Loo Crew, or “Stall”ions.
We helped tear out the old stall partitions, toilets, sinks, etc.; then painted; then installed new partitions and most of the toilets. The park maintenance department wanted to build new sink stands, so our part of the job ended at that point.
The two of us also helped with the construction of one of two bridges designed to reroute trails.
And speaking of trails, Tim & I threw our backs (and legs, and shoulders) into some of that work too. We’ve done a lot of hiking, but creating new trails was a first for both of us.
In addition to the usual Y2V combination of hard work, fellowship, and fun, we enjoyed some unexpected and most appreciated perks. The park comped our sites, treated us to a pizza night, provided quarters for us to use in their laundry facility, and even hosted a farewell banquet for us.
Where are we now, and what’s next?
We’re still in Tennessee, working our third Y2V project, at Paris Landing State Park. Our mission here involves renovating several structures at an old Girl Scout camp, so that it can be used as a revenue-generating group camping area and outdoor education center for the park.
My mess-up: Using “we” and “our” is tricky here. 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 only the tasks the two of us worked on. To appreciate the full scope, visit Y2V’s YouTube channel, and check out Fall Creek Falls Part I and Part II.
To learn more about A Year to Volunteer and their upcoming projects, visit them on