I am halfway through my second term with VetsWork and I’m feeling grateful for the opportunity that Mt. Adams Institute has given me. I’m serving at Land Between the Lakes National Recreation Area in Kentucky and Tennessee. My first term was spent bouncing around different facilities within the forest and doing a variety of ever-changing jobs. This term I am primarily serving at a large horse campground on the Kentucky side of the forest, known as Wranglers Campground.
As with any job, working at Wranglers Campground with the Forest Service has its highs and lows. As we enter the hot summer months the attendance of campers at Wranglers drastically slows down. While other campgrounds on the lake are in their busy season, riding horse trails with a heat index of over 100 degrees is less then appealing. I prefer to be busy, so this slow time has been an adjustment for me. It has also been a blessing since my husband and I decided to start a family and I am currently 8 months pregnant. The slower work pace is much appreciated along with the wonderful support I have received from my Forest Service family.
In contrast to the slow summer months this spring was very busy with campers and plenty of work to do around the campground. For the first three months we were short staffed and camper attendance was high. It was a wonderful learning experience for me to be involved during this busy time. I really felt like my role here was very productive and needed. I particularly enjoyed working with our volunteer staff also known as Resident Attendants or Camp Hosts. I was able to be involved in the hiring and training of these wonderful people that make running such a large camp possible.
As the time approaches when I will be bringing a new little human into the world, I can’t help but think of how important public lands are for future generations. When this little guy is my age, I want him to have the same opportunity’s that I did to roam through wild places that belong to all American people. Furthermore, I want those places to be clean, bountiful, and thoughtfully cared for throughout the years. Serving with AmeriCorps, Mt Adams Institute, and the Forest Service has afforded me a more knowledgeable perspective on what it takes to achieve that goal.