For the entire month of June, dozens of volunteers joined in on restoring Forest Lodge, a retreat and summer camp site that had been developed beginning in the 1890s. The lodge site includes a main lodge house, cabins, greenhouse, boathouse, recreational facilities and more. HistoriCorps has sent teams to restore the buildings there since 2012. Volunteers keep coming back because the area is so scenic (located on 872 acres within the forest, on the banks of Lake Namakagon) and is a popular spot for summer activities, even today.
Harold and Patricia Koppel, a husband and wife team, have volunteered on Forest Lodge before. They love the area and “We thought we would give it another try. We are sure glad we did. It was well planned, organized and supervised. We would be eager to volunteer with Dennis again.”
One of the best things about any HistoriCorps projects – if we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times – is truly just getting to know your fellow workers, hanging out with them, getting to know their stories, and making lasting friendships in the process. Sean says one of his favorite memories of the project was “Just sitting around the table or campfire, hearing everyone’s stories and jokes, always a good time.” And of course, who keeps the volunteers on task and excited? The project supervisor and crew leader can make a BIG difference in a volunteer’s experience. Sean loved learning from his project leaders: “Denis and Mary are awesome!” William Howard, who volunteered during session 2, loved how everyone got along so well – they even took a trip to celebrate their accomplishments! “The day after the project ended a group of us went to the Apostle Islands on Lake Superior. I had never heard of the Apostle Islands before this trip. This was a fun crew to hang out with.”
When they weren’t hard at work, participants got a tour of the buildings and learned about the history of the site, made friends with Oscar the dog, went on excursions throughout the forest, and met with various members of volunteer teams and forest service officials. Seems like everyone had a great time!
How could HistoriCorps have made the project any better? Sean wants us to get rid of the mosquitos (those pesky little things caused a bit of havoc at the site, we’re told), and Lorin Schab wants us to “make sure weather remains in the 70s and no rain.” Thanks for the advice Lorin and Sean – we’ll see what we can do next time!
We also had some press on Forest Lodge – here’s what you missed:
The 2016 season is still in full swing, with plenty of opportunities to volunteer. Although we’ve finished up at Forest Lodge this year, check back in with us in another 9-10 months and we might just have more slots for volunteering there!