unnamed (3)Work has just finished up this weekend at Wild Plum Guard Station in California, and what a great three weeks it’s been! Volunteers could not get enough of their time there, and it seems everyone made some new friends on the project. For the first three weeks of June, volunteers worked on outbuildings that included a bunkhouse, garage and barn. Work included roofing, windows and doors, and some much-needed painting. The difference from start to finish is incredible! Volunteers enjoyed some fun construction projects, a few laughs, awesome views, and some pretty awesome new friendships. We had some characters on the project, and if you didn’t get to help out, we thought we’d bring them to you! Here’s what some of the volunteers had to say about their time at Wild Plum:

What’s the best part about this project? Doug Mote loved “working with others from all walks of life for a common goal. Very interesting conversations during dinner were quite enjoyable. John and I figuring out the airless paint sprayer was a benefit. I got to spray the entire bunk house and became proficient enough to maybe tackle my own house. (Ugh, probably not but I would like to think so.)

unnamed (8)The group seemed especially taken with longtime volunteer Bobby Evans, one of the few who has made it to more than a dozen projects over the years, and someone who revels in teaching others and keeping spirits high. Doug says one of the funniest stories from week one is when “Bobby enthusiastically asked everyone to help throw firewood into his Power Wagon truck. He wanted to give a nice surprise to the campground about 1/4 mile away where the ground is picked clean of course. We drove the loop of the campground in the beater truck hollering out, “Who needs firewood!” Very comical and we had takers empty the truck pretty quickly. Laughed and laughed at the strange looks we got from the unnamed (1)campers.”

Jen Derr seconded that fun experience and enjoyed the “unique quirky presence” of some of the other volunteers. “It was simply a JOY to spend time with this group. I wish I could have stayed the whole week as I’m sure the community and family feel would have even grown stronger with the group!”

 Amanda Mantzouranis, a volunteer from session one, wrote, “I most enjoyed the camaraderie between myself, the staff and other volunteers. It makes it much more fun to do volunteer work of any kind when one makes good friends in the process!” She says her “favorite experience was replacing the roof of the old garage at Wild Plum. That was one of the first things we accomplished during the week and it helped set the tone for the rest of the projects.” Some volunteers had never even been on top of a roof before and were able to overcome any fears they had, with the help of our great project leaders.

unnamed (9)Speaking of John and Kat, we received plenty of praise for the dynamic duo. It is often because of the project leaders that a project can turn out so well, and Wild Plum is no exception. Doug Turner, who volunteered with the first two sessions, says the two of them were a constant source of enthusiasm and experience. “John’s expertise was never in doubt but he also has the ability to teach us amateurs and show great patience in the process. He never got upset if things didn’t work quite right…..he just said, “Well let’s figure out how to fix this little ol’ mess.”  Kat is priceless

[…] She always had complete control of everything and worked tirelessly to make everything go smoothly…..and it did both weeks. She was a superb camp cook who prepared very, very tasty meals. She also quickly showed she had fine construction skills.”

Enthusiastic volunteer John Milliken enjoyed his time on the project, good-unnamed (10)naturedly exclaiming, “John and Kat get my Volunteer Project Captain and Team Leader HERO AWARD. Kat kept us fed, watered and cared for.  John is most a knowledgable, patient, considerate ‘volunteer slave driver’ and all round stout fellow.  Those two and the enjoyable hard driving fellow volunteers have me bamboozled into cruising the HC web site for an opening on the upcoming Oregon Coast Hebo project.” John was so excited that he even wrote a poem about his time there.

Here’s his ode to Wild Plum:

Not Liberal

These politics are nails, hammers,

self-tapping screws, old wood,

corrugated metal sheets, mosquitoes,

sweat and impact drivers devoted

to the muscle of ‘git ‘er done’.

 

Level, string line and plumb bob

are measured against the abused,

worn and commendable upright

things worthy of respect: the scraped

old growth door and dusty window.

 

The young, untested, the tried and true

assemble, fit up and manage the job:

bats, mice, bees, rotted shakes, brown

ant colonies, canted walls, missing

skip decking and those insistent

mosquitoes.