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Lake Red Rock seeking summer-stay volunteers

Published: Thursday, March 27, 2014 11:21 a.m. CST • Updated: Thursday, March 27, 2014 11:37 a.m. CST

If you have an affinity for the outdoors, enjoy vacationing over the summer months and don’t mind getting your hands a little bit dirty, Lake Red Rock has a program for you.

Just over ten years ago, the park started looking into what it could do to help control its budget a little further. What came out of those brainstorming sessions was “live on-site” volunteers, RV campers who received a free site and hook-up through the summer months in exchange for a little bit of labor.

“Volunteers have become an integral part of day-to-day recreation operations at Lake Red Rock,” said Park Ranger Mark Pollastrini. “These volunteers provide services which include staffing the visitor center, promotional services, assisting with interpretive programs, fee collection and more.”

In exchange for their work of three to four hours per day, the volunteers get a RV camping site which includes electric, sewage and water free of charge.

“It’s been amazing the quality of people we get who do the program,” Pollastrini said. “They’ve worked all their lives and in their retirement they feel the need to continue being active … People enjoy the work, and in their off-time they’re able to fish, bird watch or do just about anything.”

While the volunteers are expected to provide quality work, Pollastrini said that none of it is too strenuous or involves heavy lifting which has enabled plenty of senior citizens to serve in that capacity. All the park requires is that they’re able to deal with the elements and be on their feet.

“People love it … We have around 90 percent of our volunteers come back for multiple years of service because they enjoy being out here,” Pollastrini said. “Five of the volunteer positions at the lake are held by couples who have been providing service for over 10 consecutive years.”

The ranger explained that little prior experience is necessary, as the park provides an orientation and training to all of its volunteers each summer. All they ask for is a commitment of attendance from the park’s opening on April 24 through the end of the season in mid-September.

“Our team at Lake Red Rock continues to grow. Last year we had 44 seasonal volunteers provide more than 11,000 hours of service,” Pollastrini said. “With the addition of three new positions in 2014, our team will grow to 50.”

Pollastrini did stress that the positions usually go quickly, and those interested should contact him as soon as possible by phone at 641-828-7522 ext. 6442 or by email at mark.r.pollastrini@asece.army.mil.