July 2014 Volunteer eNews

Celebrating Independence

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July 1, 2014

Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

> IN THIS ISSUE: Independence Day, Cancellations and Dedication, Host Vacancies, Upcoming Projects


Happy Independence Day!

In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved. –Franklin D. Roosevelt

Get Outdoors Day at Sweetwater Creek June 14 - A Success!

Here are some of the details:

  •  964 participants
  •  Over 30 sponsors and partnering organizations
  •  160 partners, staff and volunteers and 20 activities and booths at GO Day
  •  44 campers for the camp out

 Hosting Governor and First Lady Deal, SVP of Coleman USA, DNR Board members including DNR Board Chair, DNR Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, State Park Director, Assistant Director, Region Manager and Assistant Region Manager

 The logistics and preparations were enormous and every one of the SWC staff stepped up to the task with cooperative spirits, determination and a can-do attitude. It was my pleasure and honor to work with such dedicated, enthusiastic individuals. Thanks for making the event such a success for so many people.


Highest Priority Hosting Vacancies


Cloudland Canyon State Park

Cloudland Canyon located about 45 minutes from Chattanooga has campground, maintenance and yurt host opportunities available. 

Highland Walk

Victoria Bryant State Park

This small park treasure is a favorite. Due to last minute cancellations, they have hosting opportunities available this summer.



General Coffee State Park

Located in the southern portion of the state, this park has a full functioning farm and heritage center with plenty of trees and our native gopher tortoises that roam the park.


Upcoming Volunteer Projects and Events

Bike Trails Work and Ride


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Hard Labor Creek State Park - Rutledge, GA

Join park staff and volunteers for some time spent working on the bike trail, and a guided trail ride afterward. If you assist with trail work there is no charge for the ride.

706-557-3001 $5 parking

View Event

Sweetwater Creek Canoe Cleanup

Sunday, Jul 13, 2014 10 AM to 1 PM

Sweetwater Creek State Park - Lithia Springs, GA

Join us in beautifying Sweetwater Creek as we pick up trash from the water by canoe and along the banks. Pre-registration is required and previous canoe experience is required for those in canoes. Meet at the Visitor's Center.

$5 parking. 770-732-5871

View Event

Pine Mountain Trail Work Day


Saturday, Jul 26, 2014 10 AM to 3 PM

F.D. Roosevelt State Park - Pine Mountain, GA

Join Pine Mountain Trail Association as they work on trails and back country camping sites. Dress for the weather. Bring water and a lunch. Meet at the park office parking lot on Hwy 190. Updates and changes posted on the Pine Mountain Trail Association website.


View EventView More Events

A day in the life of a Volunteer Coordinator

We have had so many cancellations this year within our Host Community.  So. Many.  Each time there is a cancellation, I take a deep breath, let the host know that we hope they (or their family, or their motorhome, or situation) mends quickly and then I burn through the list of other applicants to see if we have any other available options to fill this new immediate need.  I know that things happen; I understand that circumstances come up; it just causes an unfortunate wrinkle in flow of service for me, the park managers, and the maintenance staff of the park.  We rely so heavily on our hosts to help our parks function on a daily basis that when we are without them, we see an obvious decrease in the quality of product we can deliver to our guests. I know for many of you that have been “in the system” for years, decades even, you can attest to the dependence on your services.  You don’t get told enough how grateful we are for what you are able to give. We are glad that you love Parks and hosting as much as you do so that we are both happy in this codependent relationship!

A few weeks ago, at 4:45pm on a Friday, I received a call.  The bridge at Sapelo Island is out and we don’t have the funds to replace until late 2015 (at the earliest).  This news affected 3 approved and assigned hosts. One set that were already at the island and 2 more that had been scheduled to come to the island to host since almost a year ago.  Knowing that the more notice of cancellation hosts can give me, the better my chances at finding a replacement, I wanted to be sure to notify the 2 incoming hosts as soon as possible.  Though they had really been looking forward to hosting at Sapelo, they understood our circumstances and were able to find alternate options within Georgia State Parks for those Sapelo Island assignments they had been planning on (thank you Fosters and Sweitzers!).  Oh and the host couple that are currently there? They camp in a tent when we have visitors staying at Cabretta Campground on the Island.  Talk about dedication! (Capps, Big Thanks!)

I work with a great group of park managers and staff that step up to overcome obstacles, even when it isn’t necessarily their fire to put out, they are there to help you battle the flames.  The same holds true for many of our hosts as well.  You all understand that the majority of folks are going to apply for the coast in the winter and the mountains in the summer. You understand that Georgia has beautiful diverse parks that each have some unique attributes in every season and are happy to fill those vacancies at the parks where there is a need.  I am truly appreciative of you, your flexibility, and your ability to try out new experiences and accommodate us as we try to accommodate you. So this goes out to all of you out there. You know who you are. Thank you for giving us your time and service to make the customers feel extra special. Thank you for taking on more responsibility throughout the years. Thank you for being amazing hosts. Thank you for loving our Georgia State Parks as much as we do. We really are all in it together. 

Additional Immediate Vacancies due to cancellation this year:

Volunteer / Host Reported Hours

June Hours


Our volunteers and hosts are encouraged to log their hours online. There are incentives that are mailed to you once you reach critical hours documented!  Log your hours HERE!

Congratulations and a great big THANK YOU to those volunteers that have reached the Over 500 Hour Club. You will receive your note in the mail within the next few weeks.


Volunteers Defined: We love and need them all!

Community Volunteers-Help on a day-to-day basis at a Park as they are available. Our community volunteers help with leading hikes, helping with maintenance, assisting with the visitor or retail center, guide new visitors to park activities and locations. Those volunteering more than once per month or planning to volunteer more than 20 hours per year need to update registration.

Hosts (Campground, Yurt, Maintenance, Golf, Train)-Stay in their personal RV at designated free Host Site for 2-6 months in exchange for a minimum of 24 hours of volunteer work.  Host duties include: visitor assistance and maintenance.  All hosts are required to update registration to still be considered for hosting.

Group Volunteers-This is for Churches, Corporations, Scouts and Universities who want a tailor-made project that will strengthen the group as individuals as well as a team morale while assisting Georgia State Parks. Only the group leader will need to be registered in our system.


How are we doing?

In order for Georgia State Parks to continue to thrive and grow, even in these lean budget times, we need to get feedback from those that utilize our services and Parks. As Volunteers and Hosts, you have the same rights and anonymity in park observations and feedback as our Park Staff.  Please use this quick survey form to share your experiences with us.

Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to share with others.  If you need to contact me, Georgia State Parks Volunteer Coordinator: nyleta.wallace@gadnr.org

As always, thank you for being a steward for Georgia State Parks!

Have a great day!