Service Weekend Updates

May 2007 Service Weekend Report – Fifty Volunteers

We had a great May 2007 Service Weekend at Nature Camp. Fifty volunteers attended at some point during the weekend, 8 of those had never been to a previous Service Weekend. NCF paid $2,812 for materials, of which $2,001 was for capital improvements to the Camp facilities – electrical, plumbing, and safety features. I don’t know the cost of the food to feed the volunteers but I’d guess it was in the $500 range. Chuck can tell you the real cost. Because the transfer of the titles for the Camp vehicles had not yet taken place, we rented a U-Haul to haul the bulk of the building materials to Camp for about $86.

One of the planned projects for the weekend was to replace all the plumbing in the Staffhouse. We didn’t do any plumbing in the Staffhouse, because it took so long to dig out below the pipes to make room to work. Tree roots and rocks made the digging difficult. We had folks digging under the Staffhouse for 3 hours on Friday, 9 hours on Saturday, and 5 hours on Sunday. but after many, many hours, we dug the level of the crawlspace down so we can redo the plumbing in September. The staff will just have to struggle through the Summer Sessions without the concrete shower. I didn’t know that there are 3 cast iron drain lines that go out from under the Staffhouse in varying directions. The center one that drains the cement shower is blocked with tree roots or something out in the woods some place. It would take a roto-rooter to free up the lines, but it is not worth the expense, because it will all be replaced in the fall.

Over the years, people have been using the steep bank along 608 just north of Nature Camp Trial as a dump site. A local couple, Carroll and Jane Comstock, who live just off 608 south of Camp, lined up a roll-off dumpster for us to use. We had a number of volunteers using tarps and a pulley system to move trash from the steep hillside into the dumpster. I didn’t see the operation in action because I was under the Staffhouse, but I was told that we filled about a third of that big dumpster. I would guess that the dumpster was 6 feet tall, 8 feet wide, and 20 feet long. There were many tires, a carpet, a metal culvert, vinyl siding, and loads of trash and junk to be moved.

Walt Miles, the engineer who supplied the plans, indicated to Andy Flint over the phone that the Poolhouse electrical update was the most important update before the Summer Sessions of 2007. We removed all the old electrical equipment, shelves, sand filter, and styrofoam insulation from the Poolhouse. We then installed all new lights, receptacles, switches, breaker panel, breakers, 30 amp disconnect for the pool pump, and 110 volt smoke detector. We also installed a new grounding rod and connected it to the existing grounding rod as well as the new panel. We insulated the ceiling and installed plywood ceiling and wall board. In September, we will paint everything inside the Poolhouse white. We checked the fence around the pool and determined that it is indeed grounded. We got the ground wire to the grounding rod in the Ed. Building.

We got a new concrete step poured in front of the GBH. We finished building a new picnic table. We added 2 more garden boxes in front of the BBH. We cut up and hauled off lots of tree branches and downed trees that were the result of a mid-February ice storm. When there were only 4 folks
left in Camp, we sprayed the track of the drop-ceiling in the Kitchen with white Kilz. The ceiling panels will all be replaced during opening week. We also ordered 5 custom-made sheet metal ceiling tiles for the area above the gas stove in the Kitchen. Those will be painted white to match the other tiles.

There were so many heroes this past weekend, it is hard to select anyone specific. Terry Richardson drove all the way from Charleston, S.C. to arrive Thursday evening. He worked in the Poolhouse all day Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and part of Monday before heading back to Charleston.
Mike Meads drove all the way from Glendora, NJ near Philadelphia, to arrive Thursday afternoon. Mike got the excavation under the Staffhouse started and running smoothly and rented an electric jack hammer to speed the process. Mike had a compression-fitting cut-off valve in the stuff he brought with him for the weekend. That saved us when a compression fitting came off the old plumbing and water was spraying everywhere and making mud. Although there were a number of volunteers that worked on the excavation under the Staffhouse, Jesse Cleary and Barak Brashear
spent more time digging under the Staffhouse than anyone else. At the end, these 2 guys were moving the dirt and rock out from under the building with a 5-gallon bucket lid tied to a string. The area was very cramped, and the access to pass the dirt outside was very small. Jesse also held his hand over the spraying leak under the Staffhouse and then forced the cut-off onto the pipe to minimize the mud. Jesse was soaked at the end of that adventure. Lyt spent a lot of time in the trees in Camp and rigged a pulley to get the trash and tires up from the trash pile. Charles Thornton was present once again to repair screens. Thank you very much, Charles, for your dedication.

The food was excellent as always headed up by Chuck and Jen with lots of help from other folks. We had deep-fried turkey, pizza, salads, enchiladas, bacon, eggs, sausage, hashbrowns, cookies, brownies, and birthday cake. We played music on Saturday night in the LS which included a hammered dulcimer, a banjo, 2 mandolins, 2 fiddles, and 3 guitars. The weather was rainy on Friday but beautiful on Saturday and Sunday. We had a fire in the LS on Friday evening and Saturday and Sunday mornings.

So thanks very much to Alia, Amy, Amy, Anne, Anne, Annie, Barak, Beth, Beth, Brian, Cary, Charles, Charlie, Chuck, Cliff, Dave, Dee, Doug, Ed, Flip, Graeme, Henry, Irene, Jen, Jen, Jesse, Joanne, Joe, Kat, Larry, Lars, Lily, Lyt, Matthew, Michaux, Mike, Mitchell, Molly, Neil, Nell, Paul, Paul, Peggy, Peter, Powell, Robert, Shirley, Terry, and Walter. I had a really great time, and it was one of the most productive Service Weekends ever.

If you have any digital photos of the Service Weekend, please email them or put them on a CD and send them to Michaux {}.

— Jim Brooks, Service Committee Chair
All materials © 2008 Nature Camp Foundation, Inc