Service Weekend Updates

May 16-19, 2013 Service Weekend


We need a bunch of you to come to Nature Camp for the May 16-19, 2013 Service Weekend. We need to paint the inside of all 3 rooms of the BTM. To you cooks who are staying in the BTM, please be aware that we will need to get in there on Saturday. It will help us on Saturday morning if you can have your gear all gathered together. We will pile all the mattresses from each room on a single bed frame in the middle of each room and put the extra bed frame on the porch. We will pile all your gear on the mattresses and cover everything with plastic before we get started. We should have everything painted in a single day, although there may still be latex paint fumes at bedtime.

We also need to paint the outside of the Canteen. This will be great fun. To you moms and dads that plan to bring kids, please bring old clothes and old shoes for the youngsters. The dark brown paint will likely be permanent on whatever it is spilled. The youngest painter we have had at Camp was only 2 years old, so if your kids can pick up a brush, we want them painting the Canteen. I also hope that there will be some taller folks there to help reach the parts above 4 feet or so. I wish I could work on the Canteen, I get tickled thinking about all the fun. There is gravel nearly all the way around the building, so we won’t worry about spills. We’ll paint the fence around the water storage tank at the same time.

We will also install 40 new floor joists under the second half of the Girl’s Bunkhouse. If you would like to get involved under the GBH, please equip yourself with some sort of knee protection – either kneepads or some kind of sponge rubber, styrofoam, or old towels that you can tape to your pant legs. Those tiny rocks under the building are really tough on knees. There is also a lot of rotten wood and old nails, so gloves, long pants and good shoes are a really good idea. That is not the place for open-toed shoes and shorts. Hammers, flatbars, ear protection, nail pullers, vise-grips, trouble lights, box fans to help move the air around, drop cords, 6-way plugs, a floor jack, and anything else you can think of will be helpful. It is quite rocky, dusty, dirty, and hot under there. If you would feel more comfortable with a dust mask and Tyvek coveralls, please bring those. A headlamp will help but is not absolutely necessary. A layer of plastic has been used to cover the ground to make the job somewhat more comfortable, but it is still quite dirty under there.

Doesn’t that sound like fun? We were all exhausted this past year after we installed 86 joists under the BBH in 2 weekends, but it was quite fun. I hope you like it, because we will need to do the same thing under all the buildings with suspended floors. Many of the old white pine floor joists under the bunkhouses are so rotten they can be pulled apart by hand. Since the buildings are all about 60 years old, it won’t be long before the floors in the other buildings will start to sag as well.

We will continue reshingling the Staffhouse during this gathering. We need to remove some more of the old layers of shingles from the Staffhouse on Thursday, to get an idea of the amount of rotten wood that needs to be replaced. We will have a cook to feed dinner to a crew of folks on that Thursday evening. If you can make it on Thursday and would like to share dinner with us, please let me know so I can get an idea of how much food to ask the cooks to prepare.

Charlie will have a dump truck in place for hauling away the shingles, and we will start removing the shingles about 1:00 pm Thursday afternoon. Please come and help even if it is only for a few hours. If you can’t make it Thursday afternoon, but can make it for a few hours Thursday morning, please do. You will need sturdy shoes, gloves that can withstand the roughness of the shingles, and although we have a few shingle removal shovels, please bring one if you have one. Any tarps that you can bring will help to make cleanup easier on the outside of the building. Also bring a hammer, a flat bar, nail pullers, vise-grips, a chalk line, a utility knife, an 8-foot ladder, and anything else you think will be useful.

An oak tree beside the stream running down the side of the Buttermilk Spring Road fell over in a storm a couple months back. The root ball and tree effectively blocked the stream and the stream was diverted down the road. We will attempt to get the root ball back in place and re-establish the stream bank so the water remains in the stream instead of running down the road. This is contingent upon permission from the USFS, but that will likely be secured before that time.

We will also rebuild some benches, shovel gravel, clear brush, rake leaves, sweep roofs and porches, clear paths and trails, repair screens, and generally get Camp ready for the summer sessions.

These tools are always helpful: ear protection, eye protection, hammers, battery drills, electrical cords, 6-way plugs, dust masks or respirators if you have a problem with dust or pollen. Sturdy shoes or boots, leather gloves, a rake, and a tarp are always useful. We may be doing some plumbing and some electrical work, so tools for those projects will be helpful. Please bring what you can, but don’t worry if you don’t have any of these items. We share. If you bring any tools, it is a good idea to put your name on them. Eventually they will make their way back to you.

If you aren’t an experienced woodworker, electrician, or plumber, we still need you for the unskilled projects. We always have brush to cleanup and NCF has adopted 608 above and below Nature Camp Trail. We’ll have a crew on litter patrol along that section of highway, so brightly colored clothing that is easily spotted by motorists would be a good idea. We always have a blast, no matter what the grunt work.

There will be folks at Camp from about noon on Thursday the 16th until about 3:00 pm on Sunday the 19th. We will stay in the Bunkhouses and use the T-houses, LS, and kitchen. NCF will feed you dinner on Thursday, 3 meals on Friday, 3 meals on Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sunday. In the evenings we will play music in the LS. Sound like fun? It is great fun. Please attend any or all that you can. If you can’t make it during the day, I hope you will at least come Saturday evening for dinner, music, and to visit.

The NCF website ( is really great. If you have a digital camera, please bring it along to share the fun with those who are unable to attend. We’ll send the digital photos to Michaux and she can put some of them on the website.

I hope to see you there.

Jim Brooks
NCF Service Committee Chair
1041 Hillside Dr. Chapel Hill, NC 27517-7741