Volunteering at the Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake, Santa Barbara California
Don and I have worked two seasons as volunteer camp hosts for Government parks. We have enjoyed our camp host assignments as it offers us an opportunity to explore a new area of the country, give us jobs that we enjoy (for the most part…) and allows us to meet new people.
We applied for our first hosting jobs after purchasing our first motorhome. I learned about the hosting world a trip to Yellowstone where the laundry attendant told me “if you hear whooping and hollering at night, it is not your fellow campers but the volunteers at the park…” What? How do I get in on this?
I filled out applications for county and state campgrounds. The first response we received was from the Director of the Neal Taylor Nature Center at Cachuma Lake north of Santa Barbara California – Ms. Julie McDonald. Hurray! We spent our first summer 2012 as Nature Center volunteers and enjoyed it so much we returned in 2013. We are trying to stay away in 2014 – we like to explore new places – but I am sure we will be back if Julie will agree!
The first year we assisted at the Nature Center gift shop, cleaning – and Don did maintenance tasks at the building. The Nature Center just celebrated it’s 25th anniversary – and the building pre-dates the nature center, as it was originally a ranch house and moved to the site.
Our second year at the Center found us doing some of the same tasks in addition to getting donations for the Nature Center’s 25th Anniversary dinner. Everything was donated for the anniversary dinner – food, catering hall, dinner items and wine. Wine!! it was my job to solicit wine donations for the dinner.
Don & I did wine tastings in the SBA (Santa Barbara Area) and solicited wine makers for donations. We were successful in procuring wine needed for the event – donations from Wineries and private wine labels. Firestone, Fess Parker, Jaffurs and many others (Sea Smoke!) donated wine – Dog Hill private label, Harrison Clarke winery – among others – donated. We had a blast doing the collection and it was fun to meet wine makers and people involved in the industry.
We also met some great folks – fellow camps hosts – at Cachuma. Lloyd and Donna, Ron and Sharen, Jerry & Mike (1/2 of the DreamTeam), Bob & Nancy, Nature Center direct Julie McDonald among others. We love the area and enjoyed our time at Cachuma and the Nature Center. We hope to return someday!!