Volunteers prepare Miniwanca, Merrowvista for summer 2022

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Volunteers recently gathered in the crisp spring air at Miniwanca and Merrowvista to roll up their sleeves and prepare the sites for summer 2022.

At Miniwanca, Director of Operations Griffin Vogler said 40 volunteers convened April 29 through May 1. They put in a collective 320 hours of work installing a new porch on the Activity Center, raking and preparing the grounds, and readying the Eating Lodge and cabins for the campers’ return.

“This awesome group came together for some really hard work that helped us get ahead for the season,” said Vogler. “We’re so grateful for people taking time of out their busy lives to make sure our campers have a great space for camp this summer.”

Merrowvista hosted a Volunteer and Family Weekend May 13 to 15. Director of Operations Amy Simmons said there were 50 volunteers on hand, many of whom were children eager to get an early glimpse of where they’d soon spend part of their summer. Simmons said the volunteers leveled out the ground around the flag-raising area, while the younger (and shorter) volunteers stained 75% of the Sandcastle building. “Our taller adult staff will reach the upper 25% of the building,” she said, laughing.

A few volunteers were campers who participated in last summer’s Wayfinder program. They had the honor of placing the plaque marking their summer 2021 efforts to rebuild the North Star Shelter.

It wasn’t all work though. Both sites made time for fun and community connection. Merrowvista offered climbing activities and a Melbourne Cup Race on the A-Field, while Miniwanca ushered in the new season with the first frigid Polar Bear of 2022. Both sites closed their weekend of service with reflection around a Fire Circle.

“Each year, we count on our volunteers to help us open camp and make it clean, safe, and welcoming for all campers,” Simmons said. “We couldn’t do it without them. We’re truly grateful to everyone who gave their time and energy to support our mission.”