By Rob Hutchinson
The best part is hearing people’s stories. Oh, there are many interesting moments in the week of a campground host, but the best is the openness of fellow campers, sharing their stories.
This was our second year volunteering as hosts for my wife, Judy, and I: three weeks camping in Site 19, in the deep shade of the locust bean tree. We have heard amazing stories from Fellow campers have told us amazing stories of babies born, epic journeys across our huge country, grief for those recently passed away, and those soon to leave us - all too soon. We have enjoyed the spectator sport of watching trailers back into tiny, obstructed camping spaces, and marvelled at various types of camping units new, old, and lovingly renovated.
We have been amazed at the fabulous meals that appear from campers’ imaginations and a few groceries, and we’ve shared our appreciation with fellow campers for keeping Creekside Commons so clean.
Of course, there is the odd tense moment. Perhaps a misbehaving dog (or perhaps the owner), or a group who needed reminding that quiet time started some time ago, or a dispute over whose campsite is which, and where the boundaries might be. But these moments are few and far between, and are greatly overshadowed by the warmth and friendliness of all our guests.
Our hosting duties also left lots of time to take a morning program and/or to volunteer around the Centre, weeding and pruning.
We recommend the volunteer role of campground host to anyone who is friendly, outgoing, able to ensure that campers abide by the rules, and wants to support camping fun and community at Naramata Centre.
Our thanks to Centre staff Dennis Hixson, Tanya Eckenswiller, Charmaine Pearce, Mike McLary and the summer interns for their support and welcome to the Centre this summer. We had a great time, and we hope to be back under the bean tree again next year!