We had a wonderful season at Fort Frederica National Monument and were sorry to leave when April arrived. I wanted to share just a few, final thoughts – and pictures – on our season.
Denise and Bob Verba worked very hard during their time at Fort Frederica. This was their 8th season at the park and they are definitely invaluable maintenance volunteers. They are also unfailingly cheerful and willing to help out with whatever needs to be done. They were a huge help to Tom with the blacksmith shop roof.
In addition to helping others, the Verbas spent a lot of time building a new handicapped ramp to the curatorial building. The old ramp had rotted away and needed to be replaced. Bob and Denise tore the old ramp down, disposed of the materials, and then built the new ramp. They did a fantastic job and the ramp will be there for a long time to come.
Bob and Denise always watch out for the living history program, as do the rest of the maintenance staff. They always make sure that we have all the firewood we need. Davis, the maintenance ranger who worked on Saturdays, always stopped by to make sure we had everything we needed. He also liked joining us for lunch. Bob and Denise stopped by living history or the Visitors Center almost daily to make sure everything was going okay. If there was anything that needed to be done, they were happy to chip in.
Tom and I got to train some new people in living history this year. Ranger Jamieson was experienced in living history but she learned to weave. Intern Sierra had done a little Civil War interpretation but she learned about cooking over a campfire and spinning. Volunteer Grace was new to living history. We taught her how to make candles and she was great at working with that program. She also cooked one day after watching me do it several times. I don’t think she was a fan of cooking over the campfire, but the Georgia sun and heat might have had something to do with it.
We had some great Junior Rangers, as usual. A couple of brothers came in who had earned lots of Junior Ranger badges.
We also had one real Junior Ranger. Ranger Michael’s daughter, Mila, came to work with him for a week. His wife and younger daughter had to go to Florida for a family funeral. Mila, who is eight, is a professional at talking to people and welcoming them to the park. She can hand out brochures, point out the highlights, and talk about the movie. She especially brightened the day of Volunteer Tom J who enjoyed having her help him at the desk. Mila likes to wear her colonial dress and was glad to help Ranger Jamieson with weaving one day.
There are two reasons I keep going back to Fort Frederica. The first is the fabulous winter weather. There is lots of sun and it is much warmer than Ohio. That extra heat is very welcome in January, February, and March. The second reason I return is the people we get to work with. I love the young rangers who are passionate about the park and meeting interns from all over the United States. I also like meeting the other volunteers and hanging out with them. There were a couple of days where the Verbas would stop by and, before we knew it, all the volunteers and half of the rangers were standing around talking or working on a project together.
Our plan, right now, is to return in 2024 for just January and February. Why so short a stay? Stay tuned and you will, eventually, find out.