VIP Appreciation Events 2014

CRD cake
CRD cake and appetizer

NPS

As the employees of the east side volunteer office here at Rocky, Lindsey, Zephyr, and I had the chance to attend the Colorado River District's volunteer appreciation event, and we also somehow got everything together in time for the east side's event. Even in a social context, I continue to learn from Rocky's volunteers every time I have the chance to interact with them, and these two events were no exception. Filled with inspiration (and perspiration from the organizers!), we all managed to pull off the appreciation events with full stomachs and bright smiles.

I had heard that the CRD's potluck is normally a culinary feat, but nothing could have prepared me for the feast that I encountered when all of the dishes were brought into the Winding River Resort. With dozens of deviled eggs,a medley of crock pot masterpieces, and potato salad for miles, the CRD volunteers, and their east side guests, ate to the brim of capacity,and then some.

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Volunteers mingling before the potluck

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Eating it up!

NPS

We settled in for the evening's programs, which included a 5-star performance from the "Timberless Creek Actors Guild," highlighting some of the hilarious (and disturbing!) camper activities witnessed by campground hosts over the years. The Grand Chorale, an official chapter of the Rocky Mountain District of the Barbershop Harmony Society, performed a number of songs, and then we moved on to the awards and speeches portion of the evening.

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Enjoying the evening's entertainment

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The Grand Chorale sings "Hello Mary Lou"

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Ron, esteemed campground host and a member of the Timberless Creek Actors Guild

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The Guild putting on a fantastic show!

NPS

As the volunteers gave supervisors Kris Bowline and Michele Simmons tokens of appreciation for their work this season, Kris acknowledged that "we wouldn't be us guys without you guys," yet another tribute to the vital role volunteers play throughout the park. Rich Fedorchak, Chief of Interpretation and Education, and Vaughn Baker, Superintendent, also came to thank the CRD volunteers, mentioning specifically their help with visitor surveys, in the Kawuneechee Visitor Center, with the Tonahutufire, and managing the cache. Rich talked about volunteering being "the ultimate act of democracy" and voiced again that their involvement in nearly every department in Rocky is irreplaceable. Throughout this year, CRD volunteers have been the first on scene with injured patients, lost kids, and "a lot of behind the scenes stuff that we don't even know that you do." With an increase of about 5,000 roving contacts this year, a total of 18,438 volunteer hours, and an incredible 18,023 visitors at Holzwarth, the CRD volunteers have had no shortage of visitor contact and assistance.

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Vaughn and Rich thank the volunteers for all their hard work.

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Lindsey distributes gifts to the volunteers who have reached milestones

NPS

A week and a half after the CRD event, it was the east side's turn to show our appreciation for everything the volunteers have accomplished this year. Zephyr, Lindsey, and I arrived at the YMCA a few hours before the event to make sure everything was in order. The night flew by as I was anxiously running around the event hall. We were lucky to have the help of several NPS staff, many of whom have worked with volunteers throughout the season. The event went smoothly with employee assistance, from signing people in, to bussing tables and serving the delicious cake.

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Working at the gift table

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Cutting and distributing the cake.

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The YMCA hall

NPS

When I was putting together the various multimedia presentations for the event, I was again reminded of the immense amount of time and effort the volunteers have devoted to this park. Roger and Betsy Leverton's receipt of the George Hartzog Award for Enduring Service was a testament to how much they have dedicated to Rocky's Artist-in-Residence Program, the oldest in the National Park Service. With awards of up to 10,000 hours of service (equivalent to 5years of full-time, year-round employment), my perspective on commitment has been completely altered. I feel comfortable speaking for the entire VIP office in saying that it was an honor for us to be able to spend the evening showcasing our vast appreciation for the volunteers' time, dedication, unwavering enthusiasm, and contagious love for Rocky Mountain National Park.

Last updated: February 24, 2015

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