4/24/2013 8:47:00 AM Young Americorps volunteers spruce up 4H camp
An Americorps volunteer muscles a load of cut up firewood at the 4H Camp & Outdoor Learning Center at Mingus Springs.
Photo courtesy Americorp
Sometimes it takes a big team: Americorps volunteers move culvert piping at the 4H Camp & Outdoor Learning Center as part of a project to spruce up the facility.
Photo courtesy Americorps
Special to the Tribune
On April 3, a 10-person team from the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) arrived in Prescott Valley to work with the Harold and Mitzie James 4-H Camp & Outdoor Learning Center at Mingus Springs.
These individuals, all between the ages of 18 and 24, will work through May 8 to help restore the camp's infrastructure, which suffered a number of damages during a flood last August. Among their tasks are the clearing of debris, redesigning the camp's main barbecue area, constructing a new boathouse, installing small dams throughout the creek to help prevent another water-related catastrophe, and general restoration of campground facilities.
Each of these young adults, all hailing from different corners of the country, comes equipped with a different skill set to offer.
Ariel Scharpen, a 19-year-old Oregon native and second-year corps member, worked with the American Red Cross on the High Park Fire in Ft. Collins, Colo., during the summer of 2012, which outfitted her with the construction experience she now brings to their 4-H Camp assignment.
"Before coming to Arizona, we weren't aware that there had been a flood that destroyed parts of the camp," said Scharpen. "But once we learned that we would be doing restoration work in addition to more general camp upkeep, it made the project that much more meaningful."
The Harold and Mitzie James 4-H Camp is located on a secluded 55-acre wooded site at 6,500 feet on Mingus Mountain in the Prescott National Forest. Many organizations - schools, universities, governmental and educational institutions, as well as religious and special interest organizations - make use of the isolated campus for a variety of different programs and events.
Prior to becoming a 4-H Camp, the Mingus Springs & Outdoor Learning Center, owned and operated by the Dahlberg Foundation, offered camping and outdoor education to groups since 1950.
"I think we're all really excited to be a part of a place like this," said Shannon Wunderlich, a 23-year-old corps member from South Florida. "The 4-H staff and support we've worked with have such a tangible love and respect for the area and the legacy of this organization. Their energy is infectious."
The AmeriCorps team is serving in Prescott Valley as the third of four assignments they will complete over their 10-month service term and are the first NCCC team to work with the 4-H Camp.