Becoming a Rover: Not your Average Volunteer Experience

Two Saturdays ago, at around 8:30 am, the quiet spring air was filled with the sounds of closing car doors, crunching footsteps and sips of coffee. Interjections of small talk and nervous laughter would occasionally break the silence as we starred at our feet tracing shapes in the gravel. Indeed, we arrived at the Mohonk Preserve as 12 complete strangers, but we left 12 good friends.

As we gathered near the worksite, the anticipation of the work translated into shared excitement, and our energy rose with the sun peaking over the Shawangunk ridge. Our acquaintances became more comfortable, and our laughter more genuine. As we circled up around a carefully dressed display of tools, we smiled and warmed up to each other.

The instructors briefed us on what to expect for the days ahead: we will be tired, we will be sore, but we will feel accomplished. As the training began throughout the day, we began to bond through trail and error. We contemplated how we would move