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The Working Volunteer

This month, we’d like to give a shout out to all the Friends who still hold down jobs but manage to carve out some time to volunteer at the Park.  We interviewed three of them to learn more about the challenges and rewards they experience.  For Cassie Rippel, Ty Benson and Alan Morton, managing busy work and volunteer schedules, along with all the other priorities of modern-day life, may be somewhat of a juggling act but they also readily admit that they get some real personal benefits…like the soul-soothing time they are able to spend in Nature and the gratifying sense of contribution to the Park and others that comes with it.   Alan capped it all off nicely with this closing comment: "I'll be volunteering as long as I can. Silver Springs is like a High Energy Magnet. Just being there calms the mind and soul. I know I'm preaching to the choir when I say.... Once you come, you can't stay away." 

For our part, we appreciate their efforts….and the contributions of all our Friends….Members and Sponsors alike.  



Kerstin “Cassie” Rippel

What sorts of volunteer jobs do you do as a Friend at Silver Springs?

I am part of the AMP and River Patrol  program, a board member and the Webmaster for the Friends. In the past I was also pretty active in outreach and the Museum/Cracker Village.

What is the frequency of your volunteer participation?

Right now I volunteer approximately 8 – 10 hours per week (spread out over the week).

How do you juggle your work and volunteer schedule?  What are the challenges?

I started working 5 month ago and until now I am not completely used to working at night.  My biggest challenge is not to forget that working at night doesn’t mean I can spend my whole days with volunteering (or other activities), that I need some time to sleep during the day!

Why is volunteering at the Park important to you?

I think the Park is a treasure that deserves to be preserved and proudly presented and I would like to do my part to keep it as beautiful as it is for generations to come.



Ty “T-Bone” Benson

1.  What sorts of volunteer jobs do you do as a Friend at Silver Springs?

I volunteer for AMP (Acquatic Motor Patrol), where I patrol the river with a partner as we talk to Park visitors, keep an eye out for animals and pick-up trash as needed. (Ed:  Ty has also recently been elected to the FSSSP Board of Directors).

2.  What is the frequency of your volunteer participation?

I volunteer about once a month, usually on weekends as I work full-time during the week.

3.  How do you juggle your work and volunteer schedule?  What are the challenges?

I don't get to volunteer as much as I'd like, since I work full-time and enjoy other activities when I get some down-time (like disc-golfing at the nearby Sawmill Course). But I try to plan ahead to make sure I have time to give to the Park; digital calendars are a big help.

4.  Why is volunteering at the Park important to you?

I've long enjoyed spending time in nature -- especially on the Ocklawaha River, which I've paddled many, many times -- and I want to do what I can to help others be able enjoy our area's great natural resources, as well.



Alan Morton

1.  What sorts of volunteer jobs do you do as a Friend at Silver Springs?

I started volunteering by doing electrical work in the Lundy building,  When that shut down I joined the River Patrol. I've also worked the Welcome Center, the music series, and knapping day (Knap In)

2.  What is the frequency of your volunteer participation?

In the summer I try to be on the River Patrol at least one day, every weekend possible. I'm a beginner volunteer, with almost 300 hours, and I appreciate the many other friends we have here with some up to 3000 hours.

 3.  How do you juggle your work and volunteer schedule?  What are the challenges?

Fortunatelymy 40 + hour a week job is somewhat flexible, so I'm sometimes able to get away for morning breakfast meetings…which we can now say "was back in the day". I also run my (small) electrical contracting business, so at times, it's hard to find free time to relax and enjoy it ...That is the challenge... but the springs have a way of helping me do both, regardless of what my volunteer job is at the time.

4. Why is volunteering at the Park important to you?

Volunteering is important to me because I enjoy being part of something that makes a difference to people, to the environment, and the future of our earth. It's very rewarding to assist others on the river; to provide information, to inform and perhaps educate, and to rescue if necessary.  The helpfulness of volunteers heighten the guests experience and enjoyment of the river or in the park. It's what brings them back.

I'll be volunteering as long as I can. Silver Springs is like a High Energy Magnet. Just being there calms the mind and soul. I know I'm preaching to the choir when I say.... Once you come, you can't stay away. 


About us

Friends of Silver Springs State Park is a Citizen Support Organization (CSO), a non-profit volunteer organization, dedicated to preserving and enhancing Silver Springs State Park. We support Silver Springs State Park by providing volunteers, educating visitors, hosting events and raising funds for specific park projects.

Become a member

Check out our Membership Page and join the Friends of Silver Springs State Park in its mission to enhance and preserve this natural treasure.  Our members meet the 2nd Thursday of most months in the Paradise Ballroom off SR 40.  Social time begins at 5:30 p.m. and meetings begin promptly at 6:00 p.m. often featuring a guest speaker.  


Contact us

fsssp4web@gmail.com

1425 NE 58th Ave, Ocala, FL, 34470

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