News for those who live, work and play in the Santiam Canyon

AmeriCorps helps clean up UBC

Contributing writer for The Canyon Weekly

Upward Bound Camp and AmeriCorps are working together once again to spiff up the Gates campus. 

“Working with AmeriCorps is always a fun, helpful and interesting experience,” said Diane Turnbull, executive director. “This is our third round of AmeriCorps support. In 2019, we had a team here for three weeks building our mini-golf course, clearing years of pre-fire debris, which I might add, was likely the reason we didn’t lose more buildings in the 2020 fires, and painting in the Program Building. Last year, we had a team for a couple of weeks under an agreement with Camp Taloali.”

The first step for this round was to complete an extensive Request for Proposal ahead of receiving a team, Turnbull said. 

“As part of the RFP, we are required to outline not only the tasks and projects we would like the team to work on, we define the needs of the organization as well as, to some extent, the community,” she said.

When hosting AmeriCorps, UBC also provides community education, volunteer and recreational experiences for the team, Turnbull said. 

“All of this goes into the RFP as well as our safety procedures related to the various tasks and projects, tools and equipment we will be using and how we train team members in the use of the necessary tools and equipment,” she said. 

This year, the workers are tackling a variety of tasks, including clearing vegetation such as Scotch Broom and blackberries, both of which have flourished over the last couple of years since the fires, Turnbull said. 

“They are also building storage barns and enhancing the animal pens and grazing areas and picking up and burning dead wood from trees that were cut down as they didn’t survive the wildfires or the heat waves of the last few years,” she said. “We are particularly excited about building an archery range in order to expand our programming which has been fairly limited since the fires.”

According to Turnbull, the off-campus volunteer opportunities this year include working on the Lower Breitenbush property with Woody Jackson and members of the U.S. Forest Service and helping out Gary Swanson with brush clearing.

Campers participated in work activities on April 28 and will participate again from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 12 as well as June 2 and June 16 at the camp. Community members are always welcome to show up and help after checking in with Turnbull.

Applying for a fourth year of AmeriCorps assistance depends on several factors. 

“We are hoping to have begun the rebuild of the gymnasium and the program building in the next several months so it remains to be seen if we will request an AmeriCorps team for 2024,” Turnbull said. “But if we have projects they can do around the rebuilding, you can bet that we will respond to that RFP again!

“We love having AmeriCorps here!” she added. “Not only are they productive and helpful, they bring a lot of energy and joy to the campus in preparation for our summer season.”

To volunteer for any of the projects on May 12, contact Turnbull at [email protected] or call 503-487-0164. 

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