We are focusing our Volunteer Spotlight on Vincent Alessi! Vince has been busy this year volunteering for our programs, special events, conservation stewardship workdays and leading outdoor skills training workshops. His attention to detail, combined with his enthusiasm and fantastic sense of humor, makes him a pleasure to work with on all volunteer initiatives. Read more about Vince as our Volunteer Coordinator Karen Jennings chatted with him to learn a bit about what brought him to the Licking Park District and his experiences being a volunteer.
What is your profession?
“I am a software professional in the mobile cellular communications industry. Outdoor activities especially within the Park system is a refreshing break from technology, gets me grounded back in the real world.”
How long have you lived in Licking County?
“I’ve lived here for 27 years, always a short drive from Infirmary Mound Park.”
How long have you been volunteering for the Licking Park District?
“I’ve been volunteering for eleven years, starting with the Harvest Moon Rendezvous in October 2008. There the Park Administrators asked our living history group to put on public demonstrations. I got nominated to demonstrate primitive flint & steel firemaking. My “career” as a firemaking instructor and demonstrator started there, right at the Infirmary Mound Park.”
What motivated you to become a Licking Park District volunteer?
“I had used the park facilities a little bit over the years I’ve lived in Licking County, fishing, dog walking. But when I started hiking the trails and enjoying the partnership between the Park and our living history group, I realized what a gem this green space is, and I felt it was very important and rewarding, to “give back,” that is, to actively and enthusiastically volunteer where and when I could.”
What was your most memorable volunteering experience at the Licking Park District?
“A first person living history program I put on for homeschoolers, where I portrayed a fur trader in 1700 and I was training the kids to be my Brigade. Firemaking Instructor is a close second. During the living history homeschool program the kids did an activity where they learned about all our equipment and they assembled it into a working campsite. I immersed them into the program, bringing them into the year 1700! I also demonstrated for them how to make fire, write with 18th century ink on leather, tell time by a ring sundial and signal with a flintlock rifle. The kids did all the hands on activity so they were actively engaged and no longer simply an audience!”
Do you have a favorite park or trail?
“I always take the Appomattox trail in Infirmary Mound Park which leads down from shelter 4 at Infirmary Mound Park. It’s downhill then a decent uphill to a quiet shadowed trail where it’s peaceful and like a portal to another level of solitude. I feel a bit like Thoreau if that’s not too corny sounding!”
What book is currently on your nightstand?
“Become the Arrow by archery trick shooting expert Byron Ferguson. Yes, I’m still trying to shoot a traditional bow well just for targets and fun.”
What music is in your car right now?
“Passing Time by a Celtic traditional music group called the Muses. It has a lot of sea shanties, Scottish folk tunes and historical pieces. The songs give voice to a distant time and place, a history that we might otherwise not be aware of.”
What advice would you give someone who is considering becoming a Licking Park District volunteer?
“Get involved! Volunteering is rewarding, you can use your skills and knowledge to help others, even if it’s lending a hand. And best of all I can attest that what you get back is tenfold what you put in, when all is said and done.”
For more information on becoming a volunteer, please visit http://lickingparkdistrict.com/volunteering/ or call: Karen Jennings, Volunteer Coordinator, (740) 587-2535