Saturday, August 17, 2013
We came back to the hatchery because it was convenient to our summer’s travel plans and our last visit was interesting and enjoyable. As often happens, our return visit didn’t live up to our expectations. A new volunteer coordinator and a diverse group that just didn’t mesh resulted in a less than memorable three months. The volunteer coordinator is young and inexperienced in scheduling and managing a group, but has the potential of becoming a competent coordinator in time. The manager’s practice of hiring volunteers who are physically unable to perform many of the required tasks created an unfortunate divisiveness among the two teams of volunteers, and affected the relationships, both working and personal. The atmosphere just wasn’t the same as our last visit; pot-luck dinners ended immediately after eating, there were never any volunteers around the fireplace at night, and the volunteer meetings sometimes became testy as the two teams exchanged their ideas. On the plus side, the hatchery is a beautiful place to volunteer, the volunteer sites are exceptional, the duties are fairly interesting, Spearfish is a wonderful town, and the Black Hills are incredible. Volunteers are given a Chamber of Commerce “VIP” pass, which makes almost every attraction in the area free. You can catch trout in Spearfish Creek from the back of your RV, and the hours (except for the bi-weekly 8 AM volunteer meeting) are reasonable.