I'm back from my third volunteer week on the Hudson River Sloop "Clearwater" and by now I'm used to the routine. I was thinking that I could skip the Sunday training day, being an old hand, but didn't think that would be fair to the other volunteers. I'm glad I spent the day; where I didn't learn much new and barely needed the refresher, bonding with the other volunteers and sharing what I'd learned previously was of value to all of us.
No volunteer week is the same as any other. There's turnover in the crew, different kids (and sometimes adults) rolling through the education program, different weather. Still, the overall experience reflects the culture of Clearwater.
Was there a highlight of the week? I'd have to think about that for a while because nothing comes readily to mind. The real highlight is the week itself.
Does Clearwater make a difference? I know that it does. Over the summer, walking Bear in a local park a "30-something" noticed my Clearwater volunteer shirt. He asked if I had been on Clearwater and shared that growing up in New York City, his elementary school visited the sloop for a three hour sail. I asked what he remembered about the program. He told me that he didn't remember the details but that the message was that it's important to keep the river clean. That's all the detail he and the river need.