Shockers help clean up Girl Scout facility in preparation for busy season

Twice a year, the Wichita State Community Service Board dedicates a day to help members of a community outside of Wichita. These days, called “Immersion Trips,” are organized through Mark Stump, the director of direct services with United Way of the Plains. Saturday, Stump directed WSU volunteers to Starwoods Outdoor Center.  

Starwoods Outdoor Center is the Girl Scouts of the Kansas Heartland’s premier outdoor facility, according to the organization’s website. The facutly opens during the summer for use as a camp, but it can be rented through the year for private events.

During day camp months, scouts swim in the lake, learn astronomy, do arts and crafts and play games in the sports facility. Other amenities, such as a rock-climbing wall, are available for specific camp programs, as well.  

The on-site ranger said he was excited for any help the WSU Service Board was able to donate. The 160 acres on the property require a lot of upkeep, he said, which can be daunting for only two people.

“It’s such a big help,” said Dan Winegar, the ranger. “They can get a project done in a matter of hours that would take us an entire day.”

Winegar had a few projects ready for the volunteers upon arrival, including the planting of a new tree, planting new flowerbeds at the entrance and weeding existing flowerbeds.  

The amount of work needed did not faze freshman volunteer Jenny Nguyen. She simply put on her gloves and proceeded to work.

“My community has just done so much for me,” Nguyen said.

She joined the Service Board immediately after enrollment in August.  

“I really want to get involved with something that provides me with volunteer opportunities to get back into the community,” Nguyen said, “so I heard about Community Service Board, and I thought it was the best organization for me to join because it focused on community service.”

Committed to helping Shockers find the right avenue for them to volunteer in the community, the Service Board is carrying out its founding year of programming. While there are members of the Service Board who volunteer regularly, the organization also welcomes people to join in on individual projects.

Carol Gibbon, programming chair and a founding member of the Service Board, said members and repeat volunteers receive an email notice of upcoming events, but anyone who is interested in volunteering or helping the Wichita community can check their website for upcoming events.  

 “You can make a difference,” Nguyen said. “People don’t realize small actions can benefit people.”