Enjoy a volunteer vacation in Sisters, Oregon
|Photo by Gary Miller
Many folks come to Sisters to relax and get away from it all. Some show up and pitch in on community events.
"Volunteer vacations" are a satisfying way to engage with the Sisters community – and local organizations really appreciate the help.
Tony Ward has been volunteering with the Sisters Rodeo since 1997. The owner of a construction company in Hermiston, he heads over to Sisters each June to work the "stripping chute" at the "Biggest Little Show in the World."
His job is to get the saddles off the saddle broncs and wild horses and the flank straps off the
It's an exciting job, not least because of the whiff of danger.
"I've been caught by a bull (and) thrown over a fence," Ward says. "I've been bit in the arm by a wild horse..."
Once, a saddle bronc ran into a gate, which ran into Tony and knocked him out cold. But he keeps coming back for more. Part of the reason is the people he gets to work with.
"It's a good association – good volunteers," he says. "Lots of good friends-and-family people there. I look forward to it every year."
Singer-songwriter Melissa Greener made a volunteer vacation out of a trip to the Sisters Folk Festival. She was touring in the Pacific Northwest last September and couldn't land a gig on festival weekend because so many promoters were headed to Sisters for the festival.
"I thought, 'Maybe that's something I should check out," she said.
Greener worked backstage making sure artists had their needs met. It wasn't exactly a tough gig, since many were friends and colleagues in the music business.
"Basically, it was just hanging out with my friends," she said. "In my business, it's networking."
Greener says she'd recommend a volunteer vacation to anyone.
"Volunteering is a great way to exist with minimal expenses anywhere, especially at folk festivals," she says
"It's a great way to get out there and have new experiences."
Deanna Carveth has brought her "posse" of friends from Snohomish, Washington, to the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show for the past five years.
"It's just a way to feel involved," she says. "I really like the community of people who quilt and this is a great way to get to know them and be involved with them."
She and her friends will man a donation booth this summer and they'll also help display the quilts for the show.
"We like to hang quilts in the morning, 'cause it's a legal way to touch them," she says.
The Snohomish Posse also takes classes in the week leading up to the big day.
"It's a gas," she says. "We have a great week."
Sisters Habitat for Humanity is a regular stop for colleges across the region during spring break.
Other volunteers filter in throughout the year, particularly people on RV tours.
"People who are aware that we have a build going on will contact us because we're listed in Caravaner magazine," said Habitat program manager Marie Clasen. "I also let them know about Thrift Store or ReStore opportunities if we don't have a build going on."
RVers who volunteer for Habitat can camp for free at Creekside Park under an agreement with the City of Sisters.
So if you're the sort that likes to have something to do while you enjoy your stay in Sisters Country, give a volunteer vacation a shot.