By Meridith Orr, Program Executive
This is the first in a series of interviews with our Camp Rangers. Stay tuned to get to know each ranger at all of our camps!
Think about the last time you visited one of our Council camps. Maybe you hiked the trails, made s’mores over a campfire or enjoyed a meal or activity in our dining hall. You may not realize it, but there is someone who makes all those adventures possible for Girl Scouts, someone who works behind the scenes to ensure our campers have everything they need.
At Camp Hardee, that someone is Lon Everett. Known to most campers as “Mr. Bluejeans,” he is the camp ranger responsible for keeping the property in tip-top shape. In addition to sprucing up the Rotary Lodge this past winter, Lon has helped establish new trails, re-open abandoned trails and re-discover trail markers. Always ready with a smile and a joke, Lon works tirelessly to provide a fantastic experience for Camp Hardee’s visitors. Recently, he took a break from his rounds to answer a couple of questions for our Girl Talk blog.
Q: How did you get started being a camp ranger?
A: About 25 years ago, I was referred to a church camp site in my home state of New Jersey as a facilities manager. I started working there and learned a lot of stuff on the job.
Q: How long have you worked with Girl Scouts and our council?
A: This has been the first Girl Scout council for me– eight years this July. Seems like yesterday!
Q: What’s a fun fact about Camp Hardee?
A: As I sit along the Pamlico river seeing the brightly colored cabins – I am watching the eagles fly. Just saw two young eagles flying with an adult eagle – the first time I’ve ever seen that! They were right on top of us.
Q: What do you love best about being a camp ranger?
A: Watching campers grow up to be adults and have children who come to camp and then become campers – watching that progression.
Q: What’s the ONE thing you do around camp that no one would expect that you do?
A: Wash dishes! I help out in the kitchen in the summer sometimes with that.
Q: If you could teach someone something about your job, what would it be?
A: The proper way to use a chain saw. It becomes part of the job as a ranger to get firewood.
Q: What do you do in the winter?
A: Cut up trees, get firewood ready for the upcoming year, get the buildings ready for the winter, pick up leaves. All that stuff that needs doing when no one’s around. Mostly inside work. Last year is when I did all the electrical work and floors in the rotary lodge. The work on the trails is easier with no leaves. This year I’ll be cutting the kudzu out with a bush hog and tractor. That way people can see the woods and not just kudzu this summer!
Q: What do you like best about Girl Scouts?
A: The comradery and how everyone works together. Seeing people from all walks of life, all over the state, getting to hear the stories of where people are from.
Q: Do you have a favorite camping tip or story related to Girl Scouts?
A: Funny story. Two summers ago a camper came up to me who was eight or nine years old. “Mr. Bluejeans, I have a project I want to do for you!” She wanted to put pads on the screen doors at the point where they hit the frame so no one would wake up at night. She was as serious as can be. She really wanted to do that kind of work. I told her I thought it was a great idea.
Q: What’s your earliest memory of camping as a kid?
A: In high school, I went camping with my church youth fellowship. We sold pumpkin bread all through the winter to go to Florida for a week to Disneyworld (which had only been open two years at the time). We were up for two nights straight over the weekend baking pumpkin bread. It helped save the cost big time. There were about 30 of us. We spent a whole week camping out, plus we went to Disney World and Cypress Gardens.
Girl Scouts visiting Camp Hardee have a great friend in Mr. Bluejeans. Next time you see him, please be sure to thank him for the firewood, the fun trail hike, the lovely Rotary Lodge or the Kudzu-free view of the woods! And if you have a question for our rangers, please be sure to leave one in the comments!