As you may know, Star Island is one of the Isles of Shoals located about 7.5 miles into the Atlantic from Rye Harbor, New Hampshire where seagulls nest, seals snooze and paint peals. In the past 100 years or so, it’s served as a non-profit retreat and conference center owned by the Unitarian Church. Religious and lay conferences are held from June through September and the island is shut down entirely for the winter. In the spring a huge effort is undertaken to open the island for the coming season.
Being a non-profit, the island is run on a shoestring budget and they rely heavily on volunteers for most jobs that can be done without any sort of professional license. I’ve been volunteering there for the past ten years and I was thrilled to gather a group of 9 hardy folks from PixelMEDIA to go out this spring and help get things ready for the opening in June. We braved the grey, damp morning; caught the island boat out to sea at 8AM, and contradictory to some early indications, no seasickness bags were required.
We were put to work shortly after we docked. Most of the group painted the first floor of one large cottage that had been totally renovated and needed to be ready for guests when the island opens this week. (It’s a good thing they had plenty on paint on-hand because more of it wound up on some of the folks painting than it did on the walls.) I split off and helped the IT director unpack equipment that had been dormant all winter. The environment is terribly hostile to electronics, so you can imagine the state of the technology in the springtime.
We were well-fed at lunch and after washing our dishes, we worked a full afternoon doing more of the same. Everyone had a great time and the island management was extremely thankful for the help. We all slept very well that night and some of the folks from PixelMEDIA who hadn’t been to the island before vowed to return. All-in-all, it was a extremely rewarding and fun, too!