The current group of NTCC WorKampers is pictured above. The front row (from left) is Rainee Walker, Lynette Forney, Joan Ritten, and Pam Nichols. Back row (from left) is Tom Ramler, NTCC Director of Plant Services, Bill Walker, Darold Brumbaugh, Steve Crowe, and Dale Nichols.
The Northeast Texas Community College Foundation recently hosted a luncheon to honor the NTCC WorKampers. The unique WorKamping Program allows full-time RVers an opportunity to exchange work for rent at a small RV park located on the NTCC campus. Retirees and disabled workers can share their considerable experience and talents to help with landscaping, painting, farming, electrical, plumbing, and computer support projects. At the same time, NTCC expects WorKampers only to volunteer 15 hours per week, many end up working much more as they become invested in projects.
During the luncheon, the current WorKampers shared a bit about themselves and their experiences at NTCC. Originating from all across the United States and coming from various professional backgrounds, the group agreed that they enjoy the chance to have new experiences on campus. Joan Ritten, a return WorKamper, shared an anecdote about finding a cow in distress trying to deliver a calf.
“We were out checking cows on the farm and noticed something wasn’t right. We called the farm manager to let him know what was going on, and before we knew it, there was a full effort going on to get the calf safely delivered,” Ritten said. “Both the cow and calf are doing fine, and it is really satisfying to know we played a part in that.”
Most WorKampers rotate their time in areas where the weather is mild. Hence, fall and winter are popular months at NTCC, and most WorKampers also volunteer at other locations like state parks, national parks, and even a bison preserve. The program was implemented several years ago by Tom Ramler, NTCC Director of Plant Services. He says that the quality and enthusiasm of the WorKampers have far exceeded his expectations.
“I can’t express how grateful we are for the work these folks do for the college. They bring with them such a range of expertise, enthusiasm, and a heart for service. There are many major projects around campus that would not be completed today if not for WorKampers,” Ramler said.
To learn more about the WorKamper program, contact Ramler at 903-434-8175 or firstname.lastname@example.org.