Fish Creek, Wis. (April 25, 2023) – What a way to celebrate National Volunteer Week! Last night was the Door County Volunteer Golden Heart Awards Celebration and our Tuesday Crew won in the Arts & Culture category.
Northern Sky’s Tuesday Crew began in 2016 in the weeks leading up to our summer season in Peninsula State Park. Initially the crew would work weekly May through August. Now, 7 years later, the Tuesday Crew can be seen at both the park and our brand-new Gould Theater almost year-round.
“The Crew” is made up of folks who have a wide range of talents and tools at their disposal. And by tools, we’re not being figurative. Tuesday Crew volunteers can often be found lending a rake, a saw, a wood splitter, a leaf blower – the list goes on, and includes energy, sweat, and tireless good cheer. If it’s in a volunteer’s garage, we’ve probably borrowed it. This group of people, mostly retired, with backgrounds from many professions, bring an incredible work ethic and a huge cross section of knowledge and wisdom from business, industry, teaching, the arts…etc., wide-ranging life experience and oodles of good old common sense.
The Tuesday Crew is led by our facilities manager, Rich Higdon, but they also work closely with our Production Manager, Lisa Schlenker, and Managing Director, Dave Maier. That said, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more self-motivated group of volunteers on the peninsula. Rich often comments that it is a challenge just to keep up with them.
On average 10-12 volunteers show up every week “in season”, May through October. During the off season it’s more like 4-6 people in any given week. The group meets for around 3 hours each Tuesday morning, spring through fall. Many in the group show up before our staff even arrives on site, in part to beat the heat of the day. For those of you doing the math, this means on average the Tuesday Crew has put in about 1,200 hours of time, talent and labor in support of Northern Sky annually over the past 7 years = 8,400 hours of impact on Northern Sky’s bottom line. With the value of volunteer time in WI now estimated at about $30 per hour, this equates to approx. $252,000 in value to Northern Sky Theater since The Crew’s inception. Astounding!
We aren’t quite sure what we would do without the passion, expertise, and unending enthusiasm of our Tuesday Crew. Although it is our performers who get all the applause, with this nomination for the Golden Heart Award, we honor The Tuesday Crew with the spotlight and a standing ovation!
We’ve included a brief list of the kinds of projects the Tuesday Crew has taken on over the years, but their biggest impact was seen in 2019 when we opened our new creative campus. That summer, the Tuesday Crew practically became an Everyday-of-the-Week-Crew. The task of opening our new indoor Creative Center and Gould Theater was massive. The endless tasks included everything from installing light bulbs to hanging shelves, from schlepping new furniture and infrastructure to helping with plumbing emergencies, from shouldering mud and construction debris to hanging beautiful photos, from assembling patio seating and tables to building and installing our merchandise area, from laying in a supply of firewood to create our welcoming afterglow events to jumping in to assist house managers with ushering, patron parking direction, and box office staffing. Not to mention simply stepping up to say, “What’s Next? What can we do to help?” Right up until opening night, the Tuesday Crew (plus partners, kids and friends – they recruited everyone) could be found on their hands and knees cleaning up construction dust so that our floors would be gleaming for our first guests. The Crew contributed approximately 1,000 hours of service to the move and transition work in just a little over four weeks before we opened our new home. We would never have been ready for our Grand Opening without their expertise, fortitude, and elbow grease. Amazing!
Projects that the Tuesday Crew has had the greatest impact on over the past 7 years include:
- “The Big Spruce” – Waking the park amphitheater footprint from winter hibernation – prepping the grounds, tree and brush clean-up, cleaning and servicing support buildings, service roads, signage and fire ring area for the upcoming season.
- Completely redesigned the amphitheater audience seating section. This involved rebuilding and retrofitting benches, painting, landscaping (re-elevating the entire audience section), seat numbering, etc.
- Each spring: cleaning, setting, painting, numbering, and leveling audience benches in the amphitheater.
- Outfitting cast and crew housing units prior to the arrival of our company members
- Post building construction amphitheater clean up as noted above.
- Tree removal and clean up, and firewood processing at both of our locations.
- Installing new fencing for the amphitheater entrance.
- Organizing the various storage buildings and adding shelving wherever needed.
- Rebuilding our park ticket booth.
- Maintaining and outfitting new park merchandise, concessions, ticket and technical buildings.
- Reorganizing and developing a building system for equipment storage.
- Repurposing the popcorn booth for new woodshed
- Building a new woodshed at the Gould Theater
- Never ending and extensive tree and brush maintenance throughout both Northern Sky properties (including invasive plant removal.)
- Firewood prepping and stocking to accommodate large fire ring gathering areas at both venues.
- Prepping for special events including tent setup/tear down, lighting, landscaping, and signage.
- Winter snow removal assistance.
- Parking lot maintenance.
- Helping staff with end of season strike at both the Park and the Gould, including hauling sets into and out of storage.
- Moving large set pieces to and from warehouse.
- Organizing warehouse for set and prop storage.
Do you love theatre? Do you enjoy sharing that experience with others? If your answers are “yes!” then we have the perfect opportunity for you! Northern Sky relies on, and is always looking for, fans ready to step up and lend a hand! No experience is necessary – just a willingness to help and a desire to be part of something original in Door County. Please call the Northern Sky office at (920) 854-6117 and ask for Kathleen or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.