Horn Field Campus is offering Western Illinois University students and members of the Macomb community volunteering opportunities.
The outdoor recreational facility occupies 90 acres of property which includes 11 acres of native prairie and more than one mile of trails. The facility offers its visitors a lodge and a chance to stay in one of three cabins, which can house up to 28 people at once. Located at 985 China Rd., the campus is also a place to relax in the wilderness, according to Program Director, Mindy Pheiffer.
“It’s always been a great retreat center,” Pheiffer said. “It’s an ideal location for small groups.”
One of the facility’s purposes is to give Western students useful knowledge in their respective field. Several professors hold classes on the campus in order to give students a hands-on experience. Some may be preparing for environmental work, while others may be training to become first responders. Additionally, the campus includes a high ropes course and a teams course. Pheiffer believes being able to work efficiently with groups is critical to joining the workforce.
“This is a great opportunity to work in groups,” she said. “Learning how to work with groups is a lifelong endeavor.” Recently, Horn Field Campus has begun asking for volunteers to help with upkeep to the buildings, sand the woodwork in the lodge and maintain the trails. When spring arrives, they will be asking for help in landscaping, but most of the current work needed exists outside.
Pheiffer said that many students use Horn Field Campus as a chance to earn points in classes that encourage volunteer work.
“There’s a lot to maintain and we appreciate volunteers,” Pheiffer said. “We have to rely on them for help and more hands always make light work.”
Aside from renting out cabins year round, the campus organizes a corn maze and haunted trail each year during Halloween. “HELP” (Horn’s Environmental Learning Project) is a student- led organization that meets regularly and focuses on environmental research and protection.
After their first interest meeting a week ago, organizers at the facility decided to hold regular meetings. Those looking to get involved may attend the next meeting on March 19 and every following Tuesday at 4 p.m. Pheiffer said that in addition to receiving training in leadership and the chance to job shadow professionals, hardworking volunteers could eventually earn pay for their work on the campus.
“They have this opportunity to walk away with a skillset that they may not have had when they came to Western,” Pheiffer said, “and it may mean that they only have to invest a few hours of their time.”
Volunteer hours are currently set between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Fridays. Pheiffer encourages anyone interested to visit the Horn Field Campus page on Facebook to learn more about upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.