Avon Park AFR Florida Military Motivation & Inspiration Special Places Workamping

Livin’ the “Wild” Life

Every year the Federation of Christian Sportsmen hosts a Wild Game Dinner in Frostproof, Florida. We participated in part of the preparation for the event by cubing and cutting up gator meat from the Youth Gator Hunt. The Avon Park Volunteers gathered in the screen room a couple of weeks ago to process the Gator meat. It was then marinated in fresh grapefruit juice and frozen in bags until the Wild Game Dinner which took place on February 29!

The Wild Game dinner is held at the old Frostproof train depot. Local vendors set up displays, food concessions and information tables. Avon Park AFR had a table there with information about our hunting and recreation permits.

Hunters bring their mounted or stuffed trophy game to display. Taxidermists, church groups, woodworkers, thrift shops and a canned pickle company all had information available and items to sell.

There was so much great food there: french fries, homemade ice-cream, banana pudding, venison chili, pulled pork sliders, roasted corn, fried gizzards and iced tea and coffee. No one went away hungry!

Avon Park volunteers were in charge of breading and deep frying the gator meat. There was a constant stream of people stopping by to try our “gator bites.” Linda and Doug do this every year and they have it down to a science.

Everyone who attended was entered in a drawing. A special drawing was held for veterans only and the sportsmen sold raffle tickets for prizes like deer stands, hunting blinds, a black powder gun, a $300 gift certificate and the final grand prize of a $1,000 gift card. Inspirational speaker and professional fisherman, Clay Dyer was the guest speaker. He gave a very compelling and inspiring message about his life and the Source of the power within him. Clay was born with no hands, or legs and he considers that a blessing not a disability. Giving Christ the credit for all that he is able to do, he does not take anything for granted. His positive attitude and boldness is an encouragement to us – if he can do it, we can do it!

Back on the Range, the volunteer guys have been busy with some long term projects lately to include replacing the roof on a couple of campground pavilions. The upkeep on the range campgrounds is a consistent source of volunteer projects. Since we arrived, we have had opportunities to help with construction, landscaping, office work, litter clean up, game checking and gator meat processing among other tasks. The variety of assignments and the beauty of the area are the biggest advantages to this workamping job.

Another huge advantage is the group of volunteers we work with! We enjoy gathering to celebrate holidays or just to get together.

For Valentines’ Day the volunteers ate at the Jacaranda. This historic hotel was built in the 1920s in downtown Avon Park. It is famous for hosting such celebrities as Al Capone, Babe Ruth, Clark Gable, George Burns and Gracie Allen.

We met at Sonny’s BBQ in Sebring recently to say good-bye to Larry and Sally before they head back to New Mexico. We look forward to keeping in touch with all our new Avon Park friends. Our own departure time is quickly approaching in mid-March. We’ll be posting a recap of our 4 month Winter Workamping experience in the coming weeks. Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more of our “wild” life ; )