Volunteer Voices

Traditions are the backbone of who we are. We love reminiscing and reliving the “remember when” moments of our lives. Charlie Dickson and Don McKuen are helping families establish those traditions and make those memories each summer as they sing songs and tell stories around the Peninsula State Park campfires.

Dickson, who began volunteering in 1999, was a legendary Indian storyteller. “The stories I tell are authentic Indian stories that have been told around campfires for years,” Dickson explains. McKuen joined the fun in 2002 and gets the crowd going with songs and stunts.

“We move around, sing songs and make a lot of noise,” shared McKuen. “I’ll take them on a lion or bear hunt and get them ready for Charlie’s stories.”

Both Dickson and McKuen love to perform and have been doing it in some form or fashion for years. Dickson’s parents actually had him perform when he was just five years old by dressing up as George Washington and delivering a poem for his dad’s American Legion Post. McKuen, on the other hand, has been involved in scouting for most of his life; an interest that led to his love of campfire songs and storytelling.

“The kids eat up the Indian stories, and a lot of them have never done campfire songs,” McKuen explains.

“This is something that they can’t get anywhere else,” Dickson adds. “I think that they like it because the songs and stories are authentic, and they realize that this is something that kids were hearing around campfires a hundred years ago.”

Both agree that volunteering at Peninsula State Park is one of the best things that they’ve ever done. They get the opportunity to make people laugh, pass down stories that teach morals and are able to give families an experience like none other.

“People come up to the park office and make their reservations for next year and ask if those two old guys are going to be there again,” McKuen laughs. “We always tell them, ‘Yup – we’re alive one more year.’”

I can’t help but think that, deep down, these two are still two young boys who love the adventure and are anxious to share it with the visitors of Peninsula State Park.

For more information about Peninsula State Park and volunteer opportunities within the park, contact Kathleen Harris at 920.854.5976 or [email protected].

For volunteer opportunities throughout Door County, contact the Volunteer Center at 920.746.7704 or [email protected].