***NOT CURRENTLY ACCEPTING VOLUNTEERS***
Volunteers work 20 hours per week in exchange for room and board. I ask for a minimum 1 month stay if you are a first-time volunteer. If you have volunteered previously I ask that you make a minimum commitment of 2 weeks. If you would like to apply for a position you must read this page in its entirety.
Who I am looking for
I am looking for mature people who are planning on putting the skills they would learn here at Maya Creek to use on their own projects in the near future. I am looking for people who are serious about changing their lifestyle, minimizing their waste, and connecting with the natural world.
While I admire young people out exploring the world and trying new lifestyles, I ask that you do not apply for a volunteer position if you are simply interested, curious, or looking for an adventure. However, you are more than welcome to come for one of the free workshops or to take a tour.
I prefer long-term volunteers to have their own vehicle. Biking to Fulton is inadvisable due to the winding roads and the lack of a shoulder on those roads. We will certainly carpool whenever we can, and volunteers are welcome to ride along whenever they want.
While I recognize the benefits of vegan and raw diets, it makes sharing meal preparation duties unwieldy in the long term, and so I would prefer long-term volunteers with less strict dietary requirements. Vegetarianism is perfectly fine.
We will work on projects for 20 hours during the work week, Monday through Friday. Depending on the tasks at hand, the weather, events, and other variables we may evenly spread the workload out or we may do a few longs days.
Also, certain tasks must be performed no matter the day of the week so you may be asked to assist during Saturday workshops or on critical tasks such as watering the garden and changing out a humanure bucket if you top one off. Cooking and dish duties apply every day you are present.
I expect volunteers to be enthusiastic, hard-working, and take pride in a job well-done. Many of the tasks assigned to volunteers consist of repetitive manual labor jobs such as weeding, clearing brush, digging, sifting clay, mixing and applying earthen plaster, hauling and spreading compost, etc. If you do not have the strength or stamina to do these types of tasks for ~20 hours a week this may not be the right situation for you.
We will typically be working during the parts of the day with the most comfortable temperatures for that time of year. During the summer this means working in early mornings and evenings, so you must be willing to adjust your sleep schedule accordingly to wake up at or even a little before dawn.
There are currently two small straw bale structures with rooms available in them. They have full-size mattresses, some shelving, and limited electricity. There is also a small camper and several covered tent platforms. If those are all taken you can also set up a tent pretty much anywhere that seems suitable.
We clean on Fridays before we quit for the weekend. During that time you will be asked not only to clean common spaces, but your own personal spaces as well. Tours are often given on the weekends and the cabins are part of the tour and expected to be clean. Before you leave you will also be expected to clean up your personal space.
Currently, city water is trucked in for drinking, cooking, and showering. Rainwater is used for dishes. A major project for 2014 is to complete the rainwater filtration system and the rainwater cistern, at which point all water will be filtered rainwater.
We now have a wonderfully hot solar-heated shower, but you will be expected to keep your showers to 10 minutes or less to preserve water. When the cistern is complete this will not be an issue.
There is also currently no clothes washing facilities, though that should change in early 2015 after the water system is completed. In the meantime, every week or two a run is made to the local laundromat in Fulton and you will be provided detergent and money to wash and dry your clothes. Bring something to haul your dirty/clean clothes!
Meals and Dirty Dishes
Food is provided for all volunteers. There are always staples like rice, beans, potatoes, canned vegetables, bread, etc on hand and I gladly take requests for anything within reason. Junk food products and alcohol are not provided.
Meals during the week are communal. We rotate cooking duty, so you one day you will have breakfast duty and the next day you may be making dinner. You will be expected to know how to prepare basic meals. Most meals at Maya Creek tend to be vegetarian, but this is by no means a rule. If you have dietary restrictions or allergies please make sure to fill that in on the volunteer questionnaire.
You are responsible for cleaning your own plates, cups, and utensils. Do not set them in the sink, wash them immediately. Dishes used to prepare communal meals are also everyone’s responsibility. When you wash your own personal dishes please also wash a couple of pots, pans, or utensils used to prepare the meal.
The person in charge of preparing breakfast is also in responsible for putting away the dishes on the drying rack.
Nightly Post-Dinner Meeting
We have a brief planning meeting at dinner each night to discuss the next day’s activities. All volunteers are encouraged to participate fully in the meetings and decision-making process. We will also assign who will be cooking which meals and who will be doing dishes the following day at the nightly meeting.
The composting toilet essentially consists of a bucket. lined with a paper bag. When you finish using the bathroom you will place several scoops of sawdust in the bucket from one of the adjoining bins. The key is to keep the contents of the bucket dry so it doesn’t smell, so guys need to urinate outside, and ladies please place extra scoops of sawdust if you urinate in the bucket.
Please lift the seat when scooping in the sawdust, only put in enough sawdust to cover everything, and replace the bucket when it’s full! Also, put all toilet paper and other biodegradable waste in the composting toilet. Only non-biodegradable trash goes in the outhouse trash can!
Garbage and Recycling
There are two 55 gallon drums next to each other in the campground area by the picnic table. Two are green, the one with the garbage liner is for recyclables such as plastics #1 & #2 and aluminum and tin cans, and the unlined green barrel is for cardboard and paper. The black barrel is for non-recyclables (boo!). This should go without saying, but please do not litter. If you are a smoker, please dispose of your cigarette butts properly.
Electricity, Laptops, and Internet
There is very limited electricity available generated from the 800 watt solar panels and stored in a bank of 24 golf cart batteries. It is used mainly for lighting, fans, and charging batteries for headlamps, power tools, cell phones, and tablets. PERSONAL LAPTOPS are not allowed to be used with the exception of those used for work or special exceptions. Personal smart phones and tablets are acceptable because they use much less electricity. There are 2 efficient communal laptops available in the common house for anyone to use 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
There is now 30mbps high-speed fiber optic internet connection broadcast from 2 wi-fi routers. I realize it’s easy to waste huge amounts of time on the internet, but please reduce your time on the communal laptops at night as the power is drawn from the stored energy in the battery banks rather than coming from the solar panels. Please be prepared to entertain yourself with lower tech entertainment. I have a large collection of books, you can usually find someone to play a board game with you, or you can go for a nature hike!
Other devices that you can leave at home include hair dryers and anything else that either heats or cools as these use large amounts of electricity.
Tools, Materials, and Daily Clean-up
You are expected to clean tools and put them back where you found them at the end of every work day. This is especially important if rain is in the forecast and tools and materials are exposed.
If you’re coming for a work party, the work party description should list other tools that will be useful to bring.
The garden consists of raised beds using an organic no-till system. Because the soil is not tilled, compaction must be avoided. So please do not walk on the garden beds and stay on the paths as much as possible.
Also, no dogs are allowed in the fenced garden area.
Insect populations rise and fall, some years or months certain bugs may be worse than others. The main insects to contend with are ticks and mosquitoes. Cases of lyme disease and ehrlichiosis have been reported in the area. You will need to check yourself regularly and just be generally aware. The only recommended method for removing ticks that have already attached themselves is to grab as close to where the tick is attach and pull from there. Do not grab the main body as this can squeeze the tick juice back into your blood stream. Blech!
Visitors are responsible for their own insect repellent although some may be available. Many people choose to use all-natural repellants suchs a lavendar or neem oil, that do not contain DEET. I personally find DEET to be so effective compared to the alternatives that I’m willing to risk exposure to it. Cutter Skinsations does not leave an oily residue and works well.
There is currently a young dog and small cat on the property. You may be allowed to bring pets. However, your animal must be able to get along well with the other animals. If that is not the case, please either do not bring them or be prepared to keep them on a leash or run.
If you’d like to bring your pet, tell me about it in the volunteer questionnaire. You will be responsible for feeding your own animals. I highly recommend Frontline Plus, K9 Advantix II, or some other flea and tick repellent. If you find an organic solution that comes anywhere near the effectiveness of those, I am all ears.
I expect volunteers to be able to entertain themselves. I certainly enjoy hanging out when I have time, but volunteers should be aware that I spend an additional 20 hours per week telecommuting to pay for the development of Maya Creek and so many week day evenings I won’t be able to spend much time socializing.
There is a large collection of books in the common house and movies are available as well, though electricity may limit access. There is a large area of forest to explore, a pond and creek to swim in, and there are board games, cards, and plenty of tools and materials for crafts.
Roughly every other weekend I will spend in Columbia visiting my girlfriend and other friends there. I may or may not have space to accommodate volunteers there, and that is part of why I prefer my volunteers to have their own transportation. I’ll gladly introduce you to people in town and show you what there is to do there.
What To Bring
Your clothes will get dirty so bring work clothes you don’t mind getting destroyed. Bring something to haul your dirty/clean clothes. When it rains it can get muddy here so check the weather before you come and bring boots or galoshes if you can. If you have work gloves please bring them, we always seem to have a shortage of clean ones.
Please bring an LED headlamp or flashlight. AAA an AA batteries will be supplied. There are usually some spare headlamps floating around if you forget to bring a light.
I highly recommend you bring a water bottle, but if not we have extras. If you plan on drinking beer please try to bring cans as bottles are heavy and harder to recycle. Keep in mind that there is very limited refrigerator space.
If you’re not staying in one of the insulated strawbale buildings you may want to bring ear plugs, it can be hard to sleep once nature and other people wake up. There is usually insect repellent available, but please bring your own especially if you want one that does not contain DEET.
Be sure to bring a towel. There are communal shampoo, conditioner, and Dr. Bronner’s soap available, but there is also shelf space in the shower for other personal shower supplies you may wish to bring. If you plan on swimming then bring a swimsuit though clothing is optional out at the lake, you’ve been warned. Also, please feel free to bring musical instruments, board games, or any other items you may want for entertainment.
Summary of what to bring
- LED Headlamp or Flashlight
- Water bottle
- Work clothes
- Something to haul dirty/clean clothes
- Ear plugs
- Bug repellant
- Sun block
- Work gloves
- A pocket knife comes in handy often (This is my favorite)
- Tent and sleeping bag (If no other accommodations available)
- Snack food
- Musical instruments
- Shower supplies
- Swim suit
- Dog leash or run and pet food(If you’re bringing a dog)
All volunteers are required to sign the liability waiver upon arrival. It states that Maya Creek is not liable for any injury or property damage you might incur while volunteering with us and that you have the right not to participate in any activity in which you do not feel safe.
While it is a rare occurrence, volunteers may be asked to leave before their intended stay is complete if they are not meeting the previously stated expectations. You will be given fair warning, however, if problems persist you will be asked to leave and given an adequate amount of time to make arrangements to do so.
If you have completely read this page and are still interested in a volunteer position at Maya Creek, please fill out the Volunteer Questionnaire and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you are applying as a couple, you may fill out one questionnaire for both of you, but please enter both of your answers to the questions.