Keeping the lights today may be much different than the days when light stations were staffed, but make no mistake about it, the same level of dedication and responsibility associated with the care of a lighthouse remains unchanged.
This was the message that was conveyed to a group of new volunteers who assembled at Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse on May 18, 2013 to take part in the Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights’ volunteer orientation program.
The enthusiastic individuals who participated in the orientation quickly learned that sharing Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse with over 10,000 visitors annually isn’t just about opening the doors and staffing the 1902 sentinel. The Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights, a chapter of the American Lighthouse Foundation, is also committed to ensuring that the public obtains a memorable educational experience during their visit, while staying safe and maintaining the utmost respect for the historic site.
After touring the light tower and walking through each of the rooms of the keeper’s house, the new volunteers came away with a greater appreciation for the fact that a commitment to give of their time and talents went well beyond providing visitors with just an opportunity to enjoy the site.
They learned how their efforts are vitally important to the ongoing preservation of Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse, and how the funds necessary to keep a lighthouse preserved and looking its best is directly connected to an effective public access program in which education and fun are interwoven in an unforgettable fashion.
When visitors have a meaningful experience at a lighthouse like Rockland Breakwater, they not only are more apt to make a donation and purchase a gift item to help the lighthouse, they may also become supporting members and new volunteers as well.
So though the modern day “keepers” do not polish a lens or light the wick of a lamp like the bygone keepers of the past, volunteer dedication to the light has just as much “illuminating” value, but in a different sense. By giving of one’s time and talents today, volunteers help light the way to a brighter future for Rockland Breakwater Lighthouse for all to enjoy!