In an effort to maintain good relations with the park and the "non-member public," MDSA Volunteer Guides are asked to spend a 2-hour shift between the hours of 11 AM and 6 PM at the MDSA beach on Saturdays, Sundays, July 4th and Labor Day (Click here for the Volunteer Guide Schedule). These are the park's busiest times when it helps to have someone available to explain why non-members may not swim in the MDSA area. The following are tips and guidelines to follow when volunteering as a goodwill ambassador for MDSA.

  • When non-members come to the MDSA beach and look as if they are going to swim, we explain that we are the MDSA and have an agreement with the NY State Park Commission allowing us to swim there; that anyone of age able to pass the test, complete our paper work, and pay a minimal dues is able to join MDSA.

  • Explain why non-members are not allowed to swim at the MDSA beach: no lifeguard, deep water, snakes, the need for buddies, and, importantly, insurance! Tell them that they MAY swim over at the public beach when a lifeguard is present.

    Hints to identifying non-members would be that the visitors do not have a card to hang on the board and look uncertain as to the protocols that members are familiar with. If someone doesn't look familiar with the procedures, the best and probably most courteous non-offensive approach is to ask "may I help you?" At that point you can explain why the state does not allow non-members to swim at the MDSA beach.

  • Hand out our brochure and sheet with test dates/times (kept at the beach locker and on the bulletin board).

  • Be friendly. Usually the non-members we are talking to are hot and disappointed that they are not permitted to swim in our area.

  • When necessary, diplomatically tell them that they may be ticketed and the fines have been hefty.

  • When all else fails, do nothing. They have been warned and obviously are people who would have gone swimming whether or not the MDSA existed.
When reporting for a shift, Volunteer Guides are entitled to park in the upper lot near the maintenance garage (first left turn and park to the left of the garage) even if the main upper parking lots are full. The MDSA member just needs to provide his or her name to the ranger at the main gate and they will be allowed to proceed up the hill to the parking area.

Many members take the opportunity to volunteer as guides as a way to guarantee parking (especially on holidays or extremely hot weekends) or just to enjoy time at the lake and beach and get a swim in before or after their shift. Eight (8) or more hours of MDSA volunteering entitles a member to free membership for the following year.

If you have any questions or would like to volunteer to be an MDSA guide,
please contact