YHCC at Brookville Lake

Jordan Huffman

  • Age: 18
  • Hometown: Connersville
  • Location: Brookville Lake
  • Duty: Marina Attendant

Lindsey Hemingway

  • Age: 23
  • Hometown: Liberty
  • Location: Brookville Lake
  • Duty: Marina Attendant

Sitting on the dock of a bay might sound like a weekend relaxation technique, but for a couple of Young Hoosiers Conservation Corps workers, it’s been the crux of their summer employment.

Brookville Lake is one of Indiana’s premier destinations for summertime recreation. With three Department of Natural Resources properties―Mounds State Recreation Area, Quakertown State Recreation Area, and Whitewater Memorial State Park―surrounding the 5,260 acre lake, it’s easy to understand why. 

All told, the Brookville Lake complex of these properties, including land and water, totals more than 16,000 acres, so it’s easy to understand why Brookville received the most YHCC workers of any Indiana DNR property. Originally, more than 100 workers were assigned there, although the number has shrunk, as many workers have left for full-time jobs or school.

Jordan Huffman, 18, of Connersville, isn’t looking forward to the end of his YHCC summer, which he's spent working at Fairfield Marina, shuttling boat owners from the dock to their personal watercraft.

“I’ve got a great job,” Huffman said. “I load people and their gear into a boat, and take them to their boats that are moored out in the bay. Most people are in a pretty good mood because they’re going boating."

One of the few challenges Huffman runs into is boat owners who are upset about the amount of seagull scat on their personal crafts.

“People don’t like getting out to their boat and finding it covered with seagull (waste),” Huffman said. “So I have to stay on top of keeping the birds away from the boats.”

To do so, Huffman shoots a signal pistol that's meant for emergency location, but substitutes well for scaring seagulls. The gun, which is similar to a flare gun, shoots a screaming firework. It’s powered by a .22-caliber blank, so there’s a loud “crack,” followed by a long, loud screaming sound.

“It works. The birds don’t like it,” Huffman said.

Huffman is a member of the National Guard who plans to attend college beginning in the spring to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a doctor.

Lindsey Hemingway, 23, of Liberty, has stayed busy this summer renting boats on Whitewater Lake, inside the state park. Although not related to the famous author, she is related to the local Hemingway family, which has a history at Whitewater Memorial State Park.

“My mother used to run the same boat rental I’m running now. My grandfather, Ralph Robinson, had the lease on the horse barn, boat rental, and beach concession for years. I literally grew up in Whitewater Memorial State Park,” Hemingway said.

Renting boats is fun she says because it’s neat to watch the little kids get so excited.

“The kids just love the paddle boats,” she said. “They can’t wait to get in there and pedal.”

Hemingway’s love of children, and her appreciation of the outdoors goes hand in hand with her plans for the future.

“I’m studying to be an agriculture teacher. Farming has always been a big part of my life, and it’s a big part of a lot of young lives around here,” Hemingway said.

With past experience as president of Indiana’s FFA 9th district, she’s been involved with teaching agriculture already. After working on a DNR property, she understands the importance of outdoor recreation much better.

“It’s been great to learn more about how people use the outdoors for recreation, not just for an income,” she said.

Their future jobs probably won’t be as relaxing as spending a summer by the lake, but at least Huffman and Hemingway now know, through the YHCC, that work can be fun.