The Ortega Family – Sara (left), Audrey (center left), Laura (center right), and Ayrton (right) – are relatively new docents at Sutter’s Fort State Historic Park (SHP). Together they have accumulated over 250 hours of volunteer service to the park, with each contributing 60 hours or more! 

How did you get involved? The kids grew up going to Living History days at La Purisima Mission State Historic Park near our home. Whenever we traveled to Sacramento for my husband’s work, I took the kids to Sutter’s Fort. When we relocated here two years ago, it was an easy move for them because they were very excited about the opportunity to volunteer at the Fort.

What’s your favorite part of volunteering? Sarah’s favorite part about volunteering is working with her “favorite people”, especially Wendy. She likes getting the baking ingredients out and putting the dough together. Ayrton’s favorite part is working with Biscuits because he learns so much about fire and the history and art of blacksmithing. My favorite part is sharing the joy of living history with visitors and learning from other docents.

What is it that you do in your roles as volunteers? Laura works in the kitchen, weaves or sews with Miss Susie. I like to try different roles with the kids, such as jerky-making, corn husk dolls, the kitchen or weaving, to be able to learn more about the Fort.

What’s one of your favorite memories? Laura’s favorite memory is when her cousin came to visit and she borrowed an outfit so that she could help, too. Sarah loved the time that I helped her in the bakery and accidentally made a loaf that was hard. She was happy that we got to take it home. My favorite memory was not sleeping all night because of the sound of bullfrogs croaking and rain on the wedge tent that we learned how to set up at Trapper’s Camp. Also, hanging out by candle-lantern light around a pretend campfire with Steve and the other Fort experts was a very special honor.

What do you like to do in your spare time when you’re not volunteering? Laura likes to draw animé, play with neighborhood friends, and design costumes. She also sings in the choir at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament. Ayrton likes planning projects and inventing things, drawing and sketching with pen and ink, riding his bike around and imitating bird noises. He plays the violin in the Sac State String Project. Sarah loves to play make-believe and collects hedgehogs. I like hiking, art, and hanging out by rivers and lakes.

Thank you for all that you do – for your hard-work, your dedication, and for your many contributions to Sutter’s Fort SHP!

We are proud to support the volunteer efforts at Sutter’s Fort SHP with the help of our sponsor, Sutter Health.

Learn how you can volunteer at Sutter’s Fort, or how you can support volunteer efforts…