For Howard Rose, there’s nothing better than being outside. When most Harris County residents are blasting air conditioners during the hottest part of the summer, Rose is outdoors working with children as a Summer Nature Camp counselor.
“Being outside is just so much fun!” said Rose. “I love the outdoors and want the kids to be interested in that too.”
But what the children don’t know about Rose is that, before becoming a Summer Nature Camp volunteer, he enjoyed a distinguished career as a soldier, prosecutor, and ultimately a federal judge.
Like his father, Rose began his military career in Army Infantry School before serving in Germany and Vietnam. Following military service, Rose attended law school at Cleveland State University’s Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, which led to a legal career as a prosecutor. The position took Rose to Guam, Miami, and finally Houston, where he was named special assistant U. S. attorney for the Southern District of Texas. Although Rose speaks humbly of his work, he was involved in prosecuting some of the world’s most infamous criminals, including an al-Qaeda member involved in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Rose and his wife, Beverly Rose, moved to Kingwood with their three sons in 1987 and started visiting Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center shortly thereafter. As a perpetual student of history, Rose was captivated by a battle re-enactment at Pioneer Day. After speaking with historical re-enactor Tom Whitesides, Rose decided to become a Civil War and Texas Army re-enactor and to join the Jesse Jones Park Volunteers.
In addition to his volunteer work as a historical demonstrator at the Redbud Hill Homestead, Rose also has trained as a nature tour guide and junior canoeing instructor. Rose especially enjoys volunteering at the park’s Texas Bound day camp and leading 10- to 12-year-olds at Summer Nature Camp. He looks forward to taking campers on canoe trips every year, an activity that reminds him of his own childhood. As a child growing up in Erie, Pa., Rose participated in the YMCA camp canoeing program.
One year, they traveled to the Adirondack Mountains in upstate New York and canoed the Fulton Chain of Lakes. When he was 18, the campers traveled to Ontario for a three-week canoe trip through Algonquin Provincial Park. Rose fondly remembers drinking water straight from the rivers and lakes and tells stories of a friend who mistakenly used a leaf of poison oak for toilet paper.
“We ran out of food on that trip,” he said with a laugh. “All of us lost weight!”
You can catch Rose volunteering as a counselor again this year at Summer Nature Camp: True Texas Natives.
“I’m looking forward to camp again this summer, especially with the Native American focus,” he said.
For more information about volunteering, visit www.hcp4.net/parks/jjp/volunteer/.