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Old 02-29-2016, 02:38 PM   #15
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Camp Hosts: National Forest / Park Service

We looked into this last year, as we would not be willing to clean bathrooms as volunteers. Duties vary significantly depending on the service and even the park for which you volunteer. Do your research so you won't be surprised by their requirements for volunteer camp hosts.
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Old 02-29-2016, 03:26 PM   #16
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My wife, who has banking/cash handling experience, said it would be OK with her if she got a job at a National Park concessionaire and I could take care of stuff in the Airstream, cooking and then go hiking everyday. I hope I can hold her up to that when the time comes.

Kelvin
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Old 02-29-2016, 05:09 PM   #17
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There are companies that lease several campgrounds, primarily forest service, that then have the responsibility of taking care of the campgrounds and do the hiring directly. Some hire maintenance people, host people, etc. Finding out who has the primary lease is the key. Have done it, not bad, lots of nice people, sometime a problem guest but thats life. Most or many have full hookups for the camp host even if the grounds do not. They pay some, not much, a few hundred per month. Handling the reservations, if taken, can be a problem as the reservations are usually made through a third party and we found a lot of mistakes, which makes for not so happy campers. If you are interested, give it a try for a while and see how it fits you.
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Old 02-29-2016, 06:15 PM   #18
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What were the details of that job description.

Were there any campsite hookups?

How long were you there?

Was there a 2nd host to give you days off?

Kelvin

Making the rounds four times a day pick up litter clean fire pits...

Early AM to pull expiring tags from site and hang new ones on the reserved site.

Around 10-11 clean fire pits and remind stragglers of check out time

mid afternoon report site availability and to check up on things

last round to remind folks to turnoff their generators.

Announcement was very clear NO BATHROOM Cleaning. Only restocking of supplies TP, soap... during the day if needed. We are not law enforcement just gently remind folks of the campground rules. Provide info, answer questions ....

We are provided full hook ups and propane as well.

This is our first camp host gig. Its a half season position we start 26 March and finish 15 July. It was scheduled to start 15 April they asked us if we could come early but there was no pressure. We agreed. End of March at Bryce what were we thinking .... these Floridian's are going to freeze our butts off.

There 4 campground hosts two at each campground. We work 3 on and 3 off. So there is plenty of time to explore. The ranger said sometimes the Camp Hosts arrange to work back to back with the other Host so they can explore outside the park as well.

Since this is our first time camp hosting we thought a 1/2 summer job would be perfect to see if we like it. Also we found out after we got the job another camp host is an Airstreamer
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Old 02-29-2016, 08:39 PM   #19
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Good thread. Will follow because someday....
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Old 02-29-2016, 09:45 PM   #20
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My wife, who has banking/cash handling experience, said it would be OK with her if she got a job at a National Park concessionaire and I could take care of stuff in the Airstream, cooking and then go hiking everyday. I hope I can hold her up to that when the time comes.

Kelvin
Some of the national parks have book stores/gift shops run by non profits that have volunteer and paying positions. I have not seen a clearing house for these jobs so its looking them up park by park.
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:09 AM   #21
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My question is, as a campground host do you ever have time to enjoy the camping and hiking and kayaking and fishing? ...
I haven't done this, but I try to have a conversation with every workamper I encounter out there, just for the sake of learning.

From what I've been told, the individual positions tend to state how many hours are expected, although even when not "working", the host is often expected to remain physically present. 30 hours per week is often cited and workampers have reminded me that husband-wife teams often split the job, so each person works only 15 hours per week (not simultaneously I assume).

Some positions are paid a stipend (money but not much); some are strictly volunteer (but the volunteer positions tend to come with more non-cash perks, such as loaner vehicles). The workampers I've met who do COE stints have told me that those are paid positions but that they found them through volunteer.gov.

There is high demand for some hosting positions and insufficient demand for others. At the COE campground on Steinhagen Lake in east Texas, which is a really nice one, there are more prospective hosts than positions available so they do some sort of lottery to determine who gets the positions. The folks I've met there initially got their position for X amount of time (several months), and then had to re-enter the lottery to see if they could get it renewed (and if they failed to do so, they'd have to move on, so there's apparently no intermediate-term security). Meanwhile there are National Forest sites in the same area that remain filled for only part of the year, I'm told. Those tend to be more remote and my suspicion is that some workampers might find them not as stimulating.
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Old 03-01-2016, 06:41 AM   #22
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My parents start as COE hosts this April at a lake in Virginia. They had to go through the same type of things that any government contractor would have to do to be eligible. I think my dad spent days on the phone trying to get the IRS moving along so he could get everything he needed in time. They had to do a closed auction bid for the job. It is a paying position where they work 4 days and then off four days. The place they are working at is primarily a day use park and boat ramp, but they have full hook ups for the hosts of that facility. I think some hosts of other park facilities in the area stay there with them too. It seems like a nice deal.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:59 AM   #23
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Two distinct classes of activity conflated here. One is volunteer, the other a paid position (e.g. workampers, etc.). Paid positions will typically have more requirements such as cleaning bathrooms, handling money, being onsite during off hours, etc. Volunteer slots typically have less of those aspects, though you'd need to check each opening to be sure of the details. Find the situation you want and go for it. 😀
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Old 03-01-2016, 10:41 AM   #24
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It is not for every one! I all sounded good on paper, however our experience was a little different.

Pros.
We were at beautiful, Convict lake, CA. 7600' elevation, on the East side of the sierra Nevada range.
Great views everyday.
Wildlife, lizards, snakes, mice, squirrels, weasels, many kinds of bird, deer, bears, coyotes, bobcat, mountain lion.
Hookups, The very best spring water ever, electricity, sewer and propane.
A small stipend.

My thought was, they are going to pay me to be here! Wow!!
We were very enthusiastic, and a bit naive. It seemed like a dream job, so what the heck we went for it.

Cons.
88 sites total, 48 reservable the rest were first come first served, 3 camp hosts.
The days and hours worked. 6 days per week, Not too bad. Our day started 7am, Site counts, pulling tags from vacated sites, picking up garbage left behind, drowning fire and cleaning fire pits, checking toilet supplies, Cleaning toilets, reminding stragglers of checkout time, handling and accounting for money, checking on things regularly through out the day, did I mention mice and squirrels, enforcing campground rules, handling complaints like the toilets are plugged-again and especially the quiet time rule 10pm, only one host could be off on any particular day, fights, etc. Convict Lake is very popular with the L.A. crowds. Not to knock every one from the area, most were great. However the bad one made up for the rest, they were the worst campers for leaving trash and not respecting other campers.

This was in reality a 7-24 job. We were always on duty to the campers.
Many time I was awakened at midnight by a camper complaining of a loud drunken group with music and generators running or 2 or 3 in the morning by a (sometimes drunk) traveler looking for a site or a particular person they knew, but could not find, etc. If you had a day off and did not leave the CG, people still expected you to deal with there issue.
I take the blame for being too concerned about stuff. We both just got burned out. I am sure a different CG would have been a much different experience.

My advise would be to pick your CG very carefully, as they say in real estate, location, location, location. Even if the location is beautiful and secluded, what are the nearby metropolitan areas, history of problems, number of site, etc.


-Dennis
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Old 03-01-2016, 11:57 AM   #25
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Cool

What do these positions usually pay?
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:28 PM   #26
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Minimum wage.
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Old 03-01-2016, 08:55 PM   #27
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I'm really enjoying this blog. My wife and I are very interested in camp hosting after she retires in a couple of years.
My big question is; what do we have to do or have the qualifications for, to get hired for our first job with no experience except for camping the last 14 years?
2nd question; with so many web sites to look at, is there one or two sites that have the best information and job opportunities?
Thanks for any inputs.
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Old 03-06-2016, 02:37 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by 4Kilefamily View Post
I'm really enjoying this blog. My wife and I are very interested in camp hosting after she retires in a couple of years.
My big question is; what do we have to do or have the qualifications for, to get hired for our first job with no experience except for camping the last 14 years?
2nd question; with so many web sites to look at, is there one or two sites that have the best information and job opportunities?
Thanks for any inputs.
********

These are On the Job Training. Take your first camp hosting volunteer or for pay... and by the first week you will be on your way to being an expert.

Most positions are easily given to those individuals with a friendly disposition. Also diplomatic when there are disputes among campers.

We were at a camp site Southwest of Kalispell, Montana tent camping in the forest at a National Forest Campsite. A group of late teens and early twenties locals set up a Party and campfire. Loud music, loud conversations... and the Camp Host gave them thirty minutes to pack up, get out or he would have the County Sheriff and Forest Service on their way. They left and the campsite lived "happily every after". You must be able to step up and "read the riot act" and mean it.

You are the person in charge at these camps. Everyone else depends on you to keep order. By chasing off those who would make it a miserable experience for their family and themselves... they will return and the trouble makers will not.

Applying for a position. I would have put together a list of:

Local Hospitals.
Local Veterinarian
Closest grocery store
Local mechanic
Closest dump site
... and things like that. It shows you have put out some effort, as most do not.
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