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Old 08-28-2013, 10:12 AM   #1
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Workamper/Volunteer Hosts

A few on the forum know, but last year I became unemployed due to my department being outsourced to an out of town company. After spending the past 12 months looking for permanent work, I've come to the conclusion that short of becoming self employed, the job market for a 65 year old person isn't there. So I've moved on, ended my job searches and have applied for some part time work at positions that are non retail oriented. With that is the fear that being part time will interfere with my ability to get out and travel. This first year out of work has been income limited which I expected. It gets better as time goes on so long term I'm not concerned.

One of the thoughts I've always entertained was either working at a campground or volunteering at our state park system. In this day and age the workamper concept has been a godsend for many campground owners and given some of us the ability to get out in our vehicles and get free sites in exchange for our help.

I guess I'm curious for those of you who still have homes but have tried this. I'm not sure whether I could give up an entire season to work in a private campground unless I was close enough to get home occasionally to check out the house. The state park system in Missouri does not allow long term hosting since they have seen issues where volunteer hosts have become a little overbearing if their stay at a particular park too long. To correct that issue hosting is limited and the volunteers have to move on to a different park if they want to continue their duties.

I'm curious if any of you have been either workampers in a private campground or volunteers in your state park system. What's good, what's bad? What did you discover that you didn't expect when you took on your duties?


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Old 08-28-2013, 10:23 AM   #2
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I am no expert, but i did start discussions with every volunteer I came across this summer, for future planning purposes. In a nutshell this is what I came back with after only a small representative sample of conversations with first timers to experienced workcampers:

Private: look for a longer commitment of several months

State: rather rigid in their schedules and hours of on-duty time. Usually want at least a month commitment.

Corp of engineers: "have to take what they can get" was the quote. Very flexible, will take a week to a season commitment.

Haven't spoken to any FS, only 2 state, several private, one Corps in this sample. FWIW.


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Old 08-28-2013, 10:44 AM   #3
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Having spent a good part of this summer visiting National Parks I am interested in pursuing the possibility of seasonal work next year - ideally in Glacier NP. We stayed at a number of KOA's on this trip and of course they have their Workamper program. Generally the work "follows-the-sun" and, though there are exceptions, the compensation is the use of a free site, laundry, and propane. The expectation is that you will work 20 hours per week. If there is a salary, it will usually be minimal.
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Old 08-28-2013, 10:49 AM   #4
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Rich -- interesting!

Jack, I've seen the Cross Lake COE campground northeast of Brainerd. Pertaining to a different conversation we had -- nice area as you know.

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Old 08-28-2013, 11:01 AM   #5
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We have met a fair number of people who workcamp a month at a time, so there are campgrounds that do this.

If you look for it, you will find it, IMO.

Good luck,

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Old 08-28-2013, 11:07 AM   #6
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US Army Corps of Engineers Volunteer Portal:

Headquarters U.S. Army Corps of Engineers > Missions > Civil Works > Recreation > Volunteer Clearinghouse > Volunteer Opportunities

Federal Goverment Volunteer Portal: Home Page

One or the other of these two links should have a volunteer opportunity that you would like.
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Old 08-28-2013, 11:36 AM   #7
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Email Daisy Welch on Hunter's list, she has been work camping for several years.

PM me if you need her email.

Bill Kerfoot, WBCCI/VAC/CAC/El Camino Real Unit #5223
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Old 06-21-2018, 11:09 PM   #8
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Oregon. Volunteer. Tillamook Forest Center.

You will never forget this awesome opportunity.
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