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Local CG Needs To Change To Workcampers

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We have utilized a northern CG for extended stays over the years.  It is a local park district owned/operated CG.  They have always used regular park district employees to run and maintain the CG and none of these employees are RVers.  The manager and maintenance (a married couple) employees they have had for the past few years are not "people friendly".  They are rude to customers, consistently put 40' RVs in 30' spots, leave work early, and never keep up on the mowing/trimming.

I recently had a conversation with the park district super.  I asked him why he never used workcamp couples to operate the CG.  He said he had never heard of the term "workcampers" but they in years past had used some free work release labor from the local jail.  I explained to him how most public and private CGs utilize workcampers and the benefits to all concerned.  He seemed very interested and said he would check into it.

About 2 weeks later they began having a long term camper (single male) start helping out with the weed trimming.  He works about 2 or 3 hours most weekdays for a free site.  I am hoping this works out and the park district sees how great it is to have workcampers as compared to hired employees during the season.  They really need to replace the office manager and her husband.

Any suggestions?  I guess what I am looking for is some general informational packet or site that the park district super could review.  I think once the park district understands how much money they could save it would be a no-brainer to make this change.

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I personally think that gov't entities that own/operate parks should have paid staff in key supervisory position(s) and utilize workcampers only to supplement that staff. It is too bad that the current office manager and her husband are rude and not helpful, but switching over to workcampers exclusively in no way assures success.  Workcampers definitely require effective management and supervision, just as paid employees do. 

It sounds like the park district manager needs to deal with the problem employees directly, and then consider workcampers or volunteers as a way to supplement the workforce, not replace it. 

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1 hour ago, mptjelgin said:

I personally think that gov't entities that own/operate parks should have paid staff in key supervisory position(s) and utilize workcampers only to supplement that staff. It is too bad that the current office manager and her husband are rude and not helpful, but switching over to workcampers exclusively in no way assures success.  Workcampers definitely require effective management and supervision, just as paid employees do. 

It sounds like the park district manager needs to deal with the problem employees directly, and then consider workcampers or volunteers as a way to supplement the workforce, not replace it. 

Right . Fire them . Then replace them with volunteers . Any paid employees will straighten up in a hurry or risk the same fate . 

Problem solved .

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If there are any National Parks, State Parks, Corps of Engineers Lakes, National Forests or other public recreational facilities nearby; I would suggest that the Park District Supervisor talk to the Volunteer Coordinator at one or more of them. He also needs to talk to his agency's legal staff about things like liability for the volunteer's actions and work related injuries incurred by the volunteer(s). If the Park District workers are unionized, that would need to be another topic of discussion with the legal staff.

Total dependence on volunteers can have its down side. Even if RV volunteers stay one whole season, there may be need for repeated recruitment and training. There is no guaranty that every volunteer will be any more dedicated, polite or knowledgeable than the current employees. Many public agencies that use RV volunteers also use volunteers from a Cooperating Association or Friends Group started by local residents. These groups are often tax exempt entities which in addition to recruiting and managing volunteers can raise funds to help with projects at the facility. I worked at facilities where some local volunteers had volunteered for more than 10 years. Some volunteered several days a week.

Edited by TCW

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I believe USACE Parks use independent contractors at some of their parks.  Some of the Forestry parks do as well.  They all have government supervision to ensure they meet the terms of the contract.

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18 hours ago, mptjelgin said:

I personally think that gov't entities that own/operate parks should have paid staff in key supervisory position(s) and utilize workcampers only to supplement that staff.

Agree.  I volunteer a lot but would never volunteer at no pay to be a management superevisor. If this is a government type of operation, National Part, Forest Service, COE, State Park, or local county or city park they can advertise on volunteer.gov for volunteers.

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Thanks for suggestions/ideas.  I have never workcamped or volunteered at a CG and only briefly talked to those that have.  I think the suggestion that the park district super pay a visit to a volunteer coordinator at another facility is a good one.  I'm sure there are some in this area.  Thanks all.

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19 hours ago, Twotoes said:

I volunteer a lot but would never volunteer at no pay to be a management superevisor.

I agree with this statement and have been doing RV volunteer positions since 2000. In addition, you need to monitor the volunteer situation because one of the most attractive parts of being a volunteer is that since you are not paid you can leave when things are not as you had expected. While I have only twice done that and never without notice, I have seen other volunteers just pack up and leave with short or no notice at all.

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