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Campground hosts


kb0zke

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We've thought about working as a campground host, but so far it seems as if most such jobs are for an entire summer. We're currently in a county fairgrounds that opens their space to campers (30A service only, water and sewer by the bathhouse). They have two couples who serve as campground hosts, and I asked one of them about the job. He said they both arrive around Memorial Day and are expected to stay until after Labor Day. I've looked at some Federal positions and found that most of them want the hosts to stay for the entire summer.

 

Is this typical now? When we were doing our research a few years ago we talked to several campground hosts, and they all said that they serve for a month or six weeks at a time, and then someone else comes in for a similar stint.

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We found the volunteer long term commitment to be frustrating too. The state of Oregon has volunteer positions including camp hosts for 30 day periods but most of the federal positions want a full summer. We were able to negotiate a 90 day Camphost position with BLM but only after finding another couple to take the other 1/2 of the summer season.

 

Good luck! Hopefully your post will raise awareness and more organizations will become more flexible.

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Some of the very popular locations and national parks limit the amount of time a host can stay to give more people a chance at hosting. Try some touristy locations. Also many advertise 6 months, but when you talk to them you find out they are willing to have you for a shorter period of time. Especially if it's the season no one wants to be there - down south when it's hot or north when it's cold.

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You can understand that it is easier for an agency and their Volunteer Coordinator to fill positions for the entire summer and to have volunteers return year after year. So it can be challenging to find a shorter term position. We originally balked at accepting a 3-month commitment but have since discovered that even 4-5 months goes by very quickly when you are enjoying your "job".

 

If you are willing to be flexible there are a lot of short-notice opportunities when volunteers decide to depart early or do not show up at all due to personal reasons. They can be difficult to discover, but keep an eye on the volunteer forum here and websites like Volunteer.gov. Also, you might contact the Volunteer Coordinator in states or agencies that you are interested in and let them know your availability for shorter periods of time. We are at a popular state park in Northern Idaho where a couple of the host positions (out of about a dozen) are filled just for a month or two at a time. And due to a no-show they'd had a position open up that would need to be filled for just a month. So they are out there, just harder to find!

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2gypsies, how did you do that? Did you go to XYZ Park and negotiate to work for 8 weeks starting right away, starting the next year, starting the next month, or what?

 

We were in a State park in MN recently, and the camp host was there for the entire summer.

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Look around at various locations and make phone calls. As a season come up, you may well find a position that had a cancellation. For these they are usually more willing to negotiate the time a bit to get a person in.

 

Right now we are at Tamarac NWR in NW Minnesota and we need more host. The couple that was coming in had a medical emergency and cancelled. WE are here alone now.

 

Send me a PM if you can come up to MN until October.

 

Ken

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If you want shorter stays, consider state parks.

 

For national parks we applied in person and 'negotiated' a 8-week period of time.

 

X2 My experience in researching positions found this to be true. Lots of state parks ask for 8 weeks, instead of an entire summer.

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Please also think about the needs of the facility. Many require background checks, finger prints etc that they pay for. Also getting a volunteer oriented takes a little time as well. If the staff needs to go they this several times in a season then it can be more work for them than it's worth. We are in our ninth year of volunteering. We find that 3 months is a great time frame. (That's only 12 Saturday's). We have plenty of time to really explore the area on our time off we are comfortable with our duties, we get to know the staff well and form great friendships. We have found short notice positions even with the USFWS and have several call us to give us a first option when filling their slots

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Please also think about the needs of the facility. Many require background checks, finger prints etc that they pay for. Also getting a volunteer oriented takes a little time as well. If the staff needs to go thru this several times in a season then it can be more work for them than it's worth. We are in our ninth year of volunteering. We find that 3 months is a great time frame. (That's only 12 Saturday's). We have plenty of time to really explore the area on our time off we are comfortable with our duties, we get to know the staff well and form great friendships. We have found short notice positions even with the USFWS and have several call us to give us a first option when filling their slots

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We always liked to volunteer in places where we really want to be and weren't opposed to traveling there. Quite often we've been to the park time after time and were very familiar with the park, trails and surrounding area. That helped because it required fewer questions to be answered and quickly coming in and handling the job. We seem to be there in person at the right times. We'd go to the volunteer coordinator in person which I think helps because they like to see you. We asked if they have any upcoming openings and stated we didn't want to commit to longer than 8 weeks. We also love interpretation gigs and having once received the experience we felt confident in that role. Some positions were to start in a few weeks because of cancellations so they gave us the reading material in the meantime for interpretation to study up. We researched and supplied some of our own history and comments to the job. Some required us to return in a few months. One particular national park wanted more than 8 weeks but we really wanted to be there. We suggested that if we could find another couple to share the time would they consider it. They did. In our cases, we had to be flexible and we were willing to do so. I'm not saying every position can be changed but in our case, quite a few could.

 

We've found that state parks are even more flexible.

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We have been volunteering as park hosts for 9 years. Mostly in state parks. Like others, we choose our location first, then start looking for a host position. Every state park has a website and usually list their host positions, who to call or email. We have volunteered in CA (3 to 6 months), NV (all summer), MT (all summer), and NC (1 month only). We have volunteered for the Army Corps of Engineers and just started our first paying position with them. We may bid on this job again next year(5 1/2 months) There are jobs out there for whatever works for you. :rolleyes:

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