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On 7/14/2020 at 12:13 PM, Kirk W said:

So do you create your own contract and ask them to sign it? I have always asked for them to list specifics by email but recall only one or two places that had anything like a contract, out of about 30 different locations we have volunteered. 

I think the better word choice for us is a written agreement verse contract since we are not being paid money.   We only recall one place that had an actual contract (titled that way too) that was presented to us.  The rest were written agreements that were signed by both parties.  The details were what was contained in the email exchanges and phone calls.  The campground and us worked together on writing up the agreement most the time.   

 

Edited by StraitRVing

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I always send a confirmation letter email to the job describing what I/we have agreed to. The length of the stay, the job duties, the hours expected and the compensation such as a free camp site with FHU. That way everybody is on the same page. 

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We have volunteered in 28 states in our 8 years of full timing, with a goal to hit all 48 states. It seems like state parks are expecting the most from volunteers due to universal budget short comings. We never get a formal written contract and will verbally renegotiate the work load as needed with the understanding that we could leave if things don't get worked out (never happened yet). We recently arrived to camp host in a N. Indiana S.P. and when we arrived were told the other 2 volunteer positions were unfilled for a 288 camp site park. So we were the only host here! The original work verbal agreement was to pick up garbage, clean fire pits for our 1 of 3 loops and to fill in the 24hr week requirement, we would assist the front gate on Fri's. This turned out to be pre-checking in cars prior to the gate stop in full sun, on pavement, and in 90+ July heat. When we arrived, we negotiated to pick up garbage and clean fire pits for all 288 camp sites and forego the check in job. I had the upper hand in this negotiating because they knew if we left, they would have no host for the cg. We still average 32 hours/week because we want to and the wife and I can clean all the vacant of 288 camp site fire pits in 6 hours each/12 hrs total.

We like to volunteer because it keeps us busy as we want to. We have learned not to volunteer at S.P.'s back to back or you will get burned out. Try a N.W.R. or a different adventure inbetween S. P.'s. We also don't agree to clean bath rooms and have found most S.P.'s don't expect that. We will monitor bath rooms and change toilet paper if needed along with emergency cleanups, but no scheduled cleanings for us.

We have found that 1 month is ideal for a volunteer stint, any longer and it just becomes a job. For some states, that may require getting creative, like in CA that has a 3 month volunteer min so we got 2 parks to agree to a 6 week stint each. In NY, they have a 2 week max volunteer period, so we signed up for 2 different state parks. As a volunteer, don't be afraid to market your skills/strengths and taylor the volunteer job to your desire. The worst they can say is no! We also make it a point not to return as volunteers, although every park has asked us to, but our reasoning is that if we would have stayed/returned at the last park, we would have never experienced the current park. Each park is a new experience, whey waste time doing repeats.

Edited by gjhunter01

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8 hours ago, gjhunter01 said:

We also make it a point not to return as volunteers, although every park has asked us to, but our reasoning is that if we would have stayed/returned at the last park, we would have never experienced the current park. Each park is a new experience, whey waste time doing repeats.

We have a great deal in common with you! We didn't have the goal of volunteering in each state, but did spend volunteer time in 28 of them and like you, we generally didn't return but made an exception a few times. Our first volunteer position was a county park in CA that was fairly close to where our youngest son was stationed and we went back the following year, only to learn that you can only have any experience the first time once, and as a result the first time is usually the best time. There were 2 other places that we were more than once but those were both near grandchildren. 

Like you, we did not do bathrooms as a part of our routine duties. Of our 38 volunteer experiences, we have left early 2 times. But the overall experience was good enough that we have done 4 more volunteer tours since returning to part-time travel. We did tend to stay longer than you but part of that was most of our positions have been in federal facilities which usually ask for 3 months and we found that if we were in an area that we had never visited before, 3 months was not too long in order to have time to visit everything for 100 miles in all directions. Only a few places that we ran out of things to see. 

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On 7/19/2020 at 7:55 PM, gjhunter01 said:

We have found that 1 month is ideal for a volunteer stint, any longer and it just becomes a job. For some states, that may require getting creative, like in CA that has a 3 month volunteer min so we got 2 parks to agree to a 6 week stint each. In NY, they have a 2 week max volunteer period, so we signed up for 2 different state parks. As a volunteer, don't be afraid to market your skills/strengths and taylor the volunteer job to your desire. The worst they can say is no! We also make it a point not to return as volunteers, although every park has asked us to, but our reasoning is that if we would have stayed/returned at the last park, we would have never experienced the current park. Each park is a new experience, whey waste time doing repeats.

We agree that one-month to six-week stints worked best for us and found that most public parks agreed to it.  Rocky Mtn. NP did not... they wanted more hours and more months.  However, they did agree that if we could find someone to split it with us they would work with us.... and they did.  That park utilized over 1,000 volunteers.  Since it was close to a major city most volunteers were there just for a day from their homes.

As far as returning to the same park.... we only did that with one park .... Sleeping Bear Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore in Michigan.  We were staying in the park for the first time and absolutely loved the park and the surrounding area.  While there we went to talk to the ranger and asked if they needed any help.  We were 'hired' on the spot for the rest of the 6-week fall season (an awesome time to be there).  We returned each fall for 9 seasons.  We also added 3 yr. of giving lighthouse tours  in the summer for six weeks on South Manitou Island, part of the park and were given a little historic home to live in on the island.   This was our all time favorite place to volunteer.  We didn't clean bathrooms.  We did the c.g. census at 7am in the morning; pulling tags for those leaving and making note of those coming in after hours who still needed to pay.  Then we went into the office to check in campers and some misc. paper work.  We left at noon and had the day free for us.  We shared the job with other couples who did afternoons and evenings.

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37 minutes ago, 2gypsies said:

As far as returning to the same park.... we only did that with one park .... Sleeping Bear Dunes Nat'l Lakeshore in Michigan.  We were staying in the park for the first time and absolutely loved the park and the surrounding area.  While there we went to talk to the ranger and asked if they needed any help.  We were 'hired' on the spot for the rest of the 6-week fall season (an awesome time to be there).  We returned each fall for 9 seasons.  We also added 3 yr. of giving lighthouse tours  in the summer for six weeks on South Manitou Island, part of the park and were given a little historic home to live in on the island.   This was our all time favorite place to volunteer.  We didn't clean bathrooms.  We did the c.g. census at 7am in the morning; pulling tags for those leaving and making note of those coming in after hours who still needed to pay.  Then we went into the office to check in campers and some misc. paper work.  We left at noon and had the day free for us.  We shared the job with other couples who did afternoons and evenings.

Now your just trying to make us Jealous. That sounds AWESOME :)

 

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1 hour ago, 2gypsies said:

We also added 3 yr. of giving lighthouse tours  in the summer for six weeks on South Manitou Island, part of the park and were given a little historic home to live in on the island. 

We did lighthouse tours for the Oregon parks with a month working at Caper Mears lighthouse and then another month at Hecate Head lighthouse. We had a week to move between the two. 

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2 hours ago, Kirk W said:

We did lighthouse tours for the Oregon parks with a month working at Caper Mears lighthouse and then another month at Hecate Head lighthouse. We had a week to move between the two. 

We also did Heceta Head Lighthouse.  Fun gigs!!

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this is an update 

I've struggled with finding a way to finish the season here. This past week  all the other volunteers  quit and left. I spent the weekend asking myself why am I here and could not come up with one good reason. So I started my week  on edge but was still thinking its only 5 more weeks. A situation developed which made me feel disrespected and talked down to. SO the decision became clear. I will finish the week then will also leave. I do feel bad not completing the season here but it is just not in the cards. I've got to hope the next place is fun and is better, I know I'm here to work  but as a volunteer I expected to be treated with just  a little bit of respect and have time to enjoy the area.  

Thanks again for all the replies you wrote 

George The Greek

Edited by George the greek

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10 hours ago, George the greek said:

I've got to hope the next place is fun and is better, I know I'm here to work  but as a volunteer I expected to be treated with just  a little bit of respect and have time to enjoy the area.  

I understand how you feel as we had been volunteering at different places for 10 years before we had a really bad one where we left early and with hard feelings. But just keep in mind that nothing in life is perfect and it is the unhappy experiences that make the good ones so special. We have now done more than 30 different RV volunteer tours and in all of those only 1 was a really bad experience and only two did we leave early for any reason. The others were all good experiences and most were truly outstanding. 

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