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Author Topic: Volunteering VS Workamping  (Read 179 times)


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Volunteering VS Workamping
« on: January 14, 2018, 12:03:24 PM »
I really do not consider myself an expert on the subject, but I would like to express my opinion based on 6 years of fulltiming and 10 different positions.

The workamping we have done (by workamping, I mean working at a private camp ground) has required more hours than volunteering (by volunteering, I mean working at a public camp ground run by a government entity. ) The managers at private camp grounds rarely expressed appreciation and seemed to think of workampers as a cost of doing business. They required more hours work, even for a gravel site with no extras in a park that I would have passed up if I had to pay to stay there.

Volunteering has been much better, with fewer hours worked, wonderful supervisors, and some of the prettiest camp sites I have seen.

We have spent two summers at Steamboat Lake State Park in Colorado and two winters at City of Rocks State Park in New Mexico. Both have been wonderful places to volunteer and we feel that we are contributing to the betterment of the parks. We are told often that we are part of the backbone of the park and without volunteers, it would be impossible to provide  the same level of service.

We are fortunate in that we do not have to depend on making money on the road, but volunteering does allow us to stay in an area for free. That does eliminate a main expense, camp site costs.

I do not mean to disparage anyone who wants or needs to work for money and travel full time, but we have found volunteering to be a much more pleasant experience.

Now, I want everyone to disagree with me and not try to volunteer. That leaves more open for me. 

Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, half poodle-- half garbage disposal
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter


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Re: Volunteering VS Workamping
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2018, 12:45:29 PM »
As I look at workamper offerings, I'm beginning to see a trend (for private campgrounds) of more hours requred for less in return. In one recent case they required 30 hours per week per person for a couple for the site, then offered a "stipend" for hours worked over the minimum (and based on the description it sounded fairly certain the extra hours were mandatory). When I ran the math the "free" FHU site worked out to be worth $5/hr, and on the "stipend" it worked out to a little over $6/hr. I can't recall which state this was in, but I'm sure it was below minimum wage in most or all states. Guessing that if the Department of Labor had a look at some of these agreements they would be illegal. You can only stretch "volunteering" so far, at some point you are employed.

Like halfwright, I'm not disparaging anyone who wants to workamp (I'm doing it right now), but I'm sensing that there are private campgrounds out there that are seeing a growing population that can can be taken advantage of.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 01:28:31 PM by Sun2Retire »
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Gary RV_Wizard

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Re: Volunteering VS Workamping
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2018, 01:00:27 PM »
Depends on where you do your workamping.  We were always paid decently, at the very least state minimum and usually more,  and had FHU sites that were at least OK and in one case downright luxurious. But then, I declined job offers that had low pay, vaguely defined responsibilities, or were not upfront about the site to be provided.  Yes, we got some offers from campgrounds that seemed more like being serfs than workers, but did not accept them.  You surely do want to calculate the value of the site, hourly pay, and any perqs before accepting, just as you would with any job, and decide if it is worthwhile for you.

We met some of our best friends as workampers and are friendly with them yet, 12-15 years later.
« Last Edit: January 14, 2018, 01:02:59 PM by Gary RV_Wizard »
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL


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