EPDM Coatings
rvupgradestore.com Composet Products Custom Yacht Interiors

Author Topic: Best and worst workcamping experience  (Read 10096 times)

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 5040
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Best and worst workcamping experience
« on: January 14, 2011, 09:21:14 AM »
I am working on an article for an online mag I write for, regarding the Best and Worst .  Anyone have something to contribute?  You can leave the name of the place out of it.  I only have best of, my worst of is pretty darn nice, so I need to dredge up others experiences.  Some of my friends worked a beet harvest, that was pretty bad.  Others did the Amazon, but others liked it. 

Any contributions?
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 61026
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2011, 10:10:07 AM »
Haven't had one that was really "bad", but did have one that was frustrating. We got into an untenable situation with an bad manager but were driven by our own work ethic to try make the park function as it was supposed to.

We worked a 6 week stint at a regional park that was operated by a non-profit group. The manager for our park (there were several in the region, operated by the same group) was never around, and she failed to hire two additional couples needed to fill all the shifts, so we were the only workers.  The park had a large day use area with a lovely beach and picnic area and was heavily patronized by local families who payed $5/car for day use. We worked the entrance gate as well as the usual camp host chores and it was fun, but there was nobody to man the gate when our  shift was over. Rather than leave cars full of angry families and campers lined up at the gate, we would stay on and work overtime. That soon got us in trouble with the front office that issued our paychecks, so we stopped reporting all the hours we worked, but still kept the park open so families wouldn't be disappointed when they couldn't swim and picnic on hot August days. Since the manager wasn't around, we often ended up using our own money for making change, and sometimes ended up with over a $1000 in cash that we could not turn in to the manager, who was often gone somewhere again.  In the campground, we would send people to the manager's site to buy firewood, but they came back empty-handed - nobody there again. So I used my keys to the buildings to get some wood bundles and brought them to our site and soon was selling $75-$100 worth of wood every day. We also collected the camping fees from the fee drop boxes in the park, and had that money on hand too. More money to keep safe somehow. We went to see the regional manager and were told (a) we cannot work over 35 hours/week and (b) always turn money in immediately at the end of our shift, but got no answer about the lack of a manager to give it to, nor the lack of additional help that was supposed to be there to keep the park functioning. We put up with the situation for another two weeks and then gave our notice.  The night before we left, another workkamper couple showed up. And guess what? No manager in the park again!  The couple told us they were expected and had given the manager the date and time of their planned arrival, but apparently she couldn't be bothered to be there.  I showed them around the park, gave them my keys and golf cart and wished them luck! We left early the next morning for greener pastures.

Several months later we got a letter inviting us to come back for another season, working under the same manager!  I sent the head of the organization a long but polite letter explaining why we would not be back. He called to apologize for our bad experience, but did not promise to change anything. We had already lined up another gig, so we never went back.

This was a learning experience for us. We were much more careful about interviewing the park manager at the same time he was interviewing us, to make sure we wouldn't be left out on a limb again.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

brojack17

  • ---
  • Posts: 56
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2011, 10:58:02 AM »
I have worked from home for 5 1/2 years now.  I absolutely love it and would not want to go back to an office for work.  The system I work on is all web based.  I spend time on conference calls and Webex.  I'm thinking of working some this summer from my RV.  I'd be really interested in reading the article.

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 5040
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2011, 08:54:47 PM »
Gary, thanks, I'll try to pare that down.  I'll post here when the article is published.  Sometimes it goes up a day later, sometimes it sits till they need it.  I have about 3 in their hopper right now.

Anyone else?  Great experience?  Lousy?

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 5040
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2011, 09:12:54 PM »
Still working on the Best & Worst, but the latest on work campng in Yellowstone is up. 

http://www.betterrving.com/Article/RV_Living/Work_Camping_at_Yellowstone

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

mdbass

  • ---
  • Posts: 559
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2011, 09:26:58 AM »
Hey Gary! Great post. We had a very similar experience except the manager only showed up (SOMETIMES) on weekends. We had almost 300 acres to maintain, of which at least 100 needed mowing and weedeating. Some of the weedeating and mowing was in the woods and heavy brush. We also had campground maintenance to perform-for you newbies that's cleaning up firepits, picking up trash, running and stocking the store, making sure supplies were ordered, cutting and stacking firewood, etc. All the while we had the occasional "drive in" camper during the week. Oh; did I mention we had a herd of horses to take care of and train? Plus we were building a tack shed and pole barns. Plus we were seeing to their dietary needs along with having two retired racing thoroughbreds that required coddling. By the way, they were not ready for their "trail riding" dream, so we had to attend to that. That meant cutting trails in deep woods and getting raw horses ready for anyone to ride them. The "weekend warrior" managers would show up late Friday nite and be up at the crack of dawn on Saturday wondering why we were dragging ass. They also fought us over the overtime-they said they couldn't understand how we were burning 60 hours a week between us. Oh; I forgot about the tents-just like soft sided motel rooms-we had those to attend to also. And did I mention we were a full service float operation? I had to take care of rafts, canoes and other aquatic devices. I'm sure there were other things I forgot to mention; but here's the capper. They eventually fired me, hoping that my fiance would stay in a cheap camper they were going to provide her (also hoping she would work for free!) Never the less we moved on and I soon received an excoriating letter from the manager, detailing my shortcomings-including my laziness and poor work ethic. Mind you we have gotten glowing reviews everywhere else we have worked.
Gary brings up a good point-I'm not sure how you handle having to work the extra hours and not get paid for them-it happens. Maybe a discussion for later??

Gary RV_Wizard

  • Forum Staff
  • ---
  • *
  • Posts: 61026
  • RVer Emeritus
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2011, 12:06:06 PM »
The simple answer is "don't work any more than scheduled hours", but our get-the-job-done-right work ethic makes that tough.  We've found campground owners who were very appreciative of a good work ethic, and others who simply focused on how much (or little) they could pay for labor. We don't go back to the latter type.
Gary
--------------
Gary Brinck
Summers: Black Mountain, NC
Home: Ocala National Forest, FL

ghostrider10

  • Posts: 1
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #7 on: May 10, 2011, 04:07:15 PM »
Haven't had one that was really "bad", but did have one that was frustrating. We got into an untenable situation with an bad manager but were driven by our own work ethic to try make the park function as it was supposed to.

We worked a 6 week stint at a regional park that was operated by a non-profit group. The manager for our park (there were several in the region, operated by the same group) was never around, and she failed to hire two additional couples needed to fill all the shifts, so we were the only workers.  The park had a large day use area with a lovely beach and picnic area and was heavily patronized by local families who payed $5/car for day use. We worked the entrance gate as well as the usual camp host chores and it was fun, but there was nobody to man the gate when our  shift was over. Rather than leave cars full of angry families and campers lined up at the gate, we would stay on and work overtime. That soon got us in trouble with the front office that issued our paychecks, so we stopped reporting all the hours we worked, but still kept the park open so families wouldn't be disappointed when they couldn't swim and picnic on hot August days. Since the manager wasn't around, we often ended up using our own money for making change, and sometimes ended up with over a $1000 in cash that we could not turn in to the manager, who was often gone somewhere again.  In the campground, we would send people to the manager's site to buy firewood, but they came back empty-handed - nobody there again. So I used my keys to the buildings to get some wood bundles and brought them to our site and soon was selling $75-$100 worth of wood every day. We also collected the camping fees from the fee drop boxes in the park, and had that money on hand too. More money to keep safe somehow. We went to see the regional manager and were told (a) we cannot work over 35 hours/week and (b) always turn money in immediately at the end of our shift, but got no answer about the lack of a manager to give it to, nor the lack of additional help that was supposed to be there to keep the park functioning. We put up with the situation for another two weeks and then gave our notice.  The night before we left, another workkamper couple showed up. And guess what? No manager in the park again!  The couple told us they were expected and had given the manager the date and time of their planned arrival, but apparently she couldn't be bothered to be there.  I showed them around the park, gave them my keys and golf cart and wished them luck! We left early the next morning for greener pastures.

Several months later we got a letter inviting us to come back for another season, working under the same manager!  I sent the head of the organization a long but polite letter explaining why we would not be back. He called to apologize for our bad experience, but did not promise to change anything. We had already lined up another gig, so we never went back.

This was a learning experience for us. We were much more careful about interviewing the park manager at the same time he was interviewing us, to make sure we wouldn't be left out on a limb again.

 :) My husband and I are very new at workamping. However it's nice to have people like you talking about a bad experience, without discouraging! I can honestly say that I will continue our job search  ;)

Edit:Fix quote
« Last Edit: May 10, 2011, 04:38:39 PM by Ned »

Irover

  • ---
  • Posts: 369
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2011, 04:39:39 PM »
 ;D ;D The best for me has been an Amusement Park, Amazon In Kentucky  you work harder, but the perks are excellent, also campground that are family owned. The worse has been corporate owned Campgrounds. Irover
Don't ever give up!! keep pushing toward the goal!!!
USAEUR; 1st Armored Div., E Co.123rd Maintenance Btln. 71-74

combatcop

  • ---
  • Posts: 5
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2011, 11:28:39 PM »
the best...we managed the koa in new orleans for a number of years..fell in love with the city...how can you not love new orleans..also got to work for a great family that owned the park....if your near stop by say hello to dick and marriane.....worst, never had one because we would leave the situation right away

Liz

  • ---
  • Posts: 37
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #10 on: September 03, 2011, 04:35:29 PM »
Xanterra  - I would not work for them.  We are here in West Yellowstone and here lots of stories of how they work you to death.  I also know of several casesof where people came long distances for a job they were hired for and then fired a week later.  Xanterra believes they can treat people any way they want.  The younger managers give the positions that pay tips to the younger employees.     

There was one case where they fired a 71 year man and took him to a forest service campground leaving him with no transportation, camping equipment, cooking ware and no food.  The reason he was fired was due to the fact that he would not allow them to walk all over him.  He slept outside on the ground when the temps were getting into the 40's.  My husband and I helped him as much as possible by taking him to the store and fed him a couple of days. 


Randy & Liz
2003 Teton Experience
2005 Chevy D Diesel
Fulltiming and Loving It

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 5040
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #11 on: September 04, 2011, 04:56:21 PM »
Xanterra, they have their pro's and con's.  If that story is correct he should have gotten a lawyer.  Heck I would go back to school to become a lwyer just to take the case.

As far as I am concerned, if you can get a job with one of the non-profits  in the National Parks. 
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 5040
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #12 on: September 04, 2011, 04:56:58 PM »
Liz, where are you in West?
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

Liz

  • ---
  • Posts: 37
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #13 on: September 04, 2011, 05:08:30 PM »
Since he was 71 he lives on social security and had not gotten paid yet by Xanterra.  We are at Baker's Hole Campground - 3 miles north of West Yellowstone.   
Randy & Liz
2003 Teton Experience
2005 Chevy D Diesel
Fulltiming and Loving It

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 5040
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #14 on: September 04, 2011, 06:12:31 PM »
Do you work there or just camping.  Would you have been the host letting us know you were full and directing us to Rainbow Point for a space, we were in a VW Westfalia on Sat PM. 
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

Liz

  • ---
  • Posts: 37
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2011, 12:33:53 PM »
That probably was my co-host.  We have weekends off.
Randy & Liz
2003 Teton Experience
2005 Chevy D Diesel
Fulltiming and Loving It

Larry Rainey

  • Posts: 3
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #16 on: November 30, 2011, 09:03:23 PM »
Hopefully I have found a site to get some much needed information. Has anyone out there worked in the campgrounds in YNP for Xanterra. I have applied but really haven't been able to get any feedback on pro and cons. How does this job compare to other YNP jobs? Any help appreciated.

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 5040
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #17 on: December 02, 2011, 04:48:13 PM »
Larry. Consider yellowstone association? 
Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

Larry Rainey

  • Posts: 3
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #18 on: December 08, 2011, 05:51:45 PM »
Bill, I did sell my 5th wheel yesterday. I had a prospect when I interviewed with Yellowstone association.  I wanted to let ya'll know. My hope is to get on with DNC and stay in the dorm. Thanks, Larry

Larry Rainey

  • Posts: 3
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2011, 06:32:14 PM »
Bill, I appreciate the consideration.. Dnc made me an offer today and I accepted it. My son is hoping to get hired but his time schedule is from June 15 thru Aug. 15 because of college. If there are any options there let me know. Thanks, Larry 404-825-3693

rvgrandma

  • ---
  • Posts: 31
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #20 on: July 22, 2012, 06:13:26 PM »
If still interested - the worst place we worked was a park in Florida. The owner and manager could use no other language but profanity. The male side of management would blow smoke in my husband's face, not talk but yell at him using profanity until the manager was beet red. His idea of training was show you once, give you the book and call you trained. My husband was a hands on learner, not book. He is mild mannered, could get alone with anyone - until he met this man from h...l. He lasted three weeks before quitting. And then because they would not pay us then, we hung around and they charged us full price for our site for the extra days - would not even give us Good Sam discount that we were eligible for.

PancakeBill

  • ---
  • Posts: 5040
  • Bill & Jolene/USA 97 Southwind 35P
    • WorKamping in Yellowstone
Re: Best and worst workcamping experience
« Reply #21 on: July 22, 2012, 10:55:56 PM »
Wow!  Amazing they ever gt anyone!  Glad you got out of there.  Did you ever get a best job?

Bill & Jolene W & Koda

Old Faithful, Yellowstone Association Bookstore
1997 Southwind 35P
Toads: 1997 Honda Accord & 1986 Westfalia
FMCA F-401354
1995 OMI Dobro F-60
WA1RI

 

Hosted by Over The Network