<%@LANGUAGE="JAVASCRIPT" CODEPAGE="65001"%> All About Workcamping
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Topic: Workcamping

Instructor: Arlene Chandler (Workcamper News)

More and more RVersv are those who hit the 50 year barrier, and decide -- that's it! We're going out on the road. And they're finding creative new ways to support this lifestyle decision. Some RVers might look around their rig and if the grass needs mowing, some will say "let's move on". But others RVers are now seeing an opportunity and saying, "maybe they need someone to help with mowing the grass.

A workcamper is a person who has chosen to combine working & RV camping. Workcamping can be employment on a salaried basis, or simply "bartering" some volunteered time for a free place to stay.

Workcamping can be mixed with full time travels, and may be termed "road work". There are more workcamping jobs available than there are RVers to fill them, which means it's a truly viable option for those who choose to move from a fixed residence to life on the road. You may not be able to support the most luxurious of the high end coaches, but you can make a comfortable living.

Workcamper News has served tens of thousands of RVers (through newsletter, hotline, and web site) in getting positions along the road. There are many other resources in addition. WCN lists jobs available throughout the United States, Canada,and even some exotic places like the Dominican Republic, and includes much more than just camp hosting. Workcamper referral service allows readers (for a fee) to list their resume, and employers will call in and ask for a certain type person. The fee is $10 for the initial resume, and $2 for a subsequent update. Many jobs are never formally listed, as employers often need someone right now and are able to select a workcamper from this referral service. Employers are finding that older workers are more dependable than college kids. Singles are used as often as couples. Even an employer which advertises for couples will often take singles, or it may be possible to team up with a couple.

Workcamper News does screen for bogus job offers, and listens to workers who have problems with their jobs.

The hotline is a weekly update of new jobs listings. WCN subscribers can call weekly to a permanent phone number, by using a separate PIN number published each month in WCN. The hotline listings will be divided into eastern and western US, to facilitate zeroing in on general areas of interest.

There are many affiliated one page sites which list jobs. You do not have to be a subscriber to access these pages. www.workamper.com. Subscription plus is a small service which sends new job offerings to subscribers each week. If a non-memberr wishes this service he can get it for a fee. WCN has added motorsports, and you can have an opportunity to work at NASCAR races, etc. These jobs are also available on WCN web page.

Editors suggest you put in situation wanted ad, which is free for the first 30 words. It's a tip for helping find a new job.

Decide what type of work you want and are willing to do. You may not want to clean bathrooms. Okay, but make a mental note of that and all other things you want to do. Next decide when and where you want to work, and for what duration. Pick two or three opportunities that fit best, and then follow the employer's instructions carefully. When you talk to the employer, be sure to understand all expectations for the position. Make sure you fully understand hours, conditions, training, what's furnished, workers compensation, etc. And ask for it in writing. A good employer won't hesitate to furnish it.

Ask these questions: Do I like the location? Job duties? Compensation? Employer? Am I physically and psychologically suited for this job? Do I understand just what my hours will be?

It's always best to physically visit the location to see whether it fits your expectations as well. Short of that, the employee should interview the employer. Don't be afraid to ask questions. If something is uncomfortable, just move on to the next job. There are plenty. If it's a private RV park, check it's rating in Trailer Life. It will be one indicator.

Duration: Employers may ask for April through October in Yellowstone. But they're flexible, and you'll find many work campers will actually only be there from June through August. Be sure you show up when you are supposed to. If something comes up, be sure and let the employer know. One couple took multiple jobs and didn't let the "losing" employers know. That couple had their subscription cancelled and their money refunded.

Resumes: You don't need a 10 page document. It's just like a regular business position. Two pages should be maximum. List any workcamping experience, plus anything in your past which might be relevant to the employer's needs. And don't forget your past volunteer experiences. This might be girl scouts/boy scouts, teaching, interpreting, water safety instructors, etc. And remember to comment on other non-specific skills such as patience, ability to handle disputes effectively, good interactive skills. Many ads asked for "couples", which can best be addressed by having a separate resume for each. If accurate, you should add computer literacy, CPR or first aid training, non-smoker, non-drinker, and add information they can't ask for, such as your age. Also make sure you list any pets you have traveling with you.

Many employers want to see a picture of what you send and one of your rig. There's often interest in having your rig be "neat". They don't want "junky" rigs in their parks.

With more than 12,500 private campgrounds, and many more public campgrounds, there's lots just within the RV camping world. But there's more. Activity directors, utility inspectors, serving in restaurants, fishing services, tourist attractions, etc., all have part time positions which can be handled by RVers. It is just a matter of your imagination. Branson, MO, is an example of a place where there are lots of part time jobs available of RVers, such as selling at concessions, ushering in the theaters, etc. This provides a chance to have fun while covering expenses. Still other opportunities exist near golf courses, marinas, and popular seasonal resorts. In Williamsburg, VA, they re-enact various period events. Naturalists, bird watchers, etc., all have skills which are in great demand seasonally.

Some parks, for example, theme parks, want "shoulder season" workers. This means a shorter season, but often the weather is better.

The Corps of Engineers often hires workcampers. You get these jobs by bidding for them. You bid what you will accept as a daily wage. You can contact the Corps in the area where you want to work to find out the winning bid last season. Sometimes you must furnish certain tools to do the job, and you must be bonded, so put these costs in the bid. Experience doesn't necessarily count, they take the lowest bid.

Some pay an hourly wage, some pay by the week, others simply barter hours of work for a site. [Ed Note: There can be tax implications to workcamping, and these need to be considered.]