Snowbirds Give Back by Volunteering & Workcamping

As more seniors seek ways to enjoy the snowbird lifestyle many are turning to workcamping as a means of supplementing their pensions.

Workcampers are typically employed by RV parks and destination resorts. Pictured above is Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Workcampers are typically employed by RV parks and destination resorts. Pictured above is Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Being a workcamper is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, one that is actively pursued by some 80,000 workcampers throughout the United States.

Ask ten workcampers to define workamping and you are likely to hear ten different definitions. Technically speaking, however, “workamping” is the contraction of “work” and “camping” to describe a working arrangement for RVers which usually involves a place to camp as compensation for services rendered. Some workamping jobs also pay a salary.

Many workcampers are snowbirds who offset the cost of the snowbird lifestyle by exchanging their knowledge, skills, and labor for a free camping site and occasional minimum wage pay.

Workcampers are typically employed by RV parks and destination resorts, state parks, national parks, wildlife refuges and preserves, US Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facilities, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and US Fish and Wildlife Service. They have found that RVers are reliable, trustworthy, happy to work short hours or in short temporary jobs, and will often come back year after year.

Volunteers jobs include trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, wildlife census, habitat rejuvenation, leading hikes and nature walks, and collecting camping fees.

Work-campers often find part time work at national wildlife refuges and state and national parks. Pictured above are sandhill cranes at  Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (New Mexico), considered one of the most spectacular refuges in North America and consistently recognized as one of the top birding areas in the United States. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Workcampers often find part time work at national wildlife refuges and state and national parks. Pictured above are sandhill cranes at
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (New Mexico), considered one of the most spectacular refuges in North America and consistently recognized as one of the top birding areas in the United States. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Some workcampers are on the road full-time, moving from place to place. Other workcampers stay long-term in one location or return to the same RV Park or public campground year after year.

Some camp hosts share responsibility for large campgrounds, while others host smaller campgrounds alone. Responsibilities may include greeting visitors, office duties, collecting fees, equipment rental, organizing schedules, cleaning campground bathrooms, security, groundskeeper, general maintenance, and whatever the campground owner needs an extra hand with.

It’s a perfect match when the campground owner, needing economical help, meets the RVer that enjoys people, the lifestyle, and staying active. If you have experience, it’s a plus, but it’s often not a requirement!

Part-time work-camping couples can have a great time: work a few hours a week in exchange for a free camp site and other perks that may include free utilities and laundry, cable TV and Wi-Fi, propane, etc. Sometimes workcampers will also receive a small salary or other compensation. Other times (especially for campground manager jobs for couples) it’s a full-time job complete with salary and additional benefits and perks. Campground owners have had so much success with using work-campers that they seek them out each busy season.

Commercial companies and other businesses have also found workcampers to be a great resource to help with busy periods during the year.

There are numerous other volunteer positions available to RVers in addition to camp hosting. Opportunities for volunteering are also available at amusement and theme parks, museums and art galleries, visitor information and welcome centers, and other outdoor recreation facilities and attractions.

Some camp hosts share responsibility for large campgrounds, while others host smaller campgrounds alone. Pictured above Bella Terra of Gulf Shores (Alabama), an upscale Class A motorhome resort community © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Some camp hosts share responsibility for large campgrounds, while others host smaller campgrounds alone. Pictured above Bella Terra of Gulf Shores (Alabama), an upscale Class A motorhome resort community © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Often you can find a volunteer position just by inquiring at the location where you would like to volunteer, making it clear why you want to volunteer at that particular place. Numerous nonprofit agencies rely on snowbirds to play an important role during the winter months.

Seasonal volunteers account for about a third of the almost 1,200 people the Pinellas County (Florida) Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP), places in about 110 nonprofit groups across the county. The places they work span the gamut of possibilities: visitor centers, interpretation/docents, museums, music and arts festivals, sporting events, theaters, schools, hospitals, extended-care facilities, and a host of other locations.

For snowbirds that love recreational activities and enjoy interacting with other people, volunteering and workcamping offer numerous opportunities for giving back to society.

If you choose to work while you play, enjoy your experience.

Worth Pondering…

The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.

—Terri Guillemets

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New Resource for the Workamping Community

A new resource for the workcamping community is now available with the launch of a new website.

A voice for the thousands of workampers , WorkampingReviews.com gives workampers and traveling volunteers an easy-to-use free website that allows workampers to share their experiences.

workampingreviews-logoWorkampingReviews.com is an easy-to-use free website that allows workampers to share their experiences. Users will help their fellows to avoid possible bad situations, and encourage the organizations that provide positive employment and service opportunities, according to a news release.

Each year, thousands of workampers and volunteers crisscross the country filling vital roles in short term and seasonal positions. By all accounts, full-time RVing and workamping is a growing lifestyle.

“A website like this has been needed for some time,” said Christian Dunn of WorkampingReviews.com. who, along with his wife, is a full-time RVer and workamper.

“Most workamping and volunteer experiences are positive, but when a situation is bad, it can be a tremendous drain on time, money, and emotions,” said Dunn.

“Prior to developing this website I had often wished there was such a resource. A situation this past year prompted me and my wife to do it ourselves, in the spirit of community.”

workcampingreviews logo (2)The website relies on users to review and share their experiences.

“We wanted the website to be free, easy to use, and allow users to post reviews anonymously.

Hopefully, people will come to the website regularly, and share honestly without concern of employer blow-back,” said Alayne Dunn of WorkampingReviews.com.

“So far there is not much in between, people either really enjoy their experiences or not,” said Dunn.

Details

WorkampingReviews.com

WorkampingReviews.com is the only website of its kind and is solely dedicated to the workamper with no other interests.

The site is free, requires no registration, and users can begin posting and searching immediately.  Christian and Alayne Dunn, also known as the TheRVNomads.com, are non-retired aged full-time RVers that have been traveling around the US with their two cats since March 2013.

Website: www.workampingreviews.com

Worth Pondering…

Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond
For us who are true to the trail;
A vision to seek, a beckoning peak,
A farness that never will fail;
A pride in our soul that mocks at a goal,
A manhood that irks at a bond,
And try how we will, unattainable still,
Behold it, our Land of Beyond!
— Robert Service, The Land of Beyond (Last Verse)

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Living & Working in an RV

As RVers seek ways to enjoy their lifestyle many have turned to working while traveling as a way to support their lifestyle and as a means to supplement their pensions.

Work-campers are typically employed by RV parks and destination resorts. Pictured above is Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Work-campers are typically employed by RV parks and destination resorts. Pictured above is Coastal Georgia RV Resort near Brunswick and the Golden Isles. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

There are many ways for RVers to use their skills and talents to earn income while living in an RV.

For RVers that love recreational activities and enjoy interacting with other people, work-camping offers numerous opportunities for supplementing their income.

Being a work-camper is not just a job, it’s a lifestyle, one that is actively pursued by more than 80,000 RVers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

RVers who work while traveling offset the cost of the RV lifestyle by exchanging their knowledge, skills, and labor for a free camping site and occasional minimum wage pay. Work-campers are typically employed by RV parks and destination resorts, state and national parks, wildlife refuges and preserves, US Forest Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers facilities, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and US Fish and Wildlife Service. Opportunities for work-camping are also available at amusement and theme parks, museums and art galleries, and other outdoor recreation facilities and attractions.

Commercial companies and other businesses have found work campers to be a great resource to help with busy periods during the year.

With the advancement in mobile technology, it has become easier to work from a mobile office.
With the advancement in mobile technology, it has become easier to work from a mobile office.

Many RVers who work while traveling are on the road full-time, moving from place to place. Others stay long-term in one location or return to the same RV Park or public campground year after year.

Some camp hosts share responsibility for large RV parks, while others host smaller campgrounds alone. Responsibilities may include greeting visitors, office duties, collecting fees, equipment rental, organizing schedules, cleaning bathrooms, and general maintenance.

RVers who work part-time while traveling can have a great time enjoying their chosen lifestyle: work a few hours a week in exchange for a free camp site and other perks that may include free utilities and laundry, cable TV and Wi-Fi, and propane. Sometimes work-campers will also receive a small salary or other compensation. Other times (especially for campground manager jobs for couples) it’s a full-time job complete with salary and additional benefits and perks.

Though any job performed while living in an RV would fall under the broad definition of work-camping, there are also traditional jobs that can be done while traveling full-time on the road.

Though most work-camping positions include a free campsite, you may find that it is financially beneficial to pay for the campsite and take a more traditional position. Often you can work for a local company in the area and earn more money.

Let’s look at some options.

With the advancement in mobile technology, it has become easier to work from a mobile office.

Some RVers continue to work at the job they had before retirement. Possibilities include consultants, webmasters, graphic artists, writers, photographers, insurance claims adjusters, and sales people who work from their RV.

Establish an income producing website. You can earn income from visitors clicking on an advertisement or purchasing a product or service via a link from your website. The key is attracting enough visitors and that is the toughest part.

Travel to the geographic location that you want to explore before signing on to a job. If you accept a position just to earn money in an undesirable locale, you have really defeated the purpose of traveling full time in an RV.

It is no longer necessary to wait for retirement to live and travel full time in an RV.

Find, develop, and work your dreams and passions, then grow from there. If you need an income stream on the road, or desire to have additional spending money and something to keep you occupied, follow your dreams and your passions.

Work-campers often find part time work at national wildlife refuges and state and national parks. Pictured above are sandhill cranes at  Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (New Mexico), considered one of the most spectacular refuges in North America and consistently recognized as one of the top birding areas in the United States. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved
Work-campers often find part time work at national wildlife refuges and state and national parks. Pictured above are sandhill cranes at
Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge (New Mexico), considered one of the most spectacular refuges in North America and consistently recognized as one of the top birding areas in the United States. © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

You may not earn all you need and it may take awhile and it may take effort, but you can earn money doing what you enjoy.

The dream is not about making enough money to live and travel in an RV. It is about pursuing your passion with the full-time RV lifestyle as a means to do that.

There are unlimited ways to earn a living while traveling full time in an RV.

It takes creativity, ambition, and passion—passion for the job, passion for what the job provides you as a full-timer, or a combination of both.

Keep following your dreams!

Worth Pondering…

Life happens while you’re making plans—especially when RVing.

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Volunteer Holidays: How You Can Make a Real Difference

Please note that the following post is written by guest author, Peter Smith.

Thailand building volunteers (Source: realgap.com/volunteering)

Deciding to take a volunteering holiday abroad or in home country is probably one of the most rewarding ways to spend time away. It can be a very life changing experience and can give a completely different perspective on the many different people and cultures across the world.

Choosing to volunteer

Volunteer holidays can take on many guises, from perhaps helping to rebuild communities that have been hit by hardship, to teaching in Africa or even helping disabled people in less affluent countries. There are also many opportunities to help with such things as wildlife conservation or matters of the environment.

Person centered and community volunteering

Costa Rica house building volunteers. (Source: realgap.com/volunteering)

There are many places to find volunteer work opportunities, whether it’s making a difference to the educational lives of children in Africa or helping to support care staff in schools, through to giving up some time to look after disabled children in Asia, or perhaps even gaining some valuable medical experience by going to one of the many clinics and hospitals in Africa that need support, expertise and assistance.

The former volunteer work opportunities are perfect for anyone who is studying to be a teacher or teaching assistant, someone who is learning to teach English as a foreign language, or is indeed simply wishing to learn more about other cultures. Very often, these communities sometimes have large numbers of orphaned or abandoned children who need extra care and support, taking on a volunteer role would mean helping the staff who are already there and making sure these children get the attention they so desperately need.

The latter placement is ideal for someone who is on the road to gaining medical qualifications but who would like to broaden their experiences with both travel and ideas on medicine. This is also an ideal way to find out about the challenges, hardships, and needs of communities who are less fortunate than our own.

Environmental and conservation centered projects

Taking on volunteer work that offers the chance to do some real conservation work can also be extremely rewarding. Opportunities can range from building new houses and experiencing life as it is lived in different communities across the world, but also activities like working to help conserve endangered species or working at animal rescue centers making sure that injured or sick animals get the best chance to recover.

Africa wildlife and community (Source: realgap.com/volunteering)

Countries like Africa and South America offer many such holidays. In Africa, places like Zambia are always in need of volunteers to help with rebuilding communities and providing people with housing, whilst in South America; places like Ecuador very often require willing helpers to care for sick or abused animals. This sort of holiday would be ideal for someone who is perhaps studying to be a Vet or wants to work with animals in another capacity.

Another excellent volunteering consideration might be travelling to somewhere like Australia to help with wildlife conservation, making a real difference to the environment there by helping out with the preserving and planting of many different types of plants, trees, and also caring for species that are becoming endangered.

AUTHOR BIO
Peter Smith is an experienced traveler and travel writer specializing in writing about cycling holidays in Europe for a range of different holiday themed websites and blogs.

Worth Pondering…

Life is short and the world is wide.
—Simon Raven

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