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.
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.
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.
The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers.