Like many RVers, my husband and I frequently talk about workamping. It seems like a great “fit” for us. We both enjoy helping others. We share a strong work ethic. Having RVed for several years, we know our way around a campground, and we’re outgoing and friendly. Staying in one RV spot with free or reduced site fees sounds inviting, too. Well, it did. Until a recent campfire discussion. That’s where we learned about some downsides to workamping.
The truth behind the “glamour”
A recent work camper named AJ joined our campfire a few nights ago. AJ and his wife came to our RV campground after their six-month stint working as campground hosts. AJ explained that in addition to welcoming new campers to the park, they were also charged with the day-to-day campground maintenance chores. They kept the grass mowed and picked up trash. AJ guided RVers to their assigned sites and his wife made sure the laundry room was clean and welcoming. Both shared bathroom and shower cleaning duties, making sure everything was sanitized and working properly.
AJ and his wife loved the campground. The setting was breathtaking. They enjoyed hiking and biking on their day off. These work campers would love to go back to the area sometime. They loved it! They just didn’t love some of the RVers that stayed at the camp…
What’s not to like about RVers? Most of the folks we meet are considerate and friendly. They’re glad to be outdoors enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. Well, according to AJ when you’re the one “in charge,” people aren’t always so happy and considerate. More like the opposite!
The downside to workamping
Talking with AJ and his wife gave me a more realistic picture of what it takes to be a work camper. It also may help all of us—RVers and campers—be more considerate as we camp.
Here are some downsides to workamping that AJ mentioned:
“We don’t make the rules. We just have to enforce them.” Not all pet owners are alike. Evidently, there are still folks who refuse to pick up their dog’s “doo” and dispose of it. Who cleans up after them? You guessed it! The work campers.
Note to campers: If you have a pet, take care of it. Follow the rules.
“We have nothing to do with reservations.” Most work campers will happily see you to your assigned RV site. They cannot, however, arbitrarily take you to a spot you like better. AJ recalls heated discussions about why an RVer could not “simply move over into a shaded site.”
Note to campers: If you want to change sites, it’s best to talk to the campground reservationist or owner.
“We have jobs to do.” Many work campers like AJ are in charge of mowing, controlling pests (wasps, ants, etc.), and keeping the ground around the RVs looking nice. “No matter when I mowed grass, someone would complain about the noise,” AJ commented. “If the grass got too long, those very same people complained that the grass needing to be cut.”
Note to campers: The camp hosts are working to make your stay as enjoyable as possible. Keep your kids’ toys, pool noodles, coolers, and other things picked up and off the grass—especially on mowing days.
“Treat the campground facilities like your own.” AJ’s wife still shudders when she thinks about the campground restrooms. They can definitely be a downside to workamping. Many days she spent the better part of her morning cleaning and disinfecting these areas.
Note to campers: If you make a mess, clean it up. Please. And remember to flush! Tell your kids to flush, too!
“Watch your children.” The work camper has plenty to do without monitoring your kids, too. AJ recalls several families that just “turned the kids loose.” The little hooligans rode their bikes over hoses for fun. Of course, AJ received heated calls from affected campers.
Note to campers: Use the camping experience to spend time with your children. Teach them to respect the space and property of others.
Have you ever been a work camper? Did you experience some of AJ’s frustrations? What advice do you have for folks who are considering workamping? Share your thoughts in the comments or on my forum.
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