By Sam Suva
When we leave a campground, we are met with a wide range of emotions. We have fast friends we will keep in touch with for years to come and those we have disappointed, who will be glad to see us leave. That’s okay: “You can please some of the people some of the time …” – as the saying goes.
This is also a time for us to tie up loose ends on projects and make sure the new staff is aware of areas of concern. We always offer the manager and/or owners the time to bring in new staff and we will bring them up to speed on what we are doing. Usually we can train new ones in the way the campground likes to be handled.
What needs to be done?
When we are ending our stay, the campground is usually transitioning between seasons. So there are shutdown procedures and maintenance to be done. We make sure these items are being done and that their progress is being tracked daily. Has the pool been drained and winterized? Has the bounce house been cleaned, deflated and stored? Has the lawn equipment been winterized? Have the decorations been accounted for and assessed for use next year? These are some of the things to be thinking about when we are closing a season and getting ready to depart.
Meet the new folks
When new work campers get to the campground, they are usually tired from the trip but excited to begin their work there. They can be experienced and organized, or have that look of wonder that newbies often do about the scope of the work ahead of them. Either way, we try our best to put their minds at ease.
We remind them that the work is a small part of the lifestyle they have chosen. They only work a few hours a week but they camp everyday! The work will be there and get done in due time, but for now, get busy being campers and make sure to come and see us in a few days for the work part. When they come in after a respite, they have a more relaxed demeanor and maybe a bit of a tan. In measured amounts, we can bring them up to speed and get them going on projects.
Bring the new staff up to speed
New staff, as explained before, have varied levels of experience. Communicating with them is a balance of what we know and can do and what they know and can absorb. Listen first: What are their observations? Have they talked to the campers or staff? Address those first. Then we bring up our experience over the last few months and whatever they need to know to move the campground projects forward while being consistent in providing services to the guests.
Basically, the adage to “leave a place better than you found it” applies here. Whatever we would want to know coming into a campground is what we offer to those coming in to work. Our professional, friendly attitude coupled with our confidence in the new staff’s abilities as they accomplish their tasks makes for a smooth transition.
How have you experienced coming into a campground or leaving a campground and what have you found helpful in that process? I look forward to your comments and experiences.
Sam Suva and his wife are work campers. They began work camping more than 10 years ago and have spent a lot of time working as they traveled. In this new weekly feature, they will share their experiences with you, with an emphasis on how to incorporate work camping into a full time RV lifestyle.