The Business of Work Camping: Seasonally returning to the same campground

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By Sam Suva

Work camping is the financial vehicle that allows an RVer to experience the thrill of the open road, new places and new people. What happens when that perfect work camping gig has us turning back around and working for the same campground season after season? Read on.


Enjoying work at a seasonal campground has an inevitable end. Whether it is due to a contract or closing for the season, work campers finds themselves winding down activities, putting away decorations, stowing the lawn equipment and shuttering rentals. The campground closing for the winter months can be a time of reflection and darkness. The light at the end of the tunnel is that some work campers have been asked to return the following season and some of those have made it a yearly destination to return to the same campground.

Returning to a campground after working there brings us back to familiar surroundings. The drive in becomes more familiar, the signs welcoming us and the road and attractions that remind us of our previous season there are beckoning us back with open arms. The equipment, the buildings, the people – it is a time for renewing previous work and social relationships.

The campground is groggily awakening from the winter slumber, or in warmer climates those previous renters and workers may have moved on. The ones remaining are glad to see a familiar face: They know we know the ropes and they are expecting the same level of competent service and attention to detail.

We arrive in a northern campground in March, or April at the latest. It will need the water turned back on, plumbing checked for leaks, rentals cleaned, and lawn and landscaping equipment checked over, serviced, started and put back into operation. Roads will need to be repaired – wash out is common with snow removal, winter melt and spring rains.

Site plumbing and electrical will need servicing too. The breakers are all checked in the campground pedestals, the water and sewer checked for pressure and flow. Then we welcome in the campers for the season. A few hardy commuter workers may have winter-camped, so we make sure they are comfortable and that their sites are to their satisfaction.

In warmer climates, maintenance does not mow in the winter, but usually there are expansion projects or regular maintenance that we wouldn’t do in peak season. Those projects, upon returning, will need to be buttoned up to have a smooth transition. The pool will need to be cleaned, perhaps painted, and the equipment operated to ensure a smooth-running season.

The office and recreation staff will have their hands full with phone calls about possible rentals, activities, gathering talent for special occasions, finding seasonal work campers, and cleaning and stocking the retail store.

The best part of returning is the staff and campers we enjoyed the previous season. We pick up conversations as if we had never left. We sit in the same chairs, on the same decks under the same awning or sunshade, and recall old times while making new, cherished memories.

We really look forward to this each year.

See you down the road,

Sam

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.

Read more articles about Work Camping.

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Vanessa Simmons

I keep thinking I want to work camp but being into this just 9 months I’m not ready to spend a long time in one place and not be able to pick up and leave when I want. If I could get 3-6 weeks in one place that would be ok. Maybe in a year or two I’ll be ready.