By Bob Difley
Camp hosting is not the only form of volunteer position open to RVers. Though there are volunteer positions available to students, retirees, and for seasonal needs, RVers who bring their houses with them are top-tier candidates for volunteer positions where local housing may not be available and where there is room to park RVs for the volunteers.
Many parks use volunteers for jobs such as trail maintenance, invasive plant removal, wildlife census, habitat rejuvenation, leading hikes and nature walks, and many more. These are activities/chores that don’t always get funds included in budgets and that are being pared to the bone.
When a park or other entity such as a wildlife refuge, state park, national forest or wilderness area can get the job done by offering a free campsite as trade without having to pay a full-time employee or account for it in their expenses, everybody benefits.
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. Volunteers that are eager for certain locations will win out over those just wanting a free campsite anywhere they can get one.
You never know what might turn up if you just ask—or suggest how you might volunteer.
There are several websites that run a list of volunteer current offerings. Here are three:
At Volunteer Match you can enter the area you want to volunteer in and your interests, and the site will try to match you to a position.
At AmeriCorps.gov, a government site, they ask you what interests you and where you would like to volunteer, then offer a list of matches.
On Volunteer.gov the site matches volunteers with available positions.
Check out Bob Difley’s RVing e-books on Amazon Kindle.
We’ve done three summers as the hosts at a Colorado Parks and Wildlife fish hatchery. It’s a great gig. Work 5 days x 4 hrs. We’d give tours, visit people fishing on the grounds, clean up the grounds, and clean the toilets in exchange for a site on 40 acres we had mostly to ourselves.
I just finished up a summer of Camp Host/Seasonal DNR work at Clear Lake State Park in Iowa. It was my first gig, and it was absolutely fun, rewarding, and at times challenging. The Park Ranger was key to the positive experience. It was such a great experience that I have decided to return next summer. I highly recommend it. Just know that it is a commitment; I had very little free time to explore the area, but the time in the park was relaxing, and stress free. I really enjoyed meeting all the campers, and helping to maintain the park. Plus I saved a LOT of money by not traveling, shopping or eating out. There are lots of positions out there!
I am glad you had a good experience at Clear Lake, we have camped there often and enjoy the park and the people. It is a close park for us and a great ‘get away’. Hope to see you next year.