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Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sometimes It's Not Just About the Money

I received a comment on my blog post ""A Day In The Life of a Campground Host"   this afternoon. It got me thinking of a reply.  But it was too long of a reply to put under that blog post.  Instead of settling down for an afternoon nap alongside my Steveio, I decided to post a blog to reply to a question asked by a reader.

He asked:

OverTheTopCargoTrailer said...
I can never quite figure out this camp ground hosting bit ? If one of you has to work 20 hours per week and there are 4.3 weeks per month thats 86 hours for 1 person x $8 per hour min wage that equals like $688.

if 2 of you work its $1,376 in wages.

Either figure seams like a butt load of money for a site with only electricity ? A free campsite at $620.

How is it hat these Campground owners get folks to willing work for 1/2 or less then min wages ? and is that even legal in these days with so many gov regulations ?

Well....  I guess the easy answer is:  "Because I am having fun" ....

But you do bring up a good point.

Yes, it is 20 hours total between Steve or I working.  Since he is working his normal 40 hour week at the park as the Facilties Maintenace Specialist Advanced person, I am doing most of the camphosting duties.  But he helps me dump the large ash cans and helps me in the evenings if there is a site recently vacated and someone new due to arrive.   In all honesty, I am probably putting in closer to 30 hours a week.

Before and after my camphosting duties, I am also working on my own fiber projects and resupplying my inventory for an upcoming craft show in Chilton in September.  So I might be quilting, or knitting, or spinning.... but always ready to drop what I am doing to visit with someone wandering into my host site to ask questions or get information or even just refill their coffee cup on their morning stroll!

A lot of what we are doing is considered "volunteering" and I come from a family who always helped out with civic events and volunteering at county fairs or fishing jamborees.   As a kid, our family even campground hosting help at a county park we stayed at all summer long for many summers.  I grew up learning to "pitch in and help".   At any event, even weddings or grad parties, it seems my family is the last to leave, always helping with the cleanup.  Yes, even at 2 a.m. after all the partiers have gone home, you often see "Us Bicigo's" still there cleaning up and carrying out, and making sure things are locked up at rental halls or the like.  Something about making the work go much faster when there are more hands to help?     Big families are like that.

Due to so many budget cuts, our state parks are in desperate need of volunteers.   High Cliff State Park is very fortunate to get a lot of help from an organization called The Friends of High Cliff.

check out this link to see all they do for High Cliff

Without them, a lot of things would not be happening around here.  The Friends Group does so much for the park that would never be able to be done on the present restricted budgets.  The paid staff works hard to make everything coordinate with the Friends Group and a lot of great things are accomplished by purely volunteer efforts.  

Right now as I type this, there are 6 or 7 volunteer guys clearing out overgrown brush by the historic lime kilns.  This has been a multiple day job and they keep coming back to do more.

As I type this, I am sure one of the great guys who vie and compete to get to run the big mowers is here cutting the many many square feet of lawns in the huge park.  They are so funny, these guys who love to come and "play" on the big mowers to get the park looking spiffy.   There aren't enough man hours in the budget to get it all done by paid employees; the volunteers are sooooo appreciated! 

It feels good to be part of the "family" around here.  I baked some coffee cake and bars and send them to the shop or office for the workers.  Another employee brought in candybars for everyone.   I sent up a crockpot of my calico beans for a lunchtime potluck.  A ranger gave us a jar of homemade maple syrup.  Someone dropped off some chunks of firewood for us.  Steve brings in cases of water bottles for the folks to grab from the shop fridge.  

It's a nice feeling to be part of something, even for the month that we are here.  

The work isn't hard.  

We are enjoying meeting people from all over the country 
and gabbing and learning about different rv's

I am handing out scavenger hunt sheets
 and rewarding little kids with prizes. 

I lent a guy a pliers and screwdriver 
to fix something on his camper. 

etc. etc. 

Plus, it's kinda fun driving around the Polaris and cleaning up firepits and marking them off on a clipboard.  A sense of accomplishment and a bit of horsepower in my hands. 

Heck, I might even PAY $8.00 an hour to do that.   

Like I said, Sometimes It's Not Just About The Money..... 


  1. Isn't Pfundtner French, or is that German or whatever, for "git'er done"!

  2. You're having a great time! Don't let anyone spoil it. It's great to be a retiree and do whatever comes along. Continue having fun!
    Jeanie in MO

  3. It is just so nice to have a job you love so much.

  4. That's where the hearts of all of us volunteers are: giving back something to our country. It is absolutely NOT about the money!

  5. Yep, that was a good answer. Not all jobs have to be paying ones. In our case it is a paying job and we work hard for it but we have also done the camphosting just for somewhere to park and generally the work isn't too hard and can be lots of fun.

    In a park like yours if it wasn't for the volunteering efforts then there would be no park at all or one with high fees in order to afford to pay someone to do the work.

    Glad you are enjoying your time there.


  6. I can see his side if you were in a private RV park that felt like you "owed" them every second of your 20 hours for the "free" site that they were gracious enough to provide you with (and we've been in one or 2 with that attitude). In your case, however, where it's much more of a volunteer position, it's not about the $, and much more fun.

  7. This is a great explanation of why people volunteer. I especially like the part about all the power!!!

  8. Great response! We loved our volunteer position at Lake Mead Recreation Area so much that we are going back this fall to do it again. It doesn't feel like work at all when you enjoy what you're doing.

  9. All that really counts is how you and Stevio feel about it. You sound like you are enjoying every minute of it and that is all that matters.

  10. One of our state parks had a very active "Friends of" group of volunteers. Then the state hired a new manager with a personality disorder and most of the volunteers and some of the employees quit. I haven't checked lately to see how full the campground is now but I do wonder.

  11. Amen, Karen.....great post. You said it well, it just always is NOT about the money. And thank goodness it's not...or what kind of a world would it be???

  12. Well said Karen!! Mike and I always enjoyed our "volunteer" hosting at state parks. It certainly isn't all about the money. Great question that I am sure others have wondered about.

  13. Great response to a good question. Most folks don't understand the feeling one gets from having helped in some small way. It really doesn't matter what you're doing if you feel good about doing it.

    Sadly, a lot of people today believe that any service they provide must be a highly compensated one.

    Many have forgotten that to be of service to your fellow man is reward in itself.

    It is in that service that a person finds what made America great.

    Thanks to you and your husband for all that you do!


  14. Hi Karen

    Thank you for a great answer & for your great service to your park system. My question was mostly because here in California the state claims its just about impossible to get a state worker to work for and live on $80,000 or less per year in pay and benefits , 2-3 years ago they wanted to close 80% of the parks & many folks raised millions to help , then it turned out last year the state park system had a $45 million hidden account. Then they raised the yearly park fee from $30 to $120 or $10 per day for only daytime parking, only $8 for seniors- ouch. Many or most state parks now want $25 - $40 per night dry camping. God Forbid ..... A private campground made their workers work for less or volenteer then the state required min wage - 49 differant state inspectors would shut them down with endless fines & violations.

    What your doing & the way your doing it is great, exactly how the system should work - this is exactly what makes America great , people helping each other, it's very sad to me that the California state park system has broken down and lost so much trust with the people & it seams to just me a money making machine vs. getting people to enjoy the great outdoors.

    Thank you again for your service !! You are
    Exactly what a public servant & public service is all about.



  15. I wonder if the person that questioned what you do and the money plays golf, and if he does, how much he gets paid for dropping little balls in a hole using a stick. Those sticks, unlike your polaris, are not furnished by the "club" and can be quite costly.
    I definitely prefer your type of entertainment to paid for sports/entertainment. ��


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