campground manager position - Fiberglass RV


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Old 10-14-2008, 03:04 PM   #1
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Taking a position as a campground manager for a summer can be a memorable experience. You will regularly hear envious statements from campers saying that they would love to be doing it. Only they canít afford to do it, time and money-wise, or they just have way too much stuff to be able to leave it all for so long. More often than not, it can be a pretty good job. Many have been doing it for ten or fifteen years. There are also those who quit in the first couple of weeks or in the middle of their first season (not a good thing) or who bag it after the season is up. Some just do not like dealing with the two hours of weekly paperwork.

If you are contemplating a campground manager position at some point, be sure to do some research. Ask yourself what kind of people you like to spend time with. If you enjoy being around lots of RVers, you might want a position in an RV park or a national park. Or get a position through workamper.com. There are also national forest campgrounds which gear towards RVers. Look for NF campgrounds that have paved roads and, possibly, hookups. Youíll probably have a golf cart to ride around in to do your chores and a leaf blower to clear the sites. Not exactly my kind of placeóbut different stokesÖ

There are also numerous primitive campgrounds out in the national forests if you prefer the company of tenters and small RVers. The roads will not be paved nor will there be hookups. The campground managerís site, though, will generally have water and maybe sewer. Sometimes a generator is provided.

Note the distance from the nearest town. If it is only ten miles or so, you could have some problems. There will be some locals who come up just to drink for a few hours at night and then drive back home. They can leave a mess, cause some damage, make a disturbance with the campers, and tend to skip out without paying the fee if you donít catch them. At least the local sheriff deputies generally donít mind coming up and taking care of any disturbances. All in all, however, not all peaches and cream. You can weed most of these lowlifes out in the first couple weeks, though. They definitely do not like paying the fee so if they know you will be there enforcing it, they tend to go someplace else the next time. A very good thing and much appreciated by all.

Campgrounds farther out, tend to have less of this type of problem. You can get an occasional rowdy group up for a weekend, however. The first night might be rough but they generally get the message. If the campground is large, there will probably be two or three couples managing the sites. Strength in numbers might be helpful, or at least supportive. Also look for campgrounds without any ATV trails in the area. There are definitely exceptions, but those people tend to be a little rougher around the edges and not overly considerate of fellow campers. Large campgrounds with sites not all that far apart sometimes have fewer rowdy problems since they will have so many other campers telling them to shut up. Granted, there will be exceptions to all these scenarios.

Depending on the campground, the biggest problem might be theft. Many just do not want to pay for camping. Skipping out without paying and stealing the fees is theft but you will hear all kinds of rationalizations for it. Unreal. There will be no problems with those who appreciate and respect our natural resources and the campgrounds. They donít mind contributing to their upkeep. It can be difficult to deal with the freeloaders.

You will find that a good number of people who come to the campgrounds are not Ďcampersí. Some pick up a tent and sleeping bags at Wal-Mart and come up to get out of town. Their radio is blasting; the tent is pitched so that if it rains, itís going to get flooded, and they can have 8 foot logs draped over the fire-pit ring! Clueless. Thank the gods most of the people you will be meeting over the summer are pretty good. One just has to focus on the good people (not always easy). You will have some stellar conversations throughout the season and become friends with some of the returnees or even those just passing through from out of state who you will exchange email addresses with. You will regularly be invited into campsites for morning coffee, breakfast, and dinner. Sitting around talking with these campers is one of the best aspects of the job, by far. Then there is also the quiet time during the week when there are only a handful of campers around and you are out and about taking care of the various chores, listening to the sounds of the forest, and watching the wildlife.

During the week your days will be filled with: emptying trash cans; picking up, raking, sweeping off tables, and shoveling out fire-pits in sites where campers have been; cleaning outhouses; painting; replacing missing signs; fixing knocked over posts; trimming brush and tree limbs; whacking weeds; possibly mowing grass; sweeping foot bridges and walkways; collecting fees; seeing if campers need anything, answering questions, or just asking how things are going; picking up cans and bottles tossed out along the road; making a weekly run to the landfill; a Monday run to the bank to deposit the weekís take, and various other tasks. The days and weeks can go by fast.

All in all, itís not bad. There will be times when you want to throw in the towel. There will be many more times when you are walking around with a big smile on your face, really glad you are doing what you are doing. Find out as much as possible about the campground that you are applying to; why isnít last yearís manager returning; what will you be responsible for; will the company provide you with a pickup if the roads are rough; how do you handle the landfill runs; day off; and all the basic stuff. The first month I tried a job like this, I was saying, no way am I ever doing it again. I was getting tired of dealing with drunks around their fires in the dark; free loaders trying to skip out without paying; calling the sheriff at 12:00 at night; dealing with the mess some Ďcampersí were leaving, and the like. But I was also meeting and spending time with some wonderful campers: artists and actors from Salt Lake, a writer from Reno, quite a number of locals, and many more. I just had to learn what to focus on. Getting campers laughing and feeling good about their experience in the canyon really makes one feel good. Walking into the various campsites with a smile on your face tends to set the scene for a more congenial outcome. Iíll be going back and doing it again.

Sebastian
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Old 10-15-2008, 05:14 PM   #2
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Thanks for the realistic rundown of being a camp manager. Good to know the ins and outs before we try to persue that path. Still sounds like it would be a good thing to experience, even if for just a season.
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Old 10-15-2008, 08:16 PM   #3
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Depending on the campground, the biggest problem might be theft. Many just do not want to pay for camping. Skipping out without paying and stealing the fees is theft but you will hear all kinds of rationalizations for it. Unreal.
I know most campgrounds have self-payment places now, but years ago, when I was truck-camping, I would roll in late, stay the night, and leave in the morning as soon as I awoke. The signs said to find a spot and the campground host would collect in the morning. Most of the time the campground host was asleep when I left. I had no intention of stealing the camping but I also wasn't going to hang around until 8 AM to wait for someone to come collect.

I haven't seen a campground like that lately, usually if they are not attended there is a box to put the registration and fee in.

Bobbie
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:54 PM   #4
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I had no intention of stealing the camping but I also wasn't going to hang around until 8 AM to wait for someone to come collect.
That'll be 15 Hail Mary's my child...
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Old 10-15-2008, 10:55 PM   #5
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We had a few that do as you have in my campground this summer. In actuality.. this isn't a big problem.

Those that come in late and leave early generally do nothing more than park and sleep, and don't use the resources. Most camp hosts understand this situation, and that it is not intentional. We are not going to chase you. Even if you are "sneaking" a site.. it's really not a big loss, once again.. you haven't used anything but a few inches of spur and the site is available for a paying customer before we realize you were there.

If you come in at midnite, light a bon fire, dump your black in the site and make a mess, we will know long before you leave. "Good" campers are generally not shy about complaining, no matter what time it is.

I only had to get up once for such a group, and they paid promptly, probably knowing the sheriff would be there long before they could break camp.
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Old 02-09-2009, 04:01 AM   #6
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As far as collections, this past summer where I worked as camp host, I had to wake a few campers on my early 7:00 AM walk-about and collect.
Only twice did campers manage to leave before I got to them.
My manager was at another campground only 6 miles up the road and we were more or less left to solve all the problems that would come up.
The sherif drove though once in the visable evenings and again later, after hours, with a manager.
I never saw them on these nightly romps because I was sleeping.
Only once did somebody come to my camper in the night and ask for help because her girl friend fell and skun her knee but she was wailing like her leg was cut off and when I offered to call for an ambulance (at thier cost) things settled down.
Another thing, they didn't want to have to call the sherif in because it would cost the company $$$.
I had a situation of domestic violance going on OK an all out fist fight between a grown son and his mom, and after calling for 45 minutes for the manager I finally got her.
She asked if she really needed to come down and I said yes.
She was there about 5 minutes and she said she had enough and call in sherif / forestry police / and state police.
I asked her after..."So was I justified in haveing you come down".
She took this as a sarcastic remark and scoweled at me.

As far as going back next year....The last thing said to me by the manager was "So you made it through the whole summer".

I wonder what she ment and she never asked if I was comeing back.

Maybe I didn't do a good job???

I am starting to look for jobs in the area for campground maintainance but if they call me back I would think long and hard it's about 50/50 chance that I would go back there.
Gerry
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Old 02-10-2009, 10:24 AM   #7
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Gerry, take heart -- A large part of satisfaction in any job is the management, usually the one directly above you and sometimes the dice roll bad! If they contact you for rehire, you now know enough to discuss policy (like permission to call Sheriff) with them and who your direct supervisor would be -- In my travels, I have met many people who were paid or unpaid camp hosts and by far most of them were enjoying the experience and intended to continue.
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Old 02-16-2009, 05:58 AM   #8
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Well your right Pete, I will know just what is involved.
As far as discussing policy, we had several during the year and my supervisors policy was a bit different then the companies and sometimes what was ok to do for some (friends and ex-hosts) was a no-no for the common camper.
Made it hard to tell people "no more then 2 cars per site when as they came in there was a site with 4 in it.
When "discussed" Oh that's So-n-So, X-host so that's OK"
Just one example.
I think if I do get called back, knowing know whats involved the compensation for the work will be a bit more then I got last season.
Work/compensation equaled out but add in the head-achs and sometimes fealing that your own supervisor was against you did not equal out.
In all fareness the supervisors job was a pain as they had 5 campgrounds to answer for but they knew what was expected of them as they were doing it for many years.
I may try something new.
I am going for an interview at a private campground as activities director.
Maybe being in a privately owned, well established campground, things will be monitored more closely, and the bad campers will go to the less expensive state and national forest campgrounds.
Gerry
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Old 02-26-2009, 04:23 AM   #9
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Well I did it....I got a job at a private campground for this season as a maintainance man.
Went on interview and was told it was a full time job and that we will be building 3 cabins and some platforms along with doing regular maintainace repairs on the 140 + sites.
I was hopeing the wife was also going to work at the campground as they had some other jobs available but she said that the compensation would not be enough to make ends meet.
I suggested that we could rent our house out for the summer and have extra income and she just scoweled at me...I was just kidding.
I think this is more my cup of tea, working just maintainace and not haveing to deal with people with who knows what mental issues that they have at any moment.
Looking for the snow to go so I can start.
Gerry
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Old 02-26-2009, 11:16 AM   #10
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Gerry,
Congratulations on the new job!
Gina has one also, you two and Sebastian H are part of a unique but growing group of FGRV campers. I can predict the need for an additional forum here!

We pray the aggravations will be minimal and the sense of fulfillment will be great,
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 02-27-2009, 12:43 PM   #11
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Betty & I will be Hosting a Rocky Mountain campground in the national forest this Summer for a management corporation named American Land & Leisure. AL&L This is our first work Kamper experience. Maybe someone here has experience with AL&L ?
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Old 02-27-2009, 05:43 PM   #12
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American Land & Leisure is the company I work for also. They are great if one is leaning towards primitive campgrounds.

I don't know if any of you remember my posting last summer "evicted", but I just got an email from AL&L and they are reducing my weekly hours from 40 down to 20 because of the potential flood problems. They are keeping the lower three campgrounds closed, leaving only three open. Guess I'll be doing quite a bit of silver work this summer to make up for it. The hillsides will probably be ok. We had some heavy rains after the fire, nothing came down, and the spring run-off should also take care of a lot of loose soil. I'm glad they are not taking any chances with the campers, however. Judging from what was said to me after the canyon was partially reopened last summer, I am sure going to get an earful from irate campers. Oh well, I can work on being tactful.

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Old 02-27-2009, 07:15 PM   #13
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American Land & Leisure is the company I work for also. They are great if one is leaning towards primitive campgrounds.

I don't know if any of you remember my posting last summer "evicted", but I just got an email from AL&L and they are reducing my weekly hours from 40 down to 20 because of the potential flood problems. They are keeping the lower three campgrounds closed, leaving only three open. Guess I'll be doing quite a bit of silver work this summer to make up for it. The hillsides will probably be ok. We had some heavy rains after the fire, nothing came down, and the spring run-off should also take care of a lot of loose soil. I'm glad they are not taking any chances with the campers, however. Judging from what was said to me after the canyon was partially reopened last summer, I am sure going to get an earful from irate campers. Oh well, I can work on being tactful.

Sebastian
In addition to providing a parking place, water, propane, sewer, and sometimes electricity, do they pay minimum wage or something? How do the hours effect your compensation?
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Old 02-27-2009, 07:19 PM   #14
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Hey, primitives, that's us alright. We will be in South central Colorado, North East of Chama New Mexico just off of Hwy. 17.
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