By Barbara Hazelden, Contributing Writer
REGION – Visiting RV parks and campgrounds is an ideal way to enjoy the scenic beauty of Massachusetts and a host of outdoor activities. To keep these facilities running smoothly, the owners often rely on a workforce that combines paid employees with work campers and/or camp hosts. Although each position is structured a bit differently, work campers and camp hosts typically enjoy desirable perks while helping to enhance park visitors’ experiences.
What is a work camper?
The aptly named term “work camper” refers to an adventurous seasonal worker who lives in their recreational vehicle (or RV) at a campground or resort. The term “Workamper,” trademarked by the Workamper News, is another iteration of this word.
A typical work camper might find themselves assigned to a variety of campground jobs. They could serve as a gate attendant, activities assistant, general information associate, housekeeping worker, or gift shop/concession associate. During a given week, they could actually perform multiple tasks.
In exchange for the work camper’s services, they generally receive a free RV campsite (including utility fees) for the typically spring to fall camping season. Certain campgrounds provide some level of compensation along with the free campsite. Full-time work camping positions are somewhat uncommon.
Few work camper jobs have specific prerequisites. A friendly nature, good people skills, and a stellar work ethic are most important. Most campgrounds are happy to train candidates that meet these three criteria.
Unless the campground states that the position includes onsite housing, work campers are expected to live in their own RV. They must also have their own reliable transportation.
Many retirees view work camping as a great way to experience interesting campgrounds while living a frugal lifestyle. This season, David and Elaine Armstrong are busily work camping at Massachusetts’ Normandy Farms Campground in Foxborough. This RV resort, set between Boston and Cape Cod, kicked off its camping season on April 1.
As work campers for 18 years, the Armstrongs have gained great satisfaction from their work. Elaine especially enjoys helping new campers ease into the experience. She also thrives on meeting people from different cultures.
“We have made so many friends and met nice people that we were able to keep in touch with for years,” she said. “We can return back to our own RV and feel like we might have been able to make someone understand what camping life is all about. We are two very happy work campers,” she added.
Camp host volunteers
In contrast to a work camper, most camp host (or park host) positions are volunteer based. National and state parks, along with city and county campgrounds, frequently utilize camp hosts’ services.
A typical camp host job requires 20 to 25 hours a week (or more) of work time. Job tasks are similar to work camper duties. The park will generally provide a free campsite with most (if not all) utilities included.
Camp host job qualifications typically match those for work camper jobs. In addition, a camp host is also expected to own an RV that serves as their onsite residence.
Massachusetts work camper and camp host jobs
Searching the web for Massachusetts work camping jobs is a good way to find available positions. Aspiring work campers can also browse a campground directory in appealing parts of the Bay State.
Finding volunteer camp host jobs requires a different process. U.S. Government-run facilities, such as the National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management, post openings at volunteer.gov. The portal features search parameters such as agency, activity type, time duration, and city and state.
A work camper or camp host job requires a sense of adventure, a love of meeting new people, and the ability to adapt to changing circumstances. These positions can open up a whole new world for RV owners with these traits.