This Post is all about Workamping! We’ll tell you about what we have learned in the past few months at Moonshine Creek, we have a special interview with the owners of this campground AND we will be sharing our plans for this winter workamping season. If you are interested in workamping or just want to hear about what we’ve been up to, read on.
There’s been a mid-season changing-of-the-guard here at Moonshine Creek Campground. In July we said good-bye to 3 workamper couples and a new crew then began to arrive. Some of them have been here before and returned for another season. We’ve been here about 2 months so far and since this is our first workamping job, we are still learning a lot. Here are a few nuggets of wisdom we’ll share with you:
Lesson #1: If you find a beautiful campground with good management, you have won half the battle. We lucked out and we plan to return to Moonshine Creek next April. The fact that there are return workampers here from previous years is a good sign!
Lesson #2: 12 hours each per week in exchange for a full hook up site is a very good arrangement. Always know coming in what the terms of “employment” are. We will be workamping in Florida over the winter at Avon Park Air Force Range and 24 hours per week each is the agreement we have made for that location. Situations vary but just know what you are agreeing to in advance. If the area you want to be in warrants an increased commitment then go for it. Our main requirement is that we work the same shifts so we can plan fun things to do in the area on our days off together. Length of commitment is another important point to get in writing before accepting a job. Most seasonal workamping jobs seem to require a 3-6 month commitment.
Lesson #3: Look for a campground with organized and experienced owners/managers. The fact that Moonshine Creek Campground’s owners have been doing this for 20 + years is a huge bonus- “this ain’t their first rodeo.” They know how to train their help quickly and efficiently. They also know how to keep everyone happy – their campers AND their workampers.
Lesson #4: If you are even somewhat, sort of, thinking about workamping in the future, start signing up for workamper emails and other resources NOW- as in today… what are you waiting for? There are multiple facebook groups and websites for workampers. We have been getting emails with job listings from Workers on Wheels and Workamper News for a couple of years. We’ve read many articles, Facebook posts and job listings and watched you tube videos and vlogs from other workampers, all in preparation for this phase of our journey. There is such variety in the jobs and compensation out there that you need to get a feel for what is available and what an ideal situation for your circumstance looks like.
Here are a few resources we have found helpful:
Workers on Wheels this is where we found the ad for our current position. It’s free and all the help wanted ads are current. Check back everyday to see any new ones.
Workamper News is a great site and you can use their free introductory membership to sign up and get their job listings. The job emails for the introductory membership are 14 days old. To get ads as soon as they come out you can pay for a membership.
The following facebook groups have been extremely helpful:
Workampers, Workamper Dreamers, Workamper Reviews and Workamping for Full Time RVers.
Our current bosses and the campground owners here at Moonshine Creek are Jim and Dana Calderbank. The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds awarded them “Small Park of the Year” in 2017. We asked them a few questions to learn about Workamping from a campground owner’s point of view.
- How long have you owned Moonshine Creek Campground? 20 years
- Have you always hired workampers? Yes, Jim was in the RV Industry and the first two years we had workampers and our first set of managers.
- Have you noticed any changes over the years in the quantity and/or quality of workampers applying to work at Moonshine Creek? Yes the quality of workampers has improved significantly from when we first started hiring 20 years ago. We get more retired couples today that are from professional careers and we also get more newly retired or younger retirees. There are also a lot more workampers today than what was available in the past. The blogs, forums, and websites devoted to workampers have helped to hire and provide more workamping opportunities.
- What do you value most in a workamper…or what makes the difference between a mediocre workamper and a terrific workamper? What we value most in workampers that we have hired is that they are competent in the office and outside. Perhaps equally important is the dedication to customer service and furthering the culture here at Moonshine Creek. Some workampers in the past have not been able to handle a busy office or perform all the tasks outside. What makes for a terrific workamper is strong work ethic and a great attitude!
- Are there attributes that would immediately disqualify someone? Yes. At our campground the office staff must be able to multi task, have office experience, while presenting a friendly face to our guests. The outside staff physically has to be able to perform the tasks, such as cleaning and garbage pick-up and efficiently perform many functions in a busy atmosphere.
- How far in advance do you start hiring for the upcoming season? 9 months.
- Any tips or advice for people who are thinking of workamping? Yes, be honest in your abilities, meet your commitment completely, and enjoy what you are doing. Understand that the more enjoyment you have workamping the happier the campers stay is.
- Any funny stories about workampers you could share? Betty was from Louisiana and Butch was from Dutch Harbor, Alaska. Little did we know that they met on an online dating site and the first time they ever met in person was at our campground when they came to be workampers. They were inseparable and worked with us for a couple of years.
- Anything else you feel others should know about workamping? It’s a great way to see our beautiful country, feel a sense of accomplishment and to make new friends.
Many thanks to Jim and Dana for taking time to share their knowledge and experience with us!
As I mentioned before, we will be workamping in Florida beginning in November of this year. The job at Avon Park Air Force Range was something we had heard about through Workamping News last year and we filed it away in our memories for when we decided to pursue workamping seriously. This year, as we began to think about applying for winter workamping positions, we decided to aim for Florida. We shot an email out to the Volunteer Coordinator at Avon Park with our basic information and we also asked for some details about their volunteer positions. They responded promptly and provided contact information for some of their returning workampers so we could speak to them as well. After emailing our official applications and resumes, we didn’t hear back immediately so we sent out inquiries to several Florida campgrounds. Finally we received an offer from Avon Park and we accepted and will be staying in Avon Park from November 8 through Mid March.
Avon Park is part of an Outdoor Recreation Program that allows the conservation and enhancement of natural resources on military lands, without disrupting military operations. Most of the recreational activity there revolves around hunting white-tailed deer, feral hogs, wild turkey, northern bobwhite and migratory waterfowl on the 106,000 acre, active military air and ground training facility. The volunteers at Avon Park have their own “volunteer village” with full hook-up RV pads, a laundry facility, free wi-fi and all volunteers receive a free annual recreation permit as well. The range schedule is determined by the Air Force training schedule. Some of our possible duties will be: manning the game check station, posting range schedules throughout the range, opening and closing access gates, checking permits, trash pick up, landscaping, office duties and/or special assignments. We look forward to learning some new things, and hopefully we will get to see a little bit of Florida while we are there.
So that’s our workamping update! If you have any comments or questions please leave them in the comment section below. We’d be glad to hear from you. As always, if you are in Western North Carolina, check out Moonshine Creek Campground. Give them a call at: 828-586-6666. We’ll be here through the end of October! Our next blog post will be about some local hikes and waterfalls.