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Old 05-25-2011, 03:21 PM   #1
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Do volunteer hosts have any authority?

I've been camping for many many years; been all over the country; every once in a while when parked in a campground I've had a unpaid volunteer host stop by my camp site and complain about some small thing; such as; (your tire is touching the grass; move your car---now--, a direct order.
I have seen unpaid volunteers give other campers a hard time for many things that I thought were just rediculess.
Do unpaid volunteers have the athority to enforce rules? even the ones they just made up; (I've seen this happen).
In all my travels I've gotten into some very heated discussions with an unpaid volunteer about their actions.

Sorry about the bad spelling tried to change it but couldn't
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:28 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melvonnar View Post
I've been camping for many many years; been all over the country; every once in a while when parked in a campground I've had a unpaid volunteer host stop by my camp site and complain about some small thing; such as; (your tire is touching the grass move your car---now--, a direct order.
I have seen unpaid volunteers give other campers a hard time for many things that I thought were just rediculess.
Do unpaid volunteers have the athority to enforce rules? even the ones they just made up; (I've seen this happen).
In all my travels I've gotten into some very heated discussions with an unpaid volunteer about their actions.

Sorry about the bad spelling tried to change it but couldn't

Me too, but it's generally followed by a visit from the do-rite man who does have the authority to give you the boot.
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Old 05-25-2011, 03:44 PM   #3
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I had a problem with one at a state park in California who wanted to evict me for not paying for my site. It got pretty heated until a Ranger showed up and they then "found" my check which I had deposited in their box by the deadline that morning. The guy all but called me a liar and a cheat and I was drooling foam from the corners of my mouth by the time the ranger showed up.

I think it's often times like discussions of HOAs where people find themselves with what they perceive as "power" for the first time in their lives and just don't know how to handle it. Fortunately, for every one of those there are 99 volunteers I'd enjoy sitting around a campfire with.

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Old 05-25-2011, 03:57 PM   #4
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One thing That you must remember;;;; They have to answer to a boss And the boss gives them a list of guidllines that MUST be fallowed. they must inforce them. I have been in the boss position, And you have no idea how many campers Do not want to pay, Or try to sneek by with something.. Did you ever get turned down when you tryed to cash a check ,, ??? it's not because of you, but some other %$#@^* that Wrote a bad check .; If you have/ever get the chance to be a volenteer Host DO IT; just to see how some campers try to take advantage of other people.. (It's sicking/discusting, )
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:00 PM   #5
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Most volunteer camp hosts are pretty nice people. I have seen one or two go out of their way to be nasty, but in over 40 years camping in state and federal parks, I have met a lot of real nice people.
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Old 05-25-2011, 04:36 PM   #6
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I've run into a few that've had a "power surge" when doing their duties & go a little overboard. More often than not, they're very nice about bringing a violation to attention (for me it's always been the tire touching the grass thing - they need wider parking pads in some places). It's a thankless job, that's for sure & they have to deal with a lot of flack given them by the bad apple campers.

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Old 05-25-2011, 06:05 PM   #7
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I'm reading this post with interest. I've applied to be a volunteer camp host next spring for Dane County (Madison WI). The interview went well, I could have had a post immediately if I'd been free to accept it. This will be my first such experience.

And I promise you melvonnar, I'd never yell at you, unless you really deserved it.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:08 PM   #8
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Having been a camp host volunteer in Washington State, I can tell you that the hosts in this state are to do no enforcing whatsoever. They can simply point out enforceable actions such as a dog off leash but have no enforcement authority. Any problems are to be turned over to the Campground Manager or a Park Ranger for them to handle. Washington camp hosts are prompted to be the friendly side of the parks and provide assistance to the campers.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:17 PM   #9
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The reason for this thread is that I was wonderening if things have changed for unpaid volunteers since I was going to go that route 20 years ago.
I sent for and received papers fron several state parks around the country, also literature from the C.O.E and the forest service. each and every one of them (at that time) said volunteer hosts had no athority to enforce rules and that if a rule infraction was observed the unpaid volunteer was NOT to confrount the camper but to inform a ranger who has the duty to inforce the rules.
Are those answering this thread no for shure that volunteers DO have authority. I would like very much to see something in writing from the national park service the C.O.E forest service or any state park stating that unpaid volunteers have authority to enforse rules; So far I have searched and found nothing.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:22 PM   #10
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If the rules given you at check in are followed...I see no reason for the Host to say anything to you except maybe HI. Do you read the campground rules??

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Old 05-25-2011, 06:27 PM   #11
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Most volunteer camp hosts are pretty nice people. I have seen one or two go out of their way to be nasty, but in over 40 years camping in state and federal parks, I have met a lot of real nice people.
agreed:
Theres always one roten apple in every barrel; they are the ones we all remember
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:32 PM   #12
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AS for the authority of the voulenteer,, This varies from park to park or park system to park system however consider this.. If the camp host asks you to clean up your act, and you give him the finger and do as you please, the next request will not be from a voluenteer, and it will come with a uniform, badge and quite possibly firearm attached.

And if you ignore that the next request will be for you to become a fine upstanding citizen instead of a ... rear end.. And where will you be "Up-standing" why in front of a judge of course.
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Old 05-25-2011, 06:58 PM   #13
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Each state has its own rules governing volunteer positions. The NPS
rules are on the website.
I've encountered a few volunteer camp hosts having a bad day. I treat them with respect and courtesy, and they often respond with a gentler tone, followed later with an apology for being gruff.
I find "the Golden Rule" usually does work.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:21 PM   #14
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Volunteers can earn plenty of authority whether it has been granted or not. If authority is gaining your cooperation to end some violation you are committing then many can do this based on their demeanor, how they approach the situation---they gain personal authority; if carefully used it can be all the authority required.

We can make authority entirely unecessary by reading and obeying the rules and if we are out of compliance responding cheerfully. We deserve to be treated with respect but so do they.

Personally I make it a habit when I see someone from the park, to engage them in conversation or a friendly wave. Often if you begin talking about things you have in common (you both like camping) then when the things needing fixing come up it can be done in a cheerful way.

These people give of their time. Because of their service many of the campsites used are used for lesser fees than would be needed if volunteers did not serve. Campsites remain cleaner and yes perhaps safer because they are there. They serve an important necesssary function in keeping these facilities open and enjoyable.

I personnal respect what they do and endeavor to cooperate first by following the rules. If for some reason I am in violation I correct it immediately. If I do not appreciate the handling I got I can discuss it with the volunteer or failing that make a trip myself to the ranger or supervisor.

Usually when we are worrying about who has what authority it is too late.
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