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Old 09-21-2016, 05:08 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by AggieDad View Post
Back in July I opened a thread titled Do You Clean Bathrooms When You Host?. The topic ended up being a 4 page discussion, including my own reflections after six weeks into my first hosting gig.

I have had a great time hosting and have met many, many nice people. I have thoroughly enjoyed chatting with folks and learning where they were coming from and where they were going. It was surprising how many asked me about hosting. Apparently it is in the back of many people's minds. Hopefully I nudged a few into taking action.

In the original thread I posted at the end of six weeks about how positive the experience was, and how I had found myself taking "ownership" and considering it "my" park.

Now my first hosting session has finished, and I thought it could be interesting to bring the episode to a close with some of the other observations from my experience. So here are the things that are in the front of my mind in no particular order whatsoever. I am sure those of you who have hosted can add to the list (and I hope you do).
  • Beer and Soda Cans do NOT burn. Throwing them in the fire ring is not a way to dispose of them.
  • Cigarette Butts do not disappear when they are thrown on the ground or in the fire ring.
  • Cigarette Smokers seem to be sloppy campers. Invariably the sites that needed the most cleaning after campers have left were sites where there were smokers.
  • Children, when left alone, seem to like playing with toilet paper - especially seeing how much they can put in a toilet. This is NOT a gender-specific activity.
  • Beer Drinkers don't seem to be able to wrap their heads around the concept of recycling aluminum cans. The number of beer cans in trash cans when there is a convenient recycling receptacle is astonishing. In 10 weeks not one of the recycling containers needed emptying.
  • Trash Cans are apparently a challenge to some folks - especially using a can that has space for trash. Piling more trash in a full can or just putting the trash near a trash can is as much as many folks can manage.
  • Open Carry is disconcerting for many campers (including hosts) - especially those campers with children. Interestingly enough, Missouri State Parks allow open-carry, but do not allow the discharge of firearms in their parks. Why bring a gun?

These are things that in stick out to me at this time. I know there are others, but these will do of right now.

All-in-all hosting was great, and we look forward to our next gig.
You mentioned taking ownership of the park. That is the best way to get under the skin of the paid employees. And you have to deal with them.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:58 PM   #44
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You mentioned taking ownership of the park. That is the best way to get under the skin of the paid employees. And you have to deal with them.
I would guess the OP meant that he truly cared for the park and wanted it to look nice for others and kept it clean as if it were his own property.

We've found that public parks are very short-handed and give some leeway to the volunteers in doing what they think is right - within reason. All parks have guidelines on what hosts can/cannot do. However, in our experience we were always told to do what we thought needed to be done to make the park presentable. We did so, and were complimented by the paid employees.

No, you don't enforce rules. You can point them out to campers as a 'very gentle' warning but if campers continue do what they shouldn't then it's up to the host to contact the person that's really in charge and let them handle it. A host should never get into a disagreement with a camper.
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Old 09-21-2016, 08:01 PM   #45
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Thanks for the info Aggie.
We have thought about hosting at some point and you bring up an issue I hadn't really thought about.
Drinkers I can deal with, butts I'll pick up, I'll even clean restrooms if needed.
Just didn't think about the crazies.
We would definitely have a problem there.
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Old 09-21-2016, 09:41 PM   #46
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and 69 was a good year for Italians
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:12 PM   #47
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Hi Aggie Dad:

Thanks for the information I'm a year from beginning my full time adventure. I can imagine a time when just relaxing will be too relaxing. Does the lack of respect for other campers ever bug you? Do you ever speak up when you see someone trashing a place? Do you ever have to clean the bathrooms?
There would have had to be something blatant for me to have to talk with campers about correcting an issue. It was usually in the form of reminding them about the leash law, loud music, or where a vehicle could be parked. Campground management was very clear that the host should do no more than remind a camper about the rules and not try to enforce. We were always to call the office or the ranger if a quiet discussion did not work. I never had to call anyone.

The trashing of a campsite is not something you see until the camper has moved out and you go in to check the site. That's when you realize that some folks just don't care - they are few, but they exist.

Cleaning bathrooms was never on my list, but I must admit it would not have been as bad as I thought it would have been. I did pride myself that there was always adequate toilet paper in every stall.

When the seasonal worker left, our maintenance man suddenly had a lot on his plate. I told him that I would take care of trash. So I emptied the trash cans at the boat ramp, the day area, and the campground. It wasn't on my list of duties, but I knew I was helping out in an area of need.

You can hear many stories - good and bad - about hosting. One of my partners told a horror story about her hosting experience on the coast of the Florida panhandle. It amazes me that she still hosts. The key, I think, is to clarify everything in terms of duties and expectations ahead of time.

We'll host again when we want to stay in an area for a protracted amount of time. I did enjoy it.
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Old 09-21-2016, 10:14 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by twogypsies View Post
I would guess the OP meant that he truly cared for the park and wanted it to look nice for others and kept it clean as if it were his own property.

We've found that public parks are very short-handed and give some leeway to the volunteers in doing what they think is right - within reason. All parks have guidelines on what hosts can/cannot do. However, in our experience we were always told to do what we thought needed to be done to make the park presentable. We did so, and were complimented by the paid employees.

No, you don't enforce rules. You can point them out to campers as a 'very gentle' warning but if campers continue do what they shouldn't then it's up to the host to contact the person that's really in charge and let them handle it. A host should never get into a disagreement with a camper.
You are spot on. Thank you.
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Old 09-22-2016, 07:52 AM   #49
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I am currently camp hosting and there is a lot of truth in the above post. This is also my first time. Not sure if I want to do this again. I am really not sure if I want to continue babysitting adults.

More power to those who can host.

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?????????? Where the heck you guys hosting? Sure not where I do. I have experienced maybe 5% of what you are complaining about.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:24 PM   #50
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Thanks for sharing your experiences as a camp host, obviously it's not for everyone, but something to consider if you plan on staying somewhere for a longer period. It's a good way to save some $$ on lodging.

The Texas state parks website https://tpwd.samaritan.com/recruiter...PP_SEARCH_LINK
Has a variety of volunteer positions, not all are picking up cigarette butts and cleaning toilets, so check the website of parks where you are travelling to see what's out there.
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Old 09-24-2016, 07:22 AM   #51
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?????????? Where the heck you guys hosting? Sure not where I do. I have experienced maybe 5% of what you are complaining about.
Natl forest campgrounds. Once in "da UP" upper michigian. And once in central fl.

Most folks are great campers. It is that small percentage that make it feel like babysitting. It really can be like you are the first person to ever ask a full grown adult to observe the same rules all other campers follow. These rules for the most part are the same all over the country, nothing new or exciting or different. I am fine with a novice camper who just does not know about quiet hours and gennie off, they are almost never a problem. It is the the guy running his gennie with his ac on while he sits around the campfire till midnight and then when asked to shut off the gennie he plays the i need it for my cpac card....then camp where there are hookups, get a bigger battery, at min let the host know so i do not have folks knocking on my door pissed about the noise and i have no idea why it is on, and finally if it is for the cpac why the hell are you sitting at the camp fire and the ac is on? This happened two or three times a month. Just one of many examples of the entitled type of campers who make host life difficult and upset other campers.
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Old 09-24-2016, 09:52 AM   #52
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We've found there are no exceptions for running the generator past quiet time - not even for a CPAC. If you need electric then go to an electric park.
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Old 09-24-2016, 10:22 AM   #53
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Mine is called a CPAP. I belive the acronym stands for Constant Positive Air Pressure. I have a 12V adapter cord that runs it directly off 12V. There is no reason or need to run the genny all night.
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Old 09-24-2016, 11:25 AM   #54
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We've found there are no exceptions for running the generator past quiet time - not even for a CPAC. If you need electric then go to an electric park.
I agree but the forest service rules where we were had an exception for med devices and they classify the cpac, cpap whatever as a med device. Mind you i could not ask to see the device or anything to prove it is needed (no CPAC is needed to sustain life, if it is do not go camping) I know many folks with them who somehow manage to survive a night or two without using them.
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Old 09-24-2016, 05:31 PM   #55
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We volunteered at a state park campground our first year full timing. Most of the other campground hosts/volunteers were so racist and most of them were from northern states. We were supposed to be campground hosts but the campground managers (2 in a row were fired) approved a bunch of campground hosts who had no campground loops to work in. We ended up cleaning three public restrooms in the state park but outside the campground. They had not been cleaned properly in years and the things we saw in the bathrooms were so disgusting. We stuck out our obligation but we likely will never volunteer again.
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Old 09-24-2016, 06:12 PM   #56
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jpharley: Don't let your bad experience turn you off. We did it off and on for 16 years and never had a bad one. I really think you'd find more better ones than bad ones. You might even try a different state if you think all the state parks in that particular state are run the same. I really doubt it though. Keep in mind that it's perfectly o.k. to question your duties or voice concerns. They really do want feedback. If those bathroom duties weren't described to you before you took the job then that was a good reason to question 'why'. If it's too bad there's no reason to stay if they won't work with you to solve your dissatisfaction. I commend you for staying. Most would not.

There are also other agencies that might work better for you or perhaps not even hosting but manning a Visitor Center or giving interpretative talks. There are gigs where you don't have to deal with campers. You could consider Fish and Wildlife Agency - we did a couple fish hatchery stints or National Wildlife Refuges. Our favorite was giving lighthouse tours - an awesome experience with people that are really interested in what lighthouses are all about. I do hope you'll try again!! These places need you.
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