From the desk of Firedude
Well it can sure be an interesting position. I was a volunteer camp host on the central coast of California for California State Parks for nearly 6 years. During which time I hosted about 9-10 months of the year and traveled the rest. I thought I had seen it all in my 33 year career as a firefighter, but couldn’t have been more wrong! The position was great and I was allowed to set the schedules. We worked a 3 day on 3 day off (firefighter style) shift. That meant you worked 3 straight days and off 3 straight days leaving you time to go places, see things and even take short trips if you desired. This didn’t mean you had to be in the campground 24/7 by any means.
My position consisted of a morning and noon camp check and be available to sell firewood at hours you designate (within reason) and available to answer questions etc. In reality it could have been done in a matter of 2-3 hours per day. You can put forth more effort if you wish and of course I did because I enjoyed it. I decided even though I was retired I wanted to stay active and not sit on my duff.
In exchange you received your full hookup campsite and other perks such a free tours of Hearst Castle for you and friends, an annual swim party at the pool at Hearst Castle, a free day use pass for all Ca. state parks, free firewood and some others. Staff also put on a few BBQ’s per year as well and very enjoyable. In our sector there was NO maintenance or cleaning of restrooms by the hosts. Positions duties will vary from locale to locale.
Without a doubt you will meet the most interesting people you can imagine as my book will definitely show. All my stories are true and told of course with the Firedude’s humor. Neither Jim Carey nor Jim (Ernest) Varney held a candle to me! The movie “RV” should have been written around my book and experiences. They were twice as hilarious and real. Some say they’ve hosted and never encounter anything like it, but let me tell you the central coast of Ca. can attract a wide range of characters!
To be a good camp host you need to be a people person. You have to be able and want to communicate with others and interact. I made so many friends and some turned out to be long lasting memorable friendships. It’s all what you want to make it. As well you must be able to maintain a professional low keyed even temperament since you are representing whatever entity you are working for. Never engage in an argument or become involved in a confrontation and let the ranger or local law enforcement handle those. They are far and few in between, but not for the host to be involved in. It’s not your job.
Now it can be VERY entertaining as well. During this tour is where my infamous “splinter removal kit” was born which is described in my book. The blog is not long enough to tell the stories, they are contained in my book, but trust me I saw and heard some of the craziest things AND RV’s you could ever imagine. Here’s an excerpt of just one of many zany and crazy stories in my book, a tame one at that……
A family came in to tent camp. Set up their site and went to the beach for the day. The other part of the family came in later and got their site and as a joke got another one then completely moved the others site to the other location and when they returned they came to the office (before their family could catch them) to report all their stuff and tent stolen. We knew nothing of it so a Ranger was summoned to take a report of the theft. As the Ranger arrived so did the other family members. All in all it was pretty funny to most, except the Ranger! He kindly told them he was not amused and refused to refund the extra site they had paid for and that if he came back for any reason at all he would eject them!
You have to keep in mind that 99% of campers are great people, but that 1% can sure provide some absolute hilarious entertainment as indicated in my book. My book of course also outlines some personal obstacles you may encounter along with my own personal life. After telling a few of my stories on the forum I kept getting encouragement to write a book of my adventures which I finally over time accomplished. It takes you inside the life of a full-timing camp host, its ups and downs, personal life as well as the adventures. It was one of the most memorable and rewarding times of my life. So you say you want to be a camp host? Grab a copy of my book and see if you’re up to it!