Where are the FoY RV Volunteers?

The other day in the hot tub at FoY, a few old timers were bemoaning that there aren’t enough people helping out with clubs and activities. It made me wonder: are RV volunteers a thing of the past?

Are RV Volunteers a Thing of the Past?

Fountain of Youth Trail

You can run for miles on RV volunteer built trails.

“That younger generation just doesn’t want to volunteer,” one camper complained to the other. “We have a real shortage around here.”

In addition to running activities, FoY volunteers built miles of surrounding desert trails that Jim and love to run. I often wonder how those people had the time to do it. Who are those FoY RV volunteers with so much time on their hands? 

Niland California Fountain of Youth Trail

I can’t think of a better way to say “Good Morning, World!”

While sitting in the tub listening to the campers, I had to wonder if they assumed that those of us in “younger generation” are retired like they are. There are quite a few of us here who don’t fit the typical snowbird demographic, and I don’t think it registers with them that we work all day long from our RV. I think they assume we live off a pension like they do. Hah!

Niland California Fountain of Youth Trail

Some day I will give back to the trails too!

Jim and I are part of the gig economy. We’ll be working for a while. Who’s got the time to spend volunteering all winter long? And also, why should a for-profit RV park depend on volunteers to do things like trail maintenance and activities management? Isn’t that what workampers are for? 

Regardless, I am grateful that others had the inclination and time to step up and create such awesome trails. And now, each day I will give a silent “Thanks, Boomer!” whenever I run those paths that jump start my morning in such a beautiful way. Perhaps not too long from now, I’ll be in a financial place where I can get out there and give my time away too.

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4 Responses to “Where are the FoY RV Volunteers?”

  1. Just my two cents, after being on the road for over 20 years, as a young working couple.

    Its not about volunteering in place of work. Its about volunteering in addition to work, to give back to your community. My wife and I worked full-time up until a few years ago on the road, so I get the “I work all day in my rig” mentality. But so do people in the sticks and bricks life style, but they still find time to do small volunteer projects. I’m not talking about a volunteer commitment. I have noticed over the years getting volunteers to clean up after a pot luck is difficult, putting the chairs away, wiping off tables etc. The mentality can go both ways. I’ve heard park owners complain that sometimes a group of volunteers build something like a trail then a few years later those volunteers are gone, the park staff doesn’t have the time to maintain or repair the benches on the trail or pick up the dog poop or something and new renters complain that the park isn’t maintaining the trails. It’s a double edge sword for the park. Do they hire more staff and then raise the rates to pay the staff?

    People want activities, but activities take time to plan, to shop for, to even print and post flyers.

    RVers have always been more friendly, more willing to help each other, to pitch in, doesn’t that extend to the park owners. Don’t we love it when we read a review that says, the park owners and staff treat us like family. Can’t we reciprocate.

    Of course the converse is true, those “older” folks in the hot tub can get off their butts and find something to do as well.

    Just some food for thought, I’ll step off the soap box now.

    • Larry, you nailed it! Thanks for giving the other side of the situation that I hadn’t considered before I spouted off. In your long career working closely with RV park owners, I know that you saw a side of the story that their customers don’t. I so appreciate your insight!

      Yes you are SO right; reciprocating would be a kind gesture to the mom & pop RV parks of the world. As for KOA and the big chains, I’ll stand by my opinion that they can hire workampers to keep up stuff like that.

  2. “Who’s got the time to spend volunteering all winter long? And also, why should a for-profit RV park depend on volunteers to do things like trail maintenance and activities management?” This is how I feel as well. I appreciate the time and effort spent by those who have volunteered before me and do my best to practice Leave No Trace principles.

    I would look into the work opportunities at volunteer.gov as they offer things like free campground stays and hookups, but it can be challenging as many of the opportunities require each person in the RV to commit to the job fully (meaning if it’s just me, it’s 16 hours per week but it’s 32 hours for my wife and I.) Who knows…maybe I’ll have more time on my hands when I retire haha.

    • Thanks for your take on it Brian. Yeah, it’s definitely hard to find a volunteer gig that can work with our need to earn a living. I think that the people running those gigs and recruiting workampers need to re-think the hourly commitment if they want more able-bodied people helping out. I would gladly spend a few hours a week doing something like maintaining trails in exchange for a campsite, but everything I’ve seen out there calls for way too many hours than I can commit at this point in my life.

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