A Day in the Life of a … …Dog owning Work Camper

Work Camping is a significant life change. You’re still working but “home” is different. Space is limited – very limited. So you have to decide what’s important to have with you and what is not. In our case, we’ve got a 10-year-old dog, we take with us. Since many people travel with their dogs,  you’ll find that most campgrounds allow dogs. Most resorts have fenced in  “Bark Parks” where you can take “Rover” for a little off the leash exercise.  Most have the bags and trash cans there so you can clean up after them too.

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A day in the life of …

… a work camper

We’re about halfway through our time work camping here at Lake Ridge R V Resort in Hillsville, Virginia. I’ve found that there are similarities and differences between work camping and working a regular job.  Even though the atmosphere is a little more laid back, as in a regular job the work ethic still needs to be there.  I feel like most people come here to relax, have a good time and spend time together as a family so we need to do what we can to help make it enjoyable.   Things are still going to happen. Storms are still going to come on the day that the plans were to spend the day at the pool.   Games are still going to take your quarter and give you back nothing. Plumbing is still going to get stopped up. But how it’s handled makes a big difference. Mostly, this falls on the guest to keep their attitude right, but staff can help out too. Staff needs to be attentive and offer solutions or other options when possible.  Several of our younger workers will learn but have been less than helpful at times. And, there’s politics no matter where you work, but there’s no need to get involved.  Work campers are only here for a season.

We returned from our family vacation in Washington DC and I started back working again last week.  I’m working in Activities now.   I don’t know how it is at other camping resorts, but here, Activities is only open Thursday through Sunday. Since I don’t want to work every weekend, because Dave doesn’t work weekends, I’m not working as much.  There’s usually only two of us working in Activities and it gets pretty busy.  I’m not in charge of planning the activities, just trying to make them work out and help the participants have fun.  Mostly, we have kids there, but we’ve seen some families participating together too.  One day last week, we had a whole family in painting ceramics. It was nice to see them all doing something together and making memories. I’m learning to tie-dye too since that seems to be a pretty popular thing to do. Mostly, they like to tie-dye t-shirts, but we do have a few other items to dye.  There are lots of patterns out there to try out, but with the younger ones, we try to keep it simple.   We prep everything for them, and they put the colors on.  This weekend, I had a few girls who decided they didn’t need to wear gloves. So, for awhile they’ll have another souvenir of their visit here. It will take a few days for that dye to wash off.

Another very popular family activity here is Candy Bar Bingo that I think would be great for family reunions too.   In order to get your bingo card, you have to bring a full-size candy bar.  If you bingo, you win two candy bars.  When we do the last game, it’s a coverall and the winner gets all the candy bars that are left.

We recently made a visit back to Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville for a follow up check up with the cardiac doctor to make sure Dave’s heart is still healing as it should, and it is.  It was an interesting visit with the doc since we spent quite a bit of time talking about work camping.  Every time we talk with someone about it, they usually say it’s something they would like to do. Then they say something like they don’t know if they could live in an R V that long.  My response is usually that you don’t really live in it full time.  A lot of time is spent outside, or in the community centers, visiting with other campers, enjoying the scheduled activities, or whatever entertainment is available.  This is just our first gig, but I trust that other locations will be similar.  When we’re not working, many times, we try to check out the surrounding areas.  There are still some places within a reasonable driving distance that we want to go visit but haven’t made it there yet. Those will probably be the topic of my next posts. See you then!