Working major events as park hosts can be really trying on your body and your required volunteer hours. Even if you are one of the volunteers just getting the park ready for the events you will end up using quite a bit of your hours. If you are working the event then even more because after the event you will more than likely be asked to help clean up afterwards. Residential Park Hosts as opposed to Campground Hosts are usually required to participate with park events. While we are at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park they had events almost every single month of various kinds and some were offered more frequently like a “Walk through the Park with the Park Ranger”. Since we don’t have any “Maintenance” skills we generally help out getting ready for the events, cleaning up after the events and sometimes we even demonstrated old time skills during the event or collected fees for the event. It was fun to learn about these types of things, demonstrate them to the visitors and dress up in costumes. If you are a history buff them volunteering at one of the historic parks may be just for you.
Other, larger state parks have big events like concerts, movie nights, and festivals that you may be ask to help out with. On the plus side you get to attend these events for FREE if you are working them or just helping out. On the other they will tire you out and rack up your volunteer hours fairly quickly, I think that is one of the reasons why most parks are very strict about your residential volunteer length-of-stay. One, you don’t want to get burned out and two, they don’t want volunteers to act like they are entitled to certain privileges. We found this sense of entitlement very prevalent with returning residential volunteers in the larger parks. Yes, it is nice to come back to a place year after year and see some of the same people but after a while you will begin to feel as if you “own” your spot and fee entitled to certain things.
I think that is why we have tried our best not to return to a park we have been residential volunteers. Yes, my ultimate goal is to visit every single state park before we quit being full-time RVers and we really like visiting new places but the main reason is that we don’t want to feel as if we “must” come back to a place. Besides the whole point of traveling in an RV is to visit new places, meet new people and have new experiences. You really can’t do that if you get into a routine and go back to the places you have already been time and time again. Don’t get me wrong, if that is your preference, then by all means continue on coming back year after year. Some parks really appreciate knowing that their volunteers will be coming back again. Myakka River State Park has a large volunteer village for their returning “snow-birds” each winter season. But during the summer months they can’t get much, if any, help. It would be nice if more Floridians would get out there and be RVing volunteers from late spring to early fall to fill in the gaps!
Till next week……
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