Volunteering can be a great way for anyone to get involved in their community. However, it can be hard to decide where you volunteer when we are only afforded only a limited number of time and energy. As a full-time or part-time RV goer, it can be even more difficult to decide where to volunteer when your nomadic lifestyle may not necessarily compliment the volunteer organization. That is why I compiled this list detailing the top three volunteer opportunities that cater specifically to full-time and part-time RV goers. Enjoy!
Volunteering at a National Park
Volunteering at a national park can be the complete experience if you are looking to explore a specific location, and needing to cut back on your RV costs. Many, if not all parks offer some kind of exchange program that will allow you to donate your time, and in return you receive free access to a campsite and other camp amenities, including electrical connections, and water and sewer hook ups. The specific hours, and responsibilities of a campsite, can vary from camp to camp, and greatly depend on a campsite’s needs. This means your responsibilities can range from a variety of tasks, and can include everything from general administrative duties to helping fellow campers with visitor inquiries and questions. And, if you have a genuine interest in visitor relations and information, some sites will even let you develop your own programs to be presented to the general public or visiting schools. Almost every park system in the U.S. will have some kind of volunteer program, although, not all of them will have RV specific positions. A good place to look for these opportunities, aside from your general google search, is to find alternative job hosts that might list RV specific positions. One particularly good site is Coolworks.com where you will find a list of opportunities under the category ‘Jobs for RVers’. If you are not technologically inclined however, you can always ask the park’s volunteer coordinator whether there are RV specific positions. Volunteering at a campsite can be a great way to combine your interests, but it is not the only way to get involved for those who are full-time RV goers. For individuals who are not necessarily interested in volunteering at a national park, I’ve listed below two different organizations that specifically cater to RV goers.
Similar to the Habitat for Humanity program, RV Care-A-Vanners (an extension of Habitat for Humanity), collaborate with skilled builders to build, renovate and repair homes. Although individuals are required to pay their own expenses, the affiliated host site will arrange the RV parking at a free to nominal charge. Volunteers can also expect access to minimal arrangements including electrical hookups, and water and dump stations near their vicinity. If time is an issue, you can also choose to donate your RV (and other vehicular machines) to this program. The proceeds from your donation’s sale will then directly go to your local Habitat for Humanity. Photo courtesy of Mary Vandeveld.
D.O.V.E. or Disaster Operations Volunteer Escapees
Another great program worth mentioning is D.O.V.E., or Disaster Operations Volunteer Escapees. D.O.V.E. is affiliated with several different organizations; however its volunteer efforts are mainly associated with the American Red Cross. D.O.V.E. members specifically assist in disaster related services in their RVs. This includes everything from performing administrative tasks at a local Red Cross chapter, to being deployed and responding to a national disaster (big and small). To take part in D.O.V.E., you have to be a member of the Escapees RV Club (an online RV chapter). Then you have to join your local Red Cross chapter where you will take part in disaster relief and recovery training.
Volunteering can be a great way to keep active in the community as a full-time or part-time RV goer. The flexibility of living on the road can open doors that would otherwise be closed to everyone else. More importantly though, volunteering can be fulfilling way to engage with your community, and with the diversity of opportunities that are out there, there is always something that will compliment your lifestyle, and interests. Bon Voyage and Happy Volunteering!