What has made our work experience enjoyable are the wonderful people we worked with. This was also the case last year when we worked at a U.S. Army Corps of Engineer park in Idaho in which we were just as fortunate to work with a tremendously fun group of people. This summer was not different. We had dinner parties, campfires and cocktails, scenic drives around the park, and many laughs with our coworkers. And, we got a little work done.
So what did we actually do? Well, I worked outside on the maintenance crew (with all the guys) doing an assortment of tasks which ran the gamut of mowing, weed whacking, painting, vacuuming the pool, trimming bushes, and yes . . . cleaning the restrooms. Plus whatever else needed to be done. And I got to operate the backhoe/frontloader.
Betsy spent her time in the office checking in campers, making reservations, handling purchases in the store, and cleaning the rental cabins and cottages. The mundane of day-to-day work was interrupted with an occasional power outage, computer crash, flooded building, and escaped cat.
Our three-month commitment was supposed to end September 1st but due to some unexpected circumstances in which other couples left earlier than expected we agreed to continue working until early October. Just as well for us since now we will get to enjoy the fall colors that will transform the beautiful Maine landscape.
|One of our campsites (#318) right on the water. Not a bad view from the "office."|
This years work experience is quite different than last years. Last year we were considered volunteers for the Corps of Engineers and worked 16 hours per week per person (although we willingly worked more hours). The schedule was four days on, four days off and a “work” day of just four hours. When we worked our hours and what we did was fairly flexible. We didn’t get paid but we did get financially reimbursed for the mileage from our home base in Florida to the worksite in Idaho (which amounted to over $1,400) and our campsite was free. (NOTE: Our mileage
|A real paycheck again.|
So if you are going to work camp make sure you do your homework and consider who you are working for, exactly what the job entails, the benefits, are you in a place you really want to be, and if their “management” style fits your bill. We did a three month cost comparison of last year versus this year and found the results interesting. While we didn’t get paid for our work last year, our site was free, we were paid for our travel, and we were in a very remote area so we did not spend a lot of money. Yes we are earning a salary this year but we have to pay for our site and have spent more money during the week on restaurants and entertainment (which translates to eating lobster three times a week for Betsy). Both our work camping experiences were in locations where we wanted to be in for an extended period of time and "working" was the most cost effective way for us to do that.
All in all, we are glad we decided to work here and are thankful for the wonderful people we met who made our summer so great. Bar Harbor and the surrounding towns are places that lure us back time and time again. Who knows, maybe we will be back next summer, we liked it so much!