Returning the Love

Returning the love
Februrary 12, 2016

Remember your first camping trip at a Washington State Park? Or that time you were hiking and came upon the most breath-taking view you had ever seen? How about that time you bonded with your kids during a lakeside fishing trip? Or even the day you married the love of your life at a park?

Ready to give a little love back?

If you have some free time on your hands, own an RV and like working with the public, you’re all set to return some of the joy you’ve gained from Washington state parks! How, you ask?

Two words: Camp hosting!

Whether you can spare 30 days or a whole season, Washington State Parks needs your help! Volunteers are an integral part of the state parks experience, and camp hosts are an invaluable resource to both the parks and visitors.

Imagine stepping out of your camper, and your morning commute could be traversing the grounds of a state park! Greet visitors from around the state, country and the world, and get them settled into their own blissful camping experience. Spend your days helping keep the park clean and acting as extra eyes and ears for parks staff. After your assignment is done for the day, retire to your own campsite for another wonderful night beneath the stars.

Sound like fun? Read on! We’ve got the scoop on everything you need to get started on your camp hosting adventure!

Camp Hosts
Hosts are like trees. They come in every size and shape!
Returning the Love
Volunteering is fun to do as a couple!
The Basics
Becoming a volunteer camp host starts with the application. You’ll list your preferred parks. Then, if your application is approved, a State Parks volunteer coordinator will match you up with a park. Top requirements for host applicants are having an RV and a minimum 30-day block of time where you’ll be staying—and playing—in your assigned park. A background check also is required.

In exchange for up to 28 hours of volunteer time per week, you’ll camp for free during your assignment. Traveling with a furry friend? Pets are welcome to come along, too, provided you keep them corralled or on a leash.
Returning the Love - Autumn
Bringing in the leaves! Camp host volunteers are a major reason parks stay clean and inviting
So what can you expect from your volunteer adventure? Fulfilling connections with others, in beautiful, natural surroundings!

Volunteers come to camp hosting with a wide variety of backgrounds, says Dwight Keegan, a ranger at Lake Chelan State Park, which is in need of volunteer camp hosts this year. “We want to find duties and projects that fit and make the experience rewarding. We like to make it up as we go along.”

Dig working with the public? You might be assigned to greet  visitors and educate them about the park. Like working outside? Light, healthy physical activity such as helping keep the park clean may be among your duties. Enjoy big crowds? Consider hosting at one of our environmental learning centers, such as Camp Wooten in the Blue Mountain area.

No matter your interest, you can return your love of state parks. And it doesn’t have to just be a summertime endeavor. Washington has more than 120 parks all across the state. Some close down during late fall and winter, but others stay open. Some camp hosting opportunities at parks run all year long! Come check it out today!

Do you have some great memories from your time as a camp host?
Tell us all about it and share your photos here!

All photos courtesy of Washington State Parks