The Job of a Camp Host

Today is May 8 and we have almost completed one month of our three month stint as Camp Hosts. It is still early but I thought I would share a bit about our experience.

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We got here just in time for a major snow storm. It was very cool (no pun intended) to get to experience Bryce Canyon blanketed in snow and it meant there weren’t many campers while we got acclimated. Unfortunatley, the weather hasn’t warmed up much since then and we’ve had to wear our cold-weather uniforms pretty much every morning we’ve been on duty.

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We can do our rounds in the Polaris but we have been opting to walk most of the time. For those of you interested in the details of the job (at least as it is here):

  • Our first round is around 7:45 AM when we pull all the tags from campsites that are leaving that day and put up signs for any sites that are reserved for the upcoming night. We also record any campers that have arrived over night. There are just under 100 campsites in our campground and it takes about a half-hour for us to walk all three loops.
  • Next round for us is just after lunch when we check for garbage and clean the fire pits in the vacated campsites and log in any new arrivals. This is usually after checkout time and we check-in with any campers that are still hanging around. Typically, we spend 1-2 hours doing this round.
  • At around 4:30, we head out again and check-in new arrivals. The majority of campers have shown up by this time. We are also watching to see if we are full throughout the afternoon. (If we are full, we have to radio the gate, put up some signs and generally make sure everyone that needs to know, knows.) This is my favorite round because a lot of campers are sitting out. (I like to tell them about the Program that is scheduled for that night at the Lodge.) If you make contact, people often have questions (like what time is sunrise, how cold is it going to get overnight, where can they get firewood and what trail should they hike.) This is the best part of the job – helping people enjoy the Park!
  • Last round is after 8 PM when generators are supposed to be off. We also check-in any late arrivals.
  • So, the annoying thing about the job is “hassling” people about the rules. We are only responsible for giving a friendly reminder and by far, the majority of people have been great about it. (There have been a couple of incidents already, though.) The challenge has been figuring out which rules people really need to be reminded about. Our “boss” has his own priority issues and of course there are safety concerns. It has taken most of the month for me to get comfortable with what to bring to the attention of the campers (and ultimately, in some cases, the attention of the Law Enforcement Ranger.)

    We have had the campsite of six 20-somethings (who were old enough to know better) setting up their tent behind the sign that said “Please Keep Off”, parking on the grass and leaving a burning fire unattended. The Law Enforcement contingent got seriously involved in this one!

    My favorite camper was the guy that showed up, got out of his truck and promptly started peeing in his campsite! He was in plain view from our site (where I was sitting at the picnic table with my mouth open not sure I was seeing this right) and the road.

    We’ve been working a three day on/three day off schedule. When the weather is good, we hike on our days off or drive to town. Only one of us has to be in camp when we are on-duty so Alan can do the wash or we take turns going to the employee gym (both of which are free.) I’ve actually gotten more sewing done here than I get at home since I can sew a lot of the day when we are on-duty … which is exactly what I’m going to go do now!

    11 thoughts on “The Job of a Camp Host

        1. Paula, I think we would definitely do it again. There are a lot of opportunities to volunteer in the National Parks, State Parks, Forests and Wildlife Refuges. The hard part may be deciding where to go next!

    1. Sounds like you are settling in just fine and enjoying it. What an experience to have. Enjoy! and stay safe! Love the photos of all the snow!! :O)

      1. Sheri, Lucky for us both Al and I had to deal with the peeing guy! I got the first round and Alan got the second time. By then, though he was pretty drunk!

      1. Karen, Our campground has a loop just for RVs but it doesn’t have electricity. Campers can use a generator from 8 AM to 8 PM but they have to be off after that so they don’t disturb the other campers (some of the generators can be pretty loud!)

      1. No time! Besides, there hasn’t been much interesting going on here … I’ve got some pictures to post soon, though.

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