Monday, March 4, 2013

When it Rains, it Pours....Campground Hosting Gigs Galore!!!

When I  first started submitting my applications to the states that Katrina and I had agreed on for our first hosting attempts (FL,GA, NC, SC, VA), I really thought that we would be lucky to fill our schedule- especially since we were first time hosts and younger than I think most parks are looking for (age=maturity & quiet camping). 

I must write one helluva cover letter, because not only did we fill our nine months in about two weeks, the offers are still pouring in. We could work four seasons over if we wanted to. 
The parks are all really interesting in their own unique ways and I decided to list all of them (so far) here for your enjoyment: 

1.Devils Fork State Park
 is in northwestern South Carolina on the eastern edge of the Sumter National Forest at the edge of 7,500-acre (3,035 ha) Lake Jocassee. It is located three miles (5 km) off of SC 11, the Cherokee Scenic Highway, near tiny Salem, South Carolina.
The park offers hikingcamping (including several paddle-in primitive sites), canoeing and kayaking. The park is well known for rainbowand brown trout, as well as largemouthsmallmouth, and white basscrappiebream and catfish. The park has accommodations forscuba divers, including a walk-in ramp; thirty foot visibility is common, and due to the lake's recent creation, roads, houses, signs and other marks of human habitation can be seen on the lake bottom.
The 622-acre (2.5 km2) park was created in 1990. The park has many small waterfalls that feed lake Jocassee, and is home to theOconee Bell, a wildflower indigenous to North and South Carolina that grows throughout the park; more than 90 percent of the world population of these delicate white and pink flowers are found in the park.

2. Tallulah Gorge is a gorge that is formed by the Tallulah River cutting through the Tallulah Dome rock formation. The gorge is approximately 2 miles (3 km) long and features rocky cliffs up to 1,000 feet (300 m) high. Through it, a series of falls known as Tallulah Fallsdrop a total of 150 metres (490 ft) in one mile (1.6 km). Tallulah Falls is actually composed of six separate falls: l'Eau d'Or 46 ft (14 m),Tempesta 76 ft (23 m), Hurricane the tallest at 96 feet (29 m), Oceana 50 ft (15 m), the smooth "sliding rock" at Bridal Veil 17 ft (5.2 m) andLovers Leap 16 ft (4.9 m). The Tallulah Gorge is located next to the town of Tallulah Falls, GeorgiaTallulah Gorge State Park protects much of the gorge and its waterfalls. The gorge is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia.
Just above the falls is Tallulah Falls Lake, created in 1913 by a hydroelectric dam built by Georgia Railway and Power (now Georgia Power) in order to run Atlanta's streetcars. The dam still collects and redirects most of the water via a 6,666-foot (2,032 m) tunnel sluice or penstock (pipe) around the falls to an electricity generation station downstream that is 608 feet (185 m) lower than the lake, except for a few days each year. The days when water is released are very popular for recreation, such as kayaking and whitewater rafting.
3. Edisto Beach State Park is located on the coast of South Carolina, 50 miles south of Charleston, near the town of Edisto Beach in Colleton County.
The park offers South Carolina's longest system of handicapped accessible hiking and biking trails. The trails wind through Edisto Island's maritime forest, leading to sites such as a Native American shell midden dated to 2000 BC, and a survey monument placed by Alexander Bache in 1850.
Activities possible at the park include surf fishing for flounderspot tail and whiting, as well as boating, birding and picnicking.
The park's education center, the Edisto Interpretive Center, hosts a number of programs and research services. The center includes an exhibit teaching visitors about the ACE Basin estuarine reserve through interactive displays.The park was one of the first South Carolina state parks, developed by the Civilian Conservation Corps. It was created on land donated in 1935 by the Edisto Company. Many of the original buildings built by the CCC still stand and are in use currently.
4Alfred B. Maclay State Gardens is a 1,176-acre (4.76 km2Florida State Parkbotanical garden and historic site, located inTallahassee, in northwestern Florida. The address is 3540 Thomasville Road.
The gardens are also a U.S. historic district known as the Killearn Plantation Archeological and Historic District. It received that designation on August 16, 2002. According to the National Register of Historic Places, it contains 18 historic buildings, 4 structures and 4 objects.
The gardens began in 1923 when Alfred Barmore Maclay (1871–1944) and his wife, Louise Fleischman, bought the site. Maclay named his gardens Killearn, after the birth place of his great-grandfather in Scotland, and developed them continuously until his death. His wife continued their development, opened them to the public in 1946, and in 1953 donated some 307 acres (1.24 km2) of their estate, including the gardens, to the Florida Board of Park Service. In 1965 the gardens were renamed in Maclay's honor.
The backbone of the garden plantings are azaleas and camellias. Trees include bald cypressblack gumcyrilladogwoodhickoryholly,Japanese mapleoakplumredbudLiquidambar, and Torreya taxifolia. Other plantings include ArdisiaAucubaZamia integrifolia,Rhododendron chapmaniiGardeniagingerjasmine, Oriental magnolia, mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia), Nandinapalmettosago palm,[disambiguation needed] SelaginellaWisteria, and Yucca filamentosa.
The park has such amenities as bicyclingbirdingboatingcanoeingfishinghikinghorse trailskayakingpicnicking areas and swimming. It also has a museum with interpretive exhibits.

5.Dudley Farm, also known as Dudley Farm Historic State Park, is a U.S. historic district and museum park located inNewberryFlorida. It was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on October 4, 2002. The address is 18730 WestNewberry Road.
The park encompasses approximately 325 acres (1.32 km2), and contains 21 historic buildings and 13 structures, including the family farmhouse with original furnishings, an 1880s kitchen outbuilding, a general store and post office, and a functional cane syrup complex.
The site is a working farm, showing agricultural development in Florida from the 1850s through the mid-1940s, and park staff perform chores while dressed in period clothes.
Other features include a visitor center, a picnic area and nature trails.

6.Croft State Park, Spartanburg, SC- once and army training base, the park covers more than 7,000 acres of rolling, wooded terrain just a few miles from downtown Spartanburg. The park offers 12 miles of biking & hiking trails, picnic facilities, an equestrian park, a playground and camping facilities. There is also fishing and boating on the lake. 
7. Kerr Lake (officially John H. Kerr Reservoir, also known as Bugg's Island Lake[1]) is a reservoir along the border of the U.S. states ofNorth Carolina and Virginia created by the John H. Kerr Dam. The dam construction started in 1947 and took 2,100+ workers in three shifts, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, more than four years to complete, and was finished in 1952 to produce electricity and to provide flood control. It is the largest reservoir in Virginia. It is owned by the US Army Corps of Engineers. It is located in parts of VanceGranville, andWarren counties in North Carolina, and MecklenburgCharlotte, and Halifax counties in Virginia. At its maximum capacity, it's one of the largest reservoirs in the Southeastern United States. The lake has over 850 miles of shoreline and covers approximately 50,000 acres (200 km²). The lake is named for Congressman John H. Kerr of North Carolina, who supported the original creation of the lake.

The lake is actually an impoundment of the Roanoke River (also called the Staunton River in Virginia). The Dan River and several smaller creeks also feed the lake. The lake is upstream of Lake Gaston. Just downstream from the current John H. Kerr Dam, and still visible from the viewing platform below the dam at Tailrace park, lies Buggs Island, named for Samuel Bugg, an early settler. North Carolinians know this body of water as Kerr Lake. Virginians know it as Buggs Island Lake or Buggs Island Reservoir.
The large lake is wildly popular with both North Carolinians and Virginians for fishing and recreational purposes. For fishing, the lake has an abundance of large-mouth bass, striped bass (the only certified lake in Virginia to have a naturally reproducing population), crappiecatfishand bream. Camping is also a popular activity, with many campsites (run by the Army Corps of Engineers, North Carolina State Parks and Virginia State Parks) lining the shore including Kimball Point, North Bend Park, County Line, Hibernia, and others. Campsites for both tents and RVs are available. Jet-skiing and water-tubing occur often on the lake. Recreational motor boating and sailing also occur on the lake, with three privately operated marinas available: Steele Creek and Satterwhite Point (in North Carolina) and Clarksville (in Virginia). These marinas have rental slips for sail and motor boats, with additional amenities including fuel docks, marina stores, and some organized yacht clubs. The Carolina Sailing Club stages monthly regattas for several one-design sailing classes from April through October.
8. Table Rock State Park is a 3,083-acre (12.48 km2) park at the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains in northern Pickens County, South Carolina. The park includes Pinnacle Mountain, the tallest mountain totally within the state. 
The park features a lodge restored by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that includes a kitchen and a 72-seat dining room.[5] There are two park lakes with seasonal swimming permitted and hiking trails that lead to the Pinnacle Mountain Summit (two routes), Mill Creek Falls, and the summit of Table Rock. A nature center offers educational programs, and there are picnic shelters and a playground
The 1.9-mile (3.1 km) Carrick Creek Nature Trail loops around two creeks with small cascades and waterfalls and displays wildflowers in season.
The 3.5-mile (5.6 km) Table Rock Summit Trail is moderately strenuous rising, 2,000 feet (610 m) above the trailhead and includes a shelter built by the CCC. At approximately 2.5 miles (4.0 km), the trail forks, the left fork following a ridge trail to Pinnacle Mountain and the right fork to the summit at 3,124 feet (952 m). The trail ends at an overlook with a view of Table Rock Reservoir and Caesars Head[7]
The park is the eastern trailhead of the 80-mile (130 km) Foothills Trail through the Blue Ridge Escarpment.
Prior to the signing of the Hopewell Treaty of 1785, the land now encompassed by Table Rock State Park was part of the Lower CherokeeNation. The Cherokee called the area, "Sah-ka-na-ga," the Great Blue Hills of God, and they established many hunting camps in the area.[8]
Europeans moved into the Oolenoy River Valley soon after the signing of the Hopewell Treaty, settling at Pumpkintown (named for the unusually large pumpkins grown there). William Sutherland and James Keith operated a wayside lodge for visitors and about 1840, they built a hotel, which prospered until the Civil War. Visitors increased again after Reconstruction, and in 1899, E. Foster Keith built a new hotel, which was later destroyed. By the beginning of the 20th century several farm families lived in the Table Rock area
In 1935 approximately 2,860 acres (11.6 km2) of land was donated by Pickens County and the city of Greenville.[10][11] The park was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps(CCC).[12] The CCC built a dam for Pinnacle Lake, several fish-rearing pools, the superintendent's residence, a lodge, shelters, and miles of roads and hiking trails. The CCC also landscaped the park using natural vegetation from the Pinnacle Lake bed. Much of this work remains visible in the 21st century.[8]
The Table Rock State Park Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.[9] It is also a South Carolina Heritage Trust Site.

As ya'll can see, there are plenty of opportunities for hosting. The process is really easy- each state has either an online, emailed or mailed in application that you fill out and return. I also included a copy of my resume and a cover letter in the hopes of impressing the coordinators with my 'credentials'. For Georgia, there is a $15 application fee that pays for your background check and I balked a bit at paying the fee but our first offer came from GA, so I think it was worth it. All of the other states eat the cost of the CBC if you commit to them- my checks for NC and SC are also both completed and are good for one year. 
I have included the copy of my cover letter below for those of you who are thinking about hosting yourselves. Please change it a bit and don't use it verbatim so the parks don't think that we are all using a stock template. Please note that most parks want to know the size, make and model of your trailer and tow vehicle, as they need to make sure that your rig will fit and they don't want hosts whose rigs aren't kept in decent repair.
 Some sites will even ask for photos before extending an offer to host- this varies by location. They will also want to know who is traveling with you (and may ask for a CBC in some cases- none for us yet, so far) and whether you have pets and what kind. 
I did fudge a bit on the number of cats, since they never ever go outside. Since no one else will ever see them, I didn't want to lose out on a gig because someone thought I was the crazy cat lady! 
Some parks won't allow pets and you want to know about that ahead of time. I have talked with some rangers who waffle on the pet policy and I figure that if they don't really want to accommodate a pet, then anything that your pet does will assuredly annoy them, further reinforcing the no pets policy of that park. I would rather guarantee a return invite since this is very much like a seasonal job that I hope to be invited back to. 

To Whom It May Concern:                                                                                           February 18, 2013

                I am interested in volunteering for the position of Campground Host or other needed volunteer position at your state parks anytime between September 2013 and March 2014.
                I am a full time RV dweller traveling the country to learn more about our history and geography. I live in a nineteen foot trailer pulled by a Chevy van.  Both of my vehicles are in good repair and are well maintained.  My trailer is fully enclosed with no slide outs and it is a vintage trailer that has been remodeled inside and maintained outside.
                I am very neat and clean; I do not smoke, drink or engage in any illegal or illicit activity. I am forty years old, in excellent health and active. I am employed full time as a remote Executive Director for Sales and Marketing with a licensing company. I work from home and I have a great work ethic.  
                I live simply and do not have any children traveling with me. I travel with a spouse, a small elderly terrier, and two indoor cats.  Each of my animals is vaccinated and sterilized.
                My hobbies include outdoor photography, gardening, kayaking, bicycling, hiking, classical music, reading, swimming, history and travel.
                I have excellent references and I am hardworking and dependable. I think that I would be an excellent volunteer. I have been camping my entire life and I have twenty years of volunteering experience.  
                I would love to hear back from you regarding any open positions that you have available. Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope you have a wonderful day. 

I included the classical music quote (which is true) simply so that I appeared more mature than some yung'un' rockin' out to Lady Gaga and Pitbull all day (which is also true except they are both now enjoyed at post-forty-year-old decibels- stupid old age). 
I also referenced my hobbies that I felt represented interests that the park would feel a good fit. For example, I also love cooking and sewing but they don't fit into the persona (marketing term- not alias) that I am trying to create. 
I hope this post is interesting- I know some of my followers are fellow full-timers and I am hoping to fill a void that other bloggers are missing out on. I think that most full-timers guard their contacts jealously, thinking that someone else will steal their gig. I figure if I do the best job I can, then I don't stand to lose a repeat gig to another full timer, especially since the needs are so plentiful. 

Please contact me if you have further questions or want to share resources. 

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