Today's guest blog post comes from Nina of Wheeling It, a great blog for RV Park reviews. You can also see Wheeling It's reviews here on RVParking.com.
They say there’s nothing like puppy love to heal the soul. I’ve always thought so and for that reason volunteering with dogs has been a lifelong passion of mine. When hubby and I packed up our lives and went full-timing we wanted to find ways to keep that spirit alive. It’s the other side of workamping, volunteering your time and services for free, and the good news is that, with just a touch of planning, you can make volunteering a part of your RV experience too.
Where to Start? First off the organizations. There’s a ton of very good people that will gladly accept your time, and it doesn’t have to be a “formal” organization. However, if you’re looking for something established, here’s a very small selection of the many out there:
1. RV Care-A-Vanners: This great little group joins RVers together for Habitat for Humanity builds across the US.
2. Escapees and Good Sam’s: Both these RV clubs offer a wealth of volunteer opportunities. Once a member, search for a group that matches your interests.
3. USDA Forest Service, State Parks, National Parks: These organizations offer a variety of opportunities in the great outdoors.
4. American Red Cross: The Red Cross depends heavily on volunteers both in crisis situations and otherwise.
5. US Army Corps of Engineers: The Volunteer Clearing House specializes in protection of natural resources.
There’s many others such as animal rescues (SPCA, Humane Society), Christian organizations (e.g. Sower Ministry Office), and local groups.
Job Requirements: As with any job, you’ll want to get a solid idea of how much time you’ll be expected to contribute, what kind of physical activity (if any) is required and what the job requirements are. If you have a specialty (writing, photography, internet etc.) go ahead and offer those services up-front. Some things you can do on-line while you’re on the road (e.g. fundraising), others you need to be physically on-site. For on-site jobs some places may have deals or free sites for parking the rig, so be sure to ask about that too.
Our Experience: For our first stint we opted for a week at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah. Best Friends is one of the largest sanctuaries in the US, with over 1,000 animals nestled beautifully in the red rocks of Angel Canyon, Kanab UT. They have an awesome volunteer program where can apply on-line and then chose AM or PM blocks to volunteer in any area of the sanctuary you choose. I went straight to the dogs and very quickly thereafter to puppies where I basked unabashedly in doggie-love and helped with socialization and off-site outings. Paul had a penchant for pigs and so went off for an afternoon to wallow in the mud and the sun with the pot-bellied pigs. Should you have a preference for horses, or dreams of kitty purrs you can find that here too.
Whatever your joy, there’s always a way to share it with others. Happy RV Travels!
Biography: Nina is a blogger, writer of tales, animal lover, outdoor enthusiast and photographer. Together with her hubby they both left stressful jobs in the semiconductor industry for the dream of becoming full-time RVers and leading an alternate life. Join them in their travels with RV tips and tales at http://wheelingit.wordpress.com/