Travelers are adventurous people, which is why volunteer vacations for RVers are a great fit for so many of us. Enthusiastic helpers are always needed at non-profit organizations and many have established programs for temporary volunteers with their own RVs. In return for helping out, these charities have free or inexpensive RV sites for volunteers who commit to helping a certain number of hours each week.
You’ll find lots of Internet search results for “volunteer vacations for RVers.” The first you’ll encounter will be well-known opportunities with large programs like Habitat for Humanity’s Care-a-Vanners, the United Methodist Church’s NOMADs and the Red Cross’ DOVEs. Hundreds of other small organizations that aren’t as well-known are also desperately in need of dedicated assistants. In this article and future ones we’ll share some of those opportunities with these smaller and worthy groups such as:
Work with Animals
Best Friends is a leader in the no-kill animal rescue movement. Volunteers from all over the world schedule time to come to help for a day or longer to help more than 1,000 animals from domestic pets to exotics. Two RV sites are available March through October, so reservations are a must.
North Carolina: Safe Harbor Farm
If you love dogs, come to Maysville and trade 20 hours a week of your time in exchange for a full-hookup RV site at one of the best canine shelters in North Carolina. Safe Harbor specializes in caring for dogs with complex medical issues. You’ll work outside on fun landscaping and maintenance projects, and can even attend adoption events in town.
New Mexico: Desert Haven Animal Rescue
Located in New Mexico off Interstate 25 near the hot springs mecca of Truth or Consequences, Desert Haven Animal Rescue is a major funding source for Sierra County Humane Society. Stay in a full hookup site for as little as $15 a night or enjoy step monthly rates. If you want to workamp, you can trade as little as 20 hours a week for your site and have fun working on shelter projects, landscaping or helping out at the group’s Paws & Claws Thrift Store.
Historic and Civic Projects
Texas: Sabal Palm Sanctuary
Set on more than 500 acres on the Rio Grande in Brownsville, this biodiverse habitat has one of the last original Sabal Palm forests in the U.S. The Sanctuary provides breeding habitat for many endangered or high-priority birds, making it a great place for wildlife lovers to help out. Hosts are needed for a minimum of three months, preferably longer, to help out with visitors and promote safe use of park facilities. A full-hookup campsite is given in return for volunteering 20 hours a week.
Get out your Indiana Jones hat and go on an archaelogical dig with the University of Iowa’s Langwood Institute. Group leaders say “You do not need any prior experience or special skills to volunteer. You do need enthusiasm, an eagerness to learn, and a willingness to get dirty.” Volunteers assist with numerous tasks like excavation and cleaning artifacts. If some tasks are too physically difficult for you, like digging, an archaeologist will find another project for you. RV campsites may be available for those helping out more than one day, so inquire far head of your arrival.
Do you love wintering in Texas? If so, the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) has many volunteer jobs for RVers. The most common is to serve as a park host at over a dozen scenic spots in natural settings near Austin, Fredericksburg and more.
This is just a short list of opportunities for travelers. If you have a volunteer project idea for an organization that already hosts RVers, it can’t hurt to bring it up, they just might say “Yes.”
Stay tuned for future articles with more ideas for volunteer vacations for RVers.
Rene Agredano and her husband, Jim Nelson, became full-time RVers in 2007 and have been touring the country ever since. In her blog, Rene chronicles the ins and outs of the full-timing life and brings readers along to meet the fascinating people and amazing places they visit on the road. Her road trip adventures are chronicled in her blog at LiveWorkDream.com.