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Saturday, January 2, 2010

Volunteering: A resolve for the New Year

The coming of the New Year often inspires in us a desire to make resolutions that aim to improve our lives, cure bad habits, or do more to help others. On that latter note, we boondockers have a unique opportunity to volunteer our time and talents since we carry our lodging and food prep facilities with us, can set up just about anywhere with a minimum of site-offered facilities, and can volunteer in locations--sometimes very scenic, outdoors locations--where off-site housing and transportation would have to be provided.

Though volunteer positions can be found in the Caretaker Gazette, there are several other places to look as well for every type of volunteer position you could imagine, both indoors and outdoors, strenuous and easy, working with groups or alone (see the Hoover Wilderness listing below). These positions are offered by federal and state agencies, local non-profit organizations, and more.

Navigate to the volunteer pages of the national forest service, Fish & Game, national and state Wildlife Refuges, BLM, state parks, and others that use volunteers on a regular basis. These positions could include camp hosting, land management, and as one volunteer post recently stated, “Some other opportunities are non-native species removal, trail maintenance and river clean-up.”

If you are young (or young at heart), how about this recent forest service posting: “Wilderness Ranger: Volunteer Wilderness Rangers needed in the Hoover Wilderness. Hike, backpack, and camp in the wilderness for extended periods. Need to be a self-starter; must be comfortable living and working alone. Must be personable and able to explain rules, regulations, and leave no trace concepts. Will perform basic trail maintenance, campsite cleanup, pick up litter, and probably have the best summer of your life.”

As idylic and "aack to nature" as positions like this sound, there are less strenuous positions, of course, and more suitable for RVers. You can find federal listings where you can search for volunteer listings by state, federal agency, or type of position sought. Volunteer positions can be short term, 30 days or less, or for a whole season. Often, in fact usually, organizations that use volunteers recognize the value of more mature and mobile RVers, and are prepared to offer camping arrangements while you are on the job.

Aa group calling themselves 500 Volunteers has help in getting started volunteering, and Hope Sykes has written a page on how to get started volunteering on her Web site, which also has links to volunteer information such as how to volunteer in Mexico and volunteering with specific skills, such as nursing or computers.

Not only will you be doing a good dead in the new decade, but you will be building memories that will last a lifetime.

Learn more about boondocking in my new eBook, BOONDOCKING: Finding the Perfect Campsite on America’s Public Lands.

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