Working at a Jellystone Park

by Sharee Collier Fulltime Workamper

Many people we come in contact with us ask the very same question, “What’s it like to live and work at Jellystone Park?”

There are many one-word responses that come to mind, each would ultimately move the conversation quickly along with few details about what it was really like.  We won’t use those today. Today, we’ll  give  a little more detail on the experiences we’ve had with Workamping at Jellystone Parks.

image

For  starters, it should be known that each Jellystone Park is independently owned and operated under a franchise agreement with Leisure Systems, Inc.  It appears the majority, if not all, of the  parks started as private campgrounds, who at  some point joined the  franchise system for one reason or another. Whatever the reason, they  must have had a deeply rooted desire to promote family camping, because after all…If  you plaster your park with Yogi Bear signage, statues and themed weekends, you would have to assume you’re trying to attract family campers.

 
With  that said – no  two  parks are alike! Each campground has special characteristics that it inherited from the owner, the area and maybe even the campers who it accommodates. Whatever the reasons, each Jellystone Park is  greatly  different in what it offers, how it operates, and even what it charges.
Workamping at a Jellystone Park is no different!  So, depending  on the park you choose, the season you work, and the position you are hired in for, your  experiences will likely vary from one to another.

Why did you choose Jellystone Parks?
Our  whole reasoning behind seeking out  the parks inside the Yogi Bear Franchise was  that we  were looking for  some sort of consistency. We knew we  would be  traveling the back roads of America, working in  small towns with lots of…character. So we wanted to make sure there was a thin layer of corporate security that operating under a franchise would offer. We also  had the crazy  idea  that   family  friendly,  kid-themed  parks   would  be equally welcoming and accommodating to Workamping Families. I would say we  were right in  our overall assumptions! Our experiences with Jellystone Parks have been very pleasurable. We’ve had the opportunity to work as Park Rangers, Recreation Director, Store Inventory Manager, and General Managers inside the franchise system. We’ve  also  had the pleasure of attending their  Annual Symposium and their Management Training & Certification Course.

Were the individual parks open to Workamping Families?
Yes and no. To be honest, I think they warmed up to the idea! At first it may seem a little off. The recruiters might ask themselves questions like,  “Why are these people living in an RV?” “Are they homeless?” “Why didn’t they mention they had kids?”
These are all reasonable questions if you think about it from the employer’s perspective. After all, in the grand scheme of things, there aren’t very many Workamping Families, so we might be the first they have ever seen! However, even though employers may have been caught off guard at first, they were all very welcoming and accepting (at least to  us) after they realized Workamping Families are totally awesome!

What  is an example of a typical day?
Anything other than typical! Workamping at Jellystone  was  a blast and great bonding experience for our family. Antwon & I worked opposite shifts most days, which allowed us to homeschool the children. But on some days, we all showed up to work at 8 a.m. Those were the most fun and the most enjoyable!
Being able to divide and conquer and achieve 100% more than what you would have otherwise was a huge benefit. Here are some days we thought were typical:
1. The  whole family working from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  for a school field day of 400 middle school students plus teachers and parents. On this day, we all went to work. Antwon & I took one of the twins each, and sent each of our older girls with one of the park staff to help in their assigned area.
This  worked out very well.  The  older girls were able to really help out while the twins were kept close by.
2. Antwon & I building a fence for the horses out of a golf cart and poles. A small tornado touched down during the night, tearing a hole in the side of the horse fence. I noticed it on my way  to work and called Antwon down to help me  keep the animals inside. We had no supplies, so we just used the golf cart and the poles from the fence to make a wall  until the maintenance crew arrived on site.
3. Watching our cottage be struck by lightning from the front gate with park guests. A large storm knocked out  the electricity to the front gate, leaving campers locked out  and us locked in. As Antwon opened a side gate to  allow  traffic through, our family watched our own  cottage be struck by lightning from just 100 ft. away.

What  are the  benefits?
Workamping for  a Jellystone Park can have amazing benefits for  your family. Once  you’ve received your job offer, feel  free to ask a few probing questions regarding what is available for your family while living onsite – Will you be able  to use park amenities? Will the kids receive discounts on crafts? Will you  have access to a park golf cart? Are  you  able  to bring your own? Having a clear picture of this property’s expectations and accommodations will help you  decide if the position is a good fit for your family.
At the three parks we’ve worked for we were given a wide range of benefits which included, his-and-her golf carts, onsite housing, custom built 2 bedroom cottage, free access to  park amenities, ability to  bring the kids to  work, custom wardrobes, three TV commercials and access to  the company vehicle, among a few others.
Every family’s experience will come with its own set of benefits. Remember, Workamping can be whatever you  want it to be.  So, if you  have certain needs or  wants, the best way  to  approach the situation would be to first find out  what they offer and ask to make changes or substitutions to that list, if needed.

How  do you find  a job with Jellystone Parks?
As we stated before, each park is  independently operated, so each park will  have its own  way  of recruiting and advertising for  their available positions. The  best way  we’ve  found is to stay informed of what was  posted in the latest edition of Workamper News and with what is being added daily to the Hotline.
Over  the  past  two  years  we’ve seen   many parks advertise for their   positions  in  Workamper News and the  Hotline, which leads us  to believe Jellystone Parks consider Workamper.com to be a valid resource for staffing. These are always our first two  reference points, since it is so widely used and easily accessible.
The  last option is  to  contact each park you  are considering directly. We do this in three steps:
1 Check their  website: All  parks are listed under  franchise website
http://www.campjellystone.com This  is the best place to  start  when looking for contact info on each park.
2. Send your resume in an email to  highest position available (owner, manager):  Send  a  general  inquiry in   an  email to   the  owner or   park manager with your resume attached for their review.
3Do a follow  up  call  to  see  if they are  hiring  or   will   be   for   the next season:  Call   the  park  directly and ask the  owner or   manager if  they are currently hiring for  this season, or  the next, and what positions they have open.
However  you   find   your next position, remember to  ask good questions, get lots of details, and have a written agreement of  the position and compensation.
Our  experiences with Jellystone Parks have been wonderful, and for that reason we recommend that other Workampers give  them a try.
If  you   are  interested in   working for  one  of the parks in  the Yogi Bear Franchise  System, be  prepared for a rollercoaster of amazing family experiences both big and small. Finding the  position will  take time and dedication, but  for those who  are successful, the opportunity will likely prove to be a lasting family memory cherished for years to come.

Sharee Collier is a wife, mom, fulltime traveler and positive voice promoting the young, fulltime travelers movement. After realizing the stereotypical American Dream wasn’t her family’s idea of the good life, Sharee and her husband, Antwon, said enough was enough and they packed their stuff… Now, this slightly quirky family of 6, is traveling the U.S. finding new and exciting adventures, in homeschooling, Workamping and travel. They are Families on the road members and you can visit their blog at www.meetthecolliers.com

Advertisements
%d bloggers like this: