Being A Campground Attendant
Not as fun as I once thought.
First I want to make clear that before this experience, I loved camping and the outdoors! Nature was my peaceful place to be and I enjoyed every single moment of being in or around it.
So being an attendant at a campground actually sounded like a dream come true, beautiful lakes and forest and my wife and kids there with me. It felt as if the world had handed me the greatest gift it could give, but no.
Upon arriving at the first of the two campgrounds I still manage (just for this summer) I found the last manager had successfully burnt down the house and turned the front yard into a giant garbage heap. This, I was told by the county, was my first job; to clean up the mess and make it presentable.
This, you might picture, is hard to do when there is a hollow shell of a house sitting in the background, but away I went. Two weeks of cleaning and a thirty foot bin later, all the trash was gone. Now I got to deal with the house, the house I might add we were supposed to live in as part of the contract I signed with the county.
Anyway, I have to go through the house and pretty much figure out if anything in it was worth keeping or if we were going to get insurance to redo the whole thing, I chose to get them to do the whole thing.
My family and myself then move into a tent which we had to supply, and head to the second lake (beautiful lake by the way). At this lake there is not a whole lot of mess, just a bit of garbage, again left by last manager. So we set up our tent and we proceed to clean and get everything ready for the start of the season.
Enter May long weekend, what a gong show. Everything started off good, people were happy swimming, fishing, ext. Then night hits, people went crazy, it was like a switch went off in their heads and they lost all sense of control. We had two in particular campsites, they decided to join parties.
Each was stationed at opposite corners of the sixty lot campsite. So of course being the "oh so clever" people that they were, they decided walking was too much and drove drunk. THEY DROVE DRUNK, IN A CAMPSITE FULL OF KIDS. They did this while screaming about how drunk they were as they passed my site.
This also led to them almost reversing over the tent that my kids were sleeping in. So of course, as is my job, I must now go deal with 30-plus drunk teens. I try to reason with them, don't drive, stay in your site blah, blah, blah.
This of course turns to them calling me out as to which I would of gladly gone toe to toe with a few of them, but the job discourages physical violence. So the call goes out to the Peace Officers (yes you read that right). Along they come in their white SUV's, then comes the screaming and shouting, the cars trying to rip into a dead end road.
Out come the Peace Officers, and they so elegantly tell me that I must evict them in the morning before noon. Great fun. So the night finally comes to a close, and the next morning I head to the sites and inform them (bright and early) that they must leave by noon or face more charges. This was literally the first day of being opened, the first.
It didn't even end there, in that weekend we had to evict over five campsites for being rowdy and drunk. I had death threats, people chase me, bottles thrown, it was utter chaos.
So Tuesday rolls around, and everyone leaves (thank the lord) but the job isn't done. No there are campsites to clean (messes) garbage to haul, bottles to sort, grass to cut. Just on and on and on, there was no rest. The next weekend was actually fairly nice as we only had five or six groups camping and it was fairly quiet.
So lets roll to throughout the next week, well these local teens decided that it was time to test us. By test, I mean show up every single day and break as many by-laws as possible. It would be groups of 10 or more showing up to do drugs, drink and take up areas of the campgrounds they were not supposed to visit. These instances got so bad that we finally did a crack down.
We called in the RCMP and they showed up in full force. There were two Peace Officers and three RCMP, they came and evicted (72 hour ban) 14 cars, all with at least four people in them. Finally the message was heard as they didn't show up again.
Let's fast forward again about two weeks to which a huge windstorm came and took down a bunch of trees. This of course makes the site unsafe and causes us to close down the park for a week and a half.
In total, 150 trees were taken down and cut up around the sites. Of course the closure made a lot of local people mad, to the point we had groups sneaking in, or at least trying to.
Our job after the first day of kicking people out, who had the oh so creative excuse of "we thought it was just closed to cars".....cause that's what "no trespassing" means, was to watch the gate from 9 AM to 11 PM. This, though relaxing, was not a fun task, I really hate turning away nice families that just want to swim around and have fun.
So a week and a half go by like this, cutting logs and guarding the gate, then we finally reopen, just in time for July long weekend. This weekend was not so bad, very busy, but not bad.
The message had gone out that we were not putting up with any party animals and the good locals loved it. This campground went from party central for two years to a family oriented campground. It was great to see the kids having fun on the docks and beach and the adults enjoying the sun. The only problem was that we were working so much, our kids didn't get to enjoy it as much as they should have.
Since that weekend, we only had two instances in which we had to call the cops, one for a domestic dispute turned into suicidal tenant and one of people being high on harsh drugs and almost killing a police officer. Both of these, we dealt with quick and efficiently. But the stress started to set in on us, constantly babysitting over a hundred people along with maintaining the site is a hard task.
My sickness started getting worse and my wife started getting very sick. My kids wanted to be home and out of the elements, which I do not blame them for. So after three and a half months of turning this campground around we had to leave.
With my wife and I leaving another in charge and doing sweeps three days a week to make sure it stays maintained, it might not of been the worst job ever, but it is definitely not one to choose lightly. People are the worst things for nature and after cleaning up their constant garbage and dealing with their whining nature, I do not believe there is a valid argument against it.
People always say they want a piece of natural paradise but when they get it they treat it like garbage. Lots of work goes into making lake campgrounds beautiful and so many use and abuse them. So next time you go to any type of campground make sure to clean up and respect everyone that works their butts off to make sure your experience is as peaceful as it can be.