Volunteer eNews August 2016

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August 2016

Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites

> IN THIS ISSUE: Exploring new areas, policies, host availability and more

robert frost

Returning Hosts Window of Assignment Policy

2017 is quickly approaching and with it comes the application of the Returning Host Window of Assignment policy that started in 2014. There are several reasons why this policy was created but the main reason was to increase the availability for new hosts to be introduced to the host lifestyle and parks to invite new hosts in to serve alongside seasoned hosts so that the host program and experience could continue to grow and evolve. The policy aids in passing along institutional knowledge from seasoned hosts while bringing in fresh ideas from newer hosts.

The Returning Host Window of Assignment provided the whole state with a “clean slate” in 2014. The reason it is now being asked about is that in 2017 we will start to see sites that have hosts who will need to broaden their horizons and apply to host at another location while others try out the location that has been previously only considered for returning hosts. It builds in more fairness to the review and assignment process.

Here below are the two policies regarding host assignments. The Length of Assignment has been in place since well before my time, the Returning Host Window of Assignment is the one that was implemented in 2014. Some of you may feel that this policy will negatively affect the way you have hosted in the past, others of you will recognize the new opportunities being opened for you and will be excited by the prospect. I just ask that you think of this as opening up opportunities to explore new parks and sites. Bringing in new energy into a park can benefit everyone!

_____(Taken directly from the Volunteer and Host Program Manual)_____


The Campground Host program utilizes volunteers who can furnish their own lodging (camper, RV, or motor home). The volunteer(s) must commit to a specific amount of time to serve as resident Campground Hosts in State Parks and Recreation Area campgrounds.

Length of Assignment

The minimum required time is 2 months; the maximum assignment is 6 months, consecutively, at one site. Though a host may have reached the limitation of 6 months at one site, they are still able to host at other Georgia State Park(s) keeping within the 2-6 month requirement. After an assignment at a park, hosts may not return to previous assigned parks before 3 months’ time, though they are free to host at other parks/Georgia State Parks during this 3-month window.

Returning Hosts Window of Assignment

Returning hosts may return during a specific window of time up to 3 years in a row. After that time that host must leave the park for 1 full year. *This policy is in effect as of March 2014 providing all current applicants with clean slates.

News you can use


SAM Shortline Excursion Train Needs Hosts

Come on out and help us when Thomas the Tank is in the station September through November 2016

Apply Here

ParkPass or 5-night pass?

Added question on Track it Forward profile field:

A new question has been added to your Track it Forward profile field (where you log your hours). We are now giving you the option of receiving an Annual ParkPass instead of the 5-Night Camping Pass when you reach the appropriate incentive level. Please login to your Track it Forward account and answer this question so we know what you would prefer to be sent once you have reached a milestone. Please also keep in mind that only one Annual ParkPass will be sent to each volunteer or couple per year, so if you have selected to receive the Annual ParkPass instead of the 5-Night Camping Pass but you have already received a ParkPass for the year, you will be sent a 5-Night Camping Pass instead.

this or that

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How to get the most out of your host application-Apply to multiple locations:

Remember that you are allowed to apply to as many host positions in as many parks as you please. The more applications you put out there, the more likely you are to be assigned somewhere. The more park openings you apply for, the more managers will review and consider you for an assignment. Spread your interest across the state!

Upcoming Volunteer Events

View More Events

September 24, 2016

National Public Lands Day is also Your State Parks Day!

Get out and find your local park, get in for free when you volunteer and enjoy the park recreational amenities afterwards!


See the parks participating here.


National Public Lands Day video


Parks with vacant host positions available through December

Incentives Earned and Logging Your Hours


These Volunteers have gone Above and Beyond!

Platinum Level for 3000 Hours:

Carol Bazzell

Lifetime Achievement Awards for 5000 Hours:

Les and Patti Barnett

Logging Your Hours

Here is the website for more information on Volunteer Hours and how incentives are earned.

You can see how many hours you have recorded or were transferred over from 2014 by logging into your time sheet.http://www.trackitforward.com/site/georgia-state-park-and-historic-sites-volunteers-and-hosts/timesheet

Using this neat Stats feature, you can see where you are in the overall documentation of hours for volunteers all over the state: https://www.trackitforward.com/site/georgia-state-park-and-historic-sites-volunteers-and-hosts/stats

Thank you for your patience as we transitioned to this new tracking software. Your information is now accessible by you, park managers as well as myself. However, it is completely private and not accessible by anyone outside of Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites. 

Volunteers Defined: We love and need them all!

  • Community Volunteers-Help on a day-to-day basis at a Park as they are available. Our community volunteers help with leading hikes, helping with maintenance, assisting with the visitor or retail center, guide new visitors to park activities and locations. Those volunteering more than once per month or planning to volunteer more than 20 hours per year need to update registration.
  • Hosts (Campground, Yurt, Maintenance, Golf, Train)-Stay in their personal RV at designated free Host Site for 2-6 months in exchange for a minimum of 24 hours of volunteer work.  Host duties include: visitor assistance and maintenance.  All hosts are required to update registration to still be considered for hosting.
  • Group Volunteers-This is for Churches, Corporations, Scouts and Universities who want a tailor-made project that will strengthen the group as individuals as well as a team morale while assisting Georgia State Parks. Only the group leader will need to be registered in our system.

How are we doing?

In order for Georgia State Parks to continue to thrive and grow, even in these lean budget times, we need to get feedback from those that utilize our services and Parks. As Volunteers and Hosts, you have the same rights and anonymity in park observations and feedback as our Park Staff.  Please use this quick survey form to share your experiences with us.

Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to share with others.  If you need to contact me, Georgia State Parks Volunteer Manager: nyleta.wallace@dnr.ga.gov

or Carly Nielsen the Assistant Volunteer Coordinator at carly.nielsen@dnr.ga.gov

As always, thank you for being a steward for Georgia State Parks! Have a great day!

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