Each time we complete a workamping job we post an article detailing how we got it, how it went, whether we enjoyed it and any lessons learned. If you have not checked out our other workamping experiences we will leave links to them below.
This article is the next one in our workamping series.
While we were working at the KOA in Ouray, Colorado my phone started to ring. I almost didn’t answer it because I was looking at a golf cart that needed repair and I didn’t recognize the number. I wound up answering it and I am glad I did. Turns out it was one of the managers at the KOA in Milton, Florida.
Can I Call You Back?
After speaking briefly, I asked him if we could speak later in the day because I was definitely interested but I was working and couldn’t talk at the time. He agreed. We wound up speaking later that day and before you knew it, we had a winter workamping job!!! The funny part about it is that we did not even put in a resume there. I believe he was just searching on the KOA workamping website and found us there.
Upon arrival, we were introduced to the managers. Although this is not a KOA corporate campground it was owned by corporate investors who then hired a management company to oversee the operation. That management company hires managers to run the day-to-day operations.
Lots Of Negative Comments
We were a little nervous coming in as when we researched this campground it had a lot of negative comments from other workampers. We were basically told to stay away from here. Our policy has always been to read the reviews and recommendations of fellow workampers but form an opinion for ourselves especially if we really want to be in a certain area.
Sometimes you just can’t judge. We have taken other positions that we were told to stay away from that worked out great. We also took positions that we were told were a great place to work that we left early due to it being not the right fit for us. That’s why we like to have our own experiences. If we are treated like crap or it doesn’t work out for some other reason, well, that’s why we are on wheels.
Choose Between Two Sites
So back to KOA Milton. The managers and office staff seemed very friendly and they let us pick between two sites that were available. The site we wanted was a little rough to get into because there were cars parked across the way that were in the path I would need to navigate to get in. After the manager asked them to move (several times) they finally moved enough for me to get in. Someone next to them actually came over and was a big help guiding me in. We were a little annoyed that the people (one was a fellow workamper) made such a production that they had to move but whatever, we were in.
There’s Always Paperwork
After settling in we were given paperwork to fill out, uniform shirts, and a start date. Our first day was a little strange. They split us up so each of us worked with one of the other housekeeping team members. I went with one lady to the satellite bathrooms and Chris went with one to the cabins. We are pretty familiar with the KOA cleaning system so we thought originally they would just show us where all the supplies were. Nope.
So off to the satellite bathroom I went and was shown how to clean a bathroom. I had to laugh seeing that no disinfectant was used to clean toilets or sinks. She was using vinegar. After seeing that I was thinking of ways I could speed up this supposed training so I could get back with Chris in the cabins.
This Is Not KOA Standards
After the satellites were done we were off to the main bathrooms behind the office building. It was more of the same. My overall thought was “how is KOA allowing them to clean like this?” Everything seems like it was just quickly surface cleaned. This definitely did not sit well with me.
Chris was having a very similar experience with her training in the cabins. Surface cleaning seemed to be the name of the game here. After finishing the bathrooms my “trainer” said she had to leave so I asked her to drop me off with Chris and her trainer in the cabins. They were just finishing up when I got there. As I entered I looked up at the ceiling and there seemed to be coffee stains on the ceiling!!! I mentioned this to Chris’ trainer and she just shrugged it off saying she doesn’t do ladders. What? Seriously? She was just going to leave it?
So Long Coffee Stains
After that cabin, she stated that she had to get back to the office. Chris and I stayed on. Once she was gone we grabbed a ladder from the maintenance shed and went back to the cabin and cleaned it the right way including the coffee stains on the ceiling. We also looked around for some kind of disinfectant to use.
The next day we switched “trainers” and Chris and her trainer did the restrooms and me and my trainer did cabins. Or so I thought. My cabin training was going around with my “trainer” and hanging pictures in each cabin. No cleaning.
Day 3- Back Together
Ok, so day 3 was much better. Chris and I were back together and started cleaning things the right way. We also made lists of things that looked like they hadn’t been cleaned in… well forever. We figured when our regular assignments were done we would work on these projects.
Management noticed our work ethic right away and really appreciated it. We started speaking to them directly as far as supplies we needed including a “real” disinfectant, not vinegar. We told the manager vinegar is not acceptable at a commercial establishment, especially a KOA and he agreed. We soon had the proper cleaning materials we needed.
Not Happy With Us
Our original “trainers” who were the only housekeepers at the park when we came apparently did not like what was going on with us. At one point the head housekeeper got pissed off at us for using a disinfectant (the same one we had used at 2 other KOA’s) and insisted we stop using it immediately. We had no choice but to go over her head and bring it to the attention of the manager who told us to keep using it.
We were only there a couple of weeks when we started getting compliments from the seasonal residents. They would tell us the place never looked so clean. All of this did not sit well with the head housekeeper (who was now training to be in the office) and she started bad-mouthing us to the managers. She even went as far as to plant things in the cabins after we cleaned.
Towels Hanging From The Curtains?
The first time it happened she took us into a cabin and stated we left linens hanging from the curtains. Yeah, like we wouldn’t see a big bath towel that someone through over the curtain rod. We knew at this point she was gunning for us. She even told the managers.
Moving forward from that point we started taking pictures of each and every cabin we cleaned just in case she tried to pull a similar stunt. It didn’t take long before she pulled us aside again and told us we left bags of popcorn on top of the kitchen cabinets. Only this time I responded with “that’s funny. There was no popcorn up there when we left.” I pulled out my cell phone, opened the picture app, and said “let’s take a look.” Her jaw dropped and for a moment she was speechless. Then she started trying to say something about the camera angle. I informed her we were on to her shenanigans. It never happened again…lol.
Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words
We had also informed the managers about our little confrontation and showed him the pictures too. He said “she will never do that again.” We later found out that he sat them down and told them to back off. He said we were doing a great job and weren’t going anywhere. We later found out they were trying to get their friends a job and that’s why they were trying to discredit us. They should only know that I love to take pictures and video…lol
We only tell you this (long-winded) story so you can learn from it. Always protect yourself and your integrity. Cover your butt. Don’t take for granted that everyone is happy you are there. Most times people will work together well or at least tolerate their co-workers but sometimes people can be downright mean.
Things Started Going Smoother
After that incident things went much smoother. We even started getting alot of our other projects done. Some days were much slower than others so we would find projects to do. We always cleared these projects through the managers. Our favorite project was cleaning up and getting the nature trail re-opened. It had been closed because no one took care of it and it became dangerous to walk on. Not after we were done with it!!!
Then COVID-19 hit. These were some very uncertain times. We didn’t know if the park would close or if we would get laid off, or what would happen. It turned out we only got cut 1 hour a day. Our special projects ended as we now had to clean more areas many more times. As a matter of fact, everyone ran around cleaning things.
Someone Is Going To Be A Grandma
As things started getting a little bit back to normal we continued our upgraded cleaning routine but maintenance went back to their own work. Just about the entire time we were there the managers were very nice to us and super appreciative of the job we did. Even though it started a little rough it turned out to be a great job. The only reason we left (especially during the pandemic) is that Chris found out her daughter was pregnant.
She was upset we were about 7 hours from her daughter’s house. We found a job in the Ocala National Forest that was only 1.5 hours away. We gave our notice as we always do and in two weeks were were on to our next adventure. The bottom line is once things were smoothed out and we proved ourselves to the managers, it turned out to be a great job.
- Read reviews of where you are going but remember to give someone a chance. It might just turn out to be your favorite job.
- Although it’s a terrible way to have to work if you feel like someone is gunning for you protect yourself. Take pictures & video.
- Keep a constant line of communication open with your supervisors and managers. Don’t leave anything to assumption
- If things are truly bad where you are and you are treated badly don’t hesitate to leave. You are worth more than that
- Don’t worry about doing a good job or keeping yourself busy. Keep your integrity. Do what you do best. We were once told to slow down because we were making everyone else look bad.
- Nice Area To Be In
- Management Appreciated and Trusted Us
- Seasonals and Overnighters Were Friendly and Appreciative
- Bathrooms Were in Desperate Need Of Replacing/Repair
- Cabins Were In Need Of Repairs/Upgrading Including A/C Units
- Certain Co-Workers Wanted Us Out So Their Friends Can Get Our Jobs
Even though there was some negative comments and experiences shared by other workampers, we are glad we took a position with the KOA in Milton. We had a great time working there and seeing the area. It was a great experience for us and we felt appreciated by (almost) everyone including the managers. As far as the managers go, they were great to work with so don’t be swayed by any negative comments. We loved the seasonals, overnight guests, and most of the other workampers. We even carried treats on our golf cart for our favorite furry friends!!!
The bottom line is if you do your job you will not have a problem. Don’t be afraid to give KOA Milton a chance if you are interested in being in this area. Despite other workamper reviews, you might be pleasantly surprised.
Have you ever had similar experiences? Let us know down below in the comment section.