Camperforce 2016 has officially come to an end. An interesting season to say the least, but we made it and that’s all that matters!
Please Note: I am not representing Camperforce. I am also not a spokesperson, or officially affiliated with the Amazon Corporation or Camperforce Program. The information, ideas, reviews, and comments I provide are none other than my own. I find they are true from the first hand, personal experience of working inside the Amazon Fulfillment Center as a Camperforce Associate. I will provide a truthful explanation and as many details as possible both here as well as in my ebook, but this information can change without notice at any time. Please keep in mind, your own personal experience is your best resource for information.
CamperForce Wrap-Up & Review
This season of Camperforce was long.
We arrived in early August (even though I specifically tell people not to do this in my EBook My Guide to Camperforce). Why? Well to be honest, I thought it was a little presumptuous to tell others not to start in August since we had never actually done it ourselves. Personally, we’d only seen other campers stumbling to the finish line after a long season and assumed it wasn’t the best choice. But since we’re young and we like to learn from our own experiences, we decided it was best to try it for ourselves and tell our tale…
When we first arrived, as usual spirits were high! Antwon started first, August 8th and I started the next week on the 15th, to allow for an easy transition onto the night shift and to accommodate for the orientation schedule.
On the 14th, Amazon bought out the Kentucky Kingdom in Louisville for all their employees at several of the surrounding fulfillment centers. As Camperforce associates, we were given free tickets for our family and we had an amazing time with the kids.
VOCABULARY TERMS TO KNOW
- FC- Fulfillment Center (aka the Amazon Warehouse)
- VTO- Voluntary Time Off
- MOT- Mandatory Over Time
- VET- Voluntary Extra Time
- Blue Badge- Fulltime Amazon Associates
- Camperforce- Seasonal RV Associates
- White Badge- Temporary Staff
- The Resort- Green River RV Resort
Life inside the FC:
Note to self… and everyone reading this. If you start in August you’re life in the FC will be much less fun than I described in my EBook, as there are very few smiling Camperforce Associates to keep your day moving swiftly along. The building is basically empty and as a Picker, you will walk for long periods of time without any interaction with other humans.
This one reason, cause the first 2 months to become something I absolutely dreaded! I was back to the dark place of hating the job and it became harder and harder for me to hide these feelings on a day to day basis, especially when everyone else was equally miserable.
I’m a social person! I need people to interact and talk to. I just can’t work for 10 hours with limited interaction- that’s crazy!!!
VTO became my best friend. As a copping mechanism for the boredom I was experiencing, I chose to accept almost 90% of the VTO offered during my shift. What does that mean? It means when the FC was over staffed- Managers would ask Associates to accept VTO and go home early. I usually said YES!
After about the middle of October a surge of Camperforce Associates started rolling in, in large numbers- filling the FC with smiles, great convo and high energy individuals who made the days 10 times better than before. ***No offence intended to the Blue Badge Associates! But when you’ve worked the same job for many many years, you most likely have seen and done all the exciting things the job has to offer and are unwilling to put forth the same level of energy as fresh meat!***
Once the contests and dress up days started, it was more fun and the whole experience of being bored to death for the past 2 months, seemed to fade into the backdrop. Hourly Power Hours, Random Gift Card Drawings, Trivia and Costume Contests helped to keep me entertained through the remainder of the Camperforce Season.
MOT was scarce- which was not what Camperforce Associates expected. Many came to work every hour and expected to have the option to sign up for 60 hour weeks for at least the month of December. The MOT never came. As a matter of fact, VET didn’t really show up either. I managed to sign up for 2 weeks of 50 hours, where I worked out of my regular department; but if you weren’t one of the few lucky Camperforce Associates that were trained in multiple areas- this wasn’t an option.
Life Outside the FC:
This year we stayed at The Resort. Shaving 28 minutes off our daily commute to and from work, this allowed us to skip the carpool and both drive to work in our own vehicle. It was also a much nicer environment for our family. While we love the State Park and its great view of the lake- The Resort had so much more to offer us it was hard to pass up for our 3rd year here in Campbellsville.
A little hesitant, we decided to give it a try and we were thrilled with the experience we had. We convinced our friends the Mooney’s to come over, who then convinced the Millers and we all met the Stannards… bringing our park total of kids to a whopping 14 just between our 3 families. The kids had a blast!
The Resort has a pool and splash park which we were able to take advantage of until late September. They hosted several events like live bands, a pig roast and a shrimp broil, which were open to non-campers and the local community. They also have a game room with a pool table, clean bathrooms and showers, and a clubhouse area where we met for a weekly family game day.
We stuck to our plans. The meal plans were again a life saver, keeping us on track with where we needed to be as far as budgeting and healthy varieties- although I will admit there was one week when we skipped the grocery store and ordered all our pantry items from Amazon Prime Pantry and another two or three when we ate out quite a bit.
We also tried to plan a pot luck a few times- but it just never seemed to happen with schedule changes, sleep schedules and life in general- so we settled for random campfires, vanilla vodka and great stories to share.
In the end, I stand by my advice to not start in August. It’s way too long and makes the whole experience far more extreme than it needs to be. Get there in late Sept. or early Oct. choose to skip the VTO and everything will be fine!
Our final check from Amazon Camperforce came the week after we left. To be honest, we were expecting several hundred more than what was deposited and were quite disappointed, as a result.
The $1.00 for every hour worked end-of-season bonus, actually amounted to about an extra $0.50 per hour after all was said and done.
There you have it! Another season of Camperforce completed and survived as a family of 6 working opposite shifts. As the longest Camperforce season we’ve ever completed- I think we are at the point where we would like to call it our last.