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Helpx / Wooff hosts. How do you choose?
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Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 10 8:21 pm    Post subject: Helpx / Wooff hosts. How do you choose?  Reply with quote    

I've notice a few others on here Helpx hosts etc. and I was wondering... We have been on the go for a year now and it has been a great experience for all of us.

I tend to go for folk who say plenty about themselves, and who I think have thought carefully about what their visit here would mean to them.

I have had queries from folk with empty profiles or who say little concrete about themselves (things like: I'm willing to learn & I'm enthusiastic, mean little by themselves so I tend to want to read these statements alongside their other life experiences.)

I often email back to those folk with an empty profile and suggest what they could add. Only one couple made the changes and emailed me back to say thank you. Sadly I was unable to host them, but they let me know that they had found a great stay as a result of my suggestions. (These are the sort of folk I would want to host! )

What are your experiences? .....

So far I have hand only good experiences with the visitors we have had.

T.G



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 7280
Location: Somewhere you're not
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 10 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

we offered to host on helpx, i soon realised the mention of horses had a host of young girls wantign to come out and ride, so we decided to reword it to remve the obvious major attraction. since then we've had some very good experiences.

whats wooff?

Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 10 9:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Wooff is the organic farm thing... can't remember what exactly it stands for, but we are not an organic farm! Also I think the Helpx site is easier to use....

I agree about the horses thing. I've had some very wishy washy lovey type responses and to be honest I don't want any highly idealistic folk here telling me how I should look after my horses....

So, like you, I don't emphasis that angle too much and anyone that talks only about horses and not about the help they can offer in the house/garden doesn't get much response. I really don't need to know how much folk have "loved horses all their lives" etc. etc.

In reality we do try to get helpers that show some interest up onto a horse during their stay ( and a couple have even come out and ridden in forest parks etc with us) but it is a "special" rather than a given. As yet we have had no-one that we would allow to exercise unsupervised.

T.G



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 7280
Location: Somewhere you're not
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 10 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

aha - you've had the same responses as we have

just for safety really not being mean, I wouldn't want someone riding my horses, to me they are all donkeys (cus i know them inside out ) but to an inexperienced rider who thinks they are experienced some would be a little challenging, not in a negative way because I wouldn't allow it, but in a 'I know you can't ride so i'm going to demostrate just how exactly you can't ride' way

and then we have the cob who would just stand and eat all day long regardless of having someone sat on her back and a whole marching band wandering past her .. whats the saying never work with animals and children???

Green Rosie



Joined: 13 May 2007
Posts: 10498
Location: Calvados, France
PostPosted: Thu Jul 29, 10 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I tend to get a gut feeling about people who contact us. One we did get very wrong but others have been either excellent or at least not a pain in the backside. I tend to be less keen on following up helpers who have emailed loads of people and prefer people to indicate a real interest in coming to us, rather than a general email to everyone they have contacted.

We also have a "contract" we give helpers when they arrive which explains about us, the work we want people to do and the fact that if things are not working out we can ask people to leave. (Thanks for that BulgarianLily)

SK



Joined: 07 Jan 2010
Posts: 2
Location: Hunter Valley NSW Australia
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 6:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Been reading the forum for yonks - but living on the other side of the world haven't contributed before.

I'd love to know your attitude to 'mature' WWOOFers and HelpX helpers - briefly I'm in my mid 50's - and my husband (of over 30 years) has recently chosen to trade me in for a younger model. Instead of getting bitter and twisted about it - I've decided to see it as a positive opportunity to do some things I never had a chance to when I was younger - and conversations on a recent YHA trip up the coast reminded me of both these organisations

I'm still pretty fit (can lift 20kg chook food bags!) and have plenty of experience of vegie growing, chook keeping, general work around the property (we have lived on 25 acres the last 11 years) , household type chores, cooking, baking, preserving etc etc and did some horse keeping while dear daughter was busy with exams and then went travelling. I've also owned long haired slobbery dogs since the mid 70's who have always been welcome inside and have plenty of computer, admin and hospitality type skills from my working life. I consider myself honest, reliable, friendly and happy to try most things

I was born, grew up and married in England and still retain my UK Passport and I'm seriously considering trying this type of exchange next northern spring/summer (if not before) in Britain (if I can reprogram my body to handle the climate again after nearly 30 years out here) or France

Sorry - I'm waffling - do those of you who host generally prefer exotic young things - and think I'm wasting my time - or do you think there would be people prepared to take me on

Look forward to hearing from you

Sue

woodsprite



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 2943
Location: North Herefordshire
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

When we were hosts we tended toward young, strong types because that was the sort of work that we wanted covered but our son had a year helpxing around Europe and worked with others of all ages. He's still in touch with an older gent whom he worked with on a goat farm in Italy.
We never had a bad experience hosting, a good long 'chatty email or two always seemed to work and both sides knowing exactly what was expected. Mind you this was way back when help x was very new, I was never willing to jump through all the hoops the woof insisted on and hated the idea of volunteers having to pay to join
edited to add
Sue your post is exactly the sort of thing that would have made me chose you. All the very best I'm certain you'll make a great volunteer, I'd have you here like a shot if I was still hosting.

Green Rosie



Joined: 13 May 2007
Posts: 10498
Location: Calvados, France
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

So Sorry Sue to hear about your OH and well done for putting all that behind you and getting on with life

Our HelpXers have mostly been younger because that is who has contacted us but as OH is in his early 50's we do not have a problem with mature helpers - a long as they can keep up with him (and our chook feed sacks are 25kgs )

I also agree about chatty emails to get a feel for some-one (which we didn't really do with the one person we had a problem with). However leave phone/SKYPE contact until you feel you really do want them to come as I find it is harder to say no to them once you have that direct contact. A HelpXer cold called me yesterday and I have to say I was very cautious. I like to read profiles and reviews initially. One Helper contacted me via email, sounded really nice then I read her reviews - 3 bad ones.

I don't know anything about WWOOF but HelpeX have recently improved their website and you can report concerns about problem helpers and hosts.

Hope that helps.

T.G



Joined: 13 Sep 2009
Posts: 7280
Location: Somewhere you're not
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 7:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Hi there Sue,

I prefer older than younger, I've had both, but the older folk seem to be more agreeable to the idea that they are here to swap a bit of work for accommodation and snap. I value age as it generally means a level of normal understanding and not daft scatty ideas, roll in drunk and Id guess less likely to fall for a summer fling with one of the village lads - mind you, you maybe after a toyboy who knows plus with age comes a wealth of experience you just cant have when youre young.

Age wouldn't be anything that put me off an individual, unless they were under 25... Then Id be more inclined to move on to the next helpx respondent.

Went



Joined: 19 Mar 2006
Posts: 6968

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

SK wrote:
Been reading the forum for yonks - but living on the other side of the world haven't contributed before.

I'd love to know your attitude to 'mature' WWOOFers and HelpX helpers - briefly I'm in my mid 50's - and my husband (of over 30 years) has recently chosen to trade me in for a younger model. Instead of getting bitter and twisted about it - I've decided to see it as a positive opportunity to do some things I never had a chance to when I was younger - and conversations on a recent YHA trip up the coast reminded me of both these organisations

I'm still pretty fit (can lift 20kg chook food bags!) and have plenty of experience of vegie growing, chook keeping, general work around the property (we have lived on 25 acres the last 11 years) , household type chores, cooking, baking, preserving etc etc and did some horse keeping while dear daughter was busy with exams and then went travelling. I've also owned long haired slobbery dogs since the mid 70's who have always been welcome inside and have plenty of computer, admin and hospitality type skills from my working life. I consider myself honest, reliable, friendly and happy to try most things

I was born, grew up and married in England and still retain my UK Passport and I'm seriously considering trying this type of exchange next northern spring/summer (if not before) in Britain (if I can reprogram my body to handle the climate again after nearly 30 years out here) or France

Sorry - I'm waffling - do those of you who host generally prefer exotic young things - and think I'm wasting my time - or do you think there would be people prepared to take me on

Look forward to hearing from you

Sue


Hi Sue - El Paraiso del Burro here in Asturias takes volunteers from all age groups and all walks of life - there is always plenty of work to do - physical and admin type work - IT skills are welcomed and attitude is far more important than physical ability, cooking and housekeeping is also helpful especially when there are many volunteers. Dog walking is a daily chore as there are 6 dogs, vegetable gardens to maintain and donkeys to groom - you name it there is always a range of work that is available. Marleen who owns and runs the Donkey Sanctuary has a personal philosophy of letting volunteers decide how they can contribute and make choices on what they wan t to do whilst they are visiting. Not everyone's approach but it works for her.

The link to the English blog is below - welcome to the site by the way.

Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Our helpers have all been between 19 &32. I suppose just because that is the age folk travel at. I currently have a query from an 18 year old girl, but I'm going the route of not promising anything until we talk a bit more....... she actually sounds nice and might fit in well, but 18 is very young I think.

I did have one older lady contact me (late 50s I think) She had a very bland review left for her. I made contact with that host and was advised that she was unlikely to suit. I don't think that was an age thing though!

Sue,
I think you have taken the right tack with your intro. You have explained a bit about yourself and most importantly you have given the reason that you want now to Helpx. (I'm 24 years married - I don't want to even imagine what your experience might feel like! However I do admire your spirit. )

Have you joined helpx yet? If or when you do, give me a PM and I'll give you a link to our listing. I'm in N.Ireland.

Bulgarianlily



Joined: 01 Jun 2008
Posts: 1667
Location: South West Mountains of Bulgaria
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote    

We have had helpers from 18 to 63. All except one, who told a lot of lies on contacting us, have been great (returned firmly to bus station on third day). So far this year I think we have had 18 volunteers, from wwoof, helpx and workaway. I prefer the helpx site for ease of use and the amount of information you get. We have had 6 french, 2 israeli, 1 dutch, 2 americans, 1 south korean, 1 uruguean, 1 irish, 2 english, 1 bulgarian and 1 Russian.

We send our information sheet out when they first make contact, many people say that swings their desire to visit. We are more than happy to have older people here. Unless it is a very brief visit, we take time over the first three days while they work along side us, to get to know people before suggesting a project or some aspect of life here that they can take hold off, to make a good match between skills. That doesn't mean we expect people to have skills, sometimes we find that there is something they need to learn, like power tools and we set up work that we need that will emphasise this and give them lots of practice. Sometimes people are happy to work in teams and sometimes they are better being given a clear idea of what we want and then being left to get on with it, it all depends! Our visitors stay between five days (too short!) and three months. We are proposing to take one long term volunteer for 9 months to a year so they can manage a complete growing season here, maybe someone that doesn't have this experience before but wants to make it their life work...?

Lily

Sally Too



Joined: 14 Sep 2006
Posts: 2511
Location: N.Ireland
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 5:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

Sally wrote:
I currently have a query from an 18 year old girl, but I'm going the route of not promising anything until we talk a bit more....... she actually sounds nice and might fit in well, but 18 is very young I think.


I asked this potential helper a few challenging questions this morning, to check whether she'd thought all this through, and got a lovely chatty and mature reply. I think she's a go-er.

Chez



Joined: 13 Aug 2006
Posts: 35858
Location: The Hive of the Uberbee, Quantock Hills, Somerset
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

As a host, what do people provide? Accommodation and food - but do you pay the helpers?

woodsprite



Joined: 20 Mar 2006
Posts: 2943
Location: North Herefordshire
PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 10 6:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote    

I never did, we just treated them to days out.

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