Take Your GNR Experience to the Next Level by Volunteering

Take Your GNR Experience to the Next Level by Volunteering
Why past attendees love to volunteer, and how to get involved this year!
By: GoLife Staff

Winnebago’s Grand National Rally is a big event. It can be overwhelming at first as you try to figure out the best way to connect with fellow RV enthusiasts. That’s why people love to volunteer at GNR. It puts them right in the middle of the action and gives them the opportunity to meaningfully interact with attendees and the Winnebago staff. Long-term friendships are formed, and cherished memories are made as everyone works together to make this beloved event a success!

Would you like to get more involved at GNR? The Winnebago team would be forever grateful for your help. Here is an overview of what volunteering at GNR looks like and why people love it.

Why Volunteer at GNR?

You are going to have a blast at GNR whether you volunteer some of your time at the event or not. However, there is a reason volunteers tend to come back year after year. They really enjoy it!

1. Volunteering at GNR makes the experience more meaningful. 

The unique experiences and connections you make through volunteering (whether for a few days or a few hours) take GNR to the next level. Knowing you had an important part in making it all come together makes the event even more enjoyable! 

“We volunteer because we like people and it's an excellent way to make new friends and greet ‘ole’ friends. We want to do whatever we can to make the WIT event enjoyable for them all,” shares Mike & Kathie Todd who have volunteered as head parkers at GNR for many years.

Kathie welcoming GNR attendees.

2. GNR volunteers are showered with gratitude. 

Everyone likes to feel appreciated, and your efforts will not go unnoticed at GNR. “Volunteers are our most valuable people at GNR. We couldn’t do it without them,” shares Tammy Smith, GNR volunteer lead. 

3. Volunteering offers a new perspective of GNR. 

Whether you help with setup, parking, or conducting the people mover, volunteering at GNR gives you a unique perspective of the event. You’ll see first-hand how much love and hard work goes into making GNR happen and get to be fully immersed in the fun!

“Volunteering helps you feel like you are truly part of what GNR represents, which is learning, sharing, getting to know others, and enjoying the RV life," shares GNR volunteer Joy Murphy.

Volunteers gathered at a prior Grand National Rally to prepare packets.

4. You get to be part of the Winnebago team. 

GNR is made possible by the hard work of Winnebago staff and volunteers. But that distinction pretty much goes away during the event. “Volunteers become one with the Winnebago team,” Tammy explains. 

Volunteers not only love the opportunity to connect with so many other owners, but also getting to make lasting friendships with Winnebago staff. Returning volunteers often see it as more of a family reunion, where they get to spend quality time with cherished friends. 

"Volunteering during GNR has been a wonderful experience.  It's a great way to meet people.  I've made lifelong friends through my GNR volunteer experiences,” says GNR volunteer Karen Keller.

Volunteer Opportunities at GNR

Now that you are dreaming of all the great connections you’ll make as a GNR volunteer, you may be wondering what the actual work looks like. Not to worry, we’re sure there is a task you’ll enjoy!

Volunteer duties are split into two major groups: pre-GNR setup and during GNR help. 

Pre-GNR Volunteering: Setup & Parking 

This dedicated group of volunteers arrives at GNR early and takes on some of the hardest work and commits to the longest hours. Tasks range from vendor and signage setup to check-in and parking coordination. Funny enough, these are also the most sought-after volunteer positions and often fill up quickly. They look forward to the experience all year and don’t want to miss it!

“People come back year after year because they want to be the ones to welcome new and returning attendees,” shares Valerie Peters, GNR volunteer lead. The front gate crew and parking team are the first faces people see when they arrive at GNR and volunteers are excited to fill those roles! One flagger has requested that position for four years running because he loves to be the first one to welcome everyone. 

Fred Zaitz, a long-time member of the sign crew, shares why he loves this role: “You get to work WITH management instead of FOR management. We get a lot done and have fun doing it with this kind of arrangement. I love to be busy. And getting the grounds ready for GNR makes me happy!” His wife Andrea is also a volunteer who loves working at the front gate because she gets to greet attendees.

Fred and Andrea Zaitz with one of their biggest fans from Winnebago, Denise Hagen.

When you go to GNR, be sure to pay attention to all the work that goes into getting everyone parked safely. Flaggers direct you where to go, the registration team gives you information packets, parkers lead you to your space, the head parker makes sure everything goes smoothly, and the front gate keeps a record of where everyone is for safety. That entire process is made possible by volunteers! And that’s just what you can see. It doesn’t include all the other many people behind-the-scenes!

GNR volunteers are truly a spectacular group. Have we mentioned how grateful Winnebago is for them yet? 

Volunteer Opportunities During GNR – It’s Not Too Late to Sign Up!

The early GNR setup and parking volunteer roles for 2021 are likely all filled up by now, but it is never too late to volunteer your time at Rally! The Winnebago team has more than 400 two-hour shifts to fill during GNR, so your time will still be very much appreciated.

If you want to commit to volunteering during registration, that will help the team plan ahead. But, if you aren’t certain you’ll have time, you can always swing by the volunteer tent during GNR and ask what they need help with. They are sure to find a task that fits with your availability and skillset! This is a fun, lower-commitment way to get involved at GNR. And every single minute volunteers give to help this event run smoothly is very much appreciated. Each role at GNR is important and every volunteer is valued.

Some of the volunteer roles include traffic safety, help in the store, and – of course! – being the conductor on the people mover. The conductor role is a favorite of GNR volunteers because it is an important one that also happens to be really easy. You get to ride along on the people mover (a pickup truck pulling a trailer) and get to toot the horn at stops. Not only is this a great way to meet a lot of people, but you also get to see everything going on at the rally grounds without having to put in thousands of steps!

Thank You, GNR Volunteers!

If you are thinking about getting more involved at GNR this year through volunteering, we really appreciate you considering giving some of your valuable time to help out. 

And, to everyone who has volunteered at GNR in the past or is already signed up to help at this year’s event: thank you, thank you, thank you! The Winnebago team cannot fully express how much your help and dedication means. We can’t wait for our big family reunion at the Rally grounds!

Comments

User commented on July 3, 2021 9:14 AM
If you are a first timer don't worry about missing a seminar. They are repeated throughout the week. Volunteering on the people movers at the stores or traffic control is a great way to meet new friends.