New WWOOF Host Guidelines
Welcome to the WWOOF Hawaii organization. We are delighted that you would like to be part of the WWOOF Hawaii farm host volunteer network. There are over 2000 volunteers per year who come from over 30 other countries who look forward to an experience on a Hawaiian farm, homestead, residential or urban property. And there are now over 200 Hawaii Hosts.
We would like to offer some basic guidelines. The write-up that you have submitted will be part of the WWOOF Hawaii directory (or WWOOF Host list as it is commonly referred to) It is placed Island by Island on the website. Over the course of the next year, the volunteer (WWOOFers) might be “attracted” by your write-up and give you a telephone call or send you an email. Experience says that hosts receive inquiries all year round. It may be someone from Japan, England, Germany or a fellow American who will ask you if they may come and help you. Feel free to ask them questions, when they contact you via email. Example: Yes, we are open to having help. May I ask why you would like to come here? Tell me, briefly, something about yourself. So, you as a host are free to conduct a mini-interview to get a sense of the volunteer. Many hosts use skype for a phone interview and we encourage some type of verbal communication before you accept them. You are free to decide, and never under any obligation to accept someone, if it is not suitable at that time.
And . . please check to see if your WWOOFer is properly registered with WWOOF Hawaii. Ask them to tell you their ID number., which you can then go to the WWOOF Hawaii website (www.wwoofhawaii.org) and click on: Look up WWOOFer or Host. . and read their Profile.
Once you have made arrangements with a WWOOFEr to stay at your farm, you cannot transfer them to a different location. They have committed to volunteer with you and that is what they are expecting to do. If you are unable to accept them at your farm after arrangements have been made, you must give them at least 2 weeks notice so they can adjust their travel and farm arrangements.
When you say “yes”, tell them where you can pick them up. (nearest Bus Station, etc) Most WWOOFers will need specific instructions to get to your place. When you meet and arrive back at your place, take a few minutes and give them a mini-tour of your place. Share your family rhythms - breakfast time, lunch and dinner; the quirks of your household (so that you don’t get upset when they do something which has become an ingrained family tradition)
Example: after 9:30 .no one is to be in the kitchen or lights out by 10 or having lights out during the day to save energy)
With the tasks / chores and projects you need help with, be clear in your explanations and expectations and be supportive in your requests. Steer them into “simpler jobs” at the beginning, so that they have a sense of success. Assess their capabilities as time goes on and direct them to equivalent assignments. Communication is the key to a successful WWOOF experience. And expressing appreciation to your WWOOFer is vital. It gives them a sense of contributing to your vision at your place. Remember, some volunteers were attracted to you place because you grow herbs, or have horses, or an orchard, or are involved in something that caught their attention in your write-up.
How long can I expect a WWOOFer to help us? The international standard has become 4-6 hours per day, 5 - 5 ½ days per week. If you require a fuller - longer helping day, please ask your volunteer! Most, you will find, will not object, if the manner in which you ask, is supportive of their involvement. If the hay needs bringing in before nightfall, then it’s clear all hands are needed. If produce needs to be harvested for tomorrow’s farmers market, then the job needs to be done. Some WWOOFers will stay a week or 2, some longer, some might desire to stay much longer - discuss this with them a few days after they have arrived and after you have had a chance to experience their contribution.
In return for their help, you are to provide them with accommodation and three meals (and snacks) a day. Accommodations? Most hosts provide a spare bedroom, some a separate cabin, some their RV or a trailer/camper, some can only offer tenting sites. Please try your best to provide them with clean, comfortable accommodations. Meals? - Don’t be shy in asking for their help in meal preparations (washing the lettuce, setting the table, washing the dishes). And please try to provide wholesome nutritious meals. Encourage your volunteer to also prepare a meal, most people when feeling a sense of support, will want to introduce you to their native cuisine.
Many hosts have a “WWOOF Guest Book”. Any scrapbook will do. Get them to enter their name and address in it (in case of unforeseen circumstances) . WWOOFers have written poems, drawn pictures, and written comments. This is an event (them making their entry in the book) best done a day or so before they leave your place. This guest book can then also become an introductory step into your home for your next WWOOFer.
It is also a good idea to have WWOOFers sign a waiver in case anything happens to them while they are there. Accidents do happen, so it is best for everyone if WWOOFers have insurance in case they get injured while volunteering. Getting health insurance is the responsibility of the volunteer and we encourage you to ask them if they have it .
And last but not least, you will soon meet a broad spectrum of people. They, just as you and I, carry a broad spectrum of qualities. Find out their attributes, become a good host. Being a good host - is communicated “magically” throughout the whole WWOOFing scene. Acknowledge that it is a huge step for them to enter your home . (as it is for you to share your home) WWOOFing has become a cultural exchange, not just a straight “helping exchange”. Enjoy your experience as a WWOOF host.