Podcast Episodes

Episode 167 describes an opportunity for Workampers to build a community in South Dakota from the ground up

Today, I’m talking with an employer from South Dakota who has a really unique Workamping opportunity for people who have construction experience – and they’re looking for dozens of Workampers this summer.

The Vivos Project is a community being developed near Edgemont, S.D. It was once an old U.S. Army base where ammunition was stored in underground bunkers. Those 575 bunkers are being converted into private homes that people can use as emergency shelters, vacation homes, permanent residences and storage facilities.

Stephen Church is one of the people working to transform the shelters. He is joined by Edith Horn, a Workamper who serves as the lead project manager.

The project involves a standard build-out process to convert 80-by-26-foot concrete, domed open space bunkers into 2,200-square-foot homes with separate rooms, like bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchen space, a living room and storage closets. Vivos needs Workampers who have experience in carpentry, plumbing, electrical installations, painting, etc., as well as people who can use equipment like excavators and skid loaders to move earth.

It was described as a humanitarian project, which led me to believe it was volunteer work. But, I was wrong. All the jobs are paid with wages starting at $15 to $25 per hour, based on experience, speed of their work and the level of commitment they can make. Stephen is looking for people who can commit to working for six to nine months on the project. In exchange, Workampers receive a free full-hookup site.

The project is surrounded by a fully-functional cattle ranch and Vivos is planning to create an entire community as well, including a “town area” with a restaurant, laundromat, stores and a community center.

The construction project is located about nine miles from Edgemont, S.D., but it’s part of a vast prairie less than 30 minutes from the border with Wyoming and Nebraska. The homes offer views for miles in each direction.

There are some hotels and stores in Edgemont, but the city is less than 45 minutes from Custer, S.D., which is the gateway to Mount Rushmore National Monument and the gorgeous Black Hills vacation destination. The project is also 40 minutes from Hot Springs, which is near Wind Cave National Park and several lakes or rivers.

This is a unique opportunity to build an entire community basically from scratch. Best of all, Workampers who serve on the construction crew are allowed to acquire one of the shelters for almost 50 percent off – and they can pay that off over time to become permanent residents of the community as well.

South Dakota is a popular domicile state for many RVers because there is no state income tax. Not only that, but there is no corporate income tax or business inventory tax, which makes it popular with business owners. Nor is there a personal property tax or inheritance tax.

Like I said, this really is a wonderful opportunity for Workampers who have construction experience to build a community and become a part of it, if they wish.

Applying for the Workamping positions is relatively simple. People just email Stephen to set up an appointment to talk about the project, their experience, the earning potential and the amount of time they can devote to building out homes.

Workampers have every weekend off to explore the region and enjoy the various attractions as well as all the buffalo roaming freely in the area.

More information about the Vivos Project, including photos of what a finished home will look like, is available by visiting www.terravivos.com and looking for details of the XPoint project. People interested in Workamping this summer can email Stephen at [email protected] or contact Edith at [email protected].

That’s all I have for this week’s show. Next time, I really will be speaking with the woman who develops lesson plans and resources for school teachers while traveling with her husband from place to place. I had planned to feature her interview a few weeks ago, but a few opportunities seeking a lot of Workampers right now forced the postponement. So tune in next week for a great interview with a Workamper who runs a business from her RV on the next episode of The Workamper Show. Thanks for listening!

Greg Gerber

Greg Gerber is a former journalist who covered the recreation vehicle industry since 2009. He started podcasting in 2014 and enjoys interviewing people about ways to live, work and play in their RVs.

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