We are delighted that you would like to be a Host with WWOOF Hawaii.
There are over 3000 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 280 Hawaii Hosts.
We would like to offer some basic guidelines for you as a Host. Once your farm is registered with us, the WWOOFers might be “attracted” by your profile and give you a telephone call or send you an email. Experience says that Hosts receive inquiries all year round, winter time being the busiest. 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. It is best for you 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.
Some Host farms have every person who wants to stay at their farm download and fill out a questionnaire or an application, based on which they decide if this person is a potential fit for their farm. If so they continue with a phone interview. 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 participating. Getting health insurance is the responsibility of each WWOOFer and we encourage you to ask them if they have it .
Also, please check to see if a WWOOFer is properly registered with WWOOF Hawaii by verifying their membership. Ask them to tell you their ID number, which you can then enter in our search bar to look up their profile. We do not pre-screen WWOOFers, so you are responsible for making sure you know who is coming to stay with you. You are responsible for any issues that may come up, so make sure you get to know your guests before inviting them to your farm.
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.
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 stay 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.
Once you have agreed on the dates that they will stay, start to discuss the details. Tell them where you can pick them up or where they should arrive. 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, and introduce them to other WWOOFers. ( 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) Their first impression when they arrive will be very important on setting the mood for the rest of their stay as well as letting them know what is expected of them.
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. Expressing appreciation to your WWOOFers is vital. It gives them a sense of contributing to your vision at your place. Remember, some WWOOFers were attracted to your 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 stay?
The international standard has become 2-4 hours per day,3 -5 days per week. If you require a fuller – longer day, please ask your guests if they are OK with this and mark this on your profile! 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 might desire to stay much longer – discuss this with them before they arrive and also let them know if you have a trial period of a week or 2, in order to see if you are a good match.
In return for their help, you are to teach them what you can about organic farming and provide them with dry accommodation and three meals a day, if possible. For 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 dry, clean, and comfortable accommodations. 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. If you are unable provide 3 meals a day, than it is appropriate for you to ask for less hours of help in return. For example: If you can only provide 1 meal a day, than 10-15 hours is what you should ask. If only 2 meals a day than 15-25 hours per week. And if you provide the full amount of food for them, than it is appropriate to ask for 25-30 hours. This as well as the accommodations and setting of your property must be taken into account when deciding how many hours you will ask them to help. It is againts WWOOF policy for Hosts to be charging their guests to stay with them. If you are unsure what is fair for your situation, it is always good to ask for feedback from your guests or contact us.
Who you will meet
And last but not least, you will soon meet a broad spectrum of people. They, just as you, carry a broad spectrum of qualities. 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”, which is why many people are interested in WWOOF. We hope that you will enjoy your experience as a WWOOF Host.
If there are ever any problems or questions you have about being a Host, please don't hesitate to contact us.