Jimmy Buffett is a member of Bohemian Grove


Jimmy Buffett is a member of Bohemian Grove
June 22nd, 2009 in Bohemian Grove, Breaking News, Pictures, The Elite



Along with local youth, summer job applicants at the exclusive Bohemian Grove encampment near Monte Rio include an architect, a financial planner and a mortgage adviser.

“It would have been unusual in the past to see people from those areas,” said Matt Oggero, general manager of the San Francisco-based men’s club.

In a possible sign of the economic times, Oggero said the club has experienced a “moderate increase in adults” applying for a short-term job at its annual summer encampment for rich and powerful men.

Nonetheless, the number of older adults still remain in the minority. About 400 of the roughly 600 workers will be under 23 years of age, said Jennifer Robertson, the club’s human resources director. Many of the older workers are educators on summer break, homemakers and retirees.

The club has received about 1,200 applications this year, the first time in which potential workers could apply online. The numbers of applicants appear higher than last year.

The club’s 2,500 members will gather July 9-26 for the private annual encampment at the 2,700-acre retreat in the redwoods near the Russian River. In past years, the grove’s members and guests have included former U.S. presidents, business leaders and entertainers.

The encampment, which has been held there for 120 years, at times has drawn protesters seeking to draw attention to the private gathering of shakers and movers. But for more than three decades, the grove also has been a major employer for high school and college students, perhaps second only to the Sonoma County Fair.

This year’s encampment will happen in a summer when local youth may have to hustle more to find work. “It’s definitely tough, but there still are jobs out there,” said Karen Fies, director of Sonoma County’s Workforce Investment Board.

At the grove, the starting wage is about $10 an hour, with higher pay for some jobs and for those who previously have worked there. About 200 workers will return this year. “In many cases they’ll work their high school years and even college years,” Robertson said.

The jobs, available to men and women, include baggage handling, valet parking, commissary work and serving as waiters and assistants in the main dining area.

A small number of workers started employment during the club’s Spring Jinks gathering in late May and will stay on through the July encampment.

Both Oggero and Robertson said the quality of the applicants each year is outstanding. “The majority of the people we interview we end up hiring,” Robertson said.

In recent years, an annual talent show has been staged by grove employees for their fellow workers. One year a club member took time to watch the show and later asked to hand out the award to the winning group.

“It was Jimmy Buffett,” Oggero said. He recalled that “the kids just went nuts,” and the entertainer went on to serenade them with “Margaritaville.”

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 521-5285

or robert.digitale@