The limited availability of financing continues to constrain the growth of the recreational park trailer industry. But several Elkhart County manufacturers say their year-to-date sales are ahead of last year’s
figures and most are confident that the worst of the recession is behind them. “The campground industry’s continued demand for park models that they can use as rental units is really helping us this year,” said
Bill Garpow, executive director of the Newnan, Ga.-based Recreational Park Trailer Industry Association, which is had its quarterly board meeting at the RV Hall of Fame in Elkhart. Continued Page 2
Continued from Page 1 Independently owned as operated campgrounds as well as parks affiliated with the major campground chains, such as Kampgrounds of America (KOA) and Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are fueling much of the park model demand, Garpow said. But even government run parks are starting to invest in park models because they’ve seen the success that private campgrounds have had with rental units that can accommodate people who don’t have a tent or RV. “Park models are a neat way to introduce people to camping who might not otherwise find their way into a campground,” Garpow said. Most manufacturers across Elkhart County, for their part, are confident the worst of the recession is behind them. “We’re clearly up off the bottom,” said Tim Howard, president and CEO of the Breckenridge Division of Damon Corp., a Thor company in Nappanee. “Our business is up 15 percent from last year.”
He added that consumer interest in park models is stronger this year than last year. Curt Yoder, vice president of Kropf Industries Inc. in Goshen, said his company’s business has been good despite tight financing. “Our business has been quite good. We’ve been going full bore all year,” he said, adding that he is also seeing strong demand from Canada, which is driven in part by the strengthening Canadian dollar. “Our Canadian business has been good, but they’re still fighting some of the same issues we are with the lack of available financing,” he said. Jim Foltz, general manager of Forest River’s park trailer division in Elkhart, said he is seeing strong sales this year. “It’s much better than last year,” he said. “I look for it to stay steady this year.” Dave Burroughs, national sales manager for Woodland Park Inc. in Middlebury, said his business has been “decent” this year.
“It has definitely not come back to the levels of 2006, 2007 or 2008, but it’s starting to come around,” he said. “Retail traffic is starting to pick up. We still have a lot of hurdles to jump over before people are going to spend their money as freely as they did in previous years, but I do believe there is some optimism out there.” Other Elkhart County park trailer manufacturers aren’t convinced the worst is behind us, particularly with gas prices exceeding $4 a gallon. “If it costs $30 more per week to fill a tank, that’s $120 per month that a customer no longer has in disposable income,” said John Soard, general manager of Fairmont Park Trailers in Nappanee. Still, Soard expects his company’s sales to be at least on par with last year’s figures. Tyler Steele, vice president of Canterbury RV in Goshen, also expects his 2011 sales to match last year’s figures, but financing remains tight. “Retail financing continues to be an
Bill Garpow: RPTIA issue,” he said. “The low end product is selling better than the mid-range, while the high end products are usually cash deals.” In their board meeting, RPTIA manufacturers plan to discuss ways to improve park model sales through more diversified marketing efforts that include social media outreach as well as the association’s efforts to share intelligence on promising financing sources with its members. RPTIA is also working to persuade the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to recognize a federal building code standard for park trailers that would supercede state and local codes, the idea being to establish a uniform code that would apply to all park trailer manufacturers.
PITTSFIELD, Ill., May 10, 2011 – Ted and Deb know what it’s like to have a busy lifestyle. For nearly 20 years, Deb worked as a city planner in Florida while her husband, Ted, built and renovated commercial and residential swimming pools. And they worked both jobs while raising seven children. But after the Festas became empty nesters three years ago, they left Florida, bought Pine Lakes Resort in Pittsfield and jointly started a new career as campground owners. “We wanted a business venture where we could be together, work together and grow together, and this opportunity seemed right,” Deb Festa said, adding that she has many fond memories growing up camping with her family. And after investing nearly $100,000 in improvements,
the Festas have joined the Jellystone Park CampResorts chain in a move they hope will not only strengthen their park’s appeal to families in the greater St. Louis area, but in other outlying areas from Troy, Mo. to Peoria, lll. “We’re going to have our grand opening as a Jellystone Park on Memorial Day weekend,” Deb Festa said, adding that Yogi Bear will also make his first appearance at the park that weekend. Jellystone Parks are famous for offering fun and family activities that include everything from crafts and games to “hey rides,” birthday parties with the bears and daily appearances by Yogi. The Festas, for their part, have already mapped out five months worth of activities starting with three consecutive days of
Deb and Ted Festa fun on Memorial Day weekend, which will include numerous games, dancing, gold panning in the campground’s gem mine and the park’s annual fishing derby for kids. Summer activities will range from a pet weekend on June 25th and 26th, when campers can show off their best dressed dogs, cats and birds as well as any tricks they have trained their pets to perform. The park will also host an owner-pet lookalike contest. A chocolate lovers weekend is slated for July 9th and 10th, and will include a chocolate craft and a chocolate slip-n-slide as well as candy bar bingo, while the park’s first annual Olympic Games are scheduled for July 16th and 17th. The Festas will celebrate Yogi Bear’s birthday party Aug. 13th and 14th with a sand castle
competition, a tug of war, ice cream and cake. In lieu of presents for Yogi Bear, guests will be encouraged to bring an unwrapped toy that will be donated to Toys for Tots. Autumn activities include two Halloween themed weekends during the first two weekends of October with a haunted house, a haunted hike, trick or treating and prizes for the best decorated campsite, while the weekend of Oct. 15th and 16th will feature a haunted house and a tour of the area’s fall colors. A complete schedule of late spring, summer and fall activities is available on the park’s website at www.jellystonepinelakes.com.
Other Illinois Jellystone Parks are located in Amboy, Millbrook and Goodfield.
KERRVILLE, Texas, May 5, 2011 – Attendees at the Texas Association of Campground Owners’ Spring Convention received a briefing this week on how to provide recharge services for travelers with electric cars. Wade Elliott of Preston, Wash.-based Utility Supply Group said the prices for electric vehicle recharge equipment as it becomes available range from $700 to $3,500 for each station. However, such equipment could be available at lower prices in the future. In the meantime, Elliott said, there are several ways park operators can accommodate travelers who need to recharge their electric vehicles. Perhaps the best way, he said, is to install a dedicated 50 amp GFCI protected/ 240 volt outlet on the side of their camp store or office that is solely to be used for electric
vehicle recharging. This method, which is already being used by some campground operators, enables the park to provide the service without tying up a campsite. If that option is not available, Elliott recommends that park operators refer their electric vehicle recharge customers to unoccupied campsite loops with 50 amp / 240 volt electrical hookups. This way, electric vehicle owners can recharge their vehicles without overloading the circuits or competing for electricity with other RVers who are plugged into the same electrical circuit. In either case, the electric vehicle owner will need an adapter to connect to their car, though most electric car owners already have such adapters. It is possible for electric vehicles to be recharged with 50 amp / 240 volt RV hookups. But Elliott said that no more than one vehicle should be allowed to do this per electrical loop so as not to overload the circuits. There are typically two to 10 campsites per electrical loop, he said. Elliott provided the electric vehicle recharge seminar Tuesday at TACO’s Spring Convention at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville because consumer interest in using campgrounds as electrical vehicle recharge stations is growing.
Elliott said electric vehicles typically require about 40 kilowatts of power for a fourhour charge, the price of which varies across the country. Park owners, for their part, are charging anywhere from $8.50 to $15 for a four-hour charge, with most charging about $10. “You’re not just selling power. You’re selling convenience,” Elliott said, adding, “A lot of RV parks sitting alongside highways
and interchanges are in a perfect position to take advantage of this.” Lucas Hartford, president of Evergreen USA, said in a separate interview that he does not foresee any increased liability for park owners that allow their RV pedestals to be used for electric vehicle recharging, so long as their equipment meets the relevant electrical codes.
Ludington State Park will be 75 years old in August and the park staff is planning a three-day celebration to commemorate the event. The park was founded Aug. 15, 1936 and was named Ludington State Park by P.J. Hoffmaster to honor the people of the Ludington area who, with the Izaak Walton League, donated some of the land for the park, according to Park Interpreter Alan Wernette. “We’re going to celebrate Aug. 13, 14 and 15 and the reason we’re going until Monday is because Monday is the official date,” Wernette said. People of the local chapter of the IWL encouraged Hoffmaster to accept the gift of land to hopefully bring it into the state park system, Wernette said. When the park opened, it was still under construction by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which
maintained a camp in the park boundaries. “They’re responsible for a lot of what we have here today,” Wernette said. “Roads, buildings, trails, bridges.” Wernette said before 1936 the land was accessible only by foot or by putting your vehicle on the beach. “It was a place you had to work to get to,” Wernette said. Several presentations are in the planning stages for the anniversary weekend, Wernette said, including one on the battle between the National Parks Service, the Michigan State Parks system and the Michigan Department of Transportation. Wernette said the National Parks Service designed the layout of the park and MDOT had also staked a claim, surveying and staking a road that went all the way to Manistee along Lake Michigan
We have consistently been reminding campground owners about the need to protect their credit card data from security breaches from hackers and other criminals. So when SONY announced recently that 77 million PlayStation Network and Qriocity customers had their data breached on April 16th and 17th, the theft caused the US Congress to spring into action. Then on May 2nd, SONY announced that 24.6 additional customers, many from abroad, were hacked from SONY Online Entertainment. Congress immediately requested that SONY testify before the U.S. House Commerce, Manufacturing and Trade Subcommittee on May 4th. SONY refused to testify. According to Subcommittee Chair, Rep Mary BonoMack (R-Calif.) because “all facts regarding the breach are not yet known and an internal investigation continues”. The subcommittee had submitted 13 questions to SONY such as: When and how did you become aware of the breach? When did you notify the authorities? How many consumers were impacted by the breach? How did the breach occur? Have you identified the people responsible for the breach? How many
Playstation Network accountholders provided credit card information to SONY and what steps were taken to prevent such a breach? The information stolen was varied but included names, addresses, e-mail addresses, birthdates, gender, phone numbers, login names and passwords. SONY claims they aren’t sure that credit card data was stolen despite reports that credit card information is actually for sale on underground websites. A class action suit against SONY was filed in federal court on April 27, 2011, just days after the massive breach, in the Northern District of California. The suit was filed by Kristopher Johns, an Alabama resident on behalf of “all those similarly situated” in the SONY breach. The FBI is also involved in the investigation as it shares cyber crime jurisdiction with the US Secret Service. A copy of the complaint may be found at www.techfirm.com/storage/j ohnsvsony-complaintfinal.pdf. In a related story, the Verizon Risk Team released its 2011 Data Breach Investigations Report using information from the United States
Secret Service, which is now fighting “cyber crime”. The report cites some astounding data: 50% of data attacks were from hacking and 49% from malware. 96% of breaches could have been prevented with simple intermediate controls 83% of the attacks victims were merely “targets of opportunity” and had a low level of difficulty. 89% of the victims who were required to comply with the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards were not compliant when they were attacked. Last year’s data breaches were described as “highly
automated and prolific” and most of them came from computerized processing rather than from POS equipment using phone lines. Art Lieberman is the President of MCPS for Campgrounds and has been running FREE webinars on PCI compliance every month for several years. Along with Deanne Bower, Art is the Producer of the Virtual Outdoor Hospitality Expo II, which will begin on 11/11/11. Art can be reached at MCPS at 877858-9010 or at Campground Expo at 877901-EXPO (3976)
One woman and a pet escaped injury after a fire broke out in a fifth-wheel trailer Saturday at the Hazelmere RV Park and Campground. Firefighters were called to the 18843 8 Ave. site around 11:30 a.m. May 7. Witness James Cooper, who is staying at the park, said the 35- to 40-foot trailer suffered extensive damage in the fire. "The whole rear quarter of the trailer… is gutted," Cooper said. "There's actually a hole right through to the roof." Cooper said he was on his way out of the park Saturday morning when fire trucks turned in. Looking back, he saw smoke and decided to see what was going on.
Cooper praised park staff and firefighters alike for their quick actions. Staff helped get the resident – who was apparently sleeping when the fire started – out, kept others away from the fire and called for help; firefighters were quick to respond and thorough in their efforts, he said. Cooper believes the blaze may have started in the trailer's kitchen. He saw firefighters remove the unit's refrigerator. Surrey Fire Services Chief Ron Cross would not hazard a guess on the cause. "I can't release anything until the investigation's completed," Cross said Monday. Article and Photo: www.bclocalnews.com
Evanne: Is it what you expected? Paul Bambei: Yeah, it has for the most part. I’ve really felt the importance of listening to people. I’ve interacted with so many. I’ve travelled a lot, made trips to California. I made a trip up to Billings. I’m here at Wisconsin’s show where Lori has put together a fantastic event, by the way. It’s through those interactions that I think I’m learning about the industry and I’m also able to impart some things to the membership that are important to me. So it’s working.
Evanne: Hi. I’m Evanne Schmarder here on behalf of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, ARVC, and I’m at the Wisconsin Association of Campgrounds meeting with our President and CEO of ARVC Paul Bambei. Paul Bambei: Hi Evanne. Evanne: Hi Paul. Thank you for joining us today. Last time we spoke you were brand spanking new. You were in Las Vegas. We were at the national convention. I understand from hearing you speak
today you’ve been 107 days on the job.
Evanne: Excellent. Excellent. So what’s been your biggest challenge?
Paul Bambei: 107. I started December 1st and here we are in mid March. I spoke of 107 days because I read a book, the First 120 Days, about any executive coming into a new position. It’s a time when you really want to get your agenda going. You want to make sure that people notice that you’re getting things done. So I took that period to do just that. I had things I wanted to get done and I’ve accomplished most of what I’ve wanted to do.
Paul Bambei: I was asked that question recently and my snap answer but it’s also the truthful one is I want to create value for the members. I want to bring them business. As I’ve spoken I believe I can do that a number of ways but chiefly it’s through marketing. There are some things that are being developed that are new to ARVC but I think are going to be fantastic when they unfold. They all are geared toward marketing to the masses and bringing the
masses to the parks and that’s where the rubber meets the road, business. So that’s what I’m trying to do. Evanne: That’s perfect. You have a lot of background in cable TV and you’re really bringing that forward to the association and the marketing standpoint and that’s terrific. You talked about the outdoor channel. That’s very exciting for our industry and our little sector of it. Paul Bambei: The outdoor channel is a niche service. They call it a narrow casted service that is programmed for fishermen and hunters and people that are outdoor enthusiasts. I knew some fairly high ranking people over there that wanted to do something with ARVC. So after three months of meetings here, there and everywhere with various people I think we’re very close to an agreement that is going to be very beneficial for the ARVC membership. Evanne: I enjoyed hearing about the marketing plan moving forward and we’ve got the Great Outdoors Month coming up in June. It sounds like some exciting things on the horizon for ARVC. Continued
Continued Paul Bambei: Very exciting things. We’re trying to plan campaigns that people can rely on and know that this is a period that ARVC is going to promote the business. We’ve selected June 1st through the 25th as that period. It’s a campaign that is meant to piggy-back on much bigger initiative by the Obama Administration to get families and kids outdoors. What we’re doing is promoting that to young families so that our effort incents families to come to our campgrounds. Evanne: There are other things going on as well with CAMP. There’s a large partnership going on with the state associations, right? Paul Bambei: Yeah. The CAMP people are great. I look at them – actually I was told by one of them that CAMP can be and should be the marketing arm of ARVC. These are people that are in state level positions. They have all the contacts. They know all the right people. So to me to not use them is a huge mistake. For them not to use me is a huge mistake, too. So I think what that says is it’s a symbiotic relationship and if we attack the same opportunities together we’re going to win. That’s really what this June campaign is all about. It’s an effort to have the CAMP people do what they do best at the local level, create publicity around the theme, “Get Outdoors,” and then from the national point of view at
ARVC we are going to marry that PR effort with a marketing effort designed to bring business to the parks. Evanne: And enjoyment to the public. Paul Bambei: Definitely. Anytime you can approach the public and say, “Let’s get outdoors; let’s enjoy what’s out there,” and speak a message to a family especially a young family that I don’t think has been very reactive to the outdoor hospitality message in general I think it’ll be a good thing for them to kind of wake up and say, “Gee, I didn’t know I could do this affordably and so easily.” That’s the message that we’re trying to put out there is that if you have a young family avoid jumping on a plane and spending hundreds if not thousands of dollars to go to some fancy resort and drink foofoo drinks along the pool. Come to one of our private campgrounds and really enjoy fresh air and family time together in a way that is, like I said, affordable. So that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re using some new vehicles that have not been used by ARVC in the past, Outdoor Channel being one. We’re also employing You Tube and an agency that is very adept at You Tube viral video to reach the young family with a medium that they watch, You Tube. Evanne: Well and not only that, we’re going to be looking at a new, upgraded Go Camping America
website which is a wonderful way to reach that generation. Paul Bambei: We are improving the existing Go Camping America site and what you see today as GCA.com probably won’t look a lot different on the surface but it’s really the inner architecture that we’re trying to improve to make it a lot easier for a visitor to the site to navigate and search and find a campground of their choice and that will involved drop down menus that make it easy for them to find a campground near their home, drop down menus that help them find amenities that they’re looking for. There’s a big data match that happens behind the scenes that makes it all happen. Those are the things that I want to make very easy for the visitor on GCA so that they can find a campground that matches their needs and that’s not an easy thing to do but it is work that has to be done. Evanne: Well I understand we’re calling our parks, our member parks, to make sure that we’ve got the data that we need for that match to come together. Is that right? Paul Bambei: That is right. We are initiating a very proactive effort to call every park to bring whatever their data profile is up to date. That’s important because for all of this to work we want the most current, real, fresh data that is available.
So we’re requiring maybe a 10 minute to 15 minute conversation with the park which will occur over the next couple of months. Once that’s done we’d like to think we have data that is usable and what the consumer’s searching for. Evanne: Well you know it’s interesting because in your presentation today you were talking about Go Camping America and the promotional programs that you’re going to be working on and the Great Outdoors Month and we also talked about ARVC membership value. I was shocked when you put all the math together and you came out with if you get seven additional camping nights out of ARVC’s marketing program you’ve paid for your annual membership. Paul Bambei: That’s correct. Evanne: It’s amazing. Paul Bambei: I think that’s just the way I look at business. If you can relate the business in terms of return on investment and make it work it should be a decision that any park owner can make on their own. All I’m doing is putting numbers up using industry averages that say the average revenue dues that an ARVC member would pay annually is about $260.00. I’m saying that the average revenue per night is around $41.00. I’m saying the average variable cost of a new customer driving into a park is about Continued
$6.00 per night. So you subtract the $6.00 from the $41.00. You get $35.00. You divide that into the $260.00 dues that they pay and it works out to about seven nights of business that I want to create for every ARVC member. If I can do that then I hope the park owner says, “Okay, I like being a member of ARVC.” They should like it for a lot of reasons beyond that. We provide so many benefits. If you just look at the member benefit program that brings in great brands like Staples and Home Depot and Sherwin-Williams Paint and John Deere tractors and on and on the membership value is there right with those products because I looked at the numbers here in Wisconsin and it was actually handed to me by Lori, the Executive Director, who had done their own analysis with Staples, the Staples Advantage Program, and very quickly determined that a roll of toilet paper purchased through Staples is about a dollar less through the ARVC membership. Well you think about all the rolls that are out there over the season and $260.00 gets washed away pretty quickly in terms of our dues. So that’s one very small benefit that I could use. There are 50 others in terms of the membership benefit program. But getting back to dues payment in general, I’m more about just bringing new business to these parts
and I think a national marketing program that is not a one in and out kind of campaign but is a seasonally adjusted four campaigns per year that a park can opt in or out of, aimed at the shoulder periods when business is generally light those things are how we help the park owner turn a profit. As a former business person I understand that and that’s what I’m trying to do. Evanne: Well not only can you help them at their parks turn a profit, we’ve just talked about the new conference, the ARVC Conference that will be taking place in Savannah. You’ve done some new pricing to help intergenerational families and whatnot attend that conference. There are a lot of inter-generational campground owner families here in Wisconsin. Paul Bambei: You know, I’ve run into them everywhere and that’s kind of what gave me the idea that I needed to do something to make it easier financially for parks to attend our conference because our conference to me is the single most important symbol of unity that we can have. I looked at the numbers and I saw not just with intergenerational parks but smaller parks, medium sized parks that were telling me, “Gee, those registration rates are a bit steep for me. I can’t afford it.” I looked at that and I said, “Okay, if you’re a park that’s less
than 250 sites I’m going to make it a bit easier for you to come.” We took the preregistration rate of $449.00 and for those parks that are less than 250 sites we’ve knocked it back to $379.00.
So that’s pretty significant. It’s not everything that they probably need or want but it’s a step in the right direction. With the intergenerational discount it’s an additional 10 percent on top of that small park discount. So there are two discounts at work here. I’m trying to recognize that families have been loyal to this industry for years, even decades. I’m trying to give back a little bit through ARVC and through our registration rate to encourage those families to come. The only qualifier is they have to come from the same park. It can be families. It can be spouses. It can be employees. We’re trying to get a park motivated to come. Evanne:There’s so much to learn at conferences and conventions and the show floors and the products and the networking and the people that you meet. It’s valuable. It’s priceless, really. Paul Bambei: It is. I was just out on the floor of this show here in Wisconsin, which by the way I think is fantastic. Evanne: They do a great job.
Paul Bambei: They brought almost 200 vendors to this conference. What I’ve committed myself to do is try to talk to every one of them while I’m here just to (a) get to know them and (b) invite them to come to the National Convention. I think there’s a lot we can do with our suppliers and vendors to bring them more into the fold and make them feel a part of this family. I come from an industry, the cable industry where vendors were very important and I just want them to feel like they’re part of the solution. The solution to me is, “How do we own the outdoor hospitality brand?” That’s why we changed the brand name of our conference from InSites to this new brand name called the Outdoor Hospitality Expo and Conference brought to you by ARVC. Evanne: Right. Paul Bambei: So we’re trying to reach out and bring a lot of these alliances to the conference and put it all under one big roof. Evanne: There are a lot of players in the outdoor hospitality industry, aren’t there? Paul Bambei: There are a lot. I’ve learned of many that we should be reaching out and bringing in. I’m a big believer in the theory that when the tide rises all boats rise with it. I’d like more boats in the harbor. I Continued
think when we get more boats, more enthusiasm, more momentum behind promoting the outdoor hospitality industry it’s good for everybody. Evanne: I can see the headline now, “Bambei Wants to Float More Boats.” Paul Bambei: Yeah. Well it’s better than, “Bambei Wants to Eat More Snow.” You remember that song? But yeah, I’ve seen that work in the cable industry. Cable was a very small, parochial industry back in the ‘60s and then when I came into the picture in the late ‘70s it was still relatively small. It was only when they started understanding that there are a lot of alliances that could be reached not just here in this country either. They started reaching abroad and inviting international interests to their industry. Today it’s a huge industry and a huge conference. Again, it’s good for everybody coming because there’s more connections to be made, more business to be made, more deals to be made. It’s all good. So I’m trying to recreate that here within this industry. Evanne: More memories, more family, more everything to be made. Paul Bambei: Yeah. When you think about family and Savannah I think there’s a great venue down there. I’ve been to Savannah. This is going to be at the Westin in Savannah which
is a beautiful hotel. We’ve had our conference there before. Evanne: Yes, we have. Paul Bambei: Before me but we’re going to do some things a little differently to create fun and family enjoyment. Think of it as a vacation with your family but you’re going to do a little business on the side. That’s kind of the way a conference should be in my opinion. Evanner: That’s perfect. It’s perfect. Paul Bambei: Yeah. Well look what they’ve done here. I mean they’ve done – one of the objections was, “What am I going to do with my kids?” Well here in Wisconsin they’ve created a kid’s camp of people that – young people that will watch over the kids while the parents are in the seminars and whatnot. I think that’s smart. I think that’s something we should do. So I’m going to go back home and look into that. Evanne: Supports the family. It really supports the core values of what we provide. Paul Bambei: Yeah. We are a social industry and every time I’ve gone camping I love setting up near another family and just getting to know them, share the stories. When Oprah did her thing at Yosemite a few months ago I watched that and I was intrigued by how easily she moved about the
campground and invited people to her campsite and had a great time. That’s kind of what I think camping is all about. That’s what I enjoy about it. I can relate that to the conference very easily because the conference should be like that, too. It should be a social atmosphere where everybody gets to talk and trade stories and success stories as well as failures, just understand what best practices are. That’s how an industry grows. I think if I can create the environment for that everybody wins. Evanne: So are you going to have a camping vacation with your family this summer? Is that on your agenda? Paul Bambei: My agenda, Evanne, is pretty busy for the next several months but yes. I will look forward to being able to do that. I do have two teenagers and you know how that goes. When they were younger they loved getting into the cabover and enjoying the RV experience. They still love it but kids are just kind of funny when they get older. They think parents are probably the most uncool thing on the planet. So I’m not sure I’m going to get my teenage daughter to come. Yes, I do. I’m sure I’ll get her to come. I’m not sure she’ll enjoy it until she gets there and then she’ll break out in a big smile.
Evanne: Well you know I’m thinking about packing for a summer trip but you’re packing to move into a new office. That’s exciting news. Paul Bambei: It is. You know it took us awhile to find the right place and there was a lot of effort put toward that last year that when I came in in December it became a very important challenge to get that behind us. So I put my energy toward it. I found a place in South Denver that is, I think, perfect for our organization. It’s closer to the resources of Denver which is good. It’s closer to the airport. It’s going to save about – I don’t know – 40 to 50 miles of drive time for my staff and myself. It’s an office environment. Where we are right now is beautiful if you’ve ever been there. It’s a log home out in the middle of the pines and the woods and it’s beautiful but it’s not really conducive to a business working environment. When you have guests that you want to bring to Denver and meet the ARVC staff it’s not always the best, easiest place to get to. So the new place is going to be much more conducive to business and that’s what we’re in. We’re in a business. So we’re going to act like it with an office that is a business office. Evanne: And a restructured staff. You’ve got a terrific staff there in Denver. Continued
Paul Bambei: I’m very proud of the staff I have. I saw some talents in some leaders that are now in positions of taking on more responsibility. I just formally recognized what I knew was already there and what they knew was already there which is great leadership talent. Barb Youmans has been promoted to Senior Director of Administration and Education. She comes from a background of leadership. She was a COO of a foundation herself. I needed somebody to be my strong number two back in the office when I’m out here travelling and I think the tandem works very well in that regard. Jeff Sims, a lot of people know Jeff from his volunteer work last year and actually many years before that as a campground owner in Branson, Missouri. A former chairman of ExCom
he knows everything there is to know about ARVC. He does it with such a style that is so down home and honest that people trust him. That’s what ARVC needs is a face out there rubbing elbows, shaking hands, pressing the flesh, as we say, that they have a human being that they can relate to and that’s Jeff. Evanne: And fixing change machines. I understand he does it all. Paul Bambei: Oh he probably does that and then some. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Jeff go back and visit a lot of parks like he did last year. He travelled voluntarily 40,000 miles and visited 1,800 parks. To do that of your own volition and to really enjoy it because you’re passionate about it says a lot about a person. So I knew right off the bat when I met Jeff that I wanted him on my team and I was very fortunate for him to accept
the position of Director of Membership and Public Affairs which is what he does for me. So he’s a jewel. Evanne: Yes, he is. Absolutely. So I’m think the Great Outdoors Month is coming in June. A lot going on, a lot at the office, a lot out in the field. Will we get to talk again in three months and get an update on how life is? Paul Bambei: You bet. I love using the video medium and YouTube distribution of that medium to get messages like this out and for people to just
see I’m a pretty normal person trying to get a monster job done. So far, with the cooperation of the membership I feel we can accomplish great things. Evanne: Well I think we are already starting to accomplish great things and I hear it from all the members that I talk to. Thank you so much for sitting down with us today, taking the time to share your insight, so to speak. We’ll talk to you again. Paul Bambei: Okay, Evanne. Look forward to it. Evanne: Thank you.
Amy and Jerry Anderson don't wait until school gets out before they start their summer camping season with their two boys.
Anderson says, adding that all the moms get roses with their pancake breakfasts.
The Roseville, Mich. family starts their camping season on Mother's Day weekend at the Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Fremont, Ind.
The Fremont Jellystone is one of many in the 75-unit family campground chain whose weekend events include special Mother's Day and Father's Day activities.
"I love the recreation staff and the activities that they have for the children," Amy Anderson says. Mother's Day weekend activities include arts and crafts, in which the kids prepare a gift for Mom, a pancake breakfast served on Sunday morning by the kids, with a little help from the Jellystone Park staff, and a "Mom's Only" gathering by the pool. "It's just a wonderful way to spend time with family,"
The Jellystone in Horn Lake, Miss., for example, has a Mother's Day tea party and scavenger hunts for Father's Day as well as scary stories around the campfire, while the Jellystone Park in Burleson, Texas offers mom masages on her special day, courtesy of a certified massage therapist. But while it's hard to beat the sentimental feeling of a Mother's Day celebration with the kids, Anderson
admits her kids can't wait until Father's Day, when Jellystone Park in Fremont has its annual Miss Jellystone Park contest, in which the dads dress up as beauty queens. "Getting to put makeup on Dad is fun," Anderson said, adding that her sister, two of her aunts and her mother often join her on Mother's
and Father's Day weekends at the campground. For more information on special activities for Motherâ€™s and Fatherâ€™s Day and other fun family activities throughout the spring, summer and fall camping seasons, please visit www.campjellystone.com.
KERRVILLE, Texas, May 4, 2011 – Park operators aren’t doing enough to attract a diverse business base that reflects America’s changing demographics, said Larry Brownfield, a senior business development consultant for Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA). “Do we want to survive?” Brownfield asked during an educational workshop at the spring meeting of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO). “We’ve got to be aggressively targeting ethnic diversity.” Brownfield shared a KOA handout that included 2010 Census data showing that white Caucasians account for only 66 percent of the U.S. population, while African Americans and Hispanics make up 17 percent and 12 percent of the population, respectively. Five percent of the U.S. population is Asian. White Caucasians represent 87 percent of American campers,
however, according to a 2009 Outdoor Foundation survey, while Hispanics, African Americans and Asians represent a mere 6 percent, 3 percent and 4 percent, respectively.
Brownfield added that KOA owners or managers who meet with their guests receive much higher guest satisfaction scores than those who do not, according to KOA’s Kamper Satisfaction Surveys.
And if you fast forward to 2050, the U.S. Census estimates that white Caucasians will account for only 46 percent of the population, while Hispanics, African Americans and Asians will account for 30 percent, 15 percent and 9 percent, respectively. “It’s a wakeup call for us,” Brownfield said. Addressing other topics, Brownfield noted that today’s consumers are increasingly demanding and more informed than ever, thanks in part to the Internet. We are living in an “experience economy” and park operators need to pay attention to the type and quality of experiences they offer their guests. “It’s the value that the experience holds for the individual that determines the worth of the offering,” he said.
Park operators also need to pay attention to their pet friendliness. Brownfield noted that families account for 26 percent of KOA’s Texas campers, while campers traveling with pets account for 41 percent. Nationally, families account for 34 percent of KOA’s guests, while people traveling with pets represent 35 percent. Brownfield was one of several campground industry experts who gave educational presentations at TACO’s Spring Convention at Guadalupe River RV Resort in Kerrville. In addition to providing a keynote address, Lori Severson of Severson & Associates and the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners led a
Bob MacKinnon class on maximizing employee potential, while Casey Erick of McKamie Krueger LLP held a session titled, “Facing Legal Challenges.” Wade Elliott of Utility Supply Group talked about strategies park operators can use to provide recharge services for travelers with electric cars and Bob MacKinnon provided updates on the GuestReviews online survey program as well as a session on how to deal with a negative review. Michael Moore and Matt Taylor from Texas Advertising also led a marketing session titled “Playing the Google Game.”
The first-ever Digital Marketing Workshop (www.DigitalMarketingWorks hop.info) specifically for the RV park and campground industry is currently conducting the spring session of online classes. The first-round graduating class of highly-motivated, satisfied students hailed from east to west and across the Pacific to Perth, Australia. While the Facebook and Twitter modules ranked as leading topics for outdoor hospitality businesses, the Emerging Media and Productivity Tools module was a hands-down favorite. Students gave the class materials the highest rating possible and had positive comments on individual sessions as well as the overall program. Feedback included: “The Digital Marketing Workshop is packed with more actionable information than all the videos, books, blogs and online info I have studied on the subject over the last two years.” “Evanne has a way of making you feel like this is easy! And best of all, she shows you how to use free and almost free tools to create a strong digital presence.” “Evanne has a deep knowledge of the topics that are the subject of her training programs and of her clients' markets. She articulates complex topics in
a clear and concise way that ensures that her course students gain tangible benefits that will improve their businesses.” Evanne Schmarder, founder and facilitator of the Digital Marketing Workshop commented, “What an honor it is to spend time with park owners/operators that are eager to learn how to advance their digital marketing, share these must-know-now online tools and to watch their efforts bloom. Through class interaction we shared challenges, wins, ideas and discussions on getting the most value from what’s become expected by today’s consumer – online presence and engagement.” The live virtual-classroom Digital Marketing Workshop classes are in session each Tuesday morning through June 28th, include complete course materials and are CPO-certified. The fivemodule Workshop is available for $259 for up to four individuals at one computer screen and comes with a 100% money back satisfaction guarantee. The class schedule, module details and registration information can be found at www.DigitalMarketingWorks hop.info. Questions and comments can be directed to Schmarder at email@example.com or 702-460-9863.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -Planning is well under way for another eventful Great Outdoors Week, the American Recreation Coalition’s (ARC) annual celebration of outdoor recreation and its important contributions to the wellbeing of the American people and their communities. The Week, which begins with the observance of National Get Outdoors (GO) Day on Saturday, June 11, 2011, will include special events showcasing key recreation programs and recognizing the outstanding efforts being undertaken across the country to improve outdoor recreation experiences. Great Outdoors Week is one of the focal points of Great Outdoors Month, proclaimed nationwide by the President and by state governors in every state throughout the United States. The GO-Day launch of Great Outdoors Week will be marked at more than 100 sites where the public – especially young people – will be invited to enjoy different recreation activities and learn about additional, easily accessible recreation opportunities. The U.S. Forest Service will celebrate GO-Day as Fee Free Day, waiving fees on millions of acres of
National Forests. And dozens of marina operators celebrating National Marina Day on June 11 will welcome thousands of visitors to these family-friendly gateways to wonderful boating experiences. Programs featured during Great Outdoors Week will include the Obama Administration’s America’s Great Outdoors Initiative to link the American people to their magnificent public lands, the Let’s Move Outside campaign launched by First Lady Michelle Obama to combat childhood obesity, the ED OUT partnership program to encourage outdoor learning and fun, and the Recreational Trails Program, which serves as the foundation for state trail programs all across the country. Great Outdoors Week will also include several different award ceremonies recognizing individual and collective achievements within the recreation community. The Coalition for Recreational Trails will salute outstanding trail programs and projects funded by the federal Recreational Trails Program. ARC will present its Legends Awards to exceptional individuals from seven federal agencies whose personal efforts have led to
substantial improvements in outdoor recreation resources and management. ARC’s Beacon Awards will recognize the innovative use of technology in visitor services and recreation management on public lands.
people, places and programs that bring healthy outdoor fun to millions of Americans every day of the year,” said ARC President Derrick Crandall. “They really put the ‘Great’ into the Great Outdoors.”
And, finally, the Sheldon Coleman Great Outdoors Award – the recreation community’s most prestigious award – will recognize the leadership, vision and accomplishments of one extraordinary individual whose personal commitment to the value and importance of recreation has contributed significantly to the welfare of the American people. “Great Outdoors Week gives us a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the
serious revision of the tax code. That leaves the EPA in the line of fire: it is still small enough to defund and it is visible enough to already have earned widespread hatred and fear because of its regulatory and enforcement activities.
The overriding political debate in Congress this year is the cost and extent of federal government. The budget for the current federal fiscal year ending September 30 is about 3.7 TRILLION dollars, of which about 1. 4 trillion is a deficit. In other words, 2 trillion dollars a year is not enough for Congress these days. It is illustrative to note that during the years 1944, 1945 and 1946 the annual federal budget was trimmed down to about 40 billion dollars. Today that amount would only last about four days. The best way to curb the power of federal agencies is to cut their budgets and then by law to limit their authority. Two agencies come to the forefront when it comes to “busting back down to size”: the IRS and the EPA. Since the IRS has hired 16,000 more agents during the last two years it is not likely that it will be a target until after there is a
One easy solution would be to remove from the EPA its regulatory and enforcement authority, thereby limiting it to setting environmental standards based on science and research. We all need to know what’s in our drinking water, the air we breathe, the food we eat and the medicines we ingest. Such information is valuable, even critical, in order to figure out what to do. That is the key point: we need to figure out what to do, not a government agency. Individuals, families, manufacturers and industries are perfectly capable. Nobody wants to sell products that harm people. Most people do not want to use, breathe or eat things that will kill them. Government cannot replace common sense or self discipline. So let’s have the EPA do its job so we can do ours.
DEWITTVILLE NY: The ''newest jewel'' in the 475park Kampgrounds of America system in North America is in Chautauqua County. Chautauqua Lake KOA, located at 5652 Thumb Road, Dewittville, is the new campground that has joined the international company. In celebration, Bill and Anita Perry, Chautauqua Lake KOA owners, will be hosting a grand opening Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14. The grand opening event will be part of KOA's annual Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend event. Campers staying at the campground as paying guests on Friday are invited to stay at the campground for free on Saturday. The annual event also serves as a fundraising event for KOA
Care Camps for children with cancer. The network of 44 camps in North America provides a unique summer camping experience for children suffering from cancer. The Come Kamp & Care With Us Weekend helps raise donated funds to support the Care Camps. On Saturday, the Perrys will host coffee and donuts in the morning, as well as a pot luck dinner, raffle and silent auction to raise funds for KOA Care Camps. There will also be games for the children in the afternoon, as well as a formal ribbon cutting ceremony for the campground. Chautauqua Lake KOA is set on 180 acres of wooded and open land overlooking the northeast shore of Chautauqua Lake, which lies only a half mile away.
The park offers a complete camping experience with plenty of activities to enjoy including a heated swimming pool, playground, basketball, volleyball, horseshoes, miniature golf course, a game room, Wi-Fi, nature trails, a book and video library and many more fun amenities. The park also has laundry facilities, barbecue grills, a pavilion for events like a wedding or family reunion and golf carts available to rent. The campground offers daily, weekly, monthly and seasonal camping accommodations, which includes parking your RV or pitching your tent at a wooded or open campsite with a choice of utilities like water, electric and sewer or choosing a rustic cabin or luxury cottage to enjoy a camping getaway.
Bill, Anita and Elijah Perry, Chautauqua Lake KOA owners, welcome people to their grand opening Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14, to celebrate the campground, located at 5652 Thumb Road, Dewittville, joining the Kampgrounds of America system. park grow,'' she said. ''To help us be the best we can be.''
Perry said a park model home at Chautauqua Lake KOA makes a perfect ''home away from home,'' where people can enjoy the convenience of ''home style camping.''
Perry said no additions or changes were needed to the park to be qualified to join KOA.
The Perrys bought the property in 1993 and opened the campgrounds in 1994. Since, Mrs. Perry said they have worked to expand the park each year, including a new expansion that will add an additional 66 sites to the 250 already available locations. Mrs. Perry said they are glad to be part of the KOA system.
The park is near the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua Lake cruises, the recreation of Panama Rocks, Midway State Park and Long Point State Park.
''They are not here to overtake, but to help the
''It shows we were well qualified,'' Mrs. Perry said.
Also, there are several area golf courses, restaurants, wineries and shop places in the area. Article: http://post-journal.com
OTTAWA, Ontario -- Go RVing Canada has revealed Canadian RV show attendance and sales figures for 2011, demonstrating that the RV industry is healthier than ever. The numbers were notable across the board, as thousands of Canadians visited their local RV show over the past few months to see this year’s latest trends. In 2011, the 31st Annual Edmonton RV Exposition & Sale and 42nd Annual Calgary RV Show and Sale both saw impressive increases in attendance figures, reporting 45.2 percent and 11.42 percent
increases respectively. The Toronto Fall RV Show saw an 11.53 percent increase this year compared to the previous year. The Ottawa Spring RV Show saw bigger crowds than last year on both the Friday and Saturday, with an overall total of 17,084 visitors. Canadians were also taking advantage of the incredible sales this year, buying RVs directly from dealers at the shows. The Quebec and Montreal RV shows saw increases in sales, reporting 27.93 percent and 5.47 percent increases respectively. Go RVing Canada has recently revealed that total retail sales at RV
dealerships in Canada have surged close to prerecession levels. With sales up an impressive 18.4 percent across the country for 2010, this represents a very strong outcome for an industry coming out of one of the worst economic downturns in recent history. More good news for the RV industry: summer bookings in campgrounds are up 12 percent this year, according to the Toronto region Conservation Authority. Similarly, Ontario Parks says it has also been seeing much higher numbers than usual at Canadian provincial parks, with reservations up by 11 percent. “These recent figures confirm that regardless of the increase in fuel prices, Canadians still believe that
RVing is the most affordable and flexible vacation option,” said Go RVing Canada spokesperson Angèle Lapointe. “An RV vacation remains an extremely economical way for families to travel.” Depending on the RV model, a typical family RV vacation can be up to 75 percent less expensive per day than other forms of vacation travel. According to a recent costcomparison study conducted by PKF Consulting, an RV trip is shown to be more economical when compared to a traditional week’s vacation for a family of four, when you consider the costs of flights, car rental, hotels and eating out at restaurants.