KOA's Rogers Sells Services for Charity
Most CEOs wear a suit to work and sit in boardroom meetings all day. But Jim Rogers, chairman and CEO of Kampgrounds of America (KOA), donned a signature yellow KOA shirt, shorts and a hat this week while skimming pools and cleaning bathrooms at the Fort Collins campground – and it’s all in the name of charity, according to The Coloradoan, Fort Collins, Colo.
Rogers joined several dozen work campers, people who help with housekeeping, administrative front desk duties and landscaping in exchange for staying free.
"This is a way for that group not to erode their retirement fund and to stay intellectually engaged," Rogers said of the large number of retired campers who travel from site to site to work and see the country.
But Rogers’ stay at the Fort Collins/Lakeside site came after site co-owner Guenter Kippschull bought Rogers for $2,400 at a KOA auction. That money goes to a fund for camps for children with cancer. After matching donations from KOA corporate, the 425 nationwide campsites raised almost $400,000 in one weekend for KOA Kids Camp.
So for a week, Rogers is helping out with tasks on the campground, including physical and administrative labor.
Not only is the national campground successful in raising charity funds, but business steadily has increased as well.
Business at the Fort Collins/Lakeside location is up 40% from last summer’s numbers, co-owner Craig Sisco said. The mountain region has increased 11%, more than any other region.
In response to an increasing market for RV camping, the 35-acre KOA site will add a recreation center on the property next spring, which will include bumper boats, mini golf and an arcade.
"As Fort Collins has grown, we’ve grown along with it," said Kippschull, co-owner of the Lakeside location with his wife, Theresa, and couple Heidi and Craig Sisco. "I’m proud to be a part of it; Fort Collins is such a vibrant city."
Even though many people don’t consider staying in an RV as camping, Rogers said it’s the new way to camp. The growing Baby Boomer market is coming in at the top, coming in with money to spend on expensive motorhomes, he said.
"Campers have higher standards," Rogers said.