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Seven Vie for ARVC Board Seats at InSites Convention

August 21, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Seven RV park and campground owners are vying for four seats on the board of directors for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). Voting will take place on Nov. 10 at the ARVC InSites Convention in Orlando, Fla. Absentee ballots are available for ARVC members that will not be in attendance. Contact ARVC at www.arvc.org for further information

The role of a board member includes developing, approving and annually reviewing the association’s strategic plan – ensuring that the association has adequate resources to fulfill its mission and goals. Additionally, the board establishes governance and public affairs policy, accepts partial fiduciary responsibility, and provides direction and feedback to the president/CEO on behalf of the association’s members.

The terms run three years.

This election cycle there are four available seats one each in voting areas 2, 3, 4 and 6.

Voting Area 2

New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia

One open seat and two candidates – Truman Hartshorn, CPO, and Todd Wehr, CPO

Truman Hartshorn

Truman Hartshorn

Truman Hartshorn, owner/manager, Lebanon Reservoir Campground, 135 sites, Hamilton, N.Y.

What do you believe to be the most pressing issue(s) facing our industry today?

The challenges facing our RV park industry today require prompt and effective adjustments to the changing dynamics of the camping business in the face of the national economic downturn, higher energy prices, changing consumer tastes/preferences, and the need to showcase the eco-friendly nature of our operations. There is certainly much upside potential in aggressively marketing the green aspects of our industry. If golf courses can do it, we can do it better. Marketing the take-home value of the many camping lifestyle options available at private RV parks must receive greater emphasis. The challenges the RV industry faces from growing regulatory constraints and the prospects of more governmental restrictions in the future at the local, state, and national levels must be continuously monitored and addressed with timely responses.

 

Todd Wehr

Todd Wehr

Todd Wehr, owner/manager, Bear Run Campground, 310 sites, Portersville, Pa.

What do you believe to be the most pressing issue(s) facing our industry today?

Increased competition for the consumer’s recreation time and dollar as youth and parents now have more elective and leisure program choices in their schools and communities. This social trend creates an effect of “swimming upstream” for (especially rural) commercial family camping and RV parks that use traditional pricing methods and fight this trend rather than modify their program. An effective national campaign to work with schools and non-profit community organizations to program a “real camping experience” could help us more effectively shift a greater share of consumer time and dollars into our parks.

Voting Area 3

Illinois, Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin

One open seat and three candidates – Garry Cole, CPO, Philip Koch, CPO, and Jim Wolfe, CPO

Garry Cole

Garry Cole

Garry Cole, owner/manager, Shelby/Mansfield KOA, 192 sites + 14 lodges, 2 Kamping Kabins, and 1 deluxe cabin, Shelby, Ohio

What do you believe to be the most pressing issue(s) facing our industry today?

Economic viability certainly takes center stage now, but we must continue to be positioned for long-term growth. The industry is challenged on many sides by offerings of opportunities to our customers, which will take their time and money.  

A unified voice for the industry is extremely important, and ARVC continues to provide a platform that accomplishes that. Across our 3,600 members, we represent the smaller 25-site campground to the larger 500 plus site campground. All have similar problems and provide outdoor recreational opportunities for the campers. Obviously, there are special problems associated with different sizes, which must be considered. However, campers traverse the country and we are all exposed to their needs/desires.

As we all experience challenging economic times, we carefully evaluate where we put our money and “calculate” our return. Membership in organizations such as ARVC needs to have a real value to our members. That value may be in a specific discount program through which we save money, an educational program through we which we become more educated to allow us to operate, or manage more effectively, and/or it can be in the more intrinsic values of simply providing a unified voice through which we can all gain better recognition for the industry. The camaraderie and fun that we all have is just simply a real added benefit.

As a past board member, I know that ARVC has always strived to serve ALL of its members in the best and most effective way possible. Certainly we have at times gone down the wrong path, but take a serious look at how ARVC has helped our industry and the benefits you receive as just being part of it.

We need to continuously evaluate what our member’s needs are and what they want – and act accordingly. In the past several years the board has made decisions in an effort to reduce cost, and the retention/addition to membership numbers are just as important to maintain/increase income. 

Because I believe that the camping industry has a great future, I want to be able to help as much as I can, and thus am asking our membership to provide me that opportunity to serve on the ARVC board of directors.

Philip Koch

Philip Koch

Philip Koch, owner/manager, Lake Rudolph Campground & RV Resort, 456 sites, Santa Claus, Ind.

What do you believe to be the most pressing issue(s) facing our industry today?

The current economic problems will continue to be a challenge for our industry for a few years. Some parks may do well in this situation and some may do poorly. I am concerned that some parks that are doing poorly will see canceling their membership and eliminating their membership dues as an easy cost savings measure. Unfortunately, this will lower revenues for our state and national associations and make it more difficult for all of us. We need to be sure that ALL members of state and national associations are taking advantage of all benefits of membership that help make membership dues cost effective. I am also concerned about potential increases in taxes, costs of insurance and seemingly increasing severe weather. While we can have the least influence on the weather, we can each work to be as prepared as possible for the severe storms.  

On a positive note, I believe that Americans are looking for more REAL experiences and we have the opportunity to provide a real RV/camping experience to those people who have never been to an RV park or campground. If we can give those people a “genuine experience”, then our potential is phenomenal. We can provide family experiences that are unfamiliar to many people especially as technology continues to take more and more of our time.

Jim Wolfe

Jim Wolfe

Jim Wolfe, owner/manager, Leisure Time Campground, 90 sites, Irons, Mich.

What do you believe to be the most pressing issue(s) facing our industry today?

It seems to me that a lot of times we, as campground industry professionals, over analyze what we are doing and what issues are important to our industry. There are many topics that we need to be concerned with such as tourism funding, highway improvements, small business issues and the occasional laws passed and pending that affect our operations. To say that any one is more important than the other at this point is very difficult, we have a very effective consultant team at the national level that monitors legislative activity in Washington D.C. as it affects our industry. Aubrey King and David Gorin make recommendations to the National Board and provide Position Statements for us on coming legislative activity. This system of watching what the politicians are doing combined with a presence at the annual National Issues Conference are very effective at keeping us up-to-date on issues that affect our industry. I feel we should put our trust in the system we have in place and take action based on the recommendations made to the National Board.

Voting Area 4

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee

One open seat and one candidate, Patrick O’Neill, CPO, who has completed his first three-year term on the board and is eligible to serve a second three-year term.

Patrick O'Neill

Patrick O'Neill

Patrick O’Neill, owner/manager, CAMPING on the GULF, 200+ sites/19 deluxe camping cabins, Destin, Fla.

What do you believe to be the most pressing issue(s) facing our industry today?

I believe the most important issue to the industry is the unity of different partners to cooperate in these difficult economic times, followed by making the GoCampingAmerica.com website the best quality website for campers to find the right campsites. I appreciate the opportunity to contribute to these and other issues while serving on the BOD and EXCOM.

Voting Area 6

Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming

One open seat and one candidate, Michael Gelfand, who has completed his first three-year term and is eligible to serve a second three-year term

Michael Gelfand

Michael Gelfand

Michael Gelfand, owner/manager, Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, 400 sites, Newport Beach, Calif., and Campland on the Bay, 600 sites, San Diego, Calif.

What do you believe to be the most pressing issue(s) facing our industry today?

Promotion of camping IN PRIVATE CAMPGROUNDS.

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