Colorado Cites Sims for Unique Volunteer Effort
Editor’s Note: The following story was written by Delia Ozburn and appears in the July issue of the Colorado Campground and Lodging Owners Association (CCLOA) News.
For many years the CCLOA board has discussed the need to have someone representing the association to contact in-person all of the campgrounds in Colorado. The CCLOA board decided in February to pursue finding a person to fill that position. ARVC knows its strength is dependent upon the success of the individual state associations. At that same time it was in conversation with an individual to work with several states to increase membership. The perfect marriage. Thanks to Jeff Sims, the best man, the goal for CCLOA and ARVC is being achieved.
Jeff has been involved in the camping industry since he was 10 years old when his father bought a small campground in Branson, Mo. During the next 40 years the park grew to 235 sites with a 25-unit lodge and a convention and dining center. Jeff followed in his father’s footsteps and became president of the Missouri Campground Owners Association which his father had helped form. He went on to be chairman of ARVC. After selling the campground, Jeff realized that the camping industry was still in his heart.
His journey in Colorado began on March 21 and ended on May 5 after 310 visits to nonmembers plus courtesy calls to many of the members. He did return to Missouri a couple of times during his assignment to spend time with his family. From his reports I don’t believe he would recommend starting that early since he battled snow and campgrounds that were still closed for the season. He invited folks to regional meetings so they could visit with members and learn first hand about CCLOA.
As Jeff traveled around and through Colorado, he would post comments about his visits. I thought he should have titled his report, “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” Although he reported that he saw some really great places, he also reported on places that create a poor image for the industry. He had commented on some of the inadequate signage and then he told about a place with a very nice readable sign but when he inquired he was informed that it had gone out of business.
Despite directions and a GPS, he never found a couple of the campgrounds. He concluded that if the name included Hidden or Lost that it probably was. There were quite a few parks listed “For Sale.” These could be business opportunities for someone with money and lots of energy; however, this is not a common combination.
When Jeff was seven years old he met Susie. They have now been married for 33 years. While Jeff was enjoying the beautiful scenery and wildlife (big horn sheep, elk, and deer) of Colorado, Susie was in Missouri researching the parks and developing directions for Jeff. With that kind of commitment, I think the state associations and ARVC are fortunate to have Jeff and Susie working for them. Whether we’ve gained any new members or not, a seed has been planted and people now have a face to associate with CCLOA and ARVC.