KOA's Rogers Keynotes Ohio State Meeting
Jim Rogers, CEO and chairman of Kampgrounds of America (KOA), was the keynote speaker at the 2011 Ohio Campground Owners Association (OCOA) Spring Conference and Trade Show March 11-12 at the Columbus Airport Marriott Hotel.
Rogers spoke on the current national camping forecast and specifically the positive camping trends in Ohio and the surrounding region.
He reported that camper nights in the north central region of the United States were up 8.4% in the summer of 2010 compared to 2009. Families are looking for an affordable vacation close to home, he noted.
The event attracted 90 representatives from 45 Ohio campgrounds and 30 vendors for the trade show.
“We had several conference sponsors and were able to add breakfasts, breaks and other additions to our meeting without increasing the cost to attendees,” said Kristy Smith, executive director. “A huge thanks to our sponsors, which included the following: Platinum level –Leisure Systems, Inc. and Lake Erie Golf Cars; Gold level – Evergreen USA, Henley Graphic Communications; and Kampgrounds of America.”
The event began off with a pre-conference wastewater training course led by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The day-long course offered six hours of Ohio EPA approved “OM” hours for owners and operators of NPDES permitted wastewater systems. The course was free to all members and had approximately 30 attendees.
On March 11, the day started with the conference welcome and opening by OCOA president Vicki Cole, followed by Glen Cobb, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), and David Payne, chief of the Division of Parks and Recreation, who each made brief remarks to the group, gave an ODNR update and took questions from the audience.
Smith said following the ODNR update, attendees participated in roundtable discussions, identifying industry hot topics and issues of interest and concern in their campgrounds.
“The issues and concerns were recorded and used for areas of focus to guide discussion at the Cracker Barrel the following day,” Smith said.
Smith reported the OCOA General Membership Meeting followed lunch. The financial report was given and the 2011-2012 operating budget was approved. OCOA E-board members gave their reports and took questions. Jeff Sims, director of membership for the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), gave an ARVC update.
OCOA lobbyist Carolyn Towner gave a legislative update. Smith said State Rep. Bill Hayes ( R–Granville,) is considering introducing legislation to require Ohio schools to begin after Labor Day and end prior to Memorial Day, which the OCOA supports, Smith noted.
“Towner also discussed revisions to the state’s swimming pool rules and fees,” Smith said. “The OCOA has being working with the Ohio Department of Health on the revisions for year and the process is finally drawing to a close. The state of Ohio will also be working on the state’s biennial budget over the coming months.”
The board of trustees elections were held and the following were elected as OCOA board members and officers: Chip Hanawalt, vice president of government affairs, (Autumn Lakes Campground, Sunbury); Robert Romeyn, vice president of public relations, (Maple Lakes Campground, Seville); and Joan Faneuff, secretary, (Leafy Oaks Campground, Clyde).
Others were NW trustees Elaine Harris (Twin Lakes Park, Bluffton) and Bill Miller (Stony Ridge KOA, Perrysburg); NW alternate trustees Charles Knight (Camp Sandusky, Sandusky) and Randy Perry (Findlay/Van Buren KOA, Van Buren); Northeast trustees Brenda Lucas (Camp Toodik, Loudonville) and Barbara Kuder (StoneRidge Terrace, Salem); Northeast alternate trustee Jeff Coldon (Kool Lakes, Parkman); Central trustee Mark Kasper (Lazy River at Granville, Granville); Central alternate trustee Richard Felber (Dogwood Valley, Mt. Gilead); Southwest trustee Annmaire McClellan (Arrowhead Campground, New Paris); and Southwest alternate David Stevens (Enon Beach, Springfield).
Breakout sessions followed and included the following options: “Workers Compensation Update and Top Five Ways to Lower Your Premium” led by the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation and Todd Spence of Frank Gates/Avizent; and “Employment/Unemployment Law: What you Need To Know” led by the Ohio Departments of Commerce and Jobs and Family Services.
The trade show followed with 30 vendors marketing all types of products and services. Next was dinner with the vendors and live entertainment with ventriloquist Mark Wade. Smith said Wade has opened for Garth Brooks, Marie Osmond, Reba McIntire and hundreds of others.
“We closed the night with our annual auction and fundraiser,” Smith said. “OCOA members, trade show vendors and other supporters generously donated items toward the auction and silent auction. The event raised $10,519 for OCOA.
In addition, a 50/50 drawing raised funds for the OCOA PAC. The winner of the 50/50 drawing was Jean LaBarge of Rinehart Insurance who donated $100 of her winnings back to the PAC. After LaBarge’s donation, the 50/50 raised a total of $300 for the PAC, and there was an additional $150 in donations to the PAC throughout the conference.
On Saturday there were more breakout sessions, including: “Electrical Codes, Safety and Maintenance” led by Wade Elliott of Utility Supply Group; and “Bed Bugs 101, Prevention & Treatment” led by Paul Wenning of the Central Ohio Bed Bug Task Force. Following lunch there was one final round of breakout sessions including: “Facebook: Its Worth the Time and Effort” led by Roxi Baxley of Strait Web Solutions; and “Business Expansion: Developing Bank Proposals and Marketing Plans” led by Mike Bowers of the Small Business Development Center of Ohio.
“A major membership initiative was discussed with members willing and eager to help to achieve a goal of a 10% increase in membership,” Smith said.
The OCOA Fall Fun Day and POOT Tour will be held in late October in Northwest Ohio (dates and location to be determined). The 2012 OCOA Spring Conference & Trade Show will be held March 9-10, 2012, at the Columbus Airport Marriott.