ARVC Plans New Approach at Outdoor Conference
Whether you call it innovation or just a new approach, there are many changes coming to the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC).
"Where Outdoor Hospitality Meets Southern Hospitality" is the theme for the all new 2011 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo (OHCE) presented by ARVC Nov. 30 to Dec. 2 at the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa and Savannah International Trade & Convention Center in Savannah, Ga.
The change will be apparent, as the education component has been doubled with an eye on a new name.
“We have completely revamped the program,” said Paul Bambei, ARVC CEO.
The newly revamped conference, offering educational seminars and tracks for various experience levels, will also employ a new, more affordable rate structure for attendees. And for those interested in breaking into the outdoor hospitality sector or in opening a park, ARVC’s conference seminars and networking opportunities provide an introduction on how to get started.
“We’ve completely revised the educational program and have created tracks and opportunities for all levels involved in the outdoor hospitality industry,” said Barb Youmans, ARVC senior director of administration and education. “We’re really looking forward to unveiling the new program at our conference.”
The new Outdoor Hospitality Education Program has five track levels beginning with “Outdoor Hospitality Candidate,” which enables startup entrepreneurs to dive in and explore all the industry has to offer. The other levels include “outdoor hospitality associate,” “generalist,” “professional” and “executive.” Each level is specific to the experience and role involvement within the operation.
“The greatest thing about this program is that it applies to park owners, paddle sport operators or adventure tour outfitters,” said Youmans. “Whatever the involvement in outdoor hospitality, there’s a learning opportunity to be had by all."
And, again, affordability is a priority.
“We wanted to make the conference more affordable to our members, especially our small- and medium-sized parks with 250 sites or less," noted Bambei.
ARVC, by the same token, encourages attendees to bring their families and extend their stay for a vacation in Savannah. With so much to see and explore, Savannah, they point out, is the perfect getaway during the cold of winter with its beaches, Civil War history and haunted houses. And for the first time, the conference is offering a Kids’ Camp so that parents can focus on conference events.
At the Nov. 29 evening Low Country Boil party, attendees are encouraged to dress comfortably and come out in their Jimmy Buffet Parrot head shirts for an evening poolside and riverside. The event will be sponsored by Good Sam Enterprises LLC.
The keynote address for the general session and opening luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 30, will be offered by Tim Richardson, author of "How to Tap into the Great Wealth of Brain Power!" and the Putnam-published book "Transformation Thinking." Richardson will show attendees how to think innovatively with their staffs.
Attendees will be able to browse the 120,000-square-foot expo hall in search of the latest products, services and technologies, with more than 150 exhibitors displaying their wares. The expo will open Thursday, Dec. 1, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. and Friday, Dec. 2, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Visit www.arvc.org/outdoor-hospitality-conference.aspx or call (800) 395-2267.
The 2011 conference, ARVC’s revamped staff maintains, could go down in history as the turning point in new membership attraction. Membership has tailed off some 12% since a high in 2008, but Bambei has taken a cue from ARVC’s founding fathers to stem the tide by extending membership to the nation’s state parks and a handful of states.
ARVC Elections on Tap
Also on tap are elections for ARVC board members in all six districts with races in two of the districts (see map below). Vying for seats this year are Marcia Galvin in Voting Area 1, Karl Littman and Mark Wineman in Voting Area 2 (shown at left), Bud Styer in Voting Area 3; Mike Hobby in Voting Area 4; Terry Munoz in Voting Area 5, and Saundra Byrn and Roger Thompson in Voting Area 6 (shown below).
Galvin, Styer and Hobby are seeking re-election after serving their first three-year terms on the board.
Meanwhile, ARVC and Leisure Systems Inc., the franchisor of the Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts, will be working together to host the first ever Kids’ Camp.
On the agenda will be arts and crafts, journaling, homework support, Leave No Trace activities and other educational sessions, according to a news release.
Educational sessions will include topics such as “Growing up in the Outdoor Hospitality Industry” where kids will participate in roundtable discussions on the ups and downs of growing up in a family business and brainstorming ideas on how to make it easier. Also included will be sessions from the “Give ‘em the PICKLE… and they’ll be back” series which incorporates customer service and leadership skill topics that kids can use when they return to their parks.
The Jellystone Park franchise system has partnered with Leave No Trace to offer its campers fun and educational programming and activities designed to assist outdoor enthusiasts with their decisions about how to reduce their impacts when they hike, camp, picnic or otherwise recreate.
Hands-on educational activities and games will introduce the kids to the seven principles of the Leave No Trace program. Plus, these activities can be taken back to one’s park and used there as well.
The exact activities and times on the agenda will vary based on the ages of the kids who attend. Kids’ Camp is open to any child between the ages of 5 – 12 whose parent or guardian is a registered attendee at the Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo. Camp will operate Tuesday through Friday on the following schedule:
- Tuesday: 7:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
- Wednesday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
- Thursday: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
- Friday: 1:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Cost includes all activities, snacks and meals (lunch Tuesday through Thursday and dinner on Friday) throughout camp. Costs are minimal: $40 per day or $150 for all four days. Registrants, on a first-come first-served basis, are asked to complete a form available by going to www.arvc.org/Attendees-OutdoorHospitalityConference.aspx. Payments may be sent to ARVC at 9085 E. Mineral Circle, Suite 200, Centennial CO 80112, or call Margaret at (303) 681-0401 ext. 121 to pay by credit card.
For more information contact Barb Youmans, senior director of administration and education, at email@example.com or (303) 681-0401 ext. 118.