OCOA Holds Successful Annual Spring Conference & Trade Show
Editor's Note: Kristy Smith, executive director of the Ohio Campground Owners Association (OCOA), filed the following report on OCOA's recent spring conference.
The 2012 Ohio Campground Owners Association (OCOA) Spring Conference and Trade Show was a success. The event was held March 8 – 10 at the Columbus Airport Marriott Hotel with nearly 90 campground owners, representing approximately 40 campgrounds in attendance and the Trade Show had 30 vendors on hand.
"We had several conference sponsors and were able to add breakfasts, breaks and other additions to our meeting without increasing the cost to attendees," she said. "A huge thanks to our sponsors, which included the following: Platinum level –Leisure Systems, Inc.; Gold level – Henley Graphic Communications; and Silver level – Evergreen USA and Kampgrounds of America."
The event kicked off with a pre-conference Drinking Water Training Course led by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency. The day-long course offered 5 1/2 hours of Ohio EPA-approved “OM” hours for owners and operators water systems. The course was free to all members and had approximately 25 attendees.
On Friday, March 9, the conference started with the Conference Welcome and Opening by OCOA President Vicki Cole. Soon after, Glen Cobb, deputy director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and acting chief of the Division of Parks and Recreation, made brief remarks to the group, gave an ODNR update and took questions from the audience.
Next, attendees heard from Paul Bambei, president and CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC). Bambei gave an update of happenings at the national level and described the many things that ARVC is doing on behalf of the OCOA and all ARVC members nationwide.
"Next, attendees heard from keynote speaker Rob Schutter, president and COO of Leisure Systems and current ARVC chairman, who gave a great deal of information on the importance of customer service and its impact on your business," Smith reported.
The OCOA General Membership Meeting followed lunch. The financial report was given and the 2012-2013 operating budget was approved. OCOA E-board members gave their reports and took questions. OCOA lobbyist Carolyn Towner gave a legislative update.
The board of trustees elections were held and the following were elected as OCOA Board members and officers:
- President – Robert Romeyn (Maple Lakes Campground).
- Vice President – Lorraine Carlson, Happy Hills Campground & Cabins.
- Treasurer – Lori Hostetter (Hocking Hills KOA).
- NE Trustee #1 – Mert Yoder (Clear Water Park).
- NE Trustee #3 – Pam McCreary (Country Stage Campground).
- NE Alternate Trustee #1 – Ray Pierce (Pier-Lon Park).
- SE District Trustee – Mark Shambaugh (Grand Haven Resort).
- SE Alternate Trustee – Teresa Adams (Carthage Gap Campground).
Following the annual meeting, 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.
Breakout sessions followed and included the following options: “Strategies to Save on Workers’ Compensation and Safety Update” led by Dale Bugay and Paul Feck of Frank Gates; and “Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Rules Update” led by Daniel Kopec of the Ohio EPA.
The Trade Show followed with 30 vendors marketing all types of products and services.
"Following dinner with the vendors, we closed the night with our annual auction and fundraiser. OCOA members, Trade Show vendors and other supporters generously donated items toward the auction and silent auction. The event raised over $7,000 for OCOA," Smith stated.
In addition, OCOA held a 50/50 drawing, which raised funds for the OCOA PAC. The winners of the 50/50 drawing were Bill and Brenda Lucas of Camp Toodik who generously donated $150 of their winnings back to the PAC. After the Lucas’ donation, the 50/50 raised over $450 for the PAC. OCOA also received an additional $250 in donations to the PAC throughout the conference.
On Saturday, March 10, the conference resumed with more breakout sessions, including: “How to Survive as a Digital Immigrant” led by Larry Brownfield of KOA and “ADA Requirements and Risk Management for Campgrounds” led by Bryan Tolli of Evergreen USA.
Next, the trade show reopened to allow attendees to continue conversations with the vendors and to finalize purchases.
Following lunch, the conference offered one final round of breakout sessions including: “Understanding Legal Tools: The Key to Lawsuit Prevention and Tax Reduction” led by Daniel McNeff of Legally Mine and “Earn More From Your Campground Store” led by Vicki Cole of Shelby/Mansfield KOA.
Before adjourning, a final Cracker Barrel session was held where industry hot topics and issues of interest and concern to attendees were discussed. The issues and topics identified during the roundtable discussions on Friday were used for areas of focus to guide discussion at Saturday’s Cracker Barrel.