Several Key State Association Confabs in April
At least five state campground associations will hold spring meetings in April, highlighted by a big meeting at the end of the month in Texas.
Brian Schaeffer, president of the Texas Association of Campground Owners (TACO), anticipates between 75 and 100 campgrounds will be represented at the TACO conference, which is scheduled for April 28-30 at the Inn of the Hills Convention Center in Kerrville, Texas. The trade show will feature 40 vendor booths.
Guest speakers include Lori Severson, executive director of the Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners (WACO), and Casey Erick, TACO’s attorney, who will discuss topical issues affecting campgrounds.
“We plan to have rapid-fire roundtable discussions featuring various vendors and TACO staff, which will cover a myriad of topics from social media to Wi-Fi to credit card processing to marketing,” Schaeffer told Woodall’s Campground Management (WCM).
Schaeffer said TACO moved up its convention from the traditional May dates to April to allow visitors to the Texas Hill Country to enjoy spring temperatures and the beautiful wildflowers.
On the legislative front, Schaeffer reported that TACO is introducing a bill in the Texas Legislature to clarify the definition of an RV park, specifically to remove the reference to RV parks in Texas Property Code 94, which deals exclusively with manufactured home parks.
“We are tightening up previously passed legislation that has to do with utility companies billing RV parks for actual commodity usage and not per-site administrative fees or commodity allocations,” he said.
Further, TACO is opposing legislation that would move the first day of school in Texas public schools from the fourth Monday in August to the third Monday in August.
Finally, TACO will be opposing various attempts to raise taxes and support various attempts to reduce taxes on small businesses.
TACO also will sponsor a fundraising auction during the convention to support its Government Affairs program, hold board elections and hand out awards to the best small, medium and large campgrounds. New awards this year are “Best Special Event” and “Best Welcome Package.” TACO will be raffling a golf car and several other significant prizes during the convention.
Arizona ARVC Creates Jack Denton Award
The Arizona Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (Arizona ARVC) has a busy agenda for its convention scheduled for April 24-25 at the Rincon Country West RV Resort in Tucson.
Special guest speakers include Paul Bambei, CEO of the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), and Mark Maciha, chairman of the board of regents of the National School of RV Park and Campground Management.
Arizona ARVC Executive Director Jo Ann Mickelson anticipates an attendance of 80, including 20 vendors. The state’s top parks (small, medium, large and mega) will be honored, new officers will be elected and four educational seminars will be offered.
In a related development, the association’s board has created the “Jack Denton Memorial Award” to be presented for the first time in 2014 to recognize any park, campground, owner, manager, supplier partner or legislator who has helped further camping and RVing in Arizona.
The award is in memory of Denton, who died in August 2012. Denton was known as the “father of camping in Arizona.”
“He was a pioneer who went beyond the call of duty to further projects in Arizona such as the Visitor Centers, Scenic Byways and state parks,” Mickelson told WCM. Denton built, owned, and operated his own KOA in Flagstaff for more than 40 years.
More information on applying for the award for 2014 will come out later this year.
Any parks or campgrounds in other states are welcome to attend, Mickelson said. Members of other state associations may attend at Arizona member prices.
Maine Meeting in Tandem with Portland RV Show
The Maine Campground Owners Association (MECOA) will be holding its annual trade show and annual meeting on April 5 at the Fireside Inn & Suites in Portland, Maine.
“Because the event is being held in conjunction with our annual RV show (April 6-7) at the Portland Sports Complex, we expect that between 50 and 70 campground owners will be present throughout the day,” said Kathy Dyer, MECOA administrative manager.
The one-day event, beginning at 9 a.m. is filled with educational seminars and guest speakers such as Lisa Roy, the Maine director of licensing, and Rick Abare, MECOA’s executive director, who will give a legislative update on key issues such as water rights, lodging taxes and local option tax.
An award ceremony is planned during the membership lunch and an auction is planned in which proceeds will go into the MECOA scholarship fund.
The trade show, running from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., is sold out with 33 booth spaces reserved, Dyer said.
The annual MECOA meeting will begin at 5 p.m. and five new members will be elected to the board.
Scharder Speaking At Virginia Meeting
The Virginia Campground Association (VCA) will hold its first-ever spring meeting April 9 to 11 at Yogi Bear Jellystone Park in Gloucester Point, Va. About 25 to 30 parks are expected to be represented.
The convention and trade show, featuring 15 vendors, had to be rescheduled after Hurricane Sandy hit the Atlantic shores and Chesapeake Bay area of Virginia on the original dates of the convention in October, VCA Executive Director David Gorin explained.
The spring meeting will feature guest speaker Bud Styer of Wisconsin; a special seminar on family outdoor programming led by the Director of Environmental Education for the Virginia State Parks; and a seminar wrap-up on the 2013 Virginia Legislative Session and planning for 2014 legislation led by Lauren Schmitt of The Hillbridge Group, VCA's Richmond representatives.
VCA members also are looking forward to an update on national campground association activities from Jeff Sims, ARVC’s director of state relations and program advocacy, and a report on a new social media benchmark study being conducted by Evanne Schmarder of Roadabode Productions.
Another feature of the event will be a lobster cookout sponsored by Evergreen Insurance.
South Dakota Marks 50 Years on April 19
The South Dakota Campground Owners Association (SDCOA) is the smallest of the April gatherings but it will still be memorable, as SDCOA is marking its 50th anniversary April 19 in Rapid City with an evening dinner.
The SDCOA is contacting former campground owners to attend and talk about their fondest memories, reported Cherrylee Bradt, SDCOA executive director. She hopes a third of the SDCOA will attend this event.