Rank and File Accepting ARVC's New Program
Editor's Note: The following story was written by Terri Hughes-Lazzell, former editor of Woodall's Campground Management, and appears in the March issue of WCM.
The National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) new Outdoor Hospitality Education Program (OHEP) seems to have been well accepted by the rank and file in the RV park and campground industry, with more than 80 enrolled in the program in the first year.
Of those, 74 students signed up for February’s The National School of RV Park and Campground Management program at Oglebay in Wheeling, W. Va., according to ARVC.
While it will take some time for individuals to complete the requirements for the entire program, there are students enrolled in each certificate level of the program, according to Barb Youmans, senior director of membership and education for ARVC.
Currently, the Outdoor Hospitality Professional certificate is the most popular with more than 50 enrollees. That is the third tier in the program and is targeted at those who have successfully completed the second tier, have a third CPO recertification or completed the ARVC Management two-year program and have 24 months experience in an ARVC member park or pre-approved facility.
The OHEP is purposeful and measures the knowledge of the participant, rather than time spent at a training, says Saundra Bryn, managing partner of Desert’s Edge RV-The Purple Park, Phoenix, Ariz. Bryn, a former educator and curriculum development expert, assisted ARVC in developing OHEP.
“The new program has competencies that are measurable,” Bryn explains. “People must demonstrate either in writing or verbally their knowledge of that area.”
The National School of RV Park and Campground Management provides the components necessary to complete the Outdoor Hospitality Professional certificate program and ARVC encourages its members to attend the school, but it is not required, according to Youmans.
OHEP participants can gain their knowledge from other sources, such as the Better Business Bureau or an insurance organization. But, they will be assessed.
The Outdoor Hospitality Education Program has four tiers. To gain credentials for each tier, participants are required to submit a completed tier specific task book and accompanying portfolio for review by a committee. The committee either requests additional information or recommends ARVC Education award the credential.
Each competency area is made up of primary goals, which are then broken down into specific tasks. The areas are:
- Outdoor Hospitality Associate Certificate (OHA) for those who are new to or considering entering the industry.
- Outdoor Hospitality Generalist Certificate (OHG) for those who have successfully completed the OHA, worked in the industry at least 12 months or are a Certified Park Operator (CPO). Participants will learn how to enhance the customer experience and help to reach business goals.
- Outdoor Hospitality Professional Certificate (OHP) for those who have successfully completed the OHG, or a third CPO recertification or completed the ARVC Management two-year program and have 24 months experience in an ARVC member park or pre-approved facility.
- Outdoor Hospitality Executive Certificate (OHE) for those who are responsible for long-term strategic and business planning for one or more businesses in the industry and have successfully completed OHP, or lifetime CPO certification and 48 months experience in an ARVC member park or pre-approved facility
“It’s real and it’s relevant,” Bryn says. “This program is helping them (the participant), helping the business and helping the industry.”
Upon completion of each level, students receive a National School of RV Park and Campground Management certificate.