Campground Owners of New York (CONY), the trade association for privately owned campgrounds in New York state, hosted its 48th Annual Exposition for the Outdoor Hospitality Industry, Nov. 3 to 5 at the Sheraton on the Falls, Niagara Falls, N.Y.
The event drew nearly 200 people representing 70 campgrounds. It was the largest number of campgrounds represented in at least five years, reported Donald G. Bennett Jr., CONY president. In addition, 36 vendors displayed their products and services at the trade show.
The theme of the exposition was “CONY-OPOLY,” a play on the popular family board game, MONOPOLY.
The three-day event featured educational seminars and networking opportunities for campground owners, as well as the annual meeting of the association.
“The fact we were in Niagara Falls was a big step up for us,” said Bennett. “We have never had a facility like this for the conference. It was a dynamic facility.”
On Friday, Nov. 4, Keynote Speaker Ruby Newell-Legner, founder of RubySpeaks, presented, “Seven Star Customer Service: Starting at the Top to Impact the Bottom Line.”
CONY Elects New Officers
During the business meeting, CONY elected Mike Papp of West Canada Creek Campsites in Poland, N.Y., as its new chairman. William Perry of Chautauqua Lake KOA, was chosen first vice chairman. Other officers chosen were Laurie Bulluck, Rainbow Shores Campsites, Pulaski, second vice chairman; Gregg Nichols, Lake Bluff Campground, Wolcott, third vice chairman; Rachel Kaiser, Medina Wildwood Lake KOA, Medina, secretary; and Ed Marden, Camp Bell Campground, Campbell, treasurer. Scott Sherwood, Spruce Row Campground, Ithaca, is serving as past chairman.
New Wrinkles at CONY Conference
Clyde Taylor of Taylor Communications provided 19 one-on-one marketing sessions with 14 CONY parks participating. The half-hour-long appointments will be followed up with reports and recommendations for a total of three hours of professional assistance. The consulting fee was $100 per participant.
“This was the first time we did this,” Bennett said. “It worked out very well. I don't know if anything like this has ever been done before.”
CONY members learned about a new SmartPhone app, which will be available early in 2012. The app will provide directions to all CONY parks, allow users to visit parks’ websites and make reservations.
CONY also conducted a Kids’ Club for the children of members attending the convention. Twenty kids attended various activities, which included trips to an aquarium and a zoo.
Randy Lehman Inducted into CONY Hall of Fame
On Nov. 5, attendees honored Randy S. Lehman, owner of Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort in Bath, N.Y., as he was inducted in the CONY Hall of Fame. Lehman, who is also a Certified Public Accountant, is a longtime member of CONY, and was honored for his volunteer work as the CONY accountant, his service as a campground owner and his many other contributions to his community and the CONY association.
Lehman and his wife, Janet, have developed and managed Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort for 33 years. He was introduced to the camping industry at an early age, as his parents owned Distelfink Campground in Manheim, Pa. There he acted as a general “go-to” guy for the daily maintenance tasks of emptying the garbage cans and holding tanks, cleaning bathrooms and working in the store.
Lehman has been CONY’s accountant for more than 25 years. His other activities and accomplishments include serving as a member of ARVC’s 20 Group 2 since 1993, past service as vice president and treasurer to the CONY board, a founding board member of the Steuben County Conference & Visitors Bureau, and board service for the Finger Lakes Wine Country, Finger Lakes Tourism Alliance, Bath Rotary Club, Ira Davenport Memorial Hospital and Arnot Ogden Hospital.
Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort has 220 sites, including 24 rental units, and many amenities and activities. Also located on the property is the Finger Lakes Wellness Center and Spa, providing massage, nail care, facials and other therapies. In addition, Hickory Hill annually hosts three retreats for families who have children with developmental disabilities, through the Wellness G.I.F.T.S. Program.
Lehman’s future plans for the campground include adding another swimming pool with splash pad, adding 20 pull-through sewer sites and six rental units, and connecting to the municipal sewer.
The Lehmans have started a new chapter in their lives, moving to Seattle, Wash., where Janet is attending graduate school for natural medicine. The campground will continue to operate under Randy’s guidance.
Lehman was the 14th inductee into the CONY Hall of Fame.
Other Awards Presented
CONY also presented awards to three campgrounds. Recipients were:
- Best Brochure: Jones Pond Campground, Angelica.
- Best Mailer Piece: Chautauqua Lake KOA, Dewittville.
- Best Website: Lake George RV Park, Lake George.
The Chairman’s Award was given to Donald Bennett for service to the organization.
The association will hold its 2012 convention Nov. 1-3 at the Six Flags Great Escape Lodge & Indoor Water Park in Lake George, N.Y.
The following photos are courtesy of the Campground Owners of New York (CONY) and were taken at the convention.
New officers and directors of the Campground Owners of New York are (from left) Scott Sherwood, Spruce Row Campground, Ithaca, immediate past chairman; Carl Carlson, Cheerful Valley Campground, Phelps, newly elected Region 4 director; Rosemary Curtis, Hickory Hill Family Camping Resort, Bath, Region 3 director/conference chairperson; Gil Paddock, Deer River Campsite, Malone, Region 8 director/past president/CONY Hall of Fame Member; Truman Hartshorn, Lebanon Reservoir Campground, Hamilton, Region 5 director; Ed Marden, Camp Bell Campground, Campbell, treasurer; Laurie Bulluck, Rainbow Shores Campground, Pulaski, second vice chairperson; Mike Papp, West Canada Creek Campsites, Poland, CONY chairman; Rachel Kaiser, Houghton KOA, Houghton, secretary; Bill Perry, Chautauqua Lake KOA, Dewittville, first vice chairman; Rob Kaiser, Medina Wildwood Lake KOA, Medina, Region 2 director; Gregg Nicholls, Lake Bluff Campground, Wolcott, third vice chairman; and Donald G Bennett Jr., CONY president/CEO.