Where Are My Long Lost Colleagues? 

Every year as I look at the sea of faces at our industry conferences I’m always excited to see my industry friends and meet the newcomers. Sadly, I see fewer and fewer of those who attended when I was a campground owner and those who sat together when I served on the national association’s Board of Directors or Executive Committee.


One of the ARVC 2017 OHCE Cracker Barrel sessions

I know some have retired, and for them I cheer! I, like a few others, am no longer a park owner yet I’m still in the industry. Still, I know many others who continue operating their campgrounds. Where are they when it’s conference time? (I’m not naming names here, but you know who you are!)

Don’t they remember our earlier lengthy conversations, often times several years in a row? They started with something like this:

  • “Why don’t more people attend the conference? Where’s so-n-so?”
  • “I learned ya da ya da in that last seminar.”
  • “I just bought the coolest xyz at the expo!”

Well, don’t you think that today’s attendees discuss how they can inspire more to attend conference? You could help … by attending!

I also remember one who had been an owner for decades and reported to a room packed with colleagues that he couldn’t believe how much he learned while attending the national association’s school. He thought he had known it all from his own work experience and conference seminars. He announced that he’d been wrong.

Well, there is more learning waiting for you! For everyone. There are new technologies, new industry challenges, new regulations and … maybe most importantly … there are new people needing mentors.

I had many people who tucked me under their wings as I was learning my way in and through the maze of campground operations, industry jargon, association life, and national and international marketing. Through all of that exposure and experience I transformed my very old RV park in rural America into one of the 8% highest rated campgrounds in America (sorry, I can’t recall if that was according to Woodalls or TL). I couldn’t have accomplished that without the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (ARVC), my state association, and my entire mix of campground-owning colleagues and industry experts who connected me to a plethora of resources and options.

The next generation needs the same! Where are the mentors for them? Where are you?

I continue to attend the national conference, even now in my 19th year in this industry. I’ve seen some that were better than others, and I left the 2017 national conference feeling as though I had just attended the best one ever! It’s sad that many former colleagues weren’t there. I would have enjoyed spending time with them again.

ARVC opened registration for the 2018 Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo. It’s in early November and it’s centrally located in Oklahoma City. With 30 weeks advance notice, I encourage you to attend. Actually, I double-dog dare you!

Registration is simple at http://oheponline.org. I look forward to seeing you there!

(This blog post was published with my permission by Woodalls Campground Management on 3/27/2018)


Thank you for sharing your time with me! Please feel free to leave comments, or share or ‘like’ this with your connections.

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