The 2014 Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) Convention, held at the Skytop Lodge Nov. 10-12, offered attendees a wide range of activities and a well-rounded slate of seminars and speakers.

“It will go down in the history books as one of the best ever,” said PCOA Executive Chairman Beverly Gruber. “There was an excitement in the air. The facilities were amazing, the seminars were awesome, the networking was phenomenal, and everyone had a great time.”

Magician Tom Yurasits provided Tuesday evening’s entertainment while Wednesday’s schedule was highlighted by keynote speakerCraig Dietz, who was born without limbs, yet amazingly has not let his disabilities hold him back, even competing in triathlons.

The convention featured 12 seminars, including:

• “Campground Industry Trends” by David Gorin, former ARVC president.

• Information Security: A panel presentation with Robert Olsen, North Star Group/Compass; Irene Jones, Marshall & Sterling Insurance; and Sonya Zacker, Clayton Park Recreation Area.

• “Solving Media Murder” by Clay Snyder, senior director of brand performance for DoubleTree by Hilton.

• “Keeping Rental Units in Top Condition” by John Thornton, Nicklas Supply.

• “ObamaCare and How it Affects Our Industry” by Dan Castrillon, Scirocco Group Insurance.

• Retirement Planning: A panel presentation with Don Bennett, CPA, President and CEO of the Campground Owners of New York; Joe Tice, CPA and owner of Anderson’s Brochure Distribution; and George Harper, RC Lain Insurance.

• “Innovative Ways to Increase Site Revenue” by Samantha Kozak, co-owner/Operator of Lake. 

• Raystown Resort.  

• Best Store Ideas: A panel presentation with Joanne DelVescio, executive director of the New Jersey Campground Owners Association; Kristie Lacey, Cozy Creek Campground; and Kelly Newell Rider, Wilcor International.

• “Tying It All Together” by Matt Mitchell, owner of Corporate Communications.

• “Making Improvements People Can See” by Suzanne Mark, noted campground writer and speaker.

There were also 12 roundtable discussions led by coordinator Debby Yeager. They included:

• “Propane – What You Need to Know,” Tim Cartmell, Honesdale/Pocono KOA.

• “Craft and Program Ideas” – Kathy Stetler, Pioneer Campground.

• “Hiring, Training, Coaching Staff,” Jed Wood, Blue Rocks Family Campground.

• :Workampers – Tricks to Make It Work,” Debby Cartmell, Honesdale/Pocono KOA.

• “Preparing to Ask for a Loan,” David Haubert, Colonial Woods Family Camping Resort and John Haubert, Ringing Rocks Family Campground.

• “Electrical Updates/Repairs,” Raymond Coker, Pioneer Campground.

• “Golf Carts – A Curse or A Blessing?,” Bruce Heasley, Holiday Pines Campgrounds.

• “Best New Amenity,” Ryan McFarland, Buttonwood Campground.

• “Arcades – Are They Still Worth It?,” Carrie Milkie, Bucktail Campground.

• “Lake/Pond Maintenance,” Shane Adam, Mountain Springs Camping Resort.

• “What is on Your Seasonal Contract?,” David Mull, Shady Brook Campground.

• “Controlling Pests,” Steve Criswell, Little Mexico Campground.

Other activities included:

Crackerbarrel – conducted by Skip and Judy Deegans, KOA Kampgrounds. 

Trade Show (James Kesterke, Coordinator) – 70 exhibitors were present. Great variety: log cabin dealers, equipment dealers, shirt vendors, advertising, entertainers, food distributors, software providers, printers, online reservation systems, water treatment solutions, souvenirs. They reported excellent sales.

Auction (David Mull, Coordinator) -The Pennsylvania Auction raises funds for scholarships to fund educational scholarships and the National School of RV Park and Campground Management. Thanks to the generosity of the vendors and campground owners, a total of $10,772.00 was raised.

Scholarship Winners Announced – During the Annual Meeting on Wednesday, the winners of the 2014 Scholarships were announced. Nikki DePaul of Peaceful Woodlands Family Campground in Blakeslee, PA, was awarded a full scholarship to the National School of RV Park and Campground Management in Wheeling, WV. Tyler Grim, Stony Fork Creek Campground, Wellsboro, PA, was awarded up to $1,000 for a college or university course and Chad Turner, Rose Point Park Cabins and Camping, New Castle, PA received a $500 award for continuing education.

Convention Attendance – There was a great turn out of over 180 attendees from 75 campgrounds Also attending were 2 prospective campground owners and 4 industry visitors.

Kids Camp – Five children attended the first ever Kids Camp on Tuesday and Wednesday. The hotel activity staff introduced the children to many craft ideas, nature experiences and even included a hay ride of the grounds. Eileen Vaughan, Mountain Vista Campground, was the program coordinator.


PLATINUM  ($1000 and up)

Anderson’s Brochure Distribution Service

Corporate Communications

Wilcor International

GOLD ($500 – $1000)

AdvenSure Ins. Program Offered by McNeil & Co.

Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory

Leavitt Recreation and Hospitality Insurance

Gary Thull Pools, Inc.

BRONZE (up to $350)

Marshall & Sterling Insurance

Scirocco Group


Best Promotional Piece – Rose Point Park Cabins & Camping, New Castle, PA

Best Brochure – Bucktail Camping Resort, Mansfield, PA

Best Apparel Item – Bear Run Campground, Portersville, PA

Best Souvenir – Rose Point Park Cabins & Camping, New Castle, PA

Best Camping Photo – Little Mexico Campground, Winfield, PA

Most Creative Activity – Little Mexico Campground, Winfield, PA

Best Website – Granite Hill Campground, Gettysburg, PA

Best Example of Guest Service – Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, PA

Tourism Employee of the Year – Pioneer Campground, Muncy Valley, PA

Best Community Involvement – Deer Run Camping Resort, Gardners, PA

Annual Meeting & Election

Our annual meeting was attended by 50 campgrounds. The following were elected:

Director Region I – Matt May, Presque Isle Passage Campground, Fairview

Director Region II – Bill Sujansky, Pioneer Park Campground

Director Region III – David Mull, Shady Brook Campground, Beavertown

Director Region IV – Ryan McFarland, Buttonwood Campground, Mexico

Director Region V – James Kesterke, Otter Lake Campground, East Stroudsburg

Director Region VI – Jed Wood, Blue Rocks Family Campground, Lenhartsville