Mary Arlington

Editor’s Note: WOODALLSCM.com received this letter from Mary Arlington, executive director of the Kansas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds, the Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association and the South Dakota Campground Owners Association. 

One good thing to come from COVID-19 is the increased awareness of the power of professional trade associations.

As the executive director of three state associations that are partnered with the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), the team effort that is taking place — ARVC having not only its staff of 12, but also its 20-plus partnered executive directors, plus insight from another handful of non-partnered executive directors — produces a glorious asset to EVERY campground in the country.

Now, while this next part sounds all about me, it’s really a first-hand explanation of what I believe has been happening within every state association office across our country.

My staffing outside of conference days is limited to one, me, which is typical for many association offices. My traditionally strong relationships with several departments in each of the governments and tourism industries of the states I represent isn’t sufficient to cover all of the bases that need to be covered due to COVID-19.

This crisis is forcing many decisions to the county level in Colorado — there are 64 — and the community level in South Dakota (yikes).

When codes vary by county or community, my first line of approach is to aim for a solid model at the onset that other counties or communities might then opt to implement. I first meet with the member parks in each respective community or county, one cluster at a time, to coordinate our efforts in their local governments.

After a ruling, I then share updates in separate correspondences or posts with our other members, with the RVers, with my fellow executive directors in other states, with Woodall’s Campground Management, in media press releases, and of course with ARVC.

Simultaneously, I monitor for the latest breaking news story or the latest county or community to impose a closure notice. I quit making promises like, “I’ll get this letter written today,” because I’ve learned that more closure notices are on their way to me that’s going to alter my schedule.

I’m also sharing educational content that could be beneficial to my members during this crisis.

Now, picture that happening in each association office.

With that picture, add to it the normal bill paying, spring conference rescheduling, and the newfound interest that nonmembers are showing, so they’d like to join now. It’s a nonstop time for these state associations!

To all of you who belong to ARVC, you get it! BRAVO and HOORAY to you!

It starts with our members and works up within the state and across the nation. The stronger we are at the local level every day, the stronger our industry is during a crisis.

BRAVO to you for supporting our efforts every day during COVID-19 and long, long, long before and after. YOU ARE THE VITAL LINK!