The following column is provided by the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and ARVC Voice Editor Jake Poterbin.

ARVC began 2012 with a focus on adding value to its membership. The organization delivered in many areas for its 3,000 members, including steep discounts through new member benefit providers, the addition of more education opportunities, industry support through the ARVC Foundation and meaningful representation from its legislative arm.

This year, regular membership increased by over 100, helping ARVC grow to over 3,000 members. Likewise, the Supplier Council that represents valued industry vendors grew a remarkable 60% from 71 to 115. This growth is projected to continue in 2013.

The uptick in interest shows current members and prospective members are seeing value like never before. The savings from long-time partners like Evergreen USA, Utility Supply Group, Amerigas propane, HD Supply, TengoInternet and many others would be enough to justify belonging to ARVC.

In 2012 alone, many new member benefit programs were added to provide additional opportunities to save, including: Ford Motor Co., Club Car, Alliance Laundry Systems representing the Speed Queen and Unimac brands, Moen Kitchen and Bathroom Equipment, The American Society for Asset Protection, RVBackgroundChecks.com and Eco-Lab. Member benefit programs exclusive to ARVC members will certainly be a priority for years to come.

ARVC also landed an industry-first, landmark combined music licensing deal in 2012. By enrolling prior to Nov. 30 for the upcoming 2013 calendar year, members will save substantially with the combined licensing deal with BMI/ASCAP, along with their ongoing SESAC discount offer.

This year also saw the culmination of over a year’s work to bring consumers a vastly improved GoCampingAmerica.com website. Additionally, ARVC will be unveiling a newly enhanced member website, arvc.org, in the first quarter of 2013.

Great strides were made in our education department, too. ARVC began its transition to the new Outdoor Hospitality Education Program with already over 80 applicants. The program’s materials have been finalized and new resources will be announced at the OHCE (Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo) designed to support the successful completion for each certificate level.

The new program is expected to add 200 more enrollees, with many attending the first Outdoor Hospitality Spring Workshops being held in Denver, April 17-18, 2013.

Education opportunities online were also made available with new webinars including a four-part series on campground management software, and two other webinars presented by supplier council members: “Adding Value Through Glamping: It’s Not What You Think” by Wanderlust Hospitality and “Wireless Trends” by TengoInternet.

The ARVC Foundation made progress as well in research and disaster relief. The 2012 Operations Survey conducted over the months of August, September and October contains valuable information related to current trends within the industry. This report was presented at OHCE and benefits anyone in the industry making business decisions. It will be available for members toward the beginning of 2013.

The ARVC Foundation also provided financial help to parks impacted by Hurricane Isaac and stands prepared to support parks impacted by Sandy.

Finally, great work was performed by ARVC law firm and lobbyist, McDermott, Will & Emery. Throughout 2012, ARVC fought the battle in Washington, D.C., to oppose stringent, unreasonable ADA legislation.

ARVC joined a coalition with the American Hotel and Lodging Association, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others in early 2012 to successfully extend the pool lift compliance date to January 2013. This important fight will continue to be a focus for ARVC.

The association celebrated the year’s accomplishments at its annual ARVC Outdoor Hospitality Conference & Expo in Las Vegas this November and is looking forward to pushing ahead to achieve much more in 2013.

ARVC Foundation Superstorm Sandy Relief

The ARVC Foundation wants everyone impacted by Superstorm Sandy to know our thoughts are with you. We know how hard recovery can be and how immediate support can mean all the difference. The ARVC Foundation is proud to be able to provide some relief to members who need it most. If you were impacted by Superstorm Sandy, let us help you. To find out more about the grants and loans, go to www.arvc.org/DisasterRelief.aspx.

If you were not impacted by Superstorm Sandy and want to help those who are, the ARVC Foundation is accepting donations. To make a donation, simply send a check to ARVC Foundation, 9085 E. Mineral Circle, Suite 200, Centennial CO 80112. The ARVC Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization and contributions are tax-deductible.