Rob Schutter

Editor’s Note: The following is a column that appeared in the ARVC Voice from Chairman Rob Schutter taking a look at “possibilities.”

With the arrival of spring comes the anticipation, and the excitement, of a new camping season. For those operations in the south, the snowbirds are preparing to go north for the summer season, while in the north, operators are busily preparing their campgrounds and RV parks for the arrival of this year’s outdoor enthusiasts. For many different reasons these enthusiasts, our guests, choose one of the thousands of campgrounds and RV parks across this country as their destination of choice.

It is important for us to not lose sight of the fact that our guests are confronted with numerous demands for their time. They look to us to provide them with an alternative outlet to their “daily grind.” Whether they wish to hike, fish, rough it, enjoy the park’s activity program or just socialize with friends; we provide that necessary entertainment experience they seek to “re-energize” their internal batteries.

So, with the beginning of a new camping season, let’s welcome our guests back and provide them with that fun-filled experience they so eagerly seek. By doing this, we will become successful.

Speaking of “re-energizing,” ARVC has been on a quest to do just that. For the past year and a half, ARVC has been engaged in a process of self-examination as to how to become more responsive to its members and to ultimately determine what the association’s future structure is to be.

While President Bambei and the new ARVC staff have been diligently reassessing how to address members’ needs, the ARVC Board of Directors met on March 20 to discuss potential changes to the current structure of the association. The three structure choices confronting the Board of Directors were: (1) maintain the current structure of partnership with affiliated and cooperative state associations, where ARVC members are required to be members of their state associations as well. Direct members are permitted in states that have no affiliation status with ARVC; (2) create a direct member structure, where members are not required to belong to their respective state associations, and; (3) a federation structure by which the association would be governed by the state executives of the various state campground associations.

After over six hours of engaging and candid discussions by board members centering on the recommendations put forth by the three strategic subcommittees, as well as comments submitted by seven state associations and numerous individual arvc members, the board voted unanimously, 20-0, to retain the current association structure. While affirming that our current structure best serves the needs of both the individual park owner and the various state associations, it should not be viewed as the board embracing the “status quo.” The discussions clearly underscored a need on the part of parties that comprise the association — the staff, the members and the member state associations — to rededicate their efforts at forging a mutual beneficial relationship. For our part, the board will be discussing what initiatives ARVC can undertake to address these concerns as the year progresses.

As someone once said, “Instead of looking at what’s wrong, look at the possibilities!” ARVC is doing a lot of things right, but together we can do things much better.