b"GUEST VIEWLetter: National ARVC Task Force MemberAlDefends, Explains Work to Create StandardsJohnsonEditors Note: In November, the Na- yourselves of National ARVCs con- closely the why. tional Association of RV Parks andventionpaneldiscussionorotherOutdoor hospitality is attracting in- right, but that it was a place to start. We Campgrounds(NationalARVC)re- methods of understanding the needvestors, rather than operators, theseare now honestly seeking the best out-leased a draft of proposed standardsand purpose of the effort?days. Many of these investors dontcome and we need everyone to look at for the Outdoor Hospitality industry.I served on the ad hoc committeeunderstandtheindustry.Theseit. At its very root, it is voluntary and The standards, while voluntary, havethat drafted the proposed guidelinesguidelines help to provide definitionsmeant to be informative. There are no sparkedsomebacklash,includingalong with other volunteers who haveand considerations that new ownersthou shalts. Cookie cutter parks are severalpressreleasesfromvariousa long history of commitment to theshould know about. Without gettingthe farthest from any intention of this state campground owners' associa- well-beingoftheindustry.Maybeinto methods or practices, a full spec- effort. We can form educational tools tionsincluding Pennsylvania, Texas,some of you know me or others on thetrum of the things an owner shouldto help all campgrounds determine Florida, Alabama and New Yorkan- committee. Giving us the benefit ofhave on their radar is provided. Notthe variety of ways they respond to the nouncing their opposition to the ini- the doubt that were not stupid or evil,everything applies to everyone, anditems, if at all. tiative. In response to this, Al Johnson,why would we bring this forward? Iall of it is voluntary. It is intended toFinally, I think it is important to a member of National ARVCs taskagreed to work on this to make surebe bathed in education for those whoconsider what seems to be the main forcethatdevelopedthestandardsthat it did not become overbearing.want to learn specific best practices. theme behind pushback from some andanexecutivevicepresidentofSo, why bring this to the membershipSecondly,asoutdoorhospitalitystate associationsfear of member-Recreational Adventure Co. (RAC), hasif not because of some evil or stupidhas emerged as a leading travel andship loss. Keep in mind that the vol-written the following open letter.misguided power grab?vacation style in recent years, it is gar- unteersonNationalARVCsboard Thisproposaladdressesthreenering more attention from regula- and the ad hoc committee are dedi-I am writing to provide a camp- swirling clouds on our horizon as antors, especially as we try to build orcatedtoNationalARVCsmission ground owners perspective on Na- industry: new, uninformed owners;expand our parks. Since the regula- statement to represent the interests tional ARVCs effort to provide someregulatory agencies and others tryingtors dont know our industry, wouldntand needs of private RV parks and industry definition. Maybe some oftodefineourindustryforus;andit be better if the industry itself pro- campgrounds. If our state members youwhoreactednegativelytothenew, inexperienced guests. You canvided the definition rather than ced- dont see the need for this right now, concept havent looked at the recentlydeny that these issues are real, but Iing that inevitable chore to others? Inmaybe state leaders should help them closed survey or understood that itthink you might all agree that theythe current absence of industry defi- see what is coming down the pike and was simply gathering useful feedback.are true to at least some extent. Asnitions or guidelines, it is not onlyhow this effort can help them in front It was clearly not an overbearing ef- leaders yourselves, you can recog- regulators who would attempt to de- of planning commissions, insurance forttojamsomethingdownthenizethatwhenissuesarise,theyfine us. Would you rather have an in- companies or even their guests. That throats of anyone in the broad spec- should be addressed.surancecompanydecidewhatais what it is intended to do.trum of outdoor hospitality, as someBefore discussing what the guide- campgroundshouldbe?Orpoliti- I have heard at least one state asso-haverepresentedit.Didyouavaillinesare,Iwanttoconsidermorecians? Or RV manufacturers who areciation alluding to the potential sev-hearing from their buyers about dis- eringoftieswithNationalARVC appointing parks? Would it not makebecausemembersareupsetabout more sense for us to come together asthisidea.Industryunityiscritical an industry and provide definitionsrightnowinthefaceofourchal-thatwefeelarereasonable,ratherlenges. Disruption and separation are than allow others to do it? exactly the wrong courses. If there is Data shows that our guests, espe- to be an industry handbook, it needs cially new campers, desperately wantto be on the national level. It would to know what kind of park they areexist and function whether a particu-choosing. I agree that this underlyinglarstatepartneredwithNational desire on the part of our guests is theARVC or not. But if states partner with trickiest for us as an industry. Still, in- National ARVC, they will be able to dustries that listen to what their cus- mold the handbook to be the most tomers want will be stronger in thehelpful to all of us.long run, so it is at least worth consid- Consider that if a partnering state ering. The hotel industry has achievedsevers its relationship with National a broad understanding of what a suiteARVC, state membership levels could property is, a luxury hotel, an econ- suffer more than if the state stays the omy hoteletc. Can you think of anycourse. If our current members arent national organization that does notautomaticallymembersofboth try to provide the world with an un- groups, as it is now with cooperating derstandingofwhattheydo?Thisstates, I dont think it is a stretch to proposal tries to get ahead of thesethinkthatsomecampgroundswill things. Is that not what leaders shouldchoose between one association or try to do?the other. If a park is forced to look at You will notice that I have refrainedthecostsandbenefitsseparately, from using the term standards at allsome may opt to go with the national in this letter. I think that term has be- benefits, educational programs, advo-come incendiary and is no longer partcacy, music licensing, web presenceof the discussion. But what are we talk- etc. at a lower cost than the state dues. ingabout?SomeoneproposedtheThis is probably especially true for the term industry handbook. Whethernew corporate players. that becomes the term or somethingWe are better together.else, these proposed items simply callIndividual members are not threat-out considerations in the widest vari- ened by this effort. No one is coerced ety of areas we could think of, from in- to change anything, yet it helps our dustrydefinitions(sowhenwesayindustry define itself when others are seasonal or resort we know what iscrying out for that definition. Please being referenced) to ethics; from con- work to keep our industry unified and structionconsiderationstosafety help members understand the oppor-etc. The ad hoc committee I serve ontunity that this provides.drew up a proposal, knowing that weThankyouforyourleadership. could not possibly get it completelyWCM 12 February 2023Woodalls Campground Magazine"