b'Outdoor Hospitality Industry Loves to Give Back in Big Ways to Support a Wide Variety of Causes nBY JEFF CRIDER cancer and their families by providing year-Jim Button loves giving back to his com- round programs, experiences and companion-munity.ship at no cost. The programs are designed to The co-owner and operator of Evergreenfoster the building of new friendships, emotional Campsites and Resorts in Wild Rose, Wis.,strength and life skills in a stress-free environ-has been volunteering with the Saxeville-Spring- ment. Over the past two years, more than 200 water Fire Department ever since a devastatingchildren with cancer and their families have ex-tornado ripped through the area in 1988. Hisperienced a Sun Outdoors property because of son, Joseph, has joined him as a volunteer fire- the partnership with Camp Quality. fighter as well.While cancer is a key area of focus, private His park also hosts fundraising events fromparks support nonprofit organizations targeting 9-11 a.m. every Sunday during the summera variety of other issues, too, from food inse-camping season to raise money for worthwhilecurity and helping children and senior citizens causes.Thisyear,theparkraisedoverand providing housing and emotional support $20,000, half of which it donated to Childrensdogs for veterans suffering from stress and Wisconsin, a pediatric hospital in Milwaukee.anxiety. The park also donated $5,000 to Lucky DogJennifer Ludovice, vice president of public Animal Rescues and $5,000 to the Hospitalityrelations for Chicago-based Equity LifeStyle Program at Fox Valley Technical College in Ap- Properties, said ELS provided financial support plewood, Wis.to numerous nonprofit organizations this pastThere are so many ways to give back,CONY has given more than $1.2 million over the past 10 years to Camp Good Days. year through the companys Making a Differ-Button said. In todays world, we are fortunateence program. to have what we have. Its those little acts ofWe supported several food banks, such as kindness that go a long way.inside, Anderson said of the auction, whichgrounds,althoughKOAscorporate-ownedFeeding Tampa Bay, San Benito Food Pantry, Button said his campers enjoy participatingraised $112,000 in 2022 alone. We want tocampgrounds and franchisees are the largestHarry Chapin Food Bank, Just One Project and in fundraisers for worthwhile causes.do more next year.group of donors to the charity. Non-KOA camp- Arizona Brainfood, Ludovice said, noting that They are just in awe when we tell themCamp Chautauqua and other parks affiliatedgrounds also contribute to Care Camps, includ- ELS also provided support for several senior where we donate the money, he said. Theywith the Campground Owners of New YorkingTheJenkinsOrganizationinHouston,citizen resource centers including Silver Key feel good knowing our campground is a busi- (CONY) collectively raised $265,593.34 forTexas, which owns and operates campgroundsSenior Services in Colorado Springs, Colo.; ness that is helping people.Camp Good Days in 2022, a record for the as- across the country. Pueblo Senior Resource Development Agency Across the country, campgrounds, RV parkssociation, which has raised $1,226,506.91 for Since its inception, Care Camps has raisedin Pueblo, Colo.; and The Senior Hub in North-and resorts are raising ever-increasing amountsCamp Good Days since the association startedmore than $18 million for 139 cancer campsglenn, Colo. of money for a variety of charitable causes thatsupporting the nonprofit organization in 2012.across North America, including 17 in Canada,We also donated to organizations such as benefit people in their communities. Park oper- Efforts to combat cancer and support chil- and most of that funding has come directlyHabitat For Humanity, Meals on Wheels and the ators also tell Woodalls Campground Maga- dren and families suffering from the disease arefrom the collaborative efforts of the KOA team.National Child Safety Council, she said. Do-zine (WCM) they believe their campers like towidely supported by privately owned and op- In 2022, Care Camps received $717,269 fromnations were made to groups in our properties see them supporting charitable efforts.erated campgrounds and RV parks across thedirect campground support, according to Ericathat work to help others in need, and individuals I think it helps business. People like to seecountry.Lanter, Care Camps marketing and communi- in our properties who generously volunteer their businesses paying it forward, said Matt An- Over the past 37 years, Care Camps has es- cations manager. time and talents to assist their neighbors. derson, at Camp Chautauqua in Mayville, N.Y.,tablished itself as the campground industrys Other initiatives are also being launched byFor its part, Ocean City, Md.-based Blue whoorganizesafundraisingauctioneverylargest coordinated effort to raise money forprivate park operators to provide counselingWater Development has a program called summer that raises tens of thousands of dollarschildren and their families to attend camps,and emotional support to children with cancerBlue Water Gives Back, which supports a va-for Camp Good Days and Special Times, awhich have specially trained medical staff andalong with their families.riety of humanitarian initiatives. This year, for Mendon, N.Y.-based nonprofit organization thatcounselors that help kids learn to cope with theFor the past two years, Sun Outdoors hasexample, Blue Water donated 4.4 acres of land offers free camps, special activities and otheremotional trauma they experience because ofhosted Camp Quality USA (www.campquali- to Diakonia, a 50-year-old Ocean City-based services for children suffering from cancer.their cancer diagnosis.tyusa.org/) at its properties. Camp Quality is anonprofit organization that provides housing It makes everybody feel warm and bubblyThese camps are not held at KOA camp- nonprofit organization that serves children withand resources to help those in need. Blue Water donated land that will enable Diakonia to build a new facility to better support those in need and provide 42 affordable housing units. Last year, Blue Water donated $150,000 to Diakonia to support its expansion. Sun Outdoors launched a Sun Unity Ambas-sador Program in 2021, which is designed to empower passionate team members across thecompanytoengageinvolunteerism, fundraising and otherwise establish relation-ships with charitable organizations in their local communities. While Suns charitable efforts in 2022 included humanitarian efforts at locations too numerous to mention here, the following examples provided by Sun and its management teams highlight the wide range of humanitarian efforts Sun parks are supporting across the country:Palm Creek Resorts & Residences in Casa Grande, Ariz.: This park held a Cancer Awareness Week in 2022 and raised nearly $34,000 to benefit the Alliance Cancer Support Center in Casa Grande. RiversRestMarinaandResortin Charles City, Va.: This park participated in Shop with a Sheriff in partnership with local schools and the sheriffs office to support chil-dren in need for the holidays.Sun Outdoors Chesapeake Bay in Tem-peranceville, Va.: This park raised $7,528 for breast cancer research at its annual Think Pink event.Sun Outdoors Frontier Town in Berlin, Giving Backcontinued on page 4414 February 2023Woodalls Campground Magazine'