The cover of the 2010 Kansas RV and Camping Guide.

Kansas RV park owners met at USI RV Park in Wichita last week for the annual Spring Fling of the Kansas Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (KARVC). The event, which drew about 12 parks, about half of the association’s membership, began with a social gathering on the evening prior to the all-day event.

“The difference this year was that we had several first-timers with us,” said long-time board member and current Treasurer Mary Arlington, High Plains Camping, Oakley, Kan. “Their ‘new blood’ inspired renewed enthusiasm among everyone.”

“KARVC is all about us connecting — the camaraderie,” said board member Paul Pinick, Emporia RV Park, Emporia, Kan. “This is why we exist.”

“Hearing the enthusiasm from the members, especially those who hadn’t attended in the past, rejuvenated spirits,” said Arlington, following a long hard winter. “Anyone familiar with me knows my spirits run high, so this put me back in the upper atmosphere.”

Arlington noted the 2010 edition of the “Kansas RV and Camping Guide” received rave reviews, with not a single improvement suggestion being put on the 2011 slate yet. The members liked the way the “8 Wonders of Kansas” worked for the cover, and they voted to use the 2011 cover to promote the state’s 150th birthday.

The park owners learned more about making the most of the members-only web page, and are seeing more of its potential and gaining more comfort with navigating throughout the site. At least one enhancement was requested by Larry Rowe of All Season RV Park, Goddard, which has already been implemented — space to post “for sale” notices.

The site informs and connects members online. News is posted as soon as it’s known, rather than published quarterly in a newsletter. Members post questions to one another, sign up for programs and share ideas on the web.

KARVC is transparent to its members. Formal and informal meetings are held on the site, for all members to see. Links connect members to suppliers and to news from — and opportunities through — its affiliates (ARVC, state tourism office, TIAK).

Arlington said members were impressed that more of KARVC’s income is spent on consumer-based marketing programs now that administrative expenses have been reduced.

“It’s great to know that in-house communications were drastically increased while admin costs were slashed,” said board member Sheila Wagner of USI RV Park.

As part of the state-of-the-association report, members were pleased to see the online marketing of their parks to RVers through a greatly enhanced new web page and through several social networking sites.

A discussion was held about how best to display Kansas parks on the web page. Natalie Donges of Deer Grove RV Park, El Dorado, raised a pertinent question which led to a lengthy discussion about publicly funded facilities.

“To see such lively discussion is a board member’s dream-come-true,” said outgoing KARVC President Harold Hays, Lawrence KOA. “Passion and ownership of the association came out in everyone.”

Members were supportive of listing all non-member privately owned parks on the consumer site, but remained opposed to including any publicly funded parks.

Pat Morgison of Watersports Campground, Dodge City, announced it has been 40 years since he built and opened his RV park. KARVC congratulated the Morgison family on their lengthy and successful career, and applauded their long-standing dedication to KARVC, having been one of the founding fathers of the association back in 1973.

Members re-elected Sheila Wagner and elected Amy Wagner of USI RV Park, Wichita, to the board. President Harold Hays turned the gavel over to Sheila Wagner as the new President. Mary Arlington and Carolyn Fenn, Four Seasons RV Acres, Abilene, retained their titles as treasurer and secretary, respectively. Charlotte and Paul Pinick, Emporia RV Park, Emporia, also continue on the board.

The members also unanimously permitted an amendment of the bylaws which allows for a reduction in the size of the board and which further defines the chain of command of the officers.

The members chose to continue with the present meeting format, keeping the Spring Fling private to park owners with mostly round-table discussions on the industry and park operations. The next meeting will be Feb. 22, 2011, at Capital City KOA, in Topeka, Kan.