The Ohio Campground Owners Association (OCOA) held its annual Fall Conference and POOT Tour from Oct. 22-23, according to Kristy Smith, OCOA’s executive director.
Based out of the Hampton Inn in New Philadelphia, Ohio, approximately 90 attendees representing 40 campgrounds were in attendance. The event was sponsored by Henley Graphic Communications and Silver-Top Mfg. Co. Inc.
On Tuesday, Oct. 22, attendees spent free time touring Broad Run Corner in Dover, Ohio — featuring the Broad Run CheeseHouse, Deli and Boutique. Nestled in the heart of Amish country, Smith said attendees sampled Broad Run cheeses, sipped on wines, shopped in the boutique and enjoyed the atmosphere.
Attendees then had dinner at the newest addition to Broad Run Corner, Hans Place, which is a wine manufacturing facility, tasting room and café that features 18 different flavors of Swiss Heritage Wine, explained Smith.
After dinner, attendees discussed industry topics such as service dog policies, RV storage, staffing, campstore products, entertainment, security cameras, food trucks, and ways to increase mid-week camping.
There was also an update on House Bill 355, which has been undergoing hearings before the Ohio House of Representatives. This bill would grant Ohio campground owners qualified immunity from civil liability for any harm to a camper or visitor that results from a risk inherent to camping — especially the dangers posed by interacting with features of the natural world like mud, plants, roots, uneven or unpredictable terrain, said Smith. Weather-related issues are also included in the bill.
“House Bill 355 is a way of protecting campground owners from frivolous lawsuits brought by campers participating in activities that are inherently dangerous,” explained Smith. “The bill is not an all-or-nothing protection when RV park and campground owners are negligent.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 23, attendees boarded buses and set off on the POOT Tour of four campgrounds in eastern Ohio: Baylor Beach Park in Navarre; Evergreen Park RV Resort in Dundee; Coshocton Kampgrounds of America (KOA) in Coshocton; and Wood’s Tall Timber Resort in New Philadelphia. The owners of the host campgrounds allowed attendees to walk through their parks and view their parks’ amenities and facilities. Attendees received a behind-the-scenes tour of each campground.
Attendees had lunch in historic Roscoe Village, an 1800s canal town that once was a bustling port along the Ohio and Erie Canal. It is now home to shops, restaurants and historic buildings, said Smith. Attendees had time to explore the shops that featured items from fine jewelry to handmade leather goods, gourmet foods to wine and coffees, antiques to kitchen wares, ladies clothing to unique gifts, flowers and plants to homemade fudge and custard. .
“The Fall POOT tour is one of the events OCOA members look forward to,” said Smith. “Campground owners always pick up a new idea, whether they have owned their campground for 40 years or are a brand new owner, there is always something to learn from your fellow campground owners.”
OCOA members are now looking forward to the OCOA Spring Conference and Trade Show, which will be held March 6-7 at the Embassy Suites Airport in Columbus, Ohio. The event will feature educational seminars, dynamic industry speakers, networking sessions, and a trade show with over 40 vendors.
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