The 48th Annual Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association (PCOA) Convention was held Dec. 5-7 at the Bayfront Convention Center in Erie, Pa., and will go down in the history books as one of the best ever. There was an excitement in the air. The facility was perfect, the seminars were awesome and everyone had a great time, according to a news release.
Over 150 attendees from 60 Pennsylvania campgrounds, four out-of-state campgrounds and two non-campground owners attended.
The keynote speaker, Jim Rogers CEO of Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA), left everyone energized with his talk. He spoke about building guest loyalty through doing the basics. Rogers used KOA’s one-of-a-kind data to share 2011 results for North America vs. Pennsylvania. For example, camper nights and registration revenue for Pennsylvania KOAs were up slightly in 2011, while systemwide both numbers were down, he noted.
“Owners want to know how to compare what they do to other campgrounds in the country and KOA can provide that comparison using their real-time campground management system,” Rogers said. He evaluated major trends that will impact the campground business in the future and discussed the importance of working “on” the business as well as “in” the business.
At lunch he addressed the importance of “majoring in the minors.” He also used hospitality stories to share examples of how little things count.
PCPA held 12 seminars. Topics and speakers were:
- Accounting for Campgrounds by Don Bennett, state executive of New York.
- Food Safety Updates by Rick Kralj, Jefferson County, Pa., Ag Extension.
- Generational Differences by Monica Gould, Strategy Consulting Partners, Mechanicsburg, Pa. (presented twice).
- Influencing the People Who Count by David Gorin, state executive of Virginia.
- Earn Sʼmore from Your Camp Store by Lori Severson, state executive of Wisconsin.
- Get Social and Build Your Business by Peter Pelland of Pelland Advertising, Haydenville, Mass
- ARVC – As An Industry, Where Are We Going? by Jeff Sims, state relations chairman, National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC), Centennial, Colo.
- Redeveloping An Older Park by David Gorin.
- Going from Good to Great by Jim Rogers, CEO and Chairman of KOA, Billings, Mont.
- Pesticide Seminar by Michael Marcin, Pennsylvania Department of Ag, Meadville; Mike Bonavita, B&R Aquatic.
- Education, Pittsburgh, and Ruth Benner, Erie County Ag Extension. Recreation Workshop by Vicki Cole, Shelby-Mansfield KOA, Shelby, Ohio.
12 Round Tables
There were 12 roundtable discussions. The topics and roundtable coordinators were:
- Going Green – Denny McFarland, Buttonwood Campground, Mexico, Pa.
- Point of Sale for Your Store – Debbie Wilcox, Shenango Valley RV Park, Shenango, Pa. and Deb Yeager, Rose Point Park Cabins & Camping, New Castle, Pa.
- Swimming Pool Trends & Adaptations – Mark Wineman, Kalyumet Campground, Lucinda, Pa. Creative Marketing Methods (Couponing) – Keith Wehr, Bear Run Campground, Portersville, Pa. Program/Recreation Activities – Vicki Cole, Shelby-Mansfield KOA, Shelby, Ohio.
- Pet Accomodations – Nance Glantz, Four Seasons at Raystown Lake Camping Resort, Saxton, Pa. Marcellus Shale – Threats & Opportunities – Bruce Heasley, Holiday Pines Campground, Loganton, Pa. & Kathy Stetler, Pioneer Campground, Laporte, Pa.
- Ready for Disaster – Jim Breneman, Old Mill Stream Campground, Lancaster, Pa.
- Contracts are Important – Tim Cartmell, Countryside Family Campground, Honesdale, Pa.
- Unique Maintenance Ideas – Tim Chilson, Meadville KOA, Meadville, Pa.
- Employee Training & Motivation Techniques – Mary Lou Rohlf, Benner’s Meadow Run Camping & Cabins, Farmington, Pa.
- New Profit Centers – Robyn Chilson, Meadville KOA, Meadville, Pa.
- Crackerbarrel – conducted by Bruce Heasley, Holiday Pines Campground, Loganton, Pa.
- Airing and Sharing – Conducted by Judy Deegans, KOA Kampgrounds, Billings, Mont.
Fifty-six exhibitors were present. Great variety: log cabin dealers, equipment dealers, shirt vendors, advertising, entertainers, food distributors, software providers, printers, online reserva- tion systems, water treatment solutions, souveniers. They reported excellent sales.
The Pennsylvania Auction raises funds for scholarships to fund educational scholarships and the National School of RV Park and Campground Management. Thanks to the generosity of the vendors and campground owners, a total of $13,722.50 was raised.
- Best Apparel Item – Buttonwood Campground, Mexico, Pa.
- Best Brochure – Bear Run Campground, Portersville, Pa.
- Best Camping Photo – Seven Mountains Campground, Spring Mills, Pa.
- Best Example of Community Involvement – Keen Lake Camping & Cottage Resort, Waymart, Pa. Most Creative Activity – Kalyumet Campground, Lucinda, Pa.
- Best Example of Guest Service – Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, Pa.
- Best Souvenir – Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, Pa.
- Best Promotional Piece – Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, Pa.
- Best Website – Pine Cradle Lake Campground, Rome, Pa.
- Tourism Employee of the Year – Debbie Smith, SCS Management, New Tripoli, Pa.
On Sunday, prior to the convention, 20 campground owners visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. This trip was sponsored by Evergreen Insurance, Lewiston, Maine. The PCOA visitors broke up into groups of four and five and were given a guided tour of the facility. Displays highlighted artists and music spanning eight decades of rock and roll and its influences.
Annual Meeting & Election
At the annual meeting was attended by 46 campgrounds. The following officers were elected:
- President – Mark Wineman, Kalyumet Campground, Lucinda, Pa.
- Vice President – Jason Vaughan, Mountain Vista Campground, East Stroudsburg, Pa. Secretary – Bruce Heasley, Holiday Pines Campground, Loganton, Pa.
- Treasurer – Jason Sheaffer, Pinch Pond Campground, Manheim, Pa.
- Regional Vice Preisdent, I & II – Denny Quigley, Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest, Harrisville, Pa.
- Regional Vice President, III & IV – Tammy Boltz, Lickdale Campground, Jonestown, Pa. Regional Vice Preisdent V & VI – Barbara Repetski, Hemlock Campground, Tobyhanna, Pa.
- Region IV Director – Ryan McFarland, Buttonwood Campground, Mexico, Pa.
- Director at Large – Debby Yeager, Rose Point Park Cabins & Camping, New Castle, Pa.