The Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners (WACO) Convention was held March 18-21 at Stevens Point, Wis., with 281 people representing 105 campgrounds attending. The trade show, one of the largest campground industry trade shows of the year, attracted 178 vendors.

Special guests included former Green Bay Packers players Jerry Kramer, Gilbert Brown, Santana Dotson, William Henderson and Fuzzy Thurston.

“The overall mood was very positive,” said Lori Severson, owner and president of Severson and Associates. “There was lots of energy and excitement. Many of our vendors stated it was the best convention they have ever been too.”

President-elect Judy Buchta said the event is one that all Wisconsin campground owners plan for and eagerly look forward to all year.

“We started out on Thursday and into Friday with seminars (42 informative seminars in all) and then moved into our Trade Show on Friday and Saturday,” Buchta said. “This year we had over 170 vendors attend, giving us the opportunity to see and purchase all venues of campground needs. In addition to the busy schedule that was planned, we all had the opportunity to share ideas and socialize with each other.”

“There is a very special atmosphere of friendship in our WACO organization that helps us all receive that ‘kick start’ that we all need as we prepare to jump into yet another busy season,” Buchta added.

This year Buchta was given the honor of being elected as the state president of WACO.

“I look forward to the challenge of working with a board of directors that is very active and concerned about all aspects of our industry, and in helping our exceptional executive director plan for a successful year in keeping Wisconsin a leader in the campground industry,” she said.

Wisconsin Association of Campground Owners Hall of Fame inductees Jim and Judy Kollock are surrounded by Green Bay Packer great Fuzzy Thurston (left) and Jerry Kramer.

Seminars included: Legislative Issues with Kathy Kilgore; Learn How to Maximize MicroSoft products; Activities, Crafts, Ideas, Oh My!; CPR; NR115 Update; Aquatic Facility Risk Management; Personality Styles Training; First Aid; IT Information; Train the Trainer for Campground Inspections; Team Building; Things to Do that Cost Almost Nothing; Blow Them Away Guest Services; Creating a Profit Center in Your Store; Propane Safety from Wisconsin Propane Gas Association; Uniform Building Code; Employee Handbooks; Best Idea and Facebook 101.

Other topics were Tavern Topics; Love Thy Neighbor Legislatively; Developing a Campground Newsletter; Maintaining Your Equipment; Themed Weekends for Your Tavern; Manipulating Data; Website Marketing; Show Me the Green – Can you Really Afford Not to Be Sustainable?; Environmental Health; Reducing Resource Usage; Fighting Fair; Picture Perfect; Overview of Employment Law; Food Safety; Going Wireless Without Going Broke; Financing For Your Campground; Build Your Facebook Now; Ladies Lounge; Handling Zoning and Planning Issues; Banking and Financing Today; Show Me the Money; Zoning Issues and Answers; and How to Say It.

Officers elected were:

  • Judy Butcha, Duck Creek Campground, Pardeeville, president.
  • Dawn Button, Evergreen Campground, Wild Rose, secretary.
  • Dave Schneider, Indian Trails Campground, Pardeeville, treasurer.

There was a WACO Auction and Hall of Fame induction during this year’s event. Jim and Judy Kollock, founders of the Vista Royalle Campground, Bancroft, Wis., were inducted into the WACO Hall of Fame.

Two legislators were on hand to discuss and work through any legislative issues facing the state’s campgrounds.

The date of next year’s WACO Convention will be March 17-20, 2011.