Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI) is slightly modifying its traditional symposium to accommodate the changing needs and desires of its nearly 80 Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park franchisees.
Woodall’s Campground Management reported that the traditional gathering, set for Nov. 5-8 at the Embassy Suites and the Northern Kentucky Convention Center in Covington, Ky., has been shortened by one day, without reducing the number of educational seminars offered to its franchisees.
An outside keynote speaker also has been dropped.
The modification, we’re told, comes amid an industrywide re-examination of the convention concept, which has lost traction in many locales, notably the state of California where the state association has canceled all conventions until further notice.
Leisure Systems sees the symposium as a type of season-ending thank you to its franchisees and decided to shorten it by a day to help reduce expenses for its franchisees. “Everybody is watching their expenses closely,” said Dean Crawford, executive vice president. “We opted to shorten by one day and will probably stay that way.”
The symposium will start on a Monday and end on Thursday night.
“It’s always a good gathering. Everybody works hard through the summer and I know our franchisees look forward to coming to this convention and talking with other operators. It’s kind of a reward after a busy season,” Crawford said.
Accordingly, this year’s symposium will still feature educational seminars, a trade show, an in-depth look at company and franchisee operations by President Rob Schutter on Tuesday morning and a concluding awards banquet. The symposium is also when franchisees view new Yogi Bear-branded merchandise and order this merchandise for the coming season.
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For the second year, CrossRoads RV will be hosting an open house in honor of all active-duty and retired military personnel. The Operation Appreciation Open House will be held on Armed Forces Day, May 19, at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake in Fremont, Ind.
According to a press release, the event is in celebration of the continuing partnership between CrossRoads RV and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake in the Operation Appreciation Program. The program was designed to benefit active-duty military personnel with some “rest and relaxation.” For Operation Appreciation, Jellystone donates a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV supplies a luxurious Hampton destination trailer for military personnel and their families to use, free of charge.
During the open house, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., all of Jellystone’s amenities will be available, including minigolf, a waterslide and basketball. Additionally, special children’s activities are planned a lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. CrossRoads RV will also offer tours of the Operation Appreciation Hampton unit.
“At CrossRoads, we see both the Operation Appreciation program and our annual Operation Appreciation Open House as a way of giving back to the military community,” states Don Emahiser, president of Topeka, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary. “Last year we were able to give more than 25 military families time together as a family. Our goal is to increase that number this year by getting the word out about the program. ”
The Operation Appreciation Open House is free and open to all active-duty and retired military personnel. To attend, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the Operation Appreciation program and its sponsors may be found at the CrossRoads RV website.
More than 200 people are expected to attend the annual Leisure Systems Inc. (LSI) Symposium Nov. 14-17 at the Embassy Suites in Covington, Ky.
The event is open to all franchisees of the Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts and their families in the U.S. and Canada.
The theme for this year’s symposium is “Jellystone Parks: Always A Winning Hand” and will revolve around a Monte Carlo night theme, according to Kelly Jones, LSI’s director of franchisee development.
The “Winning Hand” theme will be apparent throughout the week’s events. “We’re doing quite a bit of our classes focusing on the marketing end of the business, to build a better hand at the table,” she explained.
Keynote speaker, Mike Rayburn, a world-class guitarist and stand-up comedian, will focus on simple but powerful tools in urging his audience to view old things in a new way and to leap beyond their perceived limitations.
Rob Schutter Jr., LSI’s COO, will update franchisees on the year’s performance during his System Update on Monday.
This year’s symposium will feature some new wrinkles. For the first time, LSI will offer what it’s calling “The Next Generation,” a four-hour seminar for the children of franchisees who are 18 years old or younger. “We will focus on topics like ‘Growing Up in a Campground,’ ‘Working With Your Parents,’ ‘Supervising People Who Are Older Than You’ and ‘Guest Relations,’” said Jones.
The seminar instructors have all grown up in the campground business, she noted.
At the closing banquet, LSI will hand out the following awards: Camp Resort of the Year, Operator of the Year, Facility of the Year, Entrepreneur of the Year, The Carroll Award (for the highest inspection score), the Pinnacle Award (for a 95% or higher inspection score), the Excellence Award (for a 90% or higher inspection score), the Customer Service Award, the Recreation Award, the Jim Webb Spirit Award and the Maple Leaf Award (for Canadian parks).
Here’s a brief review of the agenda for the week:
• Sunday: Yogi Advisory Council meeting, followed by opening reception.
• Monday: System Update by Rob Schutter Jr., educational classes, elections of officers for CARE (Caring About Recreation and Entertainment) and Yogi Advisory Council.
• Tuesday: More educational classes and preview of 2012 Yogi Bear merchandise.
• Wednesday: 4-hour ‘The Next Generation” seminar for franchisees who are 18 years or younger; Trade Show.
• Thursday: Trade Show and closing banquet.
LSI franchisees may register for the symposium by contacting the office at (800) 626-3729.
Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are among the highest rated campgrounds in the country, with 20% of Jellystone Parks receiving 5W / 5W ratings in the 2011 edition of the Woodall’s North American Campground Directory.
“We’re obviously pleased that Woodall’s finds many our parks worthy of their highest ratings,” Rob Schutter, COO of Milford, Ohio-based Leisure Systems Inc., said in a press release.
While Jellystone Parks are noted for offering their guests unique family activities and special themed weekends, the Woodall’s rankings focus on the park’s recreational and physical facilities, including its physical grounds, roads, campsites, hookups, and restrooms. Woodall’s rates park by assigning them 1W to 5W ratings for both park facilities and recreation.
According to the Woodall’s 2011 directory, top rated parks in the Jellystone Park system are located in the following cities: Amboy, Ill.; Fremont, Ind.; Lawrence, Kan.; Hagerstown, Md.; Frankenmuth, Mich.; Austin, Minn.; Pelahatchie, Miss.; North Hudson, N.Y.; Gardiner, N.Y.; Woodridge, N.Y.; Harrisville, Pa.; Mill Run, Pa.; Gatlinburg, Tenn.; Caledonia, Wisc.; Wisconsin Dells, Wisc.; Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
Launched in 1969, the Jellystone Park system is the second largest chain of campgrounds in the United States, boasting 75 campgrounds with more than 15,000 campsites in 28 states and Canada. Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resorts are franchised through Leisure Systems, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Park River Corp., Cincinnati, Ohio.