Attendees at the 46th Annual Northeast Conference on Camping and Trade Show March 18-20 in Springfield, Mass.,“Recipe for Success 2010″ were encouraged by incoming reservations for the upcoming season, according to show sponsors.
The trade show attracted 126 representatives from over 70 companies, which filled the third floor of the Sheraton Springfield Hotel.
“Those in attendance were impressed by a program packed with quality seminars, fun events, time to listen and learn from others in the industry, and three state meetings for Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts,” said Cyndy Zbierski, Northeast Campground Association (NCA) executive assistant.
The conference began with four technology seminars conducted by SkillPath covering everything from “Computer 101” in Technology Basics to “Getting the Most of Microsoft Excel” during Technology Plus. The entire day’s seminars were sponsored by Evergreen USA and that evening a winner was chosen for a new Acer laptop.
The next two days provided seven CPO qualified seminars ranging from “Accounting for Campgrounds,” presented by Don Bennett, CPA, CPO and the president and CEO of Campground Owners of New York, to “Management Secrets of a Large Campground That Can Be Used By Any Size Park,” presented by Peter and Barry Brown of Lone Oak Campsites, Connecticut.
All 11 state associations that make up the NCA were given the opportunity to share their individual state’s legislative issues, which included drastic reductions in state tourism budgets, new taxation rates on campsites and continued departments of environmental protection concerns, according to Zbierski.
NCA Executive Director David Tetrault and wife Pat received the Curtis Fuller Service Award during the Awards Luncheon of the conference. The award, established in March 1986, commemorates the unselfish contribution made by Curtis Fuller to the furtherance of camping throughout the United States. The award is in recognition of service given to camping in the northeast over an extended period of time. The service can take any number of forms but shall be unselfish, done in a manner to reflect credit upon the association, and be meaningful in accomplishing the aims of the association.
There are no plans for Tetrault to retire as executive director. He began on Oct. 1, 1990, replacing retiring Gerry Harrison. Pat will continue working with her husband and daughter, however for fewer hours allowing her time to enjoy a bit of free time.
During the board of directors meeting held during the conference a number of new marketing ideas were discussed to continue promoting camping in the Northeast, Zbierski said.
“The board voted to continue several successful NCA marketing ventures, such as NCA’s participation in the Tampa SuperShow in January 2011, the production of an NCA Rack Card listing all 11 states’ contact information and the NCA ad in Camping Life magazine,” she said. “Something new that will soon come out of the Northeast Campground Association’s office is the offer of banner ads to its member campgrounds on the CampNCA.com site and to its business members on the member site CampNCA.org.”
In addition, two $500 scholarships were awarded from the NCA Robert A. Hartford Memorial Scholarship Fund during the Friday awards luncheon. The parents of Cortney Goodale, of Mineral Springs Campground, Connecticut, and Zachary Fulton, of Rest N’ Nest Campground in Vermont accepted the awards for their children.
Special guests included Cheryl Smith, CPO, National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) education director; David L. Berg, CPO, Red Apple Campground, Maine, and the current ARVC chairman and Region 1 representative, and also past president of NCA; Marcia Galvin, CPO, Normandy Farms Family Camping Resort, Massachusetts, ARVC second vice chairman and Region 1 representative; Donald Bennett, CPO, Conesus Lake Campground, New York, ARVC at-large delegate; Norman Boucher, LCN Outdoors, Connecticut, ARVC Supplier Council representative; Janet Keen, CPO, Keen Lake Camping, ARVC Council of Delegates secretary; and Randy Packard, CPO, Pine Acres Family Campground, Massachusetts, ARVC Foundation board of trustees.
Officers elected were:
- President Michael Irons, Ole Mink Farm Recreation Resort, Thurmont, Md.
- Vice president Roger Druck, Pine Cradle Lake Campground, Rome, Pa.
- Second Vice President Judy LaPorta, Little Oaks Campground, S. Seaville Cape May Courthouse, N.J.
- Treasurer, Mark Wright, Terrace Pines Campground, Center Ossipee, N.H.
- Past president David L. Berg, Red Apple Campground, Kennebunkport, Maine.
The next NCA event will be the “2010 NCA Great Escape” hosted by the state of New Hampshire at Danforth Bay Camping Resort in Freedom, N.H., Sept. 14 –16. Contact information can be found at http://campnca.org/greatescape.htm.
The great outdoors increasingly seems less so to 21st century adventurers, who want their s’mores delivered hot from a chef’s oven, their children and pets amused and their starry, starry nights Wi-Fi connected, according to the Boston Herald.
As campground owners struggle with folding their tents under the financial pressure of trying to compete with five-star resorts, Massachusetts state Rep. James M. Murphy has gone as far as to call the family camping experience in Massachusetts “endangered” in a bill the Weymouth Democrat will bring before the Legislature Feb. 25.
Murphy is asking the state Department of Environmental Protection to undertake a study and pitch an action plan by year’s end for reuniting overindulged, tech-addicted vacationers with the simplistic pleasures of Ma Nature.
“If You Didn’t Get Dirty, You Didn’t Have Fun,” is one of the T-shirts Paula Carroll, executive director of the 76-member Massachusetts Association of Campground Owners (MACO), plans to sell at next month’s Northeast Conference on Camping and Trade Show in Springfield.
“Camping has been changing dramatically over the last 10 years,” Carroll said. “People still want to be outside at night by the campfire, but they want to be entertained, too, and they want the comforts of home. You have to keep up with that.”
In addition to floating trampolines and homemade take-out meals, Carroll said campground owners are even building dog parks to appease families demanding pet-friendly destinations.
In addition to four hot tubs, two swimming pools and a 20,000-square-foot entertainment complex, Normandy Farms, a family owned campground in Foxboro, offers yurts — climate-controlled tents with flat-screen TVS.
“The beauty of camping is there’s a campground out there for everyone,” said Marcia Galvin, MACO president.
But it’s not just creating carnivals where once a sleeping bag, engrossing novel and bag of briquettes sufficed. Galvin said most Bay State campgrounds have been passed down through generations. The state restricts single-ownership properties to one 10,000-gallon septic tank, seriously thwarting any hope of growth.
“The fear,” she said, “is the mom-and-pops can’t afford to keep the land as it is, and they could be bought out easily by housing developments and shopping malls. Camping is a great way to connect with your family and it’s affordable, but the value of the land is priceless. Camping will go by the wayside.”