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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association had its largest meeting in many years earlier this month.
“It was a time to celebrate what began 50 years ago when a couple of Colorado campground owners saw the need to share operational and managerial ideas,” said Executive Director Mary Arlington. “They planted the seed and began nurturing what was then called the Colorado Campground Association.”
Registrations were higher than normal with 29 campgrounds, 14 industry suppliers, and a representative from ARVC and one from the Colorado Tourism Office, she added.
“Nearly 80 people overfilled the meeting hall. More importantly, putting faces to the names of over two-dozen newcomer campground owners and managers and to over half a dozen newcomer industry suppliers was truly uplifting,” said Arlington.
During the two-day conference, which was held at Colorado Springs KOA, aside from the expert sessions which introduced the campground attendees to the products and services of the industry suppliers, attendees heard other special messages.
Damian Petty, of Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Insurance, provided a presentation on recent trends being seen in the industry’s insurance sector.
He called upon Peter Pelland, of Pelland Advertising, as the discussion turned toward the Americans with Disabilities Act and websites.
Madeline Hinkfuss, ARVC’s membership coordinator, provided an update on the latest services and programs offered through the national organization.
Abby Leeper, communications manager for the Colorado Tourism Office, elaborated on developments within the state’s tourism sector.
Pelland, an avid photographer in addition to operating Pelland Advertising services, provided insight on taking and using campground photographs.
Nathan Whitney, an attorney who focuses on Colorado labor and employment laws, spoke at length on the latest hiring issues for campground owners.
Whitney elaborated on the Colorado Wage Act. It was last modified in 2016, and with it came many unforeseen issues with hiring traditional workampers. Their compensation packages typically include a significant portion of site fees and that’s no longer legal, according to the Colorado Wage Act.
“You can imagine, this presentation captured everyone’s attention and stirred many questions,” said Arlington. “We knew it was a necessary topic since many weren’t aware of the changes and quite a few were hearing conflicting stories. Mr. Whitney set the record straight, and that’s the best way to find your starting point for changing how you do things.”
The board of directors presented two major topics for discussion: changing the organizations name and prioritizing legislative action.
“The organization has been through significant restructuring the past three years and what I saw here was gratifying,” Arlington explained.
“We, as a board, feel very confident in handling the business but we wanted a thorough discussion on these topics to ensure we were meeting the needs of many.”
The members spoke very thoughtfully as each shared their opinions, making it easy to achieve a consensus, she noted. The name won’t be changing (announced last week) and the highest legislative priority is to focus on the Colorado Wage Act.
“The board now has a richer understanding of the needs of the members. The work can now begin, and in due time CCLOA will share more information regarding CCLOA’s plan of action,” said Arlington.
The business meeting included an election for three seats to the board of dDirectors, resulting in this leadership roster:
- President Dave Ozburn, from Falcon Meadow RV Campground
- Vice President Don Seppi, with Sugar Loafin’ RV Campground
- Treasurer Ivan Mehlhaff, of Bristlecone Lodge
- Secretary Carrie York, with Golden Eagle RV Campground
- Director Cathy Harbick, from Arrowhead Point Campground & Cabins
- Director Billy Beyhan, of Dolores River Campground
Celebrating 50 years included a feast, a silent auction and a live auction, some games, and a lot of talking.
“I can’t find the words to convey how thrilled I was to watch the networking, see the smiles, hear the stories, answer questions, and listen as newcomers were being welcomed and embraced by the long-standing members,” said Arlington.
Prior to the two-day conference, in her capacity as an industry coach, Arlington hosted a workshop on using Facebook as a marketing tool.
The next conference is set for March 4 and 5 at a location to be determined later this summer.
SOURCE: Colorado Campgrounds and Lodging Owners Association press release