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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — It isn’t customary to write about what didn’t happen but that’s the story Mary Arlington, executive director of the Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association (CCLOA), is pleased to share.
She explains, “Two years ago, while still in the midst of restructuring CCLOA, a non-member told me it was hard to find the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds’ state organization in Colorado. After hearing this again from other non-members, I wondered whether someday we should become the Colorado Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds (aka ColoradoARVC).”
To resolve the current situation, Arlington enhanced the association’s internet presence to ensure that those seeking Colorado ARVC could find CCLOA.
Arlington continues, “But last year the KOAs in attendance at our CCLOA conference specifically asked why we weren’t ColoradoARVC. They expressed their branding views for which the KOA franchise is so well known. In addition, I knew, as did Greg Query of Estes Park KOA, how confusing it is to members and non-members as to whether we are tied to ARVC. That placed the ColoradoARVC name change discussion on the agenda for the next meeting of the Board of Directors.”
In preparation of the meeting, Arlington reached out to some members to seek their views, as well as to Paul Bambei, ARVC’s president and CEO. Everyone who was asked was supportive of the change. Arlington added, “Of course, I also researched the process and fees, wanting to make sure the board had all of the necessary insight.”
In April 2018, the board approved passing the decision to the members at the 2019 conference since it warranted a change to our bylaws. That conference was held earlier this month and that’s where things took a turn. Members discussed various views of the issue before making their decision.
One view is that CCLOA is partnered with the National Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds but it isn’t simply a subset of the national organization. CCLOA offers unique benefits and programs that aren’t offered through ARVC. CCLOA’s benefits are in addition to what ARVC offers. They complement one another very nicely but these aren’t the same organizations with the same benefits.
Since Arlington is also the executive director of the South Dakota Campground Owners Association and the Kansas Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, she’s well aware that the three state associations aren’t twins of one another. They are three separate and unique organizations that offer different programs and benefits to their respective members. One common thread: they are each partnered with ARVC. The members of each organization have ARVC’s benefits but the members of CCLOA have a completely different set of additional benefits compared to the members in the Kansas or South Dakota partnered organizations. “Aside from that,” she added, “each organization was formed for different reasons, so they’ve been different for approximately 5 decades.”
“Yet another golden nugget was discussed,” Arlington explains. “When CCLOA stands before the governing body in Denver or in Washington D.C. to discuss a position on a legislative bill, or when CCLOA writes a letter to a city council or county commission on behalf of the camping industry, we are speaking as CCLOA. In such cases, it’s common to have a similar letter of support from ARVC. Having a clearly different name indicates that we are separate entities representing our views; we are not one huge organization submitting two letters.”
While the name change discussion was still open for debate, members wondered whether there was yet another name that would be better for CCLOA, perhaps one that was shorter. For the two days of the conference ideas were allowed to flow and a list of ideas was posted for everyone to consider. Toward the end of the conference the members were given the opportunity to make a final decision.
Arlington says, “A motion was made to not change our name, and that motion passed unanimously. Never before in all of my proud moments with CCLOA have I ever been more proud of the members I work for! They worked through this thoroughly, calmly and thoughtfully, and consensus was achieved. It’s with complete pride and honor that I say I work for the Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association! The members did an outstanding job!”
“Being partnered with ARVC remains in our bylaws; we are committed to working with them for the greater good of the outdoor hospitality industry.”
SOURCE: Colorado Campground and Lodging Owners Association press release