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News for December 2, 2023

MC Fireside Chats – October 18th, 2023

Episode Summary

In the recent episode of MC Fireside Chats, host Brian Searl of Insider Perks initiated a rich discussion focusing on Campground Hunters, marking the third episode dedicated to this theme. He welcomed distinguished guests: Candice from Staylist, Scott Knepp from IVEE Management Group, Gwynn from Care Camps, and Erin Thiem from In Town Campground and Erin Thiem from Inn Town Campground Gwynn shed light on the noble cause of Care Camps, elucidating its mission to support children with cancer. As Care Camps prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary, she acknowledged the continuous support it has garnered from the campground and RV industry. Meanwhile, Erin Thiem narrated her unique journey of establishing Inn Town Campground in Northern California. She accentuated the essence of effective storytelling and branding in crafting an inviting ambiance for customers. Her efforts haven’t gone unnoticed, as her campground recently clinched the title of “USA Today 10 Best RV Park Campground.” Mark and Melanie took the audience through the transformative journey of Willow Lake Campground in Ontario. Their narrative emphasised fostering community relationships and continuously rejuvenating the campground’s image in alignment with guest feedback. On the other side of the spectrum, Scott Neff from IVEE Management Group shared his managerial perspective, underscoring the significance of optimising guest experience and ensuring a robust return on investment. The conversation was interwoven with themes of leveraging data for strategic decisions, understanding operational challenges, and the pivotal role of community building in campgrounds. A special segment was dedicated to Care Camps, highlighting its origin as a grassroots effort by KOA campground owners. Today, Care Camps stands tall, financing over 120 camps with diverse programs, significantly impacting thousands of children and families. In a heartwarming video segment, individuals named Ian, Ben, and Abby recounted their personal cancer battles and the solace they found in attending the camps. They termed their experiences as “happiness medicine,” emphasizing the camps’ role in providing a haven where children feel accepted and cherished, coining the term “camp magic” to describe this unique aura. The post-video dialogue was emotionally charged. Brian and Scott, deeply moved, reinforced the importance of Care Camps. Gwynn expressed gratitude for showcasing the video, underlining the mission and profound impact of Care Camps. Candice resonated with the cause, suggesting technological integrations to facilitate donations. Brian and Gwynn then delved into enhancing guest experiences in tandem with supporting Care Camps, emphasizing the role of awareness in their mission. Brian spotlighted the fundraising milestones achieved at the KOA auction for Care Camps. He also expressed his intent to utilize any unsold inventory on Modern Campground to promote Care Camps. Gwynn acknowledged the trials faced by Care Camps in recent times but remained steadfast in her commitment to the cause. Erin, Mark, and Melanie directed listeners to their respective campground websites. Gwynn’s final note was an invitation to engage with Care Camps on social media and to stay updated through their monthly newsletters. The episode culminated in a wave of gratitude and positive sentiments.

Recurring Guests

Candice McNamara
VP Business Development
Staylist
Scott Knepp
Director of Operations
IVEE Group

Special Guests

Erin Thiem
Co-Founder
Inn town Campground
Gwynn Sullivan
Executive Director
Care Camps
Mark Jaycock
Owner
Willow Lake Campground
Melanie Jaycock
Owner
Willow Lake Campground

Episode Transcript

[00:00:00] 

Brian: Welcome everybody to another episode of [00:01:00] MC Fireside Chats. My name is Brian Searl with Insider Perks. I’m super excited to be here for our third week episode, focused on Campground Hunters. So we’ve got a couple of recurring guests with us here, some who couldn’t make it but we’ve got Candice here from Staylist, who’s a new recurring guest as of last month on this show.

And then we’ve got also Scott Knepp, our expert management consultant from IVEE Management Group here, who has joined us as well. And then we’ve got a couple really cool special guests who honestly, we’ve probably heard about for a long time, right? Gwynn’s kind of new to Care Camps, but she’s…

For sure, we’ve all heard of Care Camps, and I have no idea why I’m like super washed out, by the way. I actually am not this pale in real life. But anyway, so we’ve got Gwynn here from Care Camp. She’s going to talk to us a little bit about that organization, all the good things that they’re doing.

Obviously, long time supporters of Care Camps and things like that. But, super excited to hear some of the latest updates, things that Care Camps is working on, and ways that we can all support them. Erin, am I pronouncing your last name right as a team, or theme, or as a team? Did I get it right the first time, really?

Alright, awesome. So obviously Erin’s super famous and been on like every show and won all kinds of awards and one of the last people that she [00:02:00] comes to. That’s just, she’s done her media circuit and now the last most important one she’s here appearing on. So super excited to hear from Erin, In Town Campground, all the great things that she’s accomplished and done.

And then Mark and Melanie, who I know from years ago. Mark and Melanie they invited me to stop by their campground when I was in Niagara Falls, and I tried to message them and then they never responded to me. That was like a year and a half ago. Don’t take it personally. Yeah, I don’t. I figured you guys were busy running the campground or something or whatever you were doing, everybody seems to do work here except for me. I just host the show every week, but super excited to have both of you guys here. They run a great campground in Canada. Gonna tell us a little bit about their work there and some of the awards and things that they’ve won. I don’t know. Where do we want to start here?

Does anybody have anything from our recurring guests or really just our special guests? Is there anything that you guys have that you feel is super important that we should talk about since we last got together?

If not, we can just jump right into the panelists and all that kind of stuff, but put me on the spot a little bit. Alright let’s let’s start with [00:03:00] Mark and Melanie since I’m in Canada and I can be biased. So Mark and Melanie, you want to tell us just like first, just give us like how everybody will go around the room and give a brief intro, right?

So Mark and Melanie and then Erin and then obviously Candice and Scott, Kevin and Drew, yourselves and your companies and then one, two from Care Camp. I probably will close, Gwynn, with you, with Care Camps, and when I say close we’ll give you as much time as possible, but I’d just rather not have a something I have to get to, so we can talk to Care Camps, about Care Camps as much as possible, but go ahead, Mark and Melanie.

Mark: Yeah, so we’re Mark and Melanie, we own Willow Lake Campground in Woodstock, Ontario. Which is southwest Ontario. We’ve owned the campground now six and a half years. This is our, just wrapped up our seventh summer. We we lived in Toronto, had fancy corporate jobs quit it all, sold our house, packed it all in, and moved to farm country to buy a campground.

Cause, like so many campers who say, Oh, owning a campground, that looks fun. And then you actually own one and you realize it’s still fun. But anyway, so we’ve yeah, we’ve been really active within the Ontario Private Campground Association here.[00:04:00] Our local community won a number of awards for some of our local efforts as well as just just some of the things we do for our campground.

No we love it. It’s a great gig. We just wrapped up, we closed for our seasonals. Yeah, Sunday, a couple days ago we’re getting this is in, in our nap time time of the year we’re happy to be here and awake. 

Melanie: And you’d alluded to some awards, Brian.

Thank you. We’re very proud of that. In our first year of operation in 2017, we won Best Small Campground in all of Ontario by the Ontario Private Campground Association. And then in 2020 and 2021 we were awarded Best Customer Service as voted by campers in Ontario. And then in 2022 our wee little camp store was awarded Best Camp Store in Ontario.

And we are literally 190 stores, so that was something. 

Mark: Yeah, so that’s a bit about us. 

Brian: Do you feel like you’ve set goals now that you’ve been the best in Ontario to be, like, take over Quebec and just expand, or?

Mark: Yeah, my French is still grade 4 French, so I might be able to order a sandwich, but that’d be about it no, [00:05:00] we’ve, occasionally talked about, what’s next, and is it another campground as well as this, but we are truly a mom and pop. We’ve got a couple of staff in the summer. We really like our gig, and this keeps us pretty busy as it is, 

awesome. Erin, you want to introduce us to In Town Campground, if I can make you bigger over here?

Erin: Sure, I’d be happy to. So my name is Erin Thiem. I own, with my husband, the In Town Campground, which is in Northern California. And we celebrated 10 years yesterday of having purchased the property. We built our campground from the ground up and 7 years. Similar time frame in terms of campground ownership.

We’re… Tenting, Glamping, and RVing, and we’re not closed for the season, we’re actually right in the thick of our Halloween fun, as we’ve got lots and lots and lots of decorations over at our campground. We will be open for RVs through the end of December. And yeah, previous to building and running a campground, I owned and ran a small motel, which I actually sold last year, so I have entered that chapter of hospitality.

But our [00:06:00] accolade of 2023 was that we won the USA Today 10 Best. Best RV Park Campground which is a popularity contest that the USA Today puts on. So that one was really exciting a huge shout out and pat on the back for all of us that work at the campground.

Brian: Awesome. I definitely want to dive more into what you’ve accomplished over the years and things like that.

Candice and Scott, you want to give a brief intro and then we’ll save the no offense guys best for last. It’s good. It’s right. They do better than all of us combined, probably. 

Candice: So I’m Candace McIvera, I’m the Vice President of Business Development for Staeless, which is an all in one platform for reservation software for campgrounds.

Let’s build it! No awards. 

Scott: Except for best showing at the expo, right? There’s some hey everybody, my name is Scott Neff and I’m the Director of Operations with the IVEE Management Group. We have a portfolio of properties, I think we’re up to 13 across the country that we operate [00:07:00] for ownership groups.

We also do some consulting and pre development services. We will be at ARVIC and hope to shake hands and give high fives to a lot of listeners and some folks that that are here on the panel today. 

Brian: Awesome. Gwynn you want to start? 

Gwynn: Sure.

Thank you. First of all, Brian, thank you so much for having me on today here and featuring Care Camps. I serve as the executive director for Care Camps as of the beginning of this year. As you alluded, I’m a little newer on the scene here. Care Camps is a national nonprofit. We really function as a charity here to fund.

Pediatric oncology camps or camps for children with cancer and their families across the United States and Canada. The campgrounds the RV and outdoor industry is super supportive. Of our [00:08:00] mission and our cause and Care Camps, even though I just came on board here this year, Care Camps has actually been around for 39 years and next year we’re going to be celebrating our 40th anniversary.

This is a tiny, mighty, and quite a force of an organization. That has impacted a lot of children and their families. So just so proud and honored to be a part of this and just really appreciate all the support from everyone that’s made this possible. 

Brian: For sure, like you guys have a very long history.

Like we’ve been, I think the first time I, and this is way before your time, right? Yeah. We came across Jerry Dale was the executive director, like 2010, 2011, something like that. And we went down and did a bunch of free videos for them at some of their camps in South Carolina. Yeah. And so yeah, as, as much as we can be involved, always, we will be, hopefully, I’ll look a little bit better than this whitewashed out,[00:09:00] 

whatever’s going on here, when I want to dive into, right? Because obviously I want to talk a lot about Care Camps at the end, no offense to everybody else, I want to talk a lot about you guys, too. Let’s dive in with Erin, right? Because I’ve seen, Erin we’ve seen you, obviously, winning some awards you’ve got a good relationship, I feel with Mark Kepp.

You’ve done some videos with him and some tours and things like that. You tell us how did Inn Town, get started? Let’s start there for those who have not heard of Inn Town. Sure. 

Erin: So we, as I said before, built our campground. My husband did an MBA program in, at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

And so we lived in New Zealand for five years. During and after his MBA program, and we got to travel around the country quite a bit, and at that time, our kids were quite young, and so we stayed in what the Kiwis call the Holiday Park model, which is that tenting RV sites, and often would be cabins or motel units, not necessarily glamping tents, but we thought that would be a good model to bring back to Northern California with us, so when we took over the family business, the [00:10:00] small motel, we just kept looking for the right property to make that happen, having a good knowledge of our community and the destination and recreation and outdoor hospitality that was already happening.

And I do have a good relationship with Mark. I do get to have the credit that I was the one who encouraged him to create his Facebook group. For those who don’t aren’t members of the RV park owner and manager’s Facebook group, it’s a wealth of information. So he will happily Fact check me on that one.

That was my idea and here I am with it. But I think that the reason I probably have gotten in on some people’s awareness and in the news and hopefully a lot of customers is that I have a really strong visual storytelling background that I’ve brought to the campground from before we built it to during we building it to opening it to current today with lots of people and Halloween decorations, I do try to tell the story through an interesting visual way, which I think does maybe set me aside from some of the other campgrounds out there. So happy to answer any [00:11:00] questions if you have any. 

Brian: I would love to hear for all the people out there who watch the show, a lot of them are campground under a small mom and pop operations, right?

And just me coming from a marketing geeky background, I would love to hear your thoughts on why that branding is so critical. To set yourself apart, in some way, not necessarily the same way you did it, but in some way. 

Erin: Yeah, I think that we are constantly trying to give people realistic expectations about what they might experience at our campground.

We do have a beautiful forested campground with these amazing trees. And we’re Northern California, so wooded forest area. How does the branding set us aside? I don’t know, I think I’m constantly reminding people of what they’re going to experience. Because we built it, we have lots of little details that the customers appreciate.

It’s all designed specifically for the customer experience. We really wanted them to feel like they were in a state park with some of those amenities of a private campground. And having had the clean slate, it did help with that vision and implementation of creating the [00:12:00] campground. I don’t really know if that’s necessarily the answer to branding.

Brian: Yeah, let me clarify a little bit because you were talking about the storytelling that you do and that’s where I was going with tell your unique, what your traits brought and how you feel like that helped in Town Campground succeed. 

Erin: Sure. So previous to opening the campground, I did a local blog for our other business, which and so I had a really strong, already existing wheelhouse of creating content for our community and things to do and getting people excited about it.

What’s happening in our area, and so I brought that to the campground when I, we, before we opened it, during building it, and then after, so I think that I think that’s probably something that has been unique, I don’t know, there’s lots of people out there that help share what’s happening in their campground and their communities but that is something that I have been passionate about for the last decade plus, so does that answer the question?

Brian: I think so. I guess maybe I’m just asking the wrong question, right? I think I just feel like, and maybe it’s just because I’m in the [00:13:00] industry and I look at so many things every day. And I think that my perception is that Erin is a little bit more visible than some of the other campground owners out there, which is a compliment.

Thank you. So I’m just wondering if there’s perhaps some guidance that maybe you could give other owners on not necessarily, again, not taking the same path you do, because not everybody’s comfortable on camera or doing all the things right, but is there something they can do that? 

Erin: I think if you can give your customers an opportunity to visualize themselves at your campground, that’s a great tool.

So whether or not that’s at their specific sites or on the grounds or in the community or things to do, so that they can be like, Oh, I want to be there. Oh, I want to do that. Oh, I want to have that experience and give them a little FOMO to get them to motivate to book. 

Brian: Awesome. Alright I definitely want to talk to you more.

Is there anything I’m missing that I want to talk about in town campground about? Future plans. Let’s talk about that briefly, right? For us who follow you in the industry, right? You’ve done a lot. You’ve accomplished a lot. Is [00:14:00] there what’s in the future for Inn Town? Is there upgrades? Are you going to start 19 Inn Town campgrounds?

Erin: No. 

Brian: That was a quick no. 

Erin: I don’t know. We have… Three more years of kids at home and then we’re like, what’s next? Travel the world, explore. But we, we’re constantly changing existing units within our campground. We can’t expand out within our footprint because we are landlocked of other places, businesses around us.

But we have converted tent sites into glamping tents. We did add a yurt this year, which is the first time. There are some plans for some additional glamping tents for next year or so. We are, we’re constantly tweaking things and listening to the customers in terms of what’s, what they’re looking for.

Brian: I think that’s always the best path, right? Like I’m sure like Mark and Melanie, you can speak to that, right? As you have built up Willow Lake. So same kind of, let’s take the same brief path with you, right? Tell us a little bit about Willow Lake and how you guys got started. 

Mark: Yeah, I think you talk about brand and brand.

[00:15:00] Going back, this park had been around for actually almost 100 years. We went back to, when we bought the campground, we really didn’t get a lot of records or information. We went not only to the local museum, but the the county archives. And the earliest record we’ve got of this property being a day use picnic park was around 1928, where people would come for their day picnics, do all that.

And so this park, It was famous for being, a campground, more, tenting or the old pop up trailers but a day park up until sort of the mid 90s. When we bought it, we actually had to shift the vision or the view of a lot of the locals as well as campers about Willow Lake because, quite honestly, the folks who owned it before us had it for 47 years, they were in their 80s.

They’re pretty checked out, lovely people but thank God everything, was physically in good shape, so the septic, the well, all that, but, the place was a ghost town. Yeah, so when we bought it again, we really had to do a lot of work above ground, lots of cans of paint but underground was good but people had thought Willow Lake had gone out of business, [00:16:00] and it never did at any point.

That actually worked in our favor. We were able to say, hey, we’re Mark and Melanie, we’re here. And we’re gonna bring Willow Lake back to life and really what we did, because we were campers before and we stole from a lot of great parks we’ve been to and we’re like, oh yeah, we like that part of the park.

We like that feature they do. We know that service and customer service is always number one. But in the early days, really, our involvement in the community and getting out there. And saying, Hey, we’re Willow Lake now. 

Melanie: And also how can we support you? 

 What can we do to support you in the community?

And that was really well received and started the ball rolling. 

Mark: And really, from a branding perspective, we became the brand. The name Little Lake Campground had been there for a hundred years, but now we needed to say, differentiate ourselves currently from what it had been historically.

So above our front door, it’s Mark and Melanie welcomes you. We are, the owners, the hosts, the, the people who repair the septic, we do everything. And now when people come up, it’s [00:17:00] great because we have a couple little videos on our website of drive arounds and some some sort of marketing things that local tourism offices have done for us.

So people arrive and they’re like, Hey, you’re Mark, you’re Melanie. It’s actually you guys. 

Melanie: Yeah. Yeah, it’s one of us greeting them when they check in the camp store. And yeah, it’s that recognition of, oh, wow, there really are the people that they say are behind the business. All of these are in front of the business and they’re standing in front of me right now.

Mark: Yeah. And and that really, our first year was really truly about bringing people to the park. Second year was about bringing new people and re inviting those that came that first year. And then and then there was something about COVID for a couple of years. So it was just, do your best to survive.

But we really were very fortunate because we have such a loyal group of customers. and guests that come in each year. But even still surprising to us as we ran the numbers for this summer and more than 50 percent of our campers are still net new to the park and have never been before. So each year we continue to have this great base of returning [00:18:00] campers.

Again, the work with the community, we do some local, radio advertising, we do some sponsorship, we work with a number of different charities. And that just helps, new people go, Hey, we should really check out this park. Yeah every year is something new.

It’s fun and exciting. 

Brian: So tell us what do you guys have planned for the future? I know you touched on it briefly, but What will it look like in, in five years? Do you know, or is it ever evolving, or? 

Melanie: We’ve done a lot to this point. One of the things that we committed to was… Introducing something new to the park each year and having that represented on our website.

And so the first year, as Mark alluded to, was a lot of painting. It was putting in a playground where we’re located is the dairy capital of. Canada. So our recreation hall, we had it painted like a cow, those sorts of things. And in the years we’ve added a mini putt, doubled the size of our playground.

We introduced a food truck because we weren’t busy enough. We do the, the events like the Christmas in July, the Halloween in [00:19:00] August. We do superheroes for our Labor Day. We do crafts. I don’t know. 

Mark: Yeah, we’re landlocked, so we really can’t develop any more land. But I think it’s about, taking a look at what we’ve done as well, and either improving on that, year over year or cutting it out, because we looked at, one of our events this summer, and it really didn’t get the the excitement we anticipated, even after five or six years of doing it maybe it’s about eliminating things now and adding absolutely new things to, just to reinvigorate the the program, 

Brian: I’m curious, Scott, from your side, at a management group, you manage, I think, 13 parks, properties now. Is there a different train of thought, do you feel like, coming from a management group or a larger ownership group, coming into making some of these adjustments that Erin and Mark and Melanie are talking about the property?

Or is it the same process? Is it all about guest experience and ROI and performs best for your type of camper? 

Scott: A lot of what I heard Mark and Melanie describe are a journey that we help a lot of [00:20:00] ownership groups take and I think it’s a great question and I love the approach that they take because that’s what we always recommend is, if you’re watching your business and you’re seeing what’s growing and what’s naturally fading that’s your biggest tell right there, is, do, when you look at your playground at peak times, do you have enough spots for the kids and then do you have enough seating area for the parents, and if you notice your playground growing, what are the ripples on that, right?

Maybe we need to intentionally put a summer camp on the books, maybe that will drive some revenue to the park and give some intentionality behind some things, because people love events And then, also to that point of Why take on the expense if it’s not going to yield a great guest experience?

And then, also, we all have limited bandwidths and with limited budgets, so it would be better to focus the energy and the money into be great.[00:21:00] 

It’s better to be decent at a really long list, right? So I’ve really loved the approach that I’ve heard Mark and Melanie take and also how fortunate that they’ve gotten to spend their time above ground, right? Because that’s another thing that we hear too is you get all these great plans, and then you have that, that helped Inspector come and look below the ground and what a great thing to be able to keep your focus where it should be, which is on the employee and the guest experience. Yeah, I applaud their mentality and approach 

Mark: there. And I think if I can just add on to what Scott said too, and we’re not ashamed to say we’re a business.

We’ll have campers sometimes say, and usually it’s the seasonals, let’s be honest. And they’re like, oh, you should do this and you should do this. And I say that doesn’t make us money. And we’re still a business. And, I think people a lot of times look at, recreational operations as, almost like a city run park.

You can just, they’re fun, they’re free, you can come and go as you want. But at the end of the day, we’re a business and we’re not out to get rich and famous. If we want to do that, we would have stayed in our corporate [00:22:00] jobs. But by saying to people, hey, listen, it’s got to have a return for us to be able to invest the money into putting in XYZ sort of thing.

Just like scott says. 

Melanie: And it gets well received, like a 

perfect example, going off the rails here, but it’s firewood. We don’t hide the fact that firewood is a revenue stream for us and it helps keep our rates at a certain level. And I found that when we explain that to people.

They go, ah, I get it. I understand now. So again, to Mark’s point of view, we’re a business, 

Gwynn: 

 

Because people always try and sneak in firewood, and they’re like, oh, I thought it was just because of the emerald ash borer. And I’m like, no it’s a business. And I say, but then I…

Brian: Wait a minute. I thought it was just because of the thing that’s destroying all the trees, so it was fine? 

Mark: No, it’s a business. It’s a business, Brian. And I say to people, I’m saying, so do you take your own fries into McDonald’s? And they’re like no. And I say that’s why you don’t bring firewood into a campground.

It’s part of our business. 

Brian: That’s yeah, definitely good. Candice, do you have anything that you can shed on? You [00:23:00] work with a lot of, obviously, resorts and resetting Staylist. 

Candice: Yeah, I’m sorry, the audio is breaking in and out a little bit. Were you saying, did I have any insights or anything?

Brian: Anything you want to add to the conversation that we’re having about it? Yeah. You can choose and figure out the ROI and stuff like that. 

Candice: Yeah, so when it comes to the ROI, a lot of our clients, very similar to the way that you guys streamlined the processing. A lot of.

What you’re stating is really like queen of sale items. Like you said, it’s a business at the end of the day. It’s all about experience and branding and really bringing those people to the threshold. But I think, no, I think the way that you guys are operating, the way that you’re speaking, and especially to what Scott said, I commend both sides of those parks because that’s a really hard balance to teeter in between.

But yeah, that’s about it. 

Brian: Is there an insider reservation system like Stateless, with all the property management and all the data that’s collected about the guests and things like that? Are there ways that information or those analytics can help inform some of these decisions so they don’t struggle to figure out and do their own studies and, right?

Candice: Yeah, so absolutely. Through any of the reservation systems that you’re really using out [00:24:00] there I can speak to ours specifically, but you’re really going to have a lot of return on investment, really knowing how to procure items being able to make calculated decisions, especially around seasonality.

Those are really key factors into creating those revenue streams. So reporting, I think, has been a key feature for any software that anyone’s using in order to make calculated decisions. So it just seems like with these different revenue streams, we’re able to really understand, this is something that really draws people in.

Even down to as simple as putting out decorations. Those type of things really do get me to spend more. So those investments, though, may seem ancillary to certain visitors that are coming through. I definitely see it from a technology perspective. You’re able to really use those reportings to say, Hey, last year I didn’t put up declarations during October, and my occupancy level was at X, and then this year I did, and it’s at Y.

And I think that those are really important measurements that even though they may seem very ancillary, when it comes down to the return on investment, you’re very quickly and easily able to adapt to that so long as you do have those reports in [00:25:00] front of you. 

Brian: I think this is a larger conversation I’d like to briefly throw out to the group and just, and all of you, whoever wants to weigh in on it, but for the people watching this who are looking at this maybe with a blank stare saying I run a campground, I don’t have time to look at reports and analytics and data, are you crazy?

What, obviously, the reports do shortcut it, and wow, that is really right on my,

I tried to, I thought about installing the webcam software, but I was like, no, maybe my computer will crash and then there won’t be a show, so I decided not to. But for the people here who are I look like an angel or something. I can’t stop talking about it. Which I am for sure not, right? I’m definitely not.

So anyway, for the people here who like, you need to make those decisions, right? And maybe you don’t have the time to dig into the data or maybe don’t. Understand where to start in the whole process. Can you guys help them shed some light on, like, how do I, because you’re all seasoned park owners, right?

Erin and Mark and Melanie[00:26:00] and Scott, who have obviously a lot of experience, Cam has a lot of experience. Where do I start? What do I, how do I analyze this stuff? Or do I just give up and give it all to Care Camps?

Scott: I’d be happy to start that off by saying, I love the question you posed, Candice, and I think that the property management system can make all the difference in the world, and I think there’s a difference between that. Thank you. Somebody, maybe like Mark and Melanie, that are owning and operating the campground, because in their situation, if their general manager said to them, hey, I want to increase kid programming, and we want to really make this a big event.

All they have to, all Mark and Mary have to do is walk out of their office and look and see if people are coming to these events. But the rest of the world, the data will drive the decision. And so as tedious as it can be to say, okay, I had… 12 spots registered. I had another four walk up and my max was 20.

So I’m hitting the [00:27:00] 16. So I’m nearly at capacity on every activity. That’s how you make the case on making the business decision, particularly if the ownership is not there and they’re on site. And I think that is the case for a lot of properties, is that you might have the park manager and then the owner might be off site.

And it’s not, you want to be able to pass over data and say, this is how I’m making this informed decision. It makes all the difference in the world. We’re doing we’ve brought a revenue manager onto our team, and it’s a very key strategic role for us, and we all know that the space is becoming more adept and more comfortable with the idea of revenue management and variable pricing and adapting your pricing to be based on the demand that you’re getting.

But, it is still funny within the operator mindset, we have this idea that even though we might be adjusting our prices, the competitors might not be adjusting theirs, right? Oh, they’re flat. They’re always flat. They never change their prices. Maybe once a year. We’re doing call [00:28:00] arounds now, and doing that weekly, and we’re getting that kickback from managers to say, but they never change their rates.

How do you know they’re never changing their rates if you don’t have data saying their rates are never changing? Unless we look at a data sheet saying… Week after week after week, we’ve got the same rates. That’s when we can make the case. They’re staying flat. So I think that these data drives decisions, and they help you and especially right now this is real heavy top of mind for me because we are in the thick of budget season, right?

Brian: How do we make data? I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I’m just curious. Like, how do we make data? Because I agree with you, right? But a lot of that a lot of individual park owners and even larger park owners will look at it and be like, What? No. I’m going home to watch Netflix. I’ve been working all day and getting yelled at by campers or whatever else, right?

So how do we make that experience of getting the data or understanding the data easier when they don’t have a data analyst like IVEE does? 

Scott: Yeah, I’ll give a quick answer and then pass it over, but I think the easy answer is that [00:29:00] you automate as much of it as you possibly can. You really rely on your systems and on the tools.

If the registration for an activity can happen online where the guest does that registration themselves and the GM’s just verifying a number, you’ve made it a whole lot easier on yourself. And And even if it is, I think that there are times where where an organization might not have an analyst like, like Ivy does, but I still think there’s value in collecting the information because as we budget for March right now, it’s hard to look back and remember how March played out.

We’re, you’re having to look back at your system and your tools and your notes and However it can easily, accurately be captured by the, by the property, by the manager, I think it’s worth it. 

Brian: Alright, do we agree with this, Erin, Mark, Melanie, whichever you guys..

Erin: Want to add something to that, but more, less in the data and more in the seasonality, because I do [00:30:00] recognize as your campground is closing, my campground is not closed, but it’s ramping down.

We did a data analysis of credit card processing this week, and we’re like, oh, our least performing, in terms of occupant month, was our highest performing future bookings month. And if I were talking to campground owners who are like, I don’t have the time… I’d be like, you might take a minute when you have a second and map out your calendar in a 12 month window and be like, okay, actually in March, I have to do a bunch of marketing.

That’s when everyone is booking, or at least in California, when we get these warm spring breezes and that while I am busy in October, the people who made these October plans, many of them actually made them a year ago. I think

That’s a good data to keep in mind in terms of when are the people booking. When do you need to be mindful of those things and how can you plan, how can you thank your future self for those, for that work? 

Mark: And I think also though too, it’s important to[00:31:00] you can get overwhelmed by numbers and data.

Like our system gives us great metrics and we can look at all the reports. And if you start printing off every report, you’re going to have a stroke. You know what you need to say, okay not that we want to make more money or be more profitable. You need to say, okay, we want to be more profitable in the camp store.

Or we want to be more profitable in the food truck. Now let’s take a look at the data for that and, take a bite of that elephant, one bite at a time sort of thing, because otherwise you just, it can be too much. And you know what, I think that and Melanie’s done a great job.

I think that’s how we ended up, being so successful with our store is, okay, what’s selling let’s take a look at all the items. Let’s, support local, but let’s focus on that. And then. Another day, we’ll look at, okay, what should our rates be? And another day, it’s going to be, what other revenue streams can we bring in?

We’ll one bite at a time. 

Brian: And the reason we do this thoughtfully and carefully is so that we have more margins to give to Care Camps, right?

When? Let’s talk about Care Camps. 

Gwynn: Care Camps you all, some of you[00:32:00] may know hopefully know about CARE Camps and there might be some people on here that might not have heard of CARE Camps, so I just, again, want to just shout out that we are a national nonprofit organization.

We essentially, function as a charity, as a foundation to fund camps for children with cancer and their families. Both across the United States and Canada here. So we’ve got a big mission. We wake up every single morning here, our tiny and mighty team to really put energy into fundraising so that we can give the money.

To these camps here. We are not a camp ourselves. Some people get us confused that we’re a camp and we’re actually a national non profit here that we fundraise. That’s probably .

Brian: The first time I heard of Care Camps. I thought like you were camps at KOA Campground. 

Gwynn: [00:33:00] That’s right. That’s right. KOA, we definitely have a wonderful legacy and we actually exist here and it, Care Camp started from a small group of very caring KOA campground owners that came together and pulled, started fundraising to support the campgrounds.

Children’s Cancer Camps in their area here, so this was really a grassroots type of momentum that started from a few KOA campground owners that then got the attention of the the corporate office here, and for a time, Care Camps actually was under the umbrella of KOA corporate KOA Inc. And then grew, kept expanding to the point where it was decided for it to become its own nonprofit entity so that, again, we could generate more funding, and [00:34:00] have even a broader outreach in the outdoor industry.

Here, so that’s sometimes you there’s still some old branding out as KOA Care Camps But we’re a standalone again non profit here Care Camps when I first, you know was looking at Care Camps and Entertaining, you know throwing my hat in the ring for this job. I too thought Care Camps was a camp.

So We’ve been really working on the, our branding too, here to make it clear that, again, we’re a national charity and a national that works as a foundation.

Candice: You’re on mute.

Brian, I think you’re, I think it’s Mike or Brian’s mic might be out.

Gwynn: I’ll, yeah, I’ll keep going. , I just remember [00:35:00] pause here and just, give us, take a breath here for a moment. I’ve got lots to say for sure. Just to give you a little bit of our impact here. And. And how first of all, how we operate, we we are, have a strategic alliance with the Children’s Oncology Camping Association.

And this is a national organization here that, are you back on, Brian? 

Brian: Yeah, I had myself muted because YouTube videos, what I was saying. Oh, okay. 

Gwynn: Thank you. Okay. 

Brian: You’re just like crying at me because I’m trying to share a YouTube video. If you have no idea how frustrated this makes me, it’s like a 4, 000 computer and it can’t run a Windows browser.

Gwynn: That’s okay. That’s okay. I was just talking about, how we serve and how we function here. We the camps that we fund are all members of the Children’s Oncology Camping Association. Their acronym is Coca. [00:36:00] And the reason why we focus our funding primarily and solely with these pediatric oncology camps is because they’re all involved in a.

Quality Assurance Program. They’re all, we know really focused on professional education and development. We know that our money the money that is given to us is going to quality camps. And that’s a big deal here. I’m a trained healthcare professional myself and, focusing on quality is really important.

We’re really proud to, to be a really a, We have this sister and brother type of relationship with COCA here. And then the, so the camps that we fund this year in particular, we funded over 120 camps. And, These camps, offer truly a variety of programs and services, [00:37:00] everything from having an outdoor, overnight residential program there they have family retreats, sibling camps.

Here and many are branching out and doing virtual camps or camp in a box where camp can show up at a child’s home, they can’t get to the outdoors here. And some of the camps also offer in hospital programs and camps for kids that are in the hospital. And then even some, Offer bereavement or grief camps for those for children for families whose children have gone.

So there’s they do multiple types of programs and services here. And when we tally up Really, the impact, you talk about analytics here we do keep track and with the camps, and again, this is data that we get from the camps, this last year, there were over 12, 000 [00:38:00] children that attended these camps, there were almost 9, 000 families that were, attended these camps actually, there was the sibling, over 9, 000 siblings attended these camps, over 6, 000 parents, and then there’s the medical volunteers here, and over 12, 000 medical volunteers were part of these camps, and yes, we’re focused, of course, on the children.

But cancer is not, it doesn’t just impact the child. It impacts, their brothers and sisters and their families and their grandparents and all the health care professionals and volunteers that are a part of this experience too. So when we tally up the number of lives that are impacted here, it’s close to 40, 000 just in one year.

The cool thing is here, having gone to some of these camps here myself and visited with them, [00:39:00] these kids and these families come back year after year. They form community and they don’t have to explain, who they are and what they look like or. Anything about their illness that is just a natural community and so the children keep coming back and Repeatedly many of them go on to become counselors.

There’s one camp I know I think 80 percent of the counselors that they had at that camp were former campers of kids Who had cancer? And then many of them go on to become healthcare professionals. There was a woman that I met, a young woman that I met at a camp here, that she was serving as a nurse volunteer for that week.

She had been going, she was probably in her mid twenties or so. She had been going, started going to that camp when, [00:40:00] as a child, she went on to become a camp, a counselor, then went to nursing school. She now works on the same unit that she was being treated at the same hospital. And now she works as serves as a volunteer during the summer at this camp.

And not only… The she volunteer, her mother volunteers, her two sisters volunteer, and one of her sisters is a counselor, they both attended the sibling camp. And so what we talk about really is, this investment, what we’re about is investing in these children’s lives. And it’s really the gift that keeps on giving here.

So that’s a bit of a snapshot here, a long winded snapshot of, 

what we’re about. Do we have the appetite here to maybe play, try to play this video, and if it crashes we can just say we had a good show, or? 

I’d be honored to list it with the caveat, too, [00:41:00] that if it does crash, the video is on our home page here, carecamps.

org. So I do want to you can just, if it does crash, you can go as two minute video.

Brian: It’s going to crash the whole show if it does, because it’ll kick me out and then we’ll just end the whole show, which is probably we have great guests in perspective, but so is everybody on board with this? Do we want to try this?

We’re going to try to show this video, and then I think at the end, when the video’s done here, I’d love to have a conversation about, we have a diverse group of people on the show, so I’m going to give you time to think about it, Gwynn, for a few minutes. Just lay out, like, how do management companies get involved if they want?

How do ownership groups of larger properties get involved? How do individual product owners? How do suppliers, like a marketing company or a stay list, right? Thank you. And just because I feel like there’s a large portion of our audience too, and that would give a good sample size for everybody to understand.

All right, I’m going to try to play. You guys tell me, I think you should be able to hear this if I unmute it on YouTube.[00:42:00] 

Announcer: My first name is Ian, and I’ve 

been diagnosed with desmoplastic small round cell 

tumor. My name is ben, and I was diagnosed with leukemia. My name is Abby, and I was diagnosed with cancer when I was six years old.

There’s so many kids who are sad because of their treatments, and this camp helps them forget. It helps everyone in the family forget for a little while, and it’s really nice. It’s just… A vacation from 

everything bad. Camp has helped me be the amazing girl I am now because it’s helped me understand more about my cancer and more about other people’s cancer.

Camp has helped me deal with my cancer because it’s like a treatment, but it’s not medicine. It’s like happiness medicine. [00:43:00] 

I think that camp should be a prescribed part of the treatment plan for every child with cancer and for their families.

Being outdoors and being with other kids that get it and being with parents that get it and not having to question their meds or why their hair is gone or why… They are tired easily or why it’s hard to walk. The word I kept coming up with is camp magic. So there’s nothing to describe it until you experience it, but there’s so much love and there’s something indescribable and untouchable that you can’t see until you witness.

I’m so thankful that there are people that give because it, it lightens and brightens their soul. Just so thankful. Thank you for that part of you who just wants to give. We need it so badly. Any person who has donated to these [00:44:00] camps, you’re true angels. You have given my, myself and my son. A whole different perspective and a different way to, to look at what we’ve gone through.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. We would not have been able to do this without your support. And it has been a breath of fresh air and such a break from our daily life of struggle to be here.

Brian: We can talk now if.. 

Scott: After I get rid of that frog in my throat, oh man, that was great. 

Brian: Yeah, I think for us I’ll just start off as soon as I can stop this sharing, I will. My mouse literally isn’t moving, but I think for us we’ve, again, we’ve been a long time as long as we can, supporter of care camps, right?

And surely as you reflect back on my 15 years in the industry or however long it’s been, it feels like it gets longer somehow every year, I don’t know how. [00:45:00] But… Like I feel like there’s probably more that we could always do as a company or as an organization, but, and certainly we’ll have those conversations with Gwynn and Erica and all the people who have come before them, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that question, Gwynn, and then obviously if anybody else wants to hear it.

Gwynn: Thank you. Thank you for showing that video. I, that, I think It really encapsulates, who we are and why we are, and, really what the how we can help here. And I, honestly, I was really intrigued with this whole conversation about elevating. The guest experience and community building.

Those were two things that I heard from your discussion here with each other and I, what we’re seeing and what we’re hearing too is people want to be a part of the greater good, as we call it, a greater [00:46:00] cause and to be affiliated with this cause here yeah. It really does get people’s attention.

We had a campground recently tell us the reason why they actually bought the campground or came in. This was actually a KOA franchisee that, that decided to, to come into that was because of the support for Care Camps, that they were a part of something bigger and greater. And that’s what we also, the campers and the outdoor industry here, we have a common theme together.

We’re all about here bringing the healing power of the outdoors and community to people here. We just happen to encapsulate it and focus it more. On these special children and their very special families and that really have the need here. So [00:47:00] this whole thing of social responsibility and really all galvanizing together for the greater good, I think is really important.

Brian: Let me talk a little bit about question, but right before the video, right? Because we’ve got a large segment of representation of different types of the industry here, right? Stela, speak to Insider Perks, speak to whatever, right? But the type of people they represent, generally speaking, what is the best way for someone to get involved here?

Because there’s got to be a middle ground of an opt in, right? Because if it was me, that’s a good way to filter the people you don’t want camping at your campground. There’s a 2 forced donation if you stay here. Oh, you don’t want to do that? No, you’re not camping, right? That would weed out the people who would probably be likely to leave you a bad review or be unhappy, right?

The grumpy ones. But anyway, your thoughts. 

Gwynn: I think, this is not anything you have to do more of. It really is taking a look at what you’re already doing. Some of the events that you’re already doing at your sites [00:48:00] here. And just incorporating… A bit of a fundraiser for care camps here.

Brian: Maybe that’s a good place to start, right? Because you’ve got these good templates on your website that you’ve seen that you’re putting together. And I think maybe if you’re from an outside perspective, you’ve never heard of care camps before, maybe this is your first exposure to it.

There’s a thought of okay the only thing I can really do here is donate cash from my campground. But there are literally 400 different ways beyond that, that you can support care camps through what you’re talking about. So 

Gwynn: I think maybe we should dive a what was interesting too, you a campground owner tell me that they’re actually using, what they do for their firewood sales is that they actually have a sign, next to their firewood sales that, a certain percentage goes to support care camps.

And, and more people buy firewood because, they really are, they’re joining in for something greater and I think that’s something [00:49:00] I know for me when I’m looking at purchasing something and I see it supporting a greater cause, I pay attention to that more. And I think more and more people are doing that.

Brian: Yeah, I agree with you. Like we worked he’s normally the regular guest on the show, Nate at KCN Campgrounds is a big supporter of you guys. Through his six KOAs that group owns, and we worked with him earlier this year to come up with really creative ways, like he’s doing ice cream socials and other things.

And we, and one of the ways we did it is we put QR codes on everything we gave him. We generated custom kind of dynamic QR codes for him to put that people can just scan and it goes right to a give page and they can just choose two, five, ten, whatever they want. Even as a recurring subscription, they can set it up.

So it’s just as hands off as possible for people to just be supporters, whatever they can do. But not just the owner, right? It’s not, it’s everybody. 

Gwynn: Yeah, and I think that’s a really important point, too, here is many, particularly many of the, what you might call as the long term campers here [00:50:00] they love getting involved in this.

I know we’ve got there’s one person that calls us up on a regular basis who’s a long term camper at a campground, and he’s galvanized the whole campground community to do fundraisers, and they just They make up things. They just make up fun things together. And again, it’s this community building activity and also just, getting, being a member of your respective communities here, the community loves to get involved.

I do think it’s a wonderful way of just community building here and also just. Providing elevating the guest experience, like you said.

Brian: I think that’s the important part is it’s a win for everybody, if you look at it from an activities event standpoint, right? It’s not like certainly you should put, or you should, you could put a jar out and collect money at the desk and then call it a day.

You could donate and write a check once a year to Care Camps and call it a day, and obviously we’re all very thankful [00:51:00] for a dollar, five dollars, whatever it is, right? But there are ways that you can take that beyond, like we’re talking about the guest experience, and use some of those templates and create an ice cream social or other activities that maybe you would have already had before, maybe you wouldn’t have had before, but that then you can broadcast to your website and say oh look we have an ice cream social, yes it benefits camp camps, but look, this is one more reason for you to stay with us in general, outside of that, right?

So I think it ends up being, in some cases, a win, and with the templates, even gives you an easier path as an individual owner. To create some of these things without a bigger thought process around. 

Gwynn: And even, like you said, just the simple things of just putting..

Brian: I think everybody should have a gate at the exit of their campground that doesn’t open unless you put 5 in it. 

Gwynn: I love that. There was actually a campground owner that told me about, they actually hang umbrellas from their ceiling in the, Their office, people come in and so for loose change, they throw them up, they throw the loose change up into the umbrellas to [00:52:00] collect for care camps.

And, just what a fun, creative way of doing that. And we are just so grateful for every. Penny and nickel and diamond and dollar here that everyone, contributes and we’re community we’re building community and we’re part of community and the outdoor Community then just again We’re so proud and honored to be a part of that and just all the support that everyone gives us

Brian: I want to give everybody else a chance to weigh in on if there’s anything you guys want to say about camp camps

But I wanna spend the last couple minutes and just briefly talk about that if you want, if you have any questions for Gwynn?

Gwynn: I don’t 

Candice: currently, because she did such a good job covering everything. She was pretty thorough. That’s fair. Yeah. It was like just a very well crafted, and I think I have a different perspective. Like I had an idea of what the program was, but I did not realize the intensity or the levels or the touch.

So I think a lot of what your program is doing is a [00:53:00] lot like. What we’re doing at campgrounds, even on a software level, at a group level, marketing agency, and at the park level, which is creating memories for people that are everlasting. And I think that’s, I think that’s what resonates the most with me if you were, if I was looking at it from your story point of view.

Gwynn: Thank you. Thank you. 

Brian: Is it feasible, and I’m just going to put you on the spot here, Candice, sorry, but is it feasible to have a checkbox at the reservation to donate to care? Yep. 

Candice: It could be. On any, honestly, on any PMS..

Brian: Yeah, that’s what I’m just technologically speaking, I’m asking.

Candice: Technologically? Yeah. That’s, yeah, that’s a simple, that’s just a form fill in there. It would just have to, yeah. The answer is yes. Sure. 

Brian: Yeah. Wait, I have this follow up mission after the show. 

Scott: Yeah. Go ahead, Scott. I would love to connect with you, Gwynn, because I, I’m seeing ways to, to connect to this also and the question that I, you watch the video and you feel so connected to the story and to, to the emotion and it makes you want to be a part of it.

And what I’m brainstorming right now, and maybe something that you all have already [00:54:00] solved for is how do you connect the dots so that when I. I feel connected to, either knowing what the annual goal was, or knowing the kid that I helped, or this or that, I’m sure that you all have things in place already to…

That’s actually not a bad idea. Yeah, because I think that you want to… Because I think the closer that the person contributing can feel to the result, to the impact… Then the more likely they are to do it, and and that’s what I’m asking myself right now is, we’ve got 13 campgrounds across the nation, how do we host one of these, how do I get closer to the action, and to what Candice was just answering, is there a way even that, even if you’re not in that immediacy, if you don’t have that immediacy, how do you get closer to the action?

How do you manufacture it so that you can feel connected to the mission at the time that you’re making your reservation and you donate that 3 to care camps.

Gwynn: This is, I think, and what I appreciated earlier, the conversation [00:55:00] around the visuals and the storytelling. And this is what we want to be doing more of, is sharing the stories.

And this year, the camps that we funded, they’re sharing with us what we’re calling the full circle stories here, just like the woman that, that young woman I described and how, their camp experience. How it came around full circle, that they’re back at the camp and serving it in different ways.

So we would absolutely welcome, the opportunity and the help to help us do that more, because these stories are so powerful here. And I got to tell you. There’s just some days where, like we all have, we get overwhelmed and, we’re doing all this administrative stuff. And I really do.

I just, I sit back and I listened to that. I just watched that video for 2 minutes and it just level sets me here. And and I’ll tell you, president and CEO of a major RV business here. Who’s 1 of [00:56:00] our top tier donors said that watching that video here. That was the light switch. That’s when it went off here.

How can we not support this? And it’s been a top supporter of us because of that one video. 

Brian: I will tell you that I think, from my perspective, having actually been to the camps, filmed the early first video that I think the Cure Camps ever had. It was actually shown at a convention back in 2013 or 14.

Jim Rajesh that’s obviously a way different experience, understanding what the camps are, like, being there, right? Asking the kids to talk on camera, doing interviews with them, and things like that. But I think what I’ve learned, and maybe this is a consequence, in a negative way, of being there, doing that, so many years ago, is that I sit here with the ScotNaps and the Candaces and everybody else, right?

Who maybe it shocks me that they don’t all know about care camps as much as I do. And so I think this is probably something that I have way more bandwidth to support from an attention level than I do right now. And I [00:57:00] just assume, in probably a wrong, incorrect way, that everybody knows this.

And then you go to KOA Convention and there’s that huge at the end of the final night celebration there’s the auctioneer, and there’s the people who get up and tell their story, and it’s like a huge massive, you don’t see it at any other convention. And I think it’s just we lose sight of how much more awareness there can be.

Gwynn: Thank you for bringing that up, Brian, because really, of course, we’re about, fundraising. And equally as important here is helping us get the word out.

Brian: And I’m going to say we’re over, so if anybody needs to jump, no hard feelings. 

Candice: I’m so sorry, so nice to meet you guys. Bye, y’all. 

Gwynn: Thank you, Candice. 

Candice: Absolutely, nice to meet you. 

Brian: Go ahead, please, Gwynn. 

Gwynn: It’s it just to put an exclamation on what you’re talking about is. We need to get the word out more.

We want to get the word out more. And, again, we’re a tiny, mighty team and organization here[00:58:00] and we just appreciate all the extra help and support in that way, both from funding, just building awareness. As soon as people start, hearing about us and seeing a little bit of the impact here, people want to know more and then how can we can get involved.

And again on our website carecamps. org here, we do have, a specific fundraising toolkit and just different little activities. We’ve also got marketing materials here that we’re happy to provide, the design for and and we’re continuing to expand that, but, ultimately I’ll tell you.

If you ask me, what I’d like to see in the future here is, it’s really about that camp, going to camp is a part of every child’s medical treatment here in some way, and we want to help these camps innovate. The camp [00:59:00] experience, so that more kids have this opportunity for community, for the outdoors.

If they can’t be in the outdoors here, at least to be in community with others that are going through the same thing with them. And that’s really, these virtual camps, COVID, had its curse and it also had its gifts here and the camps really started innovating during COVID and offering virtual camps.

And are continuing to do that because it really serves a great need. We’re really looking into not only what we do is provide two different grant opportunities, a grant to cover the operating cost, and then also another grant for capital improvement, like different equipment or construction things that, that need to happen.

And, we’d love to have a third tier here in helping them innovate. And expand their programs and services, and that’s where we [01:00:00] really, we need the extra funding, coming to us so we can provide that to the camps. 

Brian: Yeah, and how you’re going to have the Care Camps thing is usually the number they put up on the big digital billboard is well over a million dollars at the end of that KOA auction and they have that finalized celebration.

So that’s a big chunk, but again, I feel just from my perspective, selfishly for a second, right? We need to sit down with you and Erica at the KOA convention. I had a good conversation with Erica last year. I’ve talked to Mark Lemoine about it many times. And obviously on and off throughout the years.

But from our perspective take a look at Modern Campground. I’m sitting here imagining for one, every piece of unsold inventory should probably, in some way, touch Care Camps at some point, right? If we’re not selling an advertiser on a newsletter, and we have empty space, let’s put a Care Camps banner there.

If we’re giving our daily newsletter or our YouTube… Videos that we’re announcing and there’s no sponsor. Why doesn’t it say Care cans? Thank you. Those kinds of things, right? Know for the show, why doesn’t it say care cans like we are donating to the [01:01:00] auction and, we’ll, I think I have a call with Erica tomorrow about that, right?

And we’re gonna donate I don’t know what the number is, I think it’s like $14,000 or something in product to give away the show. But that’s still to me, that’s not enough, right? So if I can give away other things, especially with the reach of Modern Campground, then I wanna do that. Thank you.

But I need to have a we need to solidify it, right? 

Whatever marketing support you need, my entire team is in with you, but then we never just, I got so busy, and then we just never connected again, right? 

Gwynn: It happens. And we we’ve gone through it, internally, we’ve gone through a lot of change this year.

It’s been a big change for Care Camps and, we were resetting and rebuilding, our infrastructure so that we can do more and help more and, there’s just times where you’ve got to pull back a little bit and just.

Brian: We all rode out on this call, right? We all run businesses, yeah. But yeah, anything else, any final thoughts from anybody else before we, I know we’re really over, so I apologize to anybody who had to do anything [01:02:00] urgent. I just, I don’t do anything every week. This is my one moment of glory, any final thoughts from anybody else, either on this Cure Camps topic or what we were talking about before guest experience, anything like that?

Alright, thank you

Erin: I was just going to say thanks for inviting me along. It’s nice to hear other people in the industry and I was aware of PeerCamps came and gave a presentation at the California Summit, not this year, but last year. So that’s, it’s good to have a follow up just as Brian’s saying remind us of the things we already knew.

Yeah. 

Awesome. 

Brian: Thank you guys. I really appreciate you all being here for another episode of MC Fireside Chats. Erin from In Town Campground. We’re going to find out more about your campground.

Erin: Inn TownCampground. com. Or any social channel. 

Brian: Mark and Melanie, where can they find more about the Little Lake Campground?

Mark: LittleLakeCampground. com 

Brian: it’s the shortest one we’ve had yet, I wish I had it. I need to rename my company and rename everything. And obviously CareCamps. org [01:03:00] For all kinds of resources, like not only the video, which you need to watch again and again Until you feel like you need the support, which should only be about 30 seconds in.

Yeah. But if you need to watch it two or three times, do that. We also have templates for helping your campground with different activities and things like that and all kinds.. 

Gwynn: And follow us on social media. We also have a monthly e newsletter that we publish and so just sign on and join with us here.

So thank you so much for the invitation and just again, thanks. Thank you so much for everyone’s support and generosity. 

Brian: Awesome, we really appreciate you guys appearing on another episode of MC Fireside Chats, we’ll see you next week for another episode focused on the RV industry. Take care guys, and have a great week.

Thanks, everyone. Thanks, everybody. 

[01:04:00] 

[00:00:00] 

Brian: Welcome everybody to another episode of [00:01:00] MC Fireside Chats. My name is Brian Searl with Insider Perks. I’m super excited to be here for our third week episode, focused on Campground Hunters. So we’ve got a couple of recurring guests with us here, some who couldn’t make it but we’ve got Candice here from Staylist, who’s a new recurring guest as of last month on this show.

And then we’ve got also Scott Knepp, our expert management consultant from IVEE Management Group here, who has joined us as well. And then we’ve got a couple really cool special guests who honestly, we’ve probably heard about for a long time, right? Gwynn’s kind of new to Care Camps, but she’s…

For sure, we’ve all heard of Care Camps, and I have no idea why I’m like super washed out, by the way. I actually am not this pale in real life. But anyway, so we’ve got Gwynn here from Care Camp. She’s going to talk to us a little bit about that organization, all the good things that they’re doing.

Obviously, long time supporters of Care Camps and things like that. But, super excited to hear some of the latest updates, things that Care Camps is working on, and ways that we can all support them. Erin, am I pronouncing your last name right as a team, or theme, or as a team? Did I get it right the first time, really?

Alright, awesome. So obviously Erin’s super famous and been on like every show and won all kinds of awards and one of the last people that she [00:02:00] comes to. That’s just, she’s done her media circuit and now the last most important one she’s here appearing on. So super excited to hear from Erin, In Town Campground, all the great things that she’s accomplished and done.

And then Mark and Melanie, who I know from years ago. Mark and Melanie they invited me to stop by their campground when I was in Niagara Falls, and I tried to message them and then they never responded to me. That was like a year and a half ago. Don’t take it personally. Yeah, I don’t. I figured you guys were busy running the campground or something or whatever you were doing, everybody seems to do work here except for me. I just host the show every week, but super excited to have both of you guys here. They run a great campground in Canada. Gonna tell us a little bit about their work there and some of the awards and things that they’ve won. I don’t know. Where do we want to start here?

Does anybody have anything from our recurring guests or really just our special guests? Is there anything that you guys have that you feel is super important that we should talk about since we last got together?

If not, we can just jump right into the panelists and all that kind of stuff, but put me on the spot a little bit. Alright let’s let’s start with [00:03:00] Mark and Melanie since I’m in Canada and I can be biased. So Mark and Melanie, you want to tell us just like first, just give us like how everybody will go around the room and give a brief intro, right?

So Mark and Melanie and then Erin and then obviously Candice and Scott, Kevin and Drew, yourselves and your companies and then one, two from Care Camp. I probably will close, Gwynn, with you, with Care Camps, and when I say close we’ll give you as much time as possible, but I’d just rather not have a something I have to get to, so we can talk to Care Camps, about Care Camps as much as possible, but go ahead, Mark and Melanie.

Mark: Yeah, so we’re Mark and Melanie, we own Willow Lake Campground in Woodstock, Ontario. Which is southwest Ontario. We’ve owned the campground now six and a half years. This is our, just wrapped up our seventh summer. We we lived in Toronto, had fancy corporate jobs quit it all, sold our house, packed it all in, and moved to farm country to buy a campground.

Cause, like so many campers who say, Oh, owning a campground, that looks fun. And then you actually own one and you realize it’s still fun. But anyway, so we’ve yeah, we’ve been really active within the Ontario Private Campground Association here.[00:04:00] Our local community won a number of awards for some of our local efforts as well as just just some of the things we do for our campground.

No we love it. It’s a great gig. We just wrapped up, we closed for our seasonals. Yeah, Sunday, a couple days ago we’re getting this is in, in our nap time time of the year we’re happy to be here and awake. 

Melanie: And you’d alluded to some awards, Brian.

Thank you. We’re very proud of that. In our first year of operation in 2017, we won Best Small Campground in all of Ontario by the Ontario Private Campground Association. And then in 2020 and 2021 we were awarded Best Customer Service as voted by campers in Ontario. And then in 2022 our wee little camp store was awarded Best Camp Store in Ontario.

And we are literally 190 stores, so that was something. 

Mark: Yeah, so that’s a bit about us. 

Brian: Do you feel like you’ve set goals now that you’ve been the best in Ontario to be, like, take over Quebec and just expand, or?

Mark: Yeah, my French is still grade 4 French, so I might be able to order a sandwich, but that’d be about it no, [00:05:00] we’ve, occasionally talked about, what’s next, and is it another campground as well as this, but we are truly a mom and pop. We’ve got a couple of staff in the summer. We really like our gig, and this keeps us pretty busy as it is, 

awesome. Erin, you want to introduce us to In Town Campground, if I can make you bigger over here?

Erin: Sure, I’d be happy to. So my name is Erin Thiem. I own, with my husband, the In Town Campground, which is in Northern California. And we celebrated 10 years yesterday of having purchased the property. We built our campground from the ground up and 7 years. Similar time frame in terms of campground ownership.

We’re… Tenting, Glamping, and RVing, and we’re not closed for the season, we’re actually right in the thick of our Halloween fun, as we’ve got lots and lots and lots of decorations over at our campground. We will be open for RVs through the end of December. And yeah, previous to building and running a campground, I owned and ran a small motel, which I actually sold last year, so I have entered that chapter of hospitality.

But our [00:06:00] accolade of 2023 was that we won the USA Today 10 Best. Best RV Park Campground which is a popularity contest that the USA Today puts on. So that one was really exciting a huge shout out and pat on the back for all of us that work at the campground.

Brian: Awesome. I definitely want to dive more into what you’ve accomplished over the years and things like that.

Candice and Scott, you want to give a brief intro and then we’ll save the no offense guys best for last. It’s good. It’s right. They do better than all of us combined, probably. 

Candice: So I’m Candace McIvera, I’m the Vice President of Business Development for Staeless, which is an all in one platform for reservation software for campgrounds.

Let’s build it! No awards. 

Scott: Except for best showing at the expo, right? There’s some hey everybody, my name is Scott Neff and I’m the Director of Operations with the IVEE Management Group. We have a portfolio of properties, I think we’re up to 13 across the country that we operate [00:07:00] for ownership groups.

We also do some consulting and pre development services. We will be at ARVIC and hope to shake hands and give high fives to a lot of listeners and some folks that that are here on the panel today. 

Brian: Awesome. Gwynn you want to start? 

Gwynn: Sure.

Thank you. First of all, Brian, thank you so much for having me on today here and featuring Care Camps. I serve as the executive director for Care Camps as of the beginning of this year. As you alluded, I’m a little newer on the scene here. Care Camps is a national nonprofit. We really function as a charity here to fund.

Pediatric oncology camps or camps for children with cancer and their families across the United States and Canada. The campgrounds the RV and outdoor industry is super supportive. Of our [00:08:00] mission and our cause and Care Camps, even though I just came on board here this year, Care Camps has actually been around for 39 years and next year we’re going to be celebrating our 40th anniversary.

This is a tiny, mighty, and quite a force of an organization. That has impacted a lot of children and their families. So just so proud and honored to be a part of this and just really appreciate all the support from everyone that’s made this possible. 

Brian: For sure, like you guys have a very long history.

Like we’ve been, I think the first time I, and this is way before your time, right? Yeah. We came across Jerry Dale was the executive director, like 2010, 2011, something like that. And we went down and did a bunch of free videos for them at some of their camps in South Carolina. Yeah. And so yeah, as, as much as we can be involved, always, we will be, hopefully, I’ll look a little bit better than this whitewashed out,[00:09:00] 

whatever’s going on here, when I want to dive into, right? Because obviously I want to talk a lot about Care Camps at the end, no offense to everybody else, I want to talk a lot about you guys, too. Let’s dive in with Erin, right? Because I’ve seen, Erin we’ve seen you, obviously, winning some awards you’ve got a good relationship, I feel with Mark Kepp.

You’ve done some videos with him and some tours and things like that. You tell us how did Inn Town, get started? Let’s start there for those who have not heard of Inn Town. Sure. 

Erin: So we, as I said before, built our campground. My husband did an MBA program in, at the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

And so we lived in New Zealand for five years. During and after his MBA program, and we got to travel around the country quite a bit, and at that time, our kids were quite young, and so we stayed in what the Kiwis call the Holiday Park model, which is that tenting RV sites, and often would be cabins or motel units, not necessarily glamping tents, but we thought that would be a good model to bring back to Northern California with us, so when we took over the family business, the [00:10:00] small motel, we just kept looking for the right property to make that happen, having a good knowledge of our community and the destination and recreation and outdoor hospitality that was already happening.

And I do have a good relationship with Mark. I do get to have the credit that I was the one who encouraged him to create his Facebook group. For those who don’t aren’t members of the RV park owner and manager’s Facebook group, it’s a wealth of information. So he will happily Fact check me on that one.

That was my idea and here I am with it. But I think that the reason I probably have gotten in on some people’s awareness and in the news and hopefully a lot of customers is that I have a really strong visual storytelling background that I’ve brought to the campground from before we built it to during we building it to opening it to current today with lots of people and Halloween decorations, I do try to tell the story through an interesting visual way, which I think does maybe set me aside from some of the other campgrounds out there. So happy to answer any [00:11:00] questions if you have any. 

Brian: I would love to hear for all the people out there who watch the show, a lot of them are campground under a small mom and pop operations, right?

And just me coming from a marketing geeky background, I would love to hear your thoughts on why that branding is so critical. To set yourself apart, in some way, not necessarily the same way you did it, but in some way. 

Erin: Yeah, I think that we are constantly trying to give people realistic expectations about what they might experience at our campground.

We do have a beautiful forested campground with these amazing trees. And we’re Northern California, so wooded forest area. How does the branding set us aside? I don’t know, I think I’m constantly reminding people of what they’re going to experience. Because we built it, we have lots of little details that the customers appreciate.

It’s all designed specifically for the customer experience. We really wanted them to feel like they were in a state park with some of those amenities of a private campground. And having had the clean slate, it did help with that vision and implementation of creating the [00:12:00] campground. I don’t really know if that’s necessarily the answer to branding.

Brian: Yeah, let me clarify a little bit because you were talking about the storytelling that you do and that’s where I was going with tell your unique, what your traits brought and how you feel like that helped in Town Campground succeed. 

Erin: Sure. So previous to opening the campground, I did a local blog for our other business, which and so I had a really strong, already existing wheelhouse of creating content for our community and things to do and getting people excited about it.

What’s happening in our area, and so I brought that to the campground when I, we, before we opened it, during building it, and then after, so I think that I think that’s probably something that has been unique, I don’t know, there’s lots of people out there that help share what’s happening in their campground and their communities but that is something that I have been passionate about for the last decade plus, so does that answer the question?

Brian: I think so. I guess maybe I’m just asking the wrong question, right? I think I just feel like, and maybe it’s just because I’m in the [00:13:00] industry and I look at so many things every day. And I think that my perception is that Erin is a little bit more visible than some of the other campground owners out there, which is a compliment.

Thank you. So I’m just wondering if there’s perhaps some guidance that maybe you could give other owners on not necessarily, again, not taking the same path you do, because not everybody’s comfortable on camera or doing all the things right, but is there something they can do that? 

Erin: I think if you can give your customers an opportunity to visualize themselves at your campground, that’s a great tool.

So whether or not that’s at their specific sites or on the grounds or in the community or things to do, so that they can be like, Oh, I want to be there. Oh, I want to do that. Oh, I want to have that experience and give them a little FOMO to get them to motivate to book. 

Brian: Awesome. Alright I definitely want to talk to you more.

Is there anything I’m missing that I want to talk about in town campground about? Future plans. Let’s talk about that briefly, right? For us who follow you in the industry, right? You’ve done a lot. You’ve accomplished a lot. Is [00:14:00] there what’s in the future for Inn Town? Is there upgrades? Are you going to start 19 Inn Town campgrounds?

Erin: No. 

Brian: That was a quick no. 

Erin: I don’t know. We have… Three more years of kids at home and then we’re like, what’s next? Travel the world, explore. But we, we’re constantly changing existing units within our campground. We can’t expand out within our footprint because we are landlocked of other places, businesses around us.

But we have converted tent sites into glamping tents. We did add a yurt this year, which is the first time. There are some plans for some additional glamping tents for next year or so. We are, we’re constantly tweaking things and listening to the customers in terms of what’s, what they’re looking for.

Brian: I think that’s always the best path, right? Like I’m sure like Mark and Melanie, you can speak to that, right? As you have built up Willow Lake. So same kind of, let’s take the same brief path with you, right? Tell us a little bit about Willow Lake and how you guys got started. 

Mark: Yeah, I think you talk about brand and brand.

[00:15:00] Going back, this park had been around for actually almost 100 years. We went back to, when we bought the campground, we really didn’t get a lot of records or information. We went not only to the local museum, but the the county archives. And the earliest record we’ve got of this property being a day use picnic park was around 1928, where people would come for their day picnics, do all that.

And so this park, It was famous for being, a campground, more, tenting or the old pop up trailers but a day park up until sort of the mid 90s. When we bought it, we actually had to shift the vision or the view of a lot of the locals as well as campers about Willow Lake because, quite honestly, the folks who owned it before us had it for 47 years, they were in their 80s.

They’re pretty checked out, lovely people but thank God everything, was physically in good shape, so the septic, the well, all that, but, the place was a ghost town. Yeah, so when we bought it again, we really had to do a lot of work above ground, lots of cans of paint but underground was good but people had thought Willow Lake had gone out of business, [00:16:00] and it never did at any point.

That actually worked in our favor. We were able to say, hey, we’re Mark and Melanie, we’re here. And we’re gonna bring Willow Lake back to life and really what we did, because we were campers before and we stole from a lot of great parks we’ve been to and we’re like, oh yeah, we like that part of the park.

We like that feature they do. We know that service and customer service is always number one. But in the early days, really, our involvement in the community and getting out there. And saying, Hey, we’re Willow Lake now. 

Melanie: And also how can we support you? 

 What can we do to support you in the community?

And that was really well received and started the ball rolling. 

Mark: And really, from a branding perspective, we became the brand. The name Little Lake Campground had been there for a hundred years, but now we needed to say, differentiate ourselves currently from what it had been historically.

So above our front door, it’s Mark and Melanie welcomes you. We are, the owners, the hosts, the, the people who repair the septic, we do everything. And now when people come up, it’s [00:17:00] great because we have a couple little videos on our website of drive arounds and some some sort of marketing things that local tourism offices have done for us.

So people arrive and they’re like, Hey, you’re Mark, you’re Melanie. It’s actually you guys. 

Melanie: Yeah. Yeah, it’s one of us greeting them when they check in the camp store. And yeah, it’s that recognition of, oh, wow, there really are the people that they say are behind the business. All of these are in front of the business and they’re standing in front of me right now.

Mark: Yeah. And and that really, our first year was really truly about bringing people to the park. Second year was about bringing new people and re inviting those that came that first year. And then and then there was something about COVID for a couple of years. So it was just, do your best to survive.

But we really were very fortunate because we have such a loyal group of customers. and guests that come in each year. But even still surprising to us as we ran the numbers for this summer and more than 50 percent of our campers are still net new to the park and have never been before. So each year we continue to have this great base of returning [00:18:00] campers.

Again, the work with the community, we do some local, radio advertising, we do some sponsorship, we work with a number of different charities. And that just helps, new people go, Hey, we should really check out this park. Yeah every year is something new.

It’s fun and exciting. 

Brian: So tell us what do you guys have planned for the future? I know you touched on it briefly, but What will it look like in, in five years? Do you know, or is it ever evolving, or? 

Melanie: We’ve done a lot to this point. One of the things that we committed to was… Introducing something new to the park each year and having that represented on our website.

And so the first year, as Mark alluded to, was a lot of painting. It was putting in a playground where we’re located is the dairy capital of. Canada. So our recreation hall, we had it painted like a cow, those sorts of things. And in the years we’ve added a mini putt, doubled the size of our playground.

We introduced a food truck because we weren’t busy enough. We do the, the events like the Christmas in July, the Halloween in [00:19:00] August. We do superheroes for our Labor Day. We do crafts. I don’t know. 

Mark: Yeah, we’re landlocked, so we really can’t develop any more land. But I think it’s about, taking a look at what we’ve done as well, and either improving on that, year over year or cutting it out, because we looked at, one of our events this summer, and it really didn’t get the the excitement we anticipated, even after five or six years of doing it maybe it’s about eliminating things now and adding absolutely new things to, just to reinvigorate the the program, 

Brian: I’m curious, Scott, from your side, at a management group, you manage, I think, 13 parks, properties now. Is there a different train of thought, do you feel like, coming from a management group or a larger ownership group, coming into making some of these adjustments that Erin and Mark and Melanie are talking about the property?

Or is it the same process? Is it all about guest experience and ROI and performs best for your type of camper? 

Scott: A lot of what I heard Mark and Melanie describe are a journey that we help a lot of [00:20:00] ownership groups take and I think it’s a great question and I love the approach that they take because that’s what we always recommend is, if you’re watching your business and you’re seeing what’s growing and what’s naturally fading that’s your biggest tell right there, is, do, when you look at your playground at peak times, do you have enough spots for the kids and then do you have enough seating area for the parents, and if you notice your playground growing, what are the ripples on that, right?

Maybe we need to intentionally put a summer camp on the books, maybe that will drive some revenue to the park and give some intentionality behind some things, because people love events And then, also to that point of Why take on the expense if it’s not going to yield a great guest experience?

And then, also, we all have limited bandwidths and with limited budgets, so it would be better to focus the energy and the money into be great.[00:21:00] 

It’s better to be decent at a really long list, right? So I’ve really loved the approach that I’ve heard Mark and Melanie take and also how fortunate that they’ve gotten to spend their time above ground, right? Because that’s another thing that we hear too is you get all these great plans, and then you have that, that helped Inspector come and look below the ground and what a great thing to be able to keep your focus where it should be, which is on the employee and the guest experience. Yeah, I applaud their mentality and approach 

Mark: there. And I think if I can just add on to what Scott said too, and we’re not ashamed to say we’re a business.

We’ll have campers sometimes say, and usually it’s the seasonals, let’s be honest. And they’re like, oh, you should do this and you should do this. And I say that doesn’t make us money. And we’re still a business. And, I think people a lot of times look at, recreational operations as, almost like a city run park.

You can just, they’re fun, they’re free, you can come and go as you want. But at the end of the day, we’re a business and we’re not out to get rich and famous. If we want to do that, we would have stayed in our corporate [00:22:00] jobs. But by saying to people, hey, listen, it’s got to have a return for us to be able to invest the money into putting in XYZ sort of thing.

Just like scott says. 

Melanie: And it gets well received, like a 

perfect example, going off the rails here, but it’s firewood. We don’t hide the fact that firewood is a revenue stream for us and it helps keep our rates at a certain level. And I found that when we explain that to people.

They go, ah, I get it. I understand now. So again, to Mark’s point of view, we’re a business, 

Gwynn: 

 

Because people always try and sneak in firewood, and they’re like, oh, I thought it was just because of the emerald ash borer. And I’m like, no it’s a business. And I say, but then I…

Brian: Wait a minute. I thought it was just because of the thing that’s destroying all the trees, so it was fine? 

Mark: No, it’s a business. It’s a business, Brian. And I say to people, I’m saying, so do you take your own fries into McDonald’s? And they’re like no. And I say that’s why you don’t bring firewood into a campground.

It’s part of our business. 

Brian: That’s yeah, definitely good. Candice, do you have anything that you can shed on? You [00:23:00] work with a lot of, obviously, resorts and resetting Staylist. 

Candice: Yeah, I’m sorry, the audio is breaking in and out a little bit. Were you saying, did I have any insights or anything?

Brian: Anything you want to add to the conversation that we’re having about it? Yeah. You can choose and figure out the ROI and stuff like that. 

Candice: Yeah, so when it comes to the ROI, a lot of our clients, very similar to the way that you guys streamlined the processing. A lot of.

What you’re stating is really like queen of sale items. Like you said, it’s a business at the end of the day. It’s all about experience and branding and really bringing those people to the threshold. But I think, no, I think the way that you guys are operating, the way that you’re speaking, and especially to what Scott said, I commend both sides of those parks because that’s a really hard balance to teeter in between.

But yeah, that’s about it. 

Brian: Is there an insider reservation system like Stateless, with all the property management and all the data that’s collected about the guests and things like that? Are there ways that information or those analytics can help inform some of these decisions so they don’t struggle to figure out and do their own studies and, right?

Candice: Yeah, so absolutely. Through any of the reservation systems that you’re really using out [00:24:00] there I can speak to ours specifically, but you’re really going to have a lot of return on investment, really knowing how to procure items being able to make calculated decisions, especially around seasonality.

Those are really key factors into creating those revenue streams. So reporting, I think, has been a key feature for any software that anyone’s using in order to make calculated decisions. So it just seems like with these different revenue streams, we’re able to really understand, this is something that really draws people in.

Even down to as simple as putting out decorations. Those type of things really do get me to spend more. So those investments, though, may seem ancillary to certain visitors that are coming through. I definitely see it from a technology perspective. You’re able to really use those reportings to say, Hey, last year I didn’t put up declarations during October, and my occupancy level was at X, and then this year I did, and it’s at Y.

And I think that those are really important measurements that even though they may seem very ancillary, when it comes down to the return on investment, you’re very quickly and easily able to adapt to that so long as you do have those reports in [00:25:00] front of you. 

Brian: I think this is a larger conversation I’d like to briefly throw out to the group and just, and all of you, whoever wants to weigh in on it, but for the people watching this who are looking at this maybe with a blank stare saying I run a campground, I don’t have time to look at reports and analytics and data, are you crazy?

What, obviously, the reports do shortcut it, and wow, that is really right on my,

I tried to, I thought about installing the webcam software, but I was like, no, maybe my computer will crash and then there won’t be a show, so I decided not to. But for the people here who are I look like an angel or something. I can’t stop talking about it. Which I am for sure not, right? I’m definitely not.

So anyway, for the people here who like, you need to make those decisions, right? And maybe you don’t have the time to dig into the data or maybe don’t. Understand where to start in the whole process. Can you guys help them shed some light on, like, how do I, because you’re all seasoned park owners, right?

Erin and Mark and Melanie[00:26:00] and Scott, who have obviously a lot of experience, Cam has a lot of experience. Where do I start? What do I, how do I analyze this stuff? Or do I just give up and give it all to Care Camps?

Scott: I’d be happy to start that off by saying, I love the question you posed, Candice, and I think that the property management system can make all the difference in the world, and I think there’s a difference between that. Thank you. Somebody, maybe like Mark and Melanie, that are owning and operating the campground, because in their situation, if their general manager said to them, hey, I want to increase kid programming, and we want to really make this a big event.

All they have to, all Mark and Mary have to do is walk out of their office and look and see if people are coming to these events. But the rest of the world, the data will drive the decision. And so as tedious as it can be to say, okay, I had… 12 spots registered. I had another four walk up and my max was 20.

So I’m hitting the [00:27:00] 16. So I’m nearly at capacity on every activity. That’s how you make the case on making the business decision, particularly if the ownership is not there and they’re on site. And I think that is the case for a lot of properties, is that you might have the park manager and then the owner might be off site.

And it’s not, you want to be able to pass over data and say, this is how I’m making this informed decision. It makes all the difference in the world. We’re doing we’ve brought a revenue manager onto our team, and it’s a very key strategic role for us, and we all know that the space is becoming more adept and more comfortable with the idea of revenue management and variable pricing and adapting your pricing to be based on the demand that you’re getting.

But, it is still funny within the operator mindset, we have this idea that even though we might be adjusting our prices, the competitors might not be adjusting theirs, right? Oh, they’re flat. They’re always flat. They never change their prices. Maybe once a year. We’re doing call [00:28:00] arounds now, and doing that weekly, and we’re getting that kickback from managers to say, but they never change their rates.

How do you know they’re never changing their rates if you don’t have data saying their rates are never changing? Unless we look at a data sheet saying… Week after week after week, we’ve got the same rates. That’s when we can make the case. They’re staying flat. So I think that these data drives decisions, and they help you and especially right now this is real heavy top of mind for me because we are in the thick of budget season, right?

Brian: How do we make data? I don’t mean to interrupt you, but I’m just curious. Like, how do we make data? Because I agree with you, right? But a lot of that a lot of individual park owners and even larger park owners will look at it and be like, What? No. I’m going home to watch Netflix. I’ve been working all day and getting yelled at by campers or whatever else, right?

So how do we make that experience of getting the data or understanding the data easier when they don’t have a data analyst like IVEE does? 

Scott: Yeah, I’ll give a quick answer and then pass it over, but I think the easy answer is that [00:29:00] you automate as much of it as you possibly can. You really rely on your systems and on the tools.

If the registration for an activity can happen online where the guest does that registration themselves and the GM’s just verifying a number, you’ve made it a whole lot easier on yourself. And And even if it is, I think that there are times where where an organization might not have an analyst like, like Ivy does, but I still think there’s value in collecting the information because as we budget for March right now, it’s hard to look back and remember how March played out.

We’re, you’re having to look back at your system and your tools and your notes and However it can easily, accurately be captured by the, by the property, by the manager, I think it’s worth it. 

Brian: Alright, do we agree with this, Erin, Mark, Melanie, whichever you guys..

Erin: Want to add something to that, but more, less in the data and more in the seasonality, because I do [00:30:00] recognize as your campground is closing, my campground is not closed, but it’s ramping down.

We did a data analysis of credit card processing this week, and we’re like, oh, our least performing, in terms of occupant month, was our highest performing future bookings month. And if I were talking to campground owners who are like, I don’t have the time… I’d be like, you might take a minute when you have a second and map out your calendar in a 12 month window and be like, okay, actually in March, I have to do a bunch of marketing.

That’s when everyone is booking, or at least in California, when we get these warm spring breezes and that while I am busy in October, the people who made these October plans, many of them actually made them a year ago. I think

That’s a good data to keep in mind in terms of when are the people booking. When do you need to be mindful of those things and how can you plan, how can you thank your future self for those, for that work? 

Mark: And I think also though too, it’s important to[00:31:00] you can get overwhelmed by numbers and data.

Like our system gives us great metrics and we can look at all the reports. And if you start printing off every report, you’re going to have a stroke. You know what you need to say, okay not that we want to make more money or be more profitable. You need to say, okay, we want to be more profitable in the camp store.

Or we want to be more profitable in the food truck. Now let’s take a look at the data for that and, take a bite of that elephant, one bite at a time sort of thing, because otherwise you just, it can be too much. And you know what, I think that and Melanie’s done a great job.

I think that’s how we ended up, being so successful with our store is, okay, what’s selling let’s take a look at all the items. Let’s, support local, but let’s focus on that. And then. Another day, we’ll look at, okay, what should our rates be? And another day, it’s going to be, what other revenue streams can we bring in?

We’ll one bite at a time. 

Brian: And the reason we do this thoughtfully and carefully is so that we have more margins to give to Care Camps, right?

When? Let’s talk about Care Camps. 

Gwynn: Care Camps you all, some of you[00:32:00] may know hopefully know about CARE Camps and there might be some people on here that might not have heard of CARE Camps, so I just, again, want to just shout out that we are a national nonprofit organization.

We essentially, function as a charity, as a foundation to fund camps for children with cancer and their families. Both across the United States and Canada here. So we’ve got a big mission. We wake up every single morning here, our tiny and mighty team to really put energy into fundraising so that we can give the money.

To these camps here. We are not a camp ourselves. Some people get us confused that we’re a camp and we’re actually a national non profit here that we fundraise. That’s probably .

Brian: The first time I heard of Care Camps. I thought like you were camps at KOA Campground. 

Gwynn: [00:33:00] That’s right. That’s right. KOA, we definitely have a wonderful legacy and we actually exist here and it, Care Camp started from a small group of very caring KOA campground owners that came together and pulled, started fundraising to support the campgrounds.

Children’s Cancer Camps in their area here, so this was really a grassroots type of momentum that started from a few KOA campground owners that then got the attention of the the corporate office here, and for a time, Care Camps actually was under the umbrella of KOA corporate KOA Inc. And then grew, kept expanding to the point where it was decided for it to become its own nonprofit entity so that, again, we could generate more funding, and [00:34:00] have even a broader outreach in the outdoor industry.

Here, so that’s sometimes you there’s still some old branding out as KOA Care Camps But we’re a standalone again non profit here Care Camps when I first, you know was looking at Care Camps and Entertaining, you know throwing my hat in the ring for this job. I too thought Care Camps was a camp.

So We’ve been really working on the, our branding too, here to make it clear that, again, we’re a national charity and a national that works as a foundation.

Candice: You’re on mute.

Brian, I think you’re, I think it’s Mike or Brian’s mic might be out.

Gwynn: I’ll, yeah, I’ll keep going. , I just remember [00:35:00] pause here and just, give us, take a breath here for a moment. I’ve got lots to say for sure. Just to give you a little bit of our impact here. And. And how first of all, how we operate, we we are, have a strategic alliance with the Children’s Oncology Camping Association.

And this is a national organization here that, are you back on, Brian? 

Brian: Yeah, I had myself muted because YouTube videos, what I was saying. Oh, okay. 

Gwynn: Thank you. Okay. 

Brian: You’re just like crying at me because I’m trying to share a YouTube video. If you have no idea how frustrated this makes me, it’s like a 4, 000 computer and it can’t run a Windows browser.

Gwynn: That’s okay. That’s okay. I was just talking about, how we serve and how we function here. We the camps that we fund are all members of the Children’s Oncology Camping Association. Their acronym is Coca. [00:36:00] And the reason why we focus our funding primarily and solely with these pediatric oncology camps is because they’re all involved in a.

Quality Assurance Program. They’re all, we know really focused on professional education and development. We know that our money the money that is given to us is going to quality camps. And that’s a big deal here. I’m a trained healthcare professional myself and, focusing on quality is really important.

We’re really proud to, to be a really a, We have this sister and brother type of relationship with COCA here. And then the, so the camps that we fund this year in particular, we funded over 120 camps. And, These camps, offer truly a variety of programs and services, [00:37:00] everything from having an outdoor, overnight residential program there they have family retreats, sibling camps.

Here and many are branching out and doing virtual camps or camp in a box where camp can show up at a child’s home, they can’t get to the outdoors here. And some of the camps also offer in hospital programs and camps for kids that are in the hospital. And then even some, Offer bereavement or grief camps for those for children for families whose children have gone.

So there’s they do multiple types of programs and services here. And when we tally up Really, the impact, you talk about analytics here we do keep track and with the camps, and again, this is data that we get from the camps, this last year, there were over 12, 000 [00:38:00] children that attended these camps, there were almost 9, 000 families that were, attended these camps actually, there was the sibling, over 9, 000 siblings attended these camps, over 6, 000 parents, and then there’s the medical volunteers here, and over 12, 000 medical volunteers were part of these camps, and yes, we’re focused, of course, on the children.

But cancer is not, it doesn’t just impact the child. It impacts, their brothers and sisters and their families and their grandparents and all the health care professionals and volunteers that are a part of this experience too. So when we tally up the number of lives that are impacted here, it’s close to 40, 000 just in one year.

The cool thing is here, having gone to some of these camps here myself and visited with them, [00:39:00] these kids and these families come back year after year. They form community and they don’t have to explain, who they are and what they look like or. Anything about their illness that is just a natural community and so the children keep coming back and Repeatedly many of them go on to become counselors.

There’s one camp I know I think 80 percent of the counselors that they had at that camp were former campers of kids Who had cancer? And then many of them go on to become healthcare professionals. There was a woman that I met, a young woman that I met at a camp here, that she was serving as a nurse volunteer for that week.

She had been going, she was probably in her mid twenties or so. She had been going, started going to that camp when, [00:40:00] as a child, she went on to become a camp, a counselor, then went to nursing school. She now works on the same unit that she was being treated at the same hospital. And now she works as serves as a volunteer during the summer at this camp.

And not only… The she volunteer, her mother volunteers, her two sisters volunteer, and one of her sisters is a counselor, they both attended the sibling camp. And so what we talk about really is, this investment, what we’re about is investing in these children’s lives. And it’s really the gift that keeps on giving here.

So that’s a bit of a snapshot here, a long winded snapshot of, 

what we’re about. Do we have the appetite here to maybe play, try to play this video, and if it crashes we can just say we had a good show, or? 

I’d be honored to list it with the caveat, too, [00:41:00] that if it does crash, the video is on our home page here, carecamps.

org. So I do want to you can just, if it does crash, you can go as two minute video.

Brian: It’s going to crash the whole show if it does, because it’ll kick me out and then we’ll just end the whole show, which is probably we have great guests in perspective, but so is everybody on board with this? Do we want to try this?

We’re going to try to show this video, and then I think at the end, when the video’s done here, I’d love to have a conversation about, we have a diverse group of people on the show, so I’m going to give you time to think about it, Gwynn, for a few minutes. Just lay out, like, how do management companies get involved if they want?

How do ownership groups of larger properties get involved? How do individual product owners? How do suppliers, like a marketing company or a stay list, right? Thank you. And just because I feel like there’s a large portion of our audience too, and that would give a good sample size for everybody to understand.

All right, I’m going to try to play. You guys tell me, I think you should be able to hear this if I unmute it on YouTube.[00:42:00] 

Announcer: My first name is Ian, and I’ve 

been diagnosed with desmoplastic small round cell 

tumor. My name is ben, and I was diagnosed with leukemia. My name is Abby, and I was diagnosed with cancer when I was six years old.

There’s so many kids who are sad because of their treatments, and this camp helps them forget. It helps everyone in the family forget for a little while, and it’s really nice. It’s just… A vacation from 

everything bad. Camp has helped me be the amazing girl I am now because it’s helped me understand more about my cancer and more about other people’s cancer.

Camp has helped me deal with my cancer because it’s like a treatment, but it’s not medicine. It’s like happiness medicine. [00:43:00] 

I think that camp should be a prescribed part of the treatment plan for every child with cancer and for their families.

Being outdoors and being with other kids that get it and being with parents that get it and not having to question their meds or why their hair is gone or why… They are tired easily or why it’s hard to walk. The word I kept coming up with is camp magic. So there’s nothing to describe it until you experience it, but there’s so much love and there’s something indescribable and untouchable that you can’t see until you witness.

I’m so thankful that there are people that give because it, it lightens and brightens their soul. Just so thankful. Thank you for that part of you who just wants to give. We need it so badly. Any person who has donated to these [00:44:00] camps, you’re true angels. You have given my, myself and my son. A whole different perspective and a different way to, to look at what we’ve gone through.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you. We would not have been able to do this without your support. And it has been a breath of fresh air and such a break from our daily life of struggle to be here.

Brian: We can talk now if.. 

Scott: After I get rid of that frog in my throat, oh man, that was great. 

Brian: Yeah, I think for us I’ll just start off as soon as I can stop this sharing, I will. My mouse literally isn’t moving, but I think for us we’ve, again, we’ve been a long time as long as we can, supporter of care camps, right?

And surely as you reflect back on my 15 years in the industry or however long it’s been, it feels like it gets longer somehow every year, I don’t know how. [00:45:00] But… Like I feel like there’s probably more that we could always do as a company or as an organization, but, and certainly we’ll have those conversations with Gwynn and Erica and all the people who have come before them, but I’d love to hear your thoughts on that question, Gwynn, and then obviously if anybody else wants to hear it.

Gwynn: Thank you. Thank you for showing that video. I, that, I think It really encapsulates, who we are and why we are, and, really what the how we can help here. And I, honestly, I was really intrigued with this whole conversation about elevating. The guest experience and community building.

Those were two things that I heard from your discussion here with each other and I, what we’re seeing and what we’re hearing too is people want to be a part of the greater good, as we call it, a greater [00:46:00] cause and to be affiliated with this cause here yeah. It really does get people’s attention.

We had a campground recently tell us the reason why they actually bought the campground or came in. This was actually a KOA franchisee that, that decided to, to come into that was because of the support for Care Camps, that they were a part of something bigger and greater. And that’s what we also, the campers and the outdoor industry here, we have a common theme together.

We’re all about here bringing the healing power of the outdoors and community to people here. We just happen to encapsulate it and focus it more. On these special children and their very special families and that really have the need here. So [00:47:00] this whole thing of social responsibility and really all galvanizing together for the greater good, I think is really important.

Brian: Let me talk a little bit about question, but right before the video, right? Because we’ve got a large segment of representation of different types of the industry here, right? Stela, speak to Insider Perks, speak to whatever, right? But the type of people they represent, generally speaking, what is the best way for someone to get involved here?

Because there’s got to be a middle ground of an opt in, right? Because if it was me, that’s a good way to filter the people you don’t want camping at your campground. There’s a 2 forced donation if you stay here. Oh, you don’t want to do that? No, you’re not camping, right? That would weed out the people who would probably be likely to leave you a bad review or be unhappy, right?

The grumpy ones. But anyway, your thoughts. 

Gwynn: I think, this is not anything you have to do more of. It really is taking a look at what you’re already doing. Some of the events that you’re already doing at your sites [00:48:00] here. And just incorporating… A bit of a fundraiser for care camps here.

Brian: Maybe that’s a good place to start, right? Because you’ve got these good templates on your website that you’ve seen that you’re putting together. And I think maybe if you’re from an outside perspective, you’ve never heard of care camps before, maybe this is your first exposure to it.

There’s a thought of okay the only thing I can really do here is donate cash from my campground. But there are literally 400 different ways beyond that, that you can support care camps through what you’re talking about. So 

Gwynn: I think maybe we should dive a what was interesting too, you a campground owner tell me that they’re actually using, what they do for their firewood sales is that they actually have a sign, next to their firewood sales that, a certain percentage goes to support care camps.

And, and more people buy firewood because, they really are, they’re joining in for something greater and I think that’s something [00:49:00] I know for me when I’m looking at purchasing something and I see it supporting a greater cause, I pay attention to that more. And I think more and more people are doing that.

Brian: Yeah, I agree with you. Like we worked he’s normally the regular guest on the show, Nate at KCN Campgrounds is a big supporter of you guys. Through his six KOAs that group owns, and we worked with him earlier this year to come up with really creative ways, like he’s doing ice cream socials and other things.

And we, and one of the ways we did it is we put QR codes on everything we gave him. We generated custom kind of dynamic QR codes for him to put that people can just scan and it goes right to a give page and they can just choose two, five, ten, whatever they want. Even as a recurring subscription, they can set it up.

So it’s just as hands off as possible for people to just be supporters, whatever they can do. But not just the owner, right? It’s not, it’s everybody. 

Gwynn: Yeah, and I think that’s a really important point, too, here is many, particularly many of the, what you might call as the long term campers here [00:50:00] they love getting involved in this.

I know we’ve got there’s one person that calls us up on a regular basis who’s a long term camper at a campground, and he’s galvanized the whole campground community to do fundraisers, and they just They make up things. They just make up fun things together. And again, it’s this community building activity and also just, getting, being a member of your respective communities here, the community loves to get involved.

I do think it’s a wonderful way of just community building here and also just. Providing elevating the guest experience, like you said.

Brian: I think that’s the important part is it’s a win for everybody, if you look at it from an activities event standpoint, right? It’s not like certainly you should put, or you should, you could put a jar out and collect money at the desk and then call it a day.

You could donate and write a check once a year to Care Camps and call it a day, and obviously we’re all very thankful [00:51:00] for a dollar, five dollars, whatever it is, right? But there are ways that you can take that beyond, like we’re talking about the guest experience, and use some of those templates and create an ice cream social or other activities that maybe you would have already had before, maybe you wouldn’t have had before, but that then you can broadcast to your website and say oh look we have an ice cream social, yes it benefits camp camps, but look, this is one more reason for you to stay with us in general, outside of that, right?

So I think it ends up being, in some cases, a win, and with the templates, even gives you an easier path as an individual owner. To create some of these things without a bigger thought process around. 

Gwynn: And even, like you said, just the simple things of just putting..

Brian: I think everybody should have a gate at the exit of their campground that doesn’t open unless you put 5 in it. 

Gwynn: I love that. There was actually a campground owner that told me about, they actually hang umbrellas from their ceiling in the, Their office, people come in and so for loose change, they throw them up, they throw the loose change up into the umbrellas to [00:52:00] collect for care camps.

And, just what a fun, creative way of doing that. And we are just so grateful for every. Penny and nickel and diamond and dollar here that everyone, contributes and we’re community we’re building community and we’re part of community and the outdoor Community then just again We’re so proud and honored to be a part of that and just all the support that everyone gives us

Brian: I want to give everybody else a chance to weigh in on if there’s anything you guys want to say about camp camps

But I wanna spend the last couple minutes and just briefly talk about that if you want, if you have any questions for Gwynn?

Gwynn: I don’t 

Candice: currently, because she did such a good job covering everything. She was pretty thorough. That’s fair. Yeah. It was like just a very well crafted, and I think I have a different perspective. Like I had an idea of what the program was, but I did not realize the intensity or the levels or the touch.

So I think a lot of what your program is doing is a [00:53:00] lot like. What we’re doing at campgrounds, even on a software level, at a group level, marketing agency, and at the park level, which is creating memories for people that are everlasting. And I think that’s, I think that’s what resonates the most with me if you were, if I was looking at it from your story point of view.

Gwynn: Thank you. Thank you. 

Brian: Is it feasible, and I’m just going to put you on the spot here, Candice, sorry, but is it feasible to have a checkbox at the reservation to donate to care? Yep. 

Candice: It could be. On any, honestly, on any PMS..

Brian: Yeah, that’s what I’m just technologically speaking, I’m asking.

Candice: Technologically? Yeah. That’s, yeah, that’s a simple, that’s just a form fill in there. It would just have to, yeah. The answer is yes. Sure. 

Brian: Yeah. Wait, I have this follow up mission after the show. 

Scott: Yeah. Go ahead, Scott. I would love to connect with you, Gwynn, because I, I’m seeing ways to, to connect to this also and the question that I, you watch the video and you feel so connected to the story and to, to the emotion and it makes you want to be a part of it.

And what I’m brainstorming right now, and maybe something that you all have already [00:54:00] solved for is how do you connect the dots so that when I. I feel connected to, either knowing what the annual goal was, or knowing the kid that I helped, or this or that, I’m sure that you all have things in place already to…

That’s actually not a bad idea. Yeah, because I think that you want to… Because I think the closer that the person contributing can feel to the result, to the impact… Then the more likely they are to do it, and and that’s what I’m asking myself right now is, we’ve got 13 campgrounds across the nation, how do we host one of these, how do I get closer to the action, and to what Candice was just answering, is there a way even that, even if you’re not in that immediacy, if you don’t have that immediacy, how do you get closer to the action?

How do you manufacture it so that you can feel connected to the mission at the time that you’re making your reservation and you donate that 3 to care camps.

Gwynn: This is, I think, and what I appreciated earlier, the conversation [00:55:00] around the visuals and the storytelling. And this is what we want to be doing more of, is sharing the stories.

And this year, the camps that we funded, they’re sharing with us what we’re calling the full circle stories here, just like the woman that, that young woman I described and how, their camp experience. How it came around full circle, that they’re back at the camp and serving it in different ways.

So we would absolutely welcome, the opportunity and the help to help us do that more, because these stories are so powerful here. And I got to tell you. There’s just some days where, like we all have, we get overwhelmed and, we’re doing all this administrative stuff. And I really do.

I just, I sit back and I listened to that. I just watched that video for 2 minutes and it just level sets me here. And and I’ll tell you, president and CEO of a major RV business here. Who’s 1 of [00:56:00] our top tier donors said that watching that video here. That was the light switch. That’s when it went off here.

How can we not support this? And it’s been a top supporter of us because of that one video. 

Brian: I will tell you that I think, from my perspective, having actually been to the camps, filmed the early first video that I think the Cure Camps ever had. It was actually shown at a convention back in 2013 or 14.

Jim Rajesh that’s obviously a way different experience, understanding what the camps are, like, being there, right? Asking the kids to talk on camera, doing interviews with them, and things like that. But I think what I’ve learned, and maybe this is a consequence, in a negative way, of being there, doing that, so many years ago, is that I sit here with the ScotNaps and the Candaces and everybody else, right?

Who maybe it shocks me that they don’t all know about care camps as much as I do. And so I think this is probably something that I have way more bandwidth to support from an attention level than I do right now. And I [00:57:00] just assume, in probably a wrong, incorrect way, that everybody knows this.

And then you go to KOA Convention and there’s that huge at the end of the final night celebration there’s the auctioneer, and there’s the people who get up and tell their story, and it’s like a huge massive, you don’t see it at any other convention. And I think it’s just we lose sight of how much more awareness there can be.

Gwynn: Thank you for bringing that up, Brian, because really, of course, we’re about, fundraising. And equally as important here is helping us get the word out.

Brian: And I’m going to say we’re over, so if anybody needs to jump, no hard feelings. 

Candice: I’m so sorry, so nice to meet you guys. Bye, y’all. 

Gwynn: Thank you, Candice. 

Candice: Absolutely, nice to meet you. 

Brian: Go ahead, please, Gwynn. 

Gwynn: It’s it just to put an exclamation on what you’re talking about is. We need to get the word out more.

We want to get the word out more. And, again, we’re a tiny, mighty team and organization here[00:58:00] and we just appreciate all the extra help and support in that way, both from funding, just building awareness. As soon as people start, hearing about us and seeing a little bit of the impact here, people want to know more and then how can we can get involved.

And again on our website carecamps. org here, we do have, a specific fundraising toolkit and just different little activities. We’ve also got marketing materials here that we’re happy to provide, the design for and and we’re continuing to expand that, but, ultimately I’ll tell you.

If you ask me, what I’d like to see in the future here is, it’s really about that camp, going to camp is a part of every child’s medical treatment here in some way, and we want to help these camps innovate. The camp [00:59:00] experience, so that more kids have this opportunity for community, for the outdoors.

If they can’t be in the outdoors here, at least to be in community with others that are going through the same thing with them. And that’s really, these virtual camps, COVID, had its curse and it also had its gifts here and the camps really started innovating during COVID and offering virtual camps.

And are continuing to do that because it really serves a great need. We’re really looking into not only what we do is provide two different grant opportunities, a grant to cover the operating cost, and then also another grant for capital improvement, like different equipment or construction things that, that need to happen.

And, we’d love to have a third tier here in helping them innovate. And expand their programs and services, and that’s where we [01:00:00] really, we need the extra funding, coming to us so we can provide that to the camps. 

Brian: Yeah, and how you’re going to have the Care Camps thing is usually the number they put up on the big digital billboard is well over a million dollars at the end of that KOA auction and they have that finalized celebration.

So that’s a big chunk, but again, I feel just from my perspective, selfishly for a second, right? We need to sit down with you and Erica at the KOA convention. I had a good conversation with Erica last year. I’ve talked to Mark Lemoine about it many times. And obviously on and off throughout the years.

But from our perspective take a look at Modern Campground. I’m sitting here imagining for one, every piece of unsold inventory should probably, in some way, touch Care Camps at some point, right? If we’re not selling an advertiser on a newsletter, and we have empty space, let’s put a Care Camps banner there.

If we’re giving our daily newsletter or our YouTube… Videos that we’re announcing and there’s no sponsor. Why doesn’t it say Care cans? Thank you. Those kinds of things, right? Know for the show, why doesn’t it say care cans like we are donating to the [01:01:00] auction and, we’ll, I think I have a call with Erica tomorrow about that, right?

And we’re gonna donate I don’t know what the number is, I think it’s like $14,000 or something in product to give away the show. But that’s still to me, that’s not enough, right? So if I can give away other things, especially with the reach of Modern Campground, then I wanna do that. Thank you.

But I need to have a we need to solidify it, right? 

Whatever marketing support you need, my entire team is in with you, but then we never just, I got so busy, and then we just never connected again, right? 

Gwynn: It happens. And we we’ve gone through it, internally, we’ve gone through a lot of change this year.

It’s been a big change for Care Camps and, we were resetting and rebuilding, our infrastructure so that we can do more and help more and, there’s just times where you’ve got to pull back a little bit and just.

Brian: We all rode out on this call, right? We all run businesses, yeah. But yeah, anything else, any final thoughts from anybody else before we, I know we’re really over, so I apologize to anybody who had to do anything [01:02:00] urgent. I just, I don’t do anything every week. This is my one moment of glory, any final thoughts from anybody else, either on this Cure Camps topic or what we were talking about before guest experience, anything like that?

Alright, thank you

Erin: I was just going to say thanks for inviting me along. It’s nice to hear other people in the industry and I was aware of PeerCamps came and gave a presentation at the California Summit, not this year, but last year. So that’s, it’s good to have a follow up just as Brian’s saying remind us of the things we already knew.

Yeah. 

Awesome. 

Brian: Thank you guys. I really appreciate you all being here for another episode of MC Fireside Chats. Erin from In Town Campground. We’re going to find out more about your campground.

Erin: Inn TownCampground. com. Or any social channel. 

Brian: Mark and Melanie, where can they find more about the Little Lake Campground?

Mark: LittleLakeCampground. com 

Brian: it’s the shortest one we’ve had yet, I wish I had it. I need to rename my company and rename everything. And obviously CareCamps. org [01:03:00] For all kinds of resources, like not only the video, which you need to watch again and again Until you feel like you need the support, which should only be about 30 seconds in.

Yeah. But if you need to watch it two or three times, do that. We also have templates for helping your campground with different activities and things like that and all kinds.. 

Gwynn: And follow us on social media. We also have a monthly e newsletter that we publish and so just sign on and join with us here.

So thank you so much for the invitation and just again, thanks. Thank you so much for everyone’s support and generosity. 

Brian: Awesome, we really appreciate you guys appearing on another episode of MC Fireside Chats, we’ll see you next week for another episode focused on the RV industry. Take care guys, and have a great week.

Thanks, everyone. Thanks, everybody. 

[01:04:00] 

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