The Colorado Campground & Lodging Owners Association (CCLOA), marking its 50th anniversary, held its largest meeting in many years earlier this month.

According to a press release, registrations were higher than normal with 29 campgrounds, 14 industry suppliers, along with a representative from the National Association of RV Parks and Campgrounds (ARVC) and the Colorado Tourism Office.

Executive Director Mary Arlington noted, “Nearly 80 people overfilled the meeting hall. More importantly, putting faces to the names of over two-dozen newcomer campground owners and managers and to over half a dozen newcomer industry suppliers was truly uplifting.”

During the two-day conference, held at the Colorado Springs KOA, attendees were provided with expert sessions that introduced campground attendees to the products and services of the industry suppliers along with several presentation focusing on pressing issues.

Speakers included:

• Damian Petty of Leavitt Recreation & Hospitality Insurance provided a presentation on recent trends being seen in the industry’s insurance sector. He called upon Peter Pelland of Pelland Advertising as the discussion turned toward the American Disabilities Act (ADA) and websites.

• Madeline Hinkfuss, ARVC’s membership coordinator, provided an update on the latest services and programs offered through the national organization.

• Abby Leeper, communications manager for the Colorado Tourism Office, elaborated on developments within the state’s tourism sector.

• Pelland, an avid photographer in addition to his Pelland Advertising services, provided insight on taking and using campground photographs.

• Nathan Whitney, an attorney who focuses on Colorado labor and employment laws, spoke at length on the latest hiring issues for campground owners.

Whitney elaborated on the Colorado Wage Act which was last modified in 2016, that included many unforeseen issues with hiring traditional workampers. Their compensation packages typically include a significant portion of site fees and that’s no longer legal, according to the Colorado Wage Act.

Arlington said, “You can imagine, this presentation captured everyone’s attention and stirred many questions. We knew it was a necessary topic since many weren’t aware of the changes and quite a few were hearing conflicting stories. Mr. Whitney set the record straight, and that’s the best way to find your starting point for changing how you do things.”

The board of directors presented two major topics for discussion: changing the organizations name and prioritizing legislative action.

Arlington stated, “The organization has been through significant restructuring the past three years and what I saw here was gratifying. We, as a board, feel very confident in handling the business but we wanted a thorough discussion on these topics to ensure we were meeting the needs of many. The members spoke very thoughtfully as each shared their opinions, making it easy to achieve a consensus. The name won’t be changing (announced last week) and the highest legislative priority is to focus on the Colorado Wage Act. The board now has a richer understanding of the needs of the members. The work can now begin, and in due time CCLOA will share more information regarding CCLOA’s plan of action.”

The business meeting included an election for three seats to the board, resulting in the following leadership roster:

President Dave Ozburn, Falcon Meadow RV Campground
Vice President Don Seppi, Sugar Loafin’ RV Campground
Treasurer Ivan Mehlhaff, Bristlecone Lodge
Secretary Carrie York, Golden Eagle RV Campground
Director Cathy Harbick, Arrowhead Point Campground & Cabins
Director Billy Beyhan, Dolores River Campground

Celebrating 50 years included a feast, a silent auction and a live auction. Arlington added, “I can’t find the words to convey how thrilled I was to watch the networking, see the smiles, hear the stories, answer questions, and listen as newcomers were being welcomed and embraced by the long-standing members.”

Prior to the two-day conference, Arlington, in her capacity as an industry coach, hosted a workshop on using Facebook as a marketing tool. The next conference is set for March 4 and 5, 2020. The location will be announced later this summer.