Company-owned and franchised KOA campgrounds gave away 13,676 free campnights May 12 during its annual “Come Camp With Us” promotion, while also raising more than $75,000 for KOA Care Camp over that weekend to send kids with cancer to summer camp.
“One of our properties in Monroe County, Mich., raised $8,200,” said Mike Gast, director of communications for KOA Inc., Billings, Mont. “They go whole hog with all sorts of fund-raising things going on all weekend.”
This is the third year that KOA sponsored “Come Camp With Us” – typically the second weekend in May – to encourage an early start on the camping season and at the same time to raise money for KOA Care Camp. Some 360 of 450 KOA campgrounds participated in the promotion.
Money for Kids Care Camp, a network of specialized recreational camps that allow children with cancer to participate in summer activities under medical supervision, is raised by silent auctions, pancake breakfasts, barbecues and other activities. Last year, KOA gave away 12,711 campnights, and raised $52,000. `
“We will be well beyond $75,000 and may reach $100,000,” Gast said.
More than 14,200 paid campground nights were recorded from people who extended their stay for a short period after the free Friday night, Gast said.
Gast said free camping attracts people to campgrounds who typically are not campers. “A typical breakdown is that about 82% of our visitors are in RVs and about 9% are in cabins,” he said.
On May 12, he said the ratio was 72% to 17%, noting, “That tells us we are getting a little bit of first-time experimentation, which is what we are after.”
The promotion was co-sponsored by Thales Navigation Inc., Santa Clara, Calif., which gave away 14 Magellan GPS devices in a random drawing and contributed $20,000 to KOA Care Camp.