Life on Wheels added a new venue to this year’s series of educational conferences covering all aspects of the RV lifestyle, initiating the 12-year-old program with a first-ever session at Pima Community College in Tucson, Ariz.
Gaylord Maxwell, a veteran RVer and author who founded Life on Wheels in 1994, said the location not only sold out for the March 14-17 conference but also generated a waiting list for next year’s session.
“This was our first year in Tucson and we didn’t quite know what to expect,” Maxwell said. “We had to turn down more than 150 people because of space limitations.”
The next conference will be held at Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green on May 23-25, followed in July with the main conference July 9-14 at the University of Idaho in Moscow. In August, two venues are on the schedule: Northampton Community College at Bethlehem, Pa., Aug. 3-6, and Des Moines Area Community College in Ankeny, Iowa, Aug. 24-27.
Maxwell emphasized that Life on Wheels is a conference style program that accommodates “all levels of RV experience, or inexperience.”
“A consistent fact at all programs is that 25% to 30% of the attendees do not yet own RVs,” he said. “They come to learn and gain confidence before they buy. On the other end of the spectrum, some of the attendees have been RVing for decades but feel the need to update their information about equipment and get new RV travel and living ideas.”
A special feature of Life on Wheels is a pre-conference event called “Just for Newbies” held at a full-service campground near the conference site. Maxwell said the two-day program is overseen by Steve Savage, a master certified RV technician.
“This program is specifically aimed at new owners who are still uncomfortable with their new rigs,” Maxwell said. “Steve is assisted by other technicians so that the training ratio is a technician for every eight rigs.”
Maxwell said the program’s success over the years stems, in part, from its commitment to offer a broad selection of seminars taught by “impartial” experts.
“There are no vendors or sales pitches,” he said. “We offer attendees unbiased information disseminated by expert teachers.”
Each of the three-day conferences offer Life on Wheels students 80 seminars while the five-day Idaho session includes 150 seminars. Maxwell noted, “The seminar content is broken down into four categories – safety, technical, lifestyle and lifestyle enhancement.”
Participants are charged a fee to attend the conferences, but Maxwell said funding also comes through sponsorship.
“Life on Wheels is supported, in part, by industry sponsors,” he said. “ In turn, our sponsors are represented at the conferences through literature about their products and also inclusion in the sponsor list in attendees’ packets.”