Editor’s Note: Cyndy Zbierski, executive director of the Northeast Campground Association (NCA), representing parks from nine northeastern states, spoke with RVBusiness sister publication Woodall’s Campground Management about how NCA was doing in 2018 and some of the recent trends she has noticed in the campground arena. Zbierski has been involved in the campground sector since childhood. Her father, David Tetrault, was the first executive director of NCA, a regional campground owners association that serves multiple state associations along the northeast portion of the U.S.
WCM: First off, how are things going at NCA?
Zbierski: Right now NCA is strong with 1,026 members in 2018 and I just recently participated in the Campground Association Management Professionals (CAMP) spring meeting in Hershey, Pa. That is important for me as an executive director to make sure I know what is working and not working for other state executives.
I continue to reach out to parks in Rhode Island and Delaware, as they do not have active state associations right now, so they’re able to join NCA as an associate member. I’m always letting them know what we can do for them between music licensing, movie licenses, presence on our website under their state name and the other pieces that we have to offer, so that is ongoing throughout the year.
WCM: In your opinion, why is it important for the state associations to join NCA?
Zbierski: There’s multiple layers to that. First of all, we feel as a philosophy that together there’s information to be shared and that in promoting our region we can reach out to more campers. That’s part of it. We also make sure to keep owners and state leaders in touch with one another through the NCA board meetings and at other times, because often, whether it’s legislative or in-house, some of the same things are going on, so they need to be able to share resources.
WCM: Legislative issues are obviously a big issue in every state. Keeping track of issues for owners is one of the critical roles you play, correct?
Zbierski: Yes, and that is at the state level. Every state association deserves kudos for what they are able to do. Some have paid lobbyists, some do not. Whatever help is there to make sure they are watching bills happening that will impact a campground owner in any way. That is another major reason why a campground owner should belong to their state association, because that is just so important for them not to be surprised at something that comes along.
WCM: In your time with NCA, what are some of the changes that you’ve seen over the years?
Zbierski: On the fortunate side, many of the campgrounds that I grew up with, going to meetings with decades ago, are still active businesses and so that is a wonderful thing. Few and far between have gone out of business and are no longer being operated as a campground, so that is a wonderful thing for the industry.
We have seen often now campgrounds changing ownership from a family owned facility to a corporate owned. That changes dynamics, as far as making sure that NCA is in contact with that onsite manager, because that’s often the person that would be needing to go to conference and need our buyers guide.
Obviously, the size and shape of many of the campgrounds have gone through major overhauls. In the past campgrounds were very wooded and there were smaller RVs, travel trailers and tent sites, and that is not true today. We were worried about transporting our brand new 30-foot travel trailer back in the ’70s and early ’80s and that’s not the case anymore. They need to hold a huge array of sizes and shapes, and they’re doing that and I’m very proud of them for that.
With that there is the ongoing issue of owners making sure their various systems can handle today’s RVs. Whether it be septic or electric. That has changed tremendously, but paying attention and whether it’s at their state meetings, at national, at regional, that they know what’s around the bend and for the most part, as long as their acreage can handle it, their making sure they are ahead of the curve.
For the full story click here.