September 14 Newsletter

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Dear CODA Member,

Camp is over, the campers are gone and everything is peaceful around the camp grounds. We pull into camp each morning and our only task for the day is deciding what to do with all of our free time. That sound about right to you? No??? Well…us either!! Now that the summer season is over it’s time to get busy with recruiting, planning, accessing, off season group rentals, and just making sure everything is locked down and set for the winter. It seems that even though we all run “summer” camps, the phrase is quiet misleading to a lot of the general public and even our parents and campers we house during the summer months.

Like you, CODA has been busy all during the summer planning and preparing for our national conference in Orlando. If you haven’t signed up yet, you’ll want to hurry up and register so you don’t miss out. This years conference will run from Sunday, February 18 through Tuesday, February 20th. It’s going to be a little bit longer for the simple reason that it’s packed with top notch speakers who will give you information that will make it easier for you to run your camp business. Be sure to look for more information about the conference coming out soon!

Don’t forget to sign up for conference and reserve your hotel room if you haven’t already.

As a native Floridian (I grew up about 25 miles from Orlando), I have a good idea of all the outstanding attractions Orlando has to offer. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do love the “Mouse” that lives in the Kingdom down there and there’s going to be plenty of time to visit him and all he has to offer during ACA’s conference that’s following our’s. However, Orlando has much more to offer and we want you to enjoy all of your time at our conference and take in as much as you can so you get the full effect of Orlando as well as the best value for your cost. CODA is currently in talks with Universal Studios (close to our hotel) and they are putting together several deals for all of our members that are attending the conference. We’ll let you know when everything is finalized so be on the lookout for that update in the near future!

CODA has also been busy with other issues affecting camps across the country. I’m sure you’ve already heard about the J-1 Visa issue that could effect all of our camps that use the Camp Counselor or any other service to help recruit counselors and staff from outside the country. CODA has been in talks with Tom Rosenberg of ACA and his staff about how this bill would have a negative impact on camps as well as the overall economic loss from the camping industry if they were not able to fill their staffs and had to limit their number of campers due to smaller staffs. This bill could also cause an increase in the cost of running a camp if directors are forced to pay more to fill their staffs. Bottom line is we need to come together to do whatever we can to make sure the camp counselor program is not caught in this broad net of Washington politics. One way you can help is to fill out the survey that was sent to everyone from ACA last week. By completing the survey you will help us to build a data base of the total economic impact camps could stand to lose and the overall cost to the camping industry and the companies that help serve camps during the summer. This information will be put together to help forge a case against the bill and insure camps will be able to successfully fill their staffs and keep helping camps, help kids.

An additional way to help out is to contact anyone you may know that can help put pressure on congress to make sure this bill does not include the camps and their staffs.

Finally, our hearts and prayers go out to all the camps and people effected by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. I’ve talked to several camps in Texas and thankfully they all reported that everything that happened is repairable and not catastrophic. I haven’t been able to get in touch with any camps in Florida and the Southeast that were affected by Irma yet so there status is unknown as of this time.

If you read my “Larry’s letter” from last spring I mentioned how camps could connect with their community by serving as “forward operating bases” for utility services and first responders in times of disaster and need. Little did I know then that we, the camping industry, would have so many chances to step up and lead the way to help out and show everyone that we are much more than just a summer activity. We are a valuable part to each and every community that we are associated with. Please find a way to help out any locations near you that might be suffering from these natural disasters.

Last but certainly not least, CODA would like to welcome our newest Business member and sponsor of this months “Larry’s letter”, Robert Lebby Consulting Services. I could tell you all about “Leb” but many of you already know him and the quality he brings with everything he does so be sure to check out his info in our “Featured Partner” section.

Thanks for reading and please keep all those affected by the storms in your thoughts and prayers. Well see you in Orlando!!

Larry Johnson
Camp Owners and Directors President

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