In many ways, 2021 is our box of chocolates. Sure, we don’t know what we are going to get until we march heads held high into the new year. But, 2021 in comparison to 2020 still has us eating chocolate. If nothing else, we as a global community, and as an RVing community, are armed with a better understanding of the coronavirus and, we are more accustomed to the preventive measures we must employ to keep ourselves and each another safe. (We, your Board, continue to have weekly covid-19 meetings to reassess our policies and procedures.) And, at risk of seeming overly Pollyanna, at the time of this writing, it seems effective vaccines are imminent, signaling a return to some semblance of normalcy.
Online Education Revisited
As we noted in recent installments of this article, we have not been sitting ideally by during the pandemic. We spent the better part of two years redesigning our online education program. The revised RVers Online University (RVOU), which we launched in December of last year, was given an update in style, accessibility and content. In addition to the RV foundations: operation, safety, and maintenance courses, we now offer Roadmap to Full-Time RVing. Whether you are a weekend RVer, want to pursue full-time RVing or find yourself anywhere in between, we want to help take the stress out of RV living and help you make the right choices to stay out of the repair shop and happy on the road.
Escapees RV Parks
We soft-launched a change to the marketing of our parks system. Rainbow Parks is now Escapees RV Parks. This shift in name is part of a larger effort to tether the various aspects of the Escapees RV Club, and their underlying companies, into a cohesive brand. For instance, we are currently in the process of updating all the signs in our parks. Next time you visit us, you may be greeted by a large white sign and a red arrow, welcoming you home.
And, our park improvements do not end there. We are in the process of launching a program, also two years in the making, to greatly expand the number of parks in the Escapees family. We don’t want to give away too much, too soon. But, suffice it to say, over the years, we’ve heard your requests for more Escapees parks and we’ve answered the call. Stay tuned for big news from our parks system!
Winter Home Bases
One of the most notable and the most apparent effect that covid-19 had on Escapees was the cancellation of our events. Rest assured that we are preparing to host our traditional events (i.e. HOPs, Hangouts, and Convergences) again and we’ll do so as soon as it is safe. We distinguish our traditional events from our virtual events and Winter Home Bases, both of which continue to give you opportunities to interact with fellow RVers. Winter Home Base events, an inspired idea hatched by our event staff, enables small groups of RVers to camp continuously together, providing a sense of community at the safety of isolation from people outside the group. As you can imagine, they are popular and sold-out quickly. And, while we had to shift Escapade from Tucson, Arizona, in March, to Rock Springs, Wyoming, in July, we fully intend (at the time of this writing) for the show to go on. We sincerely hope to see you there!
Current Advocacy Efforts
In addition to all our homegrown projects, there always seems to be an advocacy issue that requires our attention. Around one year ago, the US Department of Interior, the government agency that manages the National Park System, undertook an assessment of the national parks with a goal of modernizing the campgrounds while preserving the natural splendor of the parks. We recently participated in an industry task force, led by RVIA, to advise and consult on the government’s proposal. The feedback our members have provided through a series of surveys along the way, has been invaluable in shaping that guidance. We are encouraged to see DOI follow through on their commitment to making the national parks more accessible, with improved camping experiences. We’ll continue to be a voice for RVers in that process, however we are able.
As we stand on the precipice of another year, it remains an inalienable truth that we don’t know what we are going to get. With all of the advances we are making as a global community, as an RVing community, and as your Escapees RV Club, we can’t help but hope that 2021 will be a far cry better than 2020. In that spirit, we wish you one sweet year.