Just my thoughts and experience for creating a "Successful Canvas Campers Group Camping Rally"
. I have helped plan over a 100 rallies in the past 6 years and have run an additional 40+ myself. Learn from my mistakes!
Don't think that you need to do everything listed, it's just the craziness that I do for group rallies.
The success of a group camping rally will be as good as the time you put into it
. You can start a rally with a simple post like "Anyone want to camp at French Creek SP over the Sept 12Th weekend?" Members book and everyone shows up. OR you can take steps for a better chance of a successful group rally. Continue reading...
You (the Trail Boss, Wagon Master, Coordinator or whatever you want to be called) need to try to take everyone into consideration while planning, know in advance that you won't be able to meet everyone needs... but you can cover many of them. Don't plan their weekend, just have campfires at night and a group meal together. Then let them know about other things they can do together or alone at the campground or in the local area.
You want to always keep the thread active and peak the interest of the forum readers. 1. Pick a Location:
Number of sites available?
Flush toilets? Maybe the last time bathroom were remodeled?
Check the weather that time of the year. (too Hot, too Cold, a lot of rain?)
Local events. (big car show or a RV show will book up fast with others)
3. Start a new thread in the 'Planning a Rally' section to check interest:
Any interest in Blah Blah SP in the middle of September?
You need more detail than New Jersey, Next Summer. At a minimum, suggest 2 or 3 campground, 2 or 3 dates. Help narrow down the plans because you will get 5 different suggestions and get nowhere.
After members show interest, email the CanvasCamper Rally Moderator with a heads up:email@example.com
"Hey Joe, looks like we have some great ideas and the start for a rally here. My plans are... or what do you suggest I do now?"http://canvascampers.com/index.php?topic=821.0
5. Contact the campground:
The rally moderator or you can contact the campground, just let us know which you would like?
DON’T TELL THEM YOU ARE CAMPING WITH A GROUP!
(not sure I can type that?)
They could require permits or liability insurance- "just camping with friends."
Can you get a block of sites? Maybe start with 10 and add more as reservations are made. Or let them know that the last rally in this area had 26 sites and we expect it to be growing.
Do they offer group discounts?
Will they offer a free site for the coordinator with 20 or more sites? Can't hurt to ask.
Do they have a pavilion or other area for your group dinner? Easier than moving tables around and squeezing on a members site.
Can they post the group on their website? Could get additional members attending
Book your site.
Pick a gathering site. (may not need to book yet) If there are more than 8 sites booked and not a common area (pavilion) for a campfire or dinner, I recommend getting a gathering site where no one camps but everyone meets for a group fire, maybe morning coffee and the potluck dinner. If you ask, most members will pitch in $5-$10 each to cover the cost.
7. Post your reservation information:
"Hi everyone, looks like we have the location and date worked out, June 18, Blah Blah SP. We have booked site 24. If we have more than 8 site, we will probably use site 29 for a group gathering site" If someone books it, don't get upset, just pick another one.
8. Once 4 reservations have been made and posted:
Email the CanvasCamper Rally Moderator and request having the thread made a planned firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Rally Coordinators are assigned:
You and another non-family member are selected for running the rally so if one person has life changes and can't attend, the rally will still continue to have support. We can continue with only one person but will come back to it after other members start getting involved.
We will help you by...
- Helping update the beginning of the thread
- Assigning two coordinators with moderator rights to the thread for updates
- Add the rally to the website's main menu
- Add the rally to the website's calendar
- Create both horizontal and sky scraper banner to be randomly displayed on the website
- Sending messages and a link about the rally to members in the same state
- Creating a custom rally logo and rally gear if its a large group
- Sending a CanvasCampers banner that can be hung at the rally
- Sending CanvasCampers name tags for larger group that include screen name, first name, site number, city and state
10. Forum: Change title to include Location and Date.
Eye Catching (Book Now, Great Weather, Make Your Res’ Now, Blah) Update the beginning of the forum.
Add a map with names and gathering site information (even though you haven't booked yet)
Add park link and the reservation link and phone number so it's easy to book.
Add faces and font size and colors for attention.
(Geocaching, Biking, Hiking, Fishing, Disk Golf, Kayaking/Canoeing)
Have people post site numbers, adult, kids, k9 attending and age of children. (Other kids or dogs interest many fellow campers)
Include details and campground/state park activities
Update as reservations are made.
11. Post to members who are introducing themselves from your area or send PMs to new member
from the area with welcome and an invite. “Welcome to the Canvas from Tim Buck Two, hope you like it here. We are having a rally and would love to meet you. [link]”
12. After 6-8 or more reservations
Book the gathering site: 6-8 sites or more is over 15 people and there wouldn't be enough room to gathering on an occupied site. Post and ask the members attending to pitch in $5 to cover the cost.
13. Keep the thread active
by researching area attractions and post a few options with links for details. Winery, tour, festival, etc. Post items like this about once a week... not daily or the thread become a lot of junk and conversations are lost. “Anyone interested in a corn maze or winery tour?”
14. Start talking about a dinner together
when you are about 2-4 weeks prior to the rally. There are mainly 3 options here. Choose one and update the beginning of the forum. Potluck (no one knows what anyone else is bringing)Listed Family Style (everyone says what their bringing and whatever comes, comes)Menu List (start a menu list and leave blanks for everyone to fill in. If you want another entrée and a salad, then list it and leave it blank.)
I often use this option for my annual Thanksgiving Season Closer Rally in the beginning of November. I cook 3-4 turkeys and list common Thanksgiving meal items. Members can bring whatever they want and we all sit down at the campground for a dinner together. Entrée:
- Pork BBQ
- Chicken Casserole
- Cake Cake
Don't forget to have someone bring paper products. (plates, napkins, silverware, etc.) or post that everyone should bring their own to the dinner.
15. Ask two people to take pictures
of the camp sites, the families, the dinner and the campfire. (You will be too busy)
They don't have to be a photographer just have a camera that takes decent pictures.
16. Consider Name Tags
for a larger group that includes member user names, real first names and maybe their city/state. I can send you a template.
17. Print a handout
that includes a campground map, list of members attending (user name and first names), time and location of group dinner and other events, name and site number of coordinators. I can send you a sample.
18. Print dinner item cards
that includes the food item, members name who made it, main ingredient and any allergies ingredient items (peanuts)
Other things to consider and see if members can contribute for the weekend. Don't try to bring everything yourself, your camper's frame will bend. Canopies (rain/sun), 30 cup coffee pot for a community start, folding tables to serve food, power strips for crock pots, extension cords, firewood, radio, banner, name tags, table clothes, paper supplies, BYOB, extra serving spoons, camera, donation can, glow stick for the kids.
How about sending everyone home with a CanvasCampers Rally Decal
to display on their camper or tow vehicle.
After you have a few rallies under your belt, think about A Theme Rally
- Italian Night
- Color Theme
- Soup and Sandwich
- Hamburgers with Fixing Bar
After you have a few rallies under your belt, think about Rally Games
You could send me a email and we can create the next great one.
- Beerlifter's Amazing Race
- Thingette1's Olymppic Games
- 10 Second Music Game
- How well do you know your fellow members?
CanvasCampers has a Group Rally Moderator (JoeCamper) and also a quality control person who receives the email@example.com emails, we will help you plan an excellent rally, camping will never be the same and I will be added to your Christmas card list. Other suggestions are always welcome.