Author Topic: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally  (Read 10018 times)

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Offline JoeCamper

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A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« on: September 19, 2012, 10:49:07 PM »
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: Consider…
Electric?
Number of sites available?
Pets?
Area attractions?
Flush toilets? Maybe the last time bathroom were remodeled?

2. Date:
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.

4. After members show interest, email the CanvasCamper Rally Moderator with a heads up:
grouprally@canvascampers.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

6. Reservations:
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 rally.
grouprally@canvascampers.com

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
 -
Side:
 -
 -
Dessert:
 - Cake Cake
 - Brownies

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.

19. How about sending everyone home with a CanvasCampers Rally Decal to display on their camper or tow vehicle.

20. 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
21. After you have a few rallies under your belt, think about Rally Games
  • Trivia
  • Beerlifter's Amazing Race
  • Thingette1's Olymppic Games
  • 10 Second Music Game
  • How well do you know your fellow members?
You could send me a email and we can create the next great one.


CanvasCampers has a Group Rally Moderator (JoeCamper) and also a quality control person who receives the grouprally@canvascampers.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.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2012, 09:21:02 PM by JoeCamper »
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Offline GA Judy

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #1 on: September 19, 2012, 10:59:51 PM »
Salivating over this post!  :P

This is a great promise with loads of useful information, especially lately.  ;)

Thank you, Joe!
Judy & Al - Dallas, GA

Offline Beerlifter

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #2 on: September 20, 2012, 06:58:54 AM »
Nice write up Joe!! I'm sure there will be a lot of nice rallies turned out from this site. We just had a small one here in Oklahoma!! More of just a gathering of the 'regulars'. I will be sure and host the next from this site so as to gather more people with the love of being outdoors to "CanvasCampers".
Steve, Laura & Midas,the Golden Retriever Child.
1996 Jayco Eagle 234SL

Offline LauraD

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2012, 07:40:07 AM »
I'm not sure if you have made a lot of mistakes or are just that good but you've thought of so many thing I would never consider.

Offline vik-king

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2012, 12:33:12 PM »
CANVASS CAMPERS RALLIES = GOOD FOOD, GOOD FREINDS AND GREAT TIMES!
Joe -keep up the great work!
Jonathan
MY LIFE IS  AN OXYMORON, ITS THE ORDER OF CHAOS

Offline papachaz

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2012, 12:48:31 PM »
wow, tons of good info there! wish we'd have had this kind of info a few months ago! thanks for putting the info together joe!

i sure do like it around here already   ::)

one thing I might add Joe??? for the dinner (whichever) it's a good idea (thanks GA Judy) to ask about any food allergies, and make everyone aware. We also had people mark their dishes IE: "this dessert has nuts" or "this dish has dairy" because sometimes it's not obvious  :)
« Last Edit: September 20, 2012, 12:57:17 PM by papachaz »
Chaz ~N~ Jill Happy Campers from NW GA --  TT is a 2003 Layton Scout 250 -- 2012 Camping - 37 nights - SO FAR

Offline camp dad

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2012, 07:13:26 PM »
I like it already. Thanks for the effort, Joe.
Miles, Sherelia, DD, DS, DD, K9
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Offline Fire Captain Jim

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2012, 08:05:16 PM »
Great information experianced Joe!
Life is like a Roller Coaster, you go high and low with some sharp turns! Just hold on!

Offline JoeCamper

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #8 on: September 25, 2012, 03:29:20 PM »
I've updated some of the information above and added a few samples.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2012, 04:23:39 PM by JoeCamper »
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Offline cuckoo

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #9 on: September 25, 2012, 05:23:59 PM »
One observation... The rally's are awesome and yes we'll attend more be it here - there - or yonder, but once it gets to be over 10-15 campers it seem there isn't enough time in say a 4 day weekend to meet everybody and socialize. Always thought bigger was better but in some cases maybe not.

Great post though! :cheers:

Offline GA Judy

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #10 on: September 25, 2012, 05:52:04 PM »
I guess we GA rally folks just fell into our "other place" rally through luck and diligence to having to work out the planning and details ourselves! This information sure makes it a whole lot easier to tick off the checklist as the planning progresses.

As for the larger, the better (??), I think Cuckoo has a point. Not everyone present will meet everyone present unless there is a way at a group gathering to get to introduce oneself. We did that at our two rallies, the mini in June and the latest "big" one w/53 adults and a couple of guests as well as 17 kids. Each family had someone stand up to tell their screen name, real name (first only was fine), and a little about themselves or why they camp, or whatever they wanted to share. We were all in a circle for the potluck in a large open area (lucky us) and everyone was happy to "meet" everyone else.

We had name tags too, and that helped because there was a "test" later. (Not!  ;D) Some clever person (FW Arcadia or missnanc???) set up a kids' table (legs were adjusted to be shorter) for all of them to get to know each other if they hadn't yet met. Of course, kids are kids and most knew everyone already, but they had a great time at "their" table and their parents had fun as well with the other adults.

We made friends to our immediate left and right but then stayed for a door prize drawing and everyone was entertained and enthusiastic with the donations from fellow ralliers. We can't wait to get our spring rally going HERE and do it again!
Judy & Al - Dallas, GA

Offline JoeCamper

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2012, 06:21:03 PM »
I completely agree, bigger isn't always better and to big changes the whole environment.

My goal has always been to bring people together and create the opportunity, after that, it's up to them.

- I often have a 'meet and greet' campfire Friday evening so when people arrive and setup, they can bring a chair and stop by if they are interested.  Make it easy for everyone.
- I've also put a 40 cup coffee pot with a timer at the gathering site, bring your cup in the morning.  Often 1/3 of the people stop by because it's already made and an easy start to their day.
- Everyone is usually there for the potluck, I say hello to all and introduce myself.  The name tags and a large circle of lawn chairs make it easy for everyone to make conversation.

Some of the most memorable group rallies have been around 8-10 sites, usually a few regulars and a few new people.
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Offline cuckoo

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2012, 07:52:04 PM »
Some of the most memorable group rallies have been around 8-10 sites, usually a few regulars and a few new people.

Exactly... Even just weekend get away's with 5 or 6 campers is a grand old time! Thanks for the help in the past Joe... ;)

Offline JoeCamper

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2012, 07:59:51 PM »
cuckoo, we have had a good time planning some rallies together.  :cheers:
:cowboy: JoeCamper 71', :kiss: EwwwBugs 81' :cheerleader: DD 97', +3 :) :) :), :dog: Geri 10' :dog: Abby 11'
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Offline Lone Lock

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Re: A Successful CanvasCampers Group Rally
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2012, 10:10:45 PM »
I just like to camp.  The Rally is an excuse to go somewhere.  Sometimes its a new place, sometimes it is old and familiar.  I like to go with other people even if I don't meet everyone, I know if I have a problem or question someone will help me. 

I have been lurking on a Class C forum (since I'm getting a Class C in a few weeks  :jig: ) and their Rallies are not like ours.  They have games and events over 4 days with bus tours and stuff. They don't even have the banter that we have before and after a rally.  That is part of the fun I think.   I like the CC setup.  Everyone has the chance to do their own thing and then we get together (or not) for dinner and a campfire on Saturday. 
Matt O

 

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