News & Notes: May 2023
All-Female RV Technician Class
After a successful pilot class in August 2022, the RV Women’s Alliance and the RV Technical Institute are taking their All-Female Technical Class nationwide in 2023. Through the partnership, five classes will be offered across the United States, including classes in Texas, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Indiana.
“A significant area of opportunity on the recruitment front is attracting more women into the RV technician field,” said Tracy Anglemeyer, RV Technical Institute director of recruitment and RV Women’s Alliance board member. “The RV Technical Institute and the RV Women’s Alliance are very aligned in the value we place on education and providing the skills to people in our industry to succeed and grow in their careers.”
In the week-long class, students will gain competencies on seven RV systems: propane, plumbing, electrical, appliances, generators, body, and chassis. The course provides the working knowledge necessary to perform predelivery inspections.
The five classes will take place in Dallas, Texas (occurred in March); Tualatin, Oregon (May 15-19); Elkhart, Indiana (July 10-14); Jacksonville, Florida (August 14-18); and Camp Hill, Pennsylvania (October 23-27). Each class will be open to 12 women who are either looking to become RV technicians or who already work in the industry but want to enhance their skills. Interested women can apply at rvwa.org/female-tech-classes/.
KOA Care Camps “Big Weekend” Scheduled In May
KOA’s Care Camps Big Weekend, May 12 and 13, 2023, will benefit children with cancer and provide an incentive for RVers who plan a campground stay. Guests who stay Friday night, May 12, at a participating KOA campground will receive Saturday night, May 13, for a discounted price of $20.
The Big Weekend helps to raise funds to send kids with cancer to medically supervised camps across North America. Funds raised from this event support the KOA Care Camps Trust, which distributes in excess of $1 million to support more than 125 Care Camps each year.
Established by the KOA Campground Owners Association more than 30 years ago, the KOA Care Camps Trust has helped these special oncology facilities offer a true summer camp experience to kids who are currently undergoing treatment or recovering from cancer, along with their families.
To learn more about KOA Care Camps, visit koacarecamps.org.
Marathon Coach Completes First RV On Redesigned Prevost H3-45
Marathon Coach Inc., a luxury custom converter since 1983, recently announced it is the first motor coach company to complete a luxury RV on the newly redesigned Prevost H3-45 bus chassis. Its “beautiful and innovative” double-slideout #1375 was displayed at the Prevost Motorhome Expo in West Palm Beach, Florida, this past February.
The 2023 H3-45 represents the newest chapter in Prevost’s long history of creating platforms for custom coach conversions. The double-slideout version used for the Marathon #1375 is powered by a Volvo D13 500-horsepower engine, paired with an Allison six-speed transmission. Standard features include a transmission retarder, driver assist, a tire-pressure monitoring system, variable assistance steering, and driver’s air-conditioning.
According to Marathon company literature, coach #1375 integrates the most desired features from top-of-the-line personal automobiles. For example, a newly designed dash with brand-new controls and components brings driver comfort to the forefront.
Standard conversion features include Marathon’s exclusive Techlink intelligent electrical system; streaming video capabilities; and the company’s Freedom Plus preconnected sewer hose system.
The coach is equipped with a 20-kilowatt diesel generator; four 15,000-Btu roof air conditioners with heat strips; and a 41,000-Btu variable-speed hydronic heater with four heat exchangers. Four optional lithium-ion batteries are available in lieu of six standard 4D AGM house batteries. Other optional equipment includes a 50-inch 4K LED TV in the underbelly entertainment center, ground effects lighting, and an underfloor heating system.
The #1375’s icy-blue exterior and light and airy interior color palette feature a contemporary design. The salon area includes a 50-inch LED backlit LCD TV, with another in the bedroom; Crestron Controls with smart graphics and surround sound; and streaming video capabilities. The layout boasts leather seating, including an L-shaped dinette; “Iconic Maple” textured cabinets; “White Ash” matte walls; and “Monte Amiata” satin-look counters with an infinity edge.
For more information, visit www.marathoncoach.com.
Bontrager Outdoors Acquires Braxton Creek RV
Bontrager Outdoors, a Bristol, Indiana, company that launched truck-camper builder Skinny Guy Campers in 2019, announced its purchase of Shipshewana, Indiana-based Braxton Creek RV, a manufacturer of teardrop travel trailers.
“We are very excited to make Braxton Creek part of the Bontrager Outdoors family,” said Jason Bontrager, CEO of Bontrager Outdoors and founder and CEO of Skinny Guy. “Their products are high quality, the company has a very strong dealer base, and the acquisition allows us to move into another great product segment that we know well.”
Austin and Jason Bontrager grew up working at Jayco Inc., their family’s business. Together, they have a combined 30 years of experience in the RV and overland camping business, according to a press release. Jim Jacobs, Braxton Creek CEO, is one of several former Jayco management team members currently involved in Braxton Creek.
“Austin and I are on a mission to continue the reputation our grandpa, [Jayco founder] Lloyd Bontrager, established so many years ago with Jayco,” Jason Bontrager said. “Taking care of our dealer network and the end-customers will be a priority, combined with some much-needed innovation in the RV industry.”
Bontrager Outdoors designs and manufactures lightweight overland truck-bed campers made entirely from aluminum and stainless steel, among other products and services related to the outdoor industry. Braxton Creek RV produces Bushwacker and Bushwhacker Plus teardrop travel trailers.
RV Resort Development Continues In Florida
Several new RV resorts have opened or will open in the Sunshine State between 2022 and 2024, according to Bobby Cornwell, executive director and CEO of the Florida RV Park and Campground Association. At the same time, many existing resorts are adding more RV sites. These additions will boost Florida’s inventory by at least 3,596 sites, Cornwell said.
New RV resorts are popping up across Florida, from the Panhandle to the greater Tampa Bay area to the Florida Keys. Zeman Homes opened The Surf RV Resort, a 449-site luxury RV resort in Palmetto, while Sun Outdoors is planning to open its new 136-site Sun Outdoors Islamorada in the Florida Keys. The 95-site Madison Station RV Resort in Madison is new, and Roserush Luxury RV Resort will open in the fourth quarter of 2023 with 50 premium RV sites in Brooksville, about 50 miles north of Tampa. These are in addition to three other RV resorts that opened last year, including Champions Run RV Resort, a 387-site RV resort in Ocala; the 115-site Santa Fe Palms RV Resort in Gainesville; and the 164-site Southern Springs RV Resort in Ocala.
In addition, numerous parks are expanding. Examples include Breezy Oaks RV Park in Bushnell, which has 217 sites with hard-wired internet access and will be adding another 181 sites that will become available during the winter of 2023-2024. Another is Keystone Heights RV Resort in Keystone Heights, which recently added 292 sites, boosting the park to 705 sites.
More information about privately owned and operated campgrounds, RV parks, and resorts is available from the Florida RV Park and Campground Association at www.campflorida.com. The association also publishes a free printed camping guide, which can be ordered via the website.