RV News

RVers: A power in the community

Even on the road, RVers are committed to community and family and are generous with volunteer time and effort

Writing and marketing staff for RVwest magazine, with publisher, Keith Powell
Keith Powell, publisher of RVwest magazine, with staff: (L to R) Marie Milner, writer; Amie Lubbers, marketer; Kim Gonzales, editorial co-ordinator; Cathy Conroy, marketing manager; Riley Vocat, marketer; and Kirsten Armleder, writer. — Spencer Shellborn photo

At the ripe age of 15, RVwest has the advantages of maturity in the marketplace, and has managed to retain its sense of wonder and discovery. We’re celebrating our 15th anniversary and continuing to champion and showcase all the fun aspects of RVing for Western Canadians, while supporting their travel experience with information about destinations, RV accessories and helpful hints.

While RVwest continues to be the foundation of this publishing company, it has morphed into a multi-platform communications tool utilizing print, web, e-newsletter and educational webinars, all with the idea of infusing fun and excitement into the outdoor adventure experience. Western Canadians love the great outdoors and look for any reason to escape into the far away in their RVs.

Staying connected

When you spend a couple of months or more far from home every year, it’s essential to have a quick and economical way to connect with the people who are important to you. RVers are leading a trend among baby boomers in their use of social media.

“Our readers are early adopters of the tablet and have been on the forefront of using technology to keep in touch with family and friends,” said Kerry Shellborn, creative director for RVwest.

RVers can access Wi-Fi at many libraries and community centres. — Marie Milner photo

Now, in spite of having no fixed address for at least part of the year, readers of the magazine receive a monthly newsletter via email, and they can go online to connect instantly with its current issue and its most recently posted articles. Shellborn said that tracking the magazine’s web activity has helped RVwest to produce content that closely reflects the interests of its readers, in a format that is compatible with their devices.

Minding the business of RVwest

RVers are motivated and ready to promote RVing and exploring, and they generally have the time and money to invest generously in their passion.

RVwest gives the RV industry unprecedented access to this lucrative market,” said Keith Powell, publisher of RVwest. “Our readers connect on a regular basis with the industry suppliers through our print, web and newsletter products. RVwest is proud to have helped communities throughout Western Canada build a thriving RV destination tourism product. This has created jobs and filled campgrounds, museums, attractions and restaurants, often turning shoulder seasons into busy visitor seasons.”

Powell’s commitment is to produce a high-quality magazine, website and newsletter that people enjoy and engage with. “We have been privileged to do this for 15 years with RVwest,” he said.

A culture of generosity

Powell characterizes RVers as “grassroots, generous people who do tremendous work in volunteering with their own RV clubs and supporting a variety of worthy charities in their communities.”

It is common for snowbirding RVers to become involved in the communities where they spend the winters, volunteering to help with park maintenance, church projects and community service events. Dorothy and David Counts, both with PhDs in anthropology, spent some time RVing in the 1990s and found the experience surprisingly rich.

“We are involved in a great deal of volunteer work now, and that is something that we picked up from many of the RVers that we talked to. If you want to have a rich life, then you have to participate in the lives of other people.” —David Counts, PhD, “RVers: an exotic society,” RVwest, Spring 2005, p. 10.

Long-time RVers Duane and Lynda Pilson, who do much of their travelling in northern Canada and Alaska, have been involved with RVwest since it was just an idea, and Duane wrote the cover story for the first issue of the magazine. The Pilsons enjoy representing the magazine at RV-related events in B.C. and Alberta throughout the year.

Along with Keith and Linda Powell, the Pilsons host the annual RVwest RV Rally. At the 10th annual RV Rally, held in September 2014, about 70 RVers gathered at Fairmont Hot Springs Resort for five days of socializing, information sharing, local tours, fundraising and more socializing. In 10 years, the rally has raised more than $14,000 for STARS Air Ambulance; the amount from the 2014 rally came in at about $2,100—a testimonial to the generosity of this RVing community.

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