Saturday, March 7, 2015

Meadville KOA Featured in RV Daily Report

Meadville KOA Featured in RV Daily Report

"Family Tradition Becomes a Lifestyle for KOA Owners"

This is a reprint of the original article (with permission), which can be seen in its original form, photos, and print at:

By Greg Gerber
Editor, RV Daily Report

There are few people better suited to be campground managers than Robyn and Tim Chilson, who own Meadville KOA, which is located an hour south of Erie, Pa., and two hours east of Cleveland, Ohio.

Her vivacious, chatty personality instantly makes people feel relaxed and welcome. Tim’s attention to detail and ability to fix just about any problem at the campground makes him the right guy to handle the operations side of the business.

Meadville KOA sits on 63 acres of property and offers 160 camping sites, 77 of which are designated for extended stay and seasonal use. The Chilsons have four cabins, three of which they added. Two of those are lake-front deluxe models that offer restrooms, kitchens, two bedrooms, heat and air conditioning. They also added a camping cabin that just has beds and a table – a perfect rustic upgrade for tent campers who are tired of sleeping on the ground or fighting inclement weather.

Originally known as the Brookdale Family Campground, the property was a farm at one time, and then a fish hatchery until it was converted to a campground in 1985.

Before buying the campground, the Chilsons lived in eastern Pennsylvania where Tim worked as a division accountant and office manager for a natural gas company and Robyn as an engineering technician for a chemical company. Desiring a career change, they thought getting into the campground business would be more rewarding and enjoyable.

Upgrading amenities

Since acquiring the campground in 1999, the Chilsons have completed a major upgrade to the sewer system in 2008, at a cost of $350,000.

“Septic is an unappreciated cost incurred by campground owners,” Tim explained. “It’s something customers don’t readily see or think about. But the state requires us to have a sewer plant license and testing costs are $200 per test, which is conducted bi-monthly.”

Prior to that, in 2002 they added 11 pull-through, 50-amp sites to their already existing sites that are 45 to 50 feet wide. In 2013, the Chilsons installed new transformers and pedestals to bring 50-amp service to 10 seasonal campsites at a cost of $1,000 per site. Last summer, they finished installing satellite TV to 123 full-hookup sites, which was another large investment.

“We laid about 10,500 feet of cable throughout the campground to deliver a high-quality signal,” said Tim. “Every site has its own drop so the signal doesn’t degrade.”

“The first day we flipped the switch on the TV system, we saw a big spike in usage,” he added. “It’s not your father’s camping experience any more. People want more luxury in their RVs. Cable TV was one of the most requested amenities when people called to book a site.”

Four years ago, wireless Internet access was added to the campground, and an upgrade to a better version of Checkbox was completed last year too. That’s a good thing, because the campground is situated in an areas where it is difficult to get strong cell phone signals on the property, especially after Verizon rotated the tower equipment just a few degrees a few of years ago, and they lost almost all Verizon service at their campground.

“We’ve seen demand for wireless increase year after year,” Tim explained. “Children are bringing more toys that connect to the Internet, and parents want to check e-mail or keep up with their Facebook friends. So, last year, we upgraded to the highest level of high-speed service offered by our cable company. The investment pays off in customer satisfaction with guests connecting at download speeds of 15 mbs and higher.”

The Chilsons live in a home located in an obscure part of the park, but close enough for them to promptly return to the campground to handle any situations that may arise.

“We don’t generally have a problem with our guests,” said Robyn. “We have developed a reputation as a family campground. On occasion, we do get a late arrival or camper off the road, and we come back to the campground to meet them and escort them to their campsite.”

Plenty of fun

There is plenty to keep kids busy throughout the park. There is a soccer field and basketball court, as well as three separate playgrounds and a place for volleyball games. Guests can also engage in catch-and-release fishing in any of the six “ponds” on site.

The campground sponsors a fishing tournament July 4 weekend. In addition, on other designated weekends, several catfish are tagged with a special zip tie, and whoever catches one wins a prize bag containing $10 worth of lures and fishing supplies. Kids and adults who catch their first fish, or a large fish, can have their photos posted on a bulletin board in the lodge and on the campground website by e-mailing the photo to the campground through their website.

For those folks who want to swim, Meadville KOA offers a nice pool with solar heated water. The filtered water runs from the pump house to the pool through a series of black plastic tubes coiled along the pool’s fence that faces the sun. As the water circulates through the tubes, the free solar energy warms the water, which can get up to 80 degrees.

Sandbox diggers are a big hit with smaller children because they can scoop up sand and create big piles — just like construction workers. Their new wooden playground and retro swings are popular with kids too.

A large multi-purpose room in the recreation hall serves as a bingo facility and for meals. A large game room allows people to earn tickets for prizes that can be redeemed for toys and win items like ice cream and large stuffed animals.

Rental Amenities

Meadville KOA offers paddle boats and pedal karts rentals for 30 minutes of use, plus mini golf at the “Nuttin’ But Puttin” course.

Guests can purchase wristbands to get all-day or all stay up to a week access to the rental amenities which includes the paddle boats, pedal karts, mini golf, and a large jumping pillow on weekends. The fee helps cover the costs to maintain the equipment and pay for items like helmets and life preservers.
“I love that kids can get fresh air and exercise when they come here,” said Robyn. ”After the kids have played hard all day, by evening we’ve worn them out and they’re content to sit around the campfire, eat a s’more, and crash for the night.”

Attention To Customer Service

The Meadville KOA has a wide selection of food products available in the camp store, and gets weekly and in some cases bi-weekly deliveries to resupply the shelves. The list of items carried has expanded over the years as campers requested items they didn’t routinely carry.
“Shopping in the store saves people a seven-mile trip into town and seven miles back just to get milk, bread, or something for dinner,” she added. “We serve as both a camp store for the campground and a local convenience store for the local rural community.”

The Chilsons also added consignment RV sales to their list of services offered. The units are displayed along part of the campground’s highway frontage. The couple advertises and shows the RVs for owners in exchange for a percentage of the price. It’s a great way to entice tent campers into the RV lifestyle, and provides an additional valuable service to campers, Robyn explained.

Unauthorized vehicle access to the park is kept to a minimum with an electric gate that requires a gate card to open. The gate also helps slow down traffic by preventing vehicles from pulling off the highway and speeding into the campground, and it provides a level of security for the campers.

The Chilsons, or one of their staff members, escorts each camper to their campsite after arrival and check-in. “We want to ensure that our camper gets on the site that they desire, and are happy with that site, whether that means they want more shade, less shade, closer to a playground, etc,” Tim said. “It gives us an opportunity to make that personal contact and make sure the camper is satisfied with their site and move them to a site that better meets their expectation, if for some reason the initial site doesn’t.”

People who make frequent trips to the campground can pay $1 per day for storage when their RVs are not in use. The staff will pull the rigs back onto a campsite before the families arrive, and move it back to the storage area after they check out.

“Pets are one of the biggest blessings and biggest problems for Meadville KOA and most campgrounds,” said Robyn, who noted that many families want to bring their pets with them when they’re vacationing. But, barking dogs and owners not cleaning up after their pets are the most frequent complaints they hear.

“When our staff visits a site after check out to clean the fire rings, they are also looking for and removing any animal waste left behind,” Tim explained.

The camp staff not only mows and trims the overnight sites, they also mow and trim the seasonal sites to ensure a more uniform appearance for the campground. Seasonal campers have very neat, clean, and well maintained campsites personalized with decorations, flowers, and other plantings.
“It’s an aesthetic thing. We do the mowing during the week when we’re not so busy so that people don’t have to listen to a neighbor mowing the grass on a Saturday morning,” said Tim. “In addition, it’s a premium level of service we supply that no other campground in Western Pennsylvania does. It’s a level of customer service that sets us apart from other campgrounds. We believe that our level of customer service, and getting to know our campers personally, and them knowing us, is some of the reasons that our repeat campers and friend referral numbers are so high.”

Why KOA?

When looking for a campground, the Chilsons were active KOA campers themselves. They had hoped to buy a KOA, but the one they were looking at sold before they could sell their home. They were forced to pass on that campground. However, the Brookdale Family Campground soon became available and they acquired it instead.

For 10 years, they ran the facility pretty much like the previous owners had until a KOA representative approached them in late 2010.

“We already had a good reputation, and we really didn’t want to give up our logo and the brand we had worked so hard to develop, but I promised the rep we would look at the information,” Robyn explained. “After reviewing it, we couldn’t say no to national advertising at a level no other franchise delivers, the KOA reservations system, guest reviews system and quality programs, and the opportunity to get more travelers, especially overnight guests.”

In 2014, the Chilsons achieved their first KOA Founder’s Award, which is based on quality inspector’s marks and guest reviews from their camping customers. It is KOA’s highest quality award, and Meadville KOA has been a President’s Award winning park since joining the KOA system in 2011.

The Many Hats Campground Owners Wear

One of the things most campers don’t realize about owning a campground is the amount of training and licenses required to operate a public camping facility, which of course, varies by state. For example, in Pennsylvania, campgrounds must study and take a pesticide application test to become licensed to operate a public swimming pool. The license holder must also maintain continuing education credit hours, which Tim does when they attend conventions for their state each fall. In addition to the pool license, they are required to have a sewer license, sport fishing license, propane distribution license, food handler’s license, and a license to sell dairy products in the store.

Tim served on the Pennsylvania Campground Owner’s Board of Directors for five years. The Chilsons have attended KOA University, the ARVC School of Campground Management Graduate Class, and both achieved their initial certified park owner credentials from the National Association of RV Parks and Campground. All of these programs have been instrumental in them running a successful campground, they noted.

Despite the extra work it entails, the Chilsons say they won’t trade the campground lifestyle for any other job.

“We’re fortunate and have been blessed to meet a ton of great families,” said Robyn. “We get to have fun with their kids and introduce them to wacky activities they aren’t likely to enjoy anywhere else, like free crafts, candy bar BINGO, panning for gold, water barrel battles with the local volunteer fire company, cardboard and duct tape boat races.”

“We have kids who are in college now who have been camping here since they were 3 or 4 years old,” she added. “And one of our seasonal campers and a student employee who fished with his parents and grandparents in our ponds has brought his kids here to enjoy the same experience.”

The Chilsons not only serve RVers, they love to go RVing in their Laredo travel trailer, which they often take to the KOA and ARVC conventions. Robyn and Tim, who have been married for 34 years this summer, have two sons who were 12 and 16 when they moved to the campground.

“We had camped with our own kids for years before we considered buying a campground,” Tim added. “Camping is a great investment parents can make with their kids.”

Tim Chilson added, “Owning a campground is a nice, fun way to make a living while providing a valuable service. Our children learned a lot working here during their high school and college years.”

Their oldest son, Michael, now lives and works for an engineering company as a CAD designer in the Pittsburgh area, and runs a DJ service. He is still a DJ at Meadville KOA events on the holiday weekends, which he started doing as teenager while in high school. Their youngest son, Anthony, lives and works in eastern Pennsylvania as a social worker, and volunteers each summer at the county’s summer youth camp for at-risk kids in the social services system.

For more information, call 814.789.3251 or visit

Sunday, March 1, 2015

KOA’s Big Discount Weekends!

March is a great time of year to begin booking your summer campouts.  Everyone loves a discount, and that is why you need to know about the KOA Value Kard Rewards Membership, and these special discount weekends offered at KOA Campgrounds.  They can provide big savings for your family!

All campers are welcome at KOA campgrounds.  You do not have to be a KOA Value Kard Member to camp at a KOA campground.  If you do become a KOA Value Kard Rewards Member, it pays you back with big savings!  The more you camp at KOA Campgrounds, the more points you accumulate, and the more discounts or free camping you’ll receive.  First, for a yearly membership of just $27.00, you save 10% on every stay at any of the almost 500 KOA Campgrounds across the US and Canada.  Secondly, you receive points for each stay, card renewal, special offers, and more.  Those points can later be redeemed for more discounts or free camping,  as long as you maintain your membership.  Third, being a KOA member entitles you to these special discount weekends listed below, and the Hot Deals advertised on the KOA website for each individual KOA Campground.  You can get more information about KOA’s Value Kard Rewards Program at  If you have any questions about the program that we can answer for you, please feel free to call us, and we’ll help you!

We hope you’ll join us for these three super savings weekends offered by KOA! 

May 8th & 9th is Care Camps Big Weekend!  All paying guests renting a campsite Friday May 8th, receive Saturday May 9th for just $10.00!  We dedicate this weekend to raising money for Care Camps across the United States to help send sick children to enjoy the healing nature of camp.  In 2014, thanks to the generosity of our wonderful campers and suppliers, KOA raised over $1,000,000 for this effort.  In 2015, KOA will cover the administrative costs for the charity.  That means, that every dollar of every donation our campers make, goes directly to sending a critically ill child to camp.  This weekend can save your family 40% on camping! We hope you’ll donate to help us send a child to camp!  Your family saves big on your weekend of camping, and you’ll walk away feeling great about helping a sick child enjoy just being a kid at camp!  It truly redefines who they are, and as always, we thank you for your generosity.   

On Father’s Day Weekend, June 19th & 20th, kids camp free for all Value Kard Reward Members at all participating KOA Campgrounds.  If you have a large family or want to take the grandchildren camping for Father’s Day, this is the perfect weekend for you to go camping!  The campgrounds will have fun family events and activities planned to celebrate Father’s Day! 

Each year in September, KOA hosts a national Value Kard Reward Members Appreciation Weekend!  KOA wants to make sure you know how much we appreciate all of our great KOA Value Kard Reward Members!  All KOA Value Kard Members receive Saturday night at no charge when they purchase Friday night at all participating KOA Campgrounds.  This year, the national Value Card Weekend is September 18th & 19th at all participating KOA Campgrounds.  However, at Meadville KOA, we’re actually having ours the weekend prior on September 11th & 12th.  That gives our campers the opportunity to camp with us for one night free, and then to camp for one night free when they buy one, with another participating KOA on the weekend of the national campaign! 

No matter how you add it up, if you take advantage of just the Care Camps Big Weekend, or just the Value Kard Rewards Membership Appreciation Weekend, you’ll have more than paid for the cost of the KOA Value Rewards Kard Membership fee and already started saving money and collecting points.  You can get more information about KOA’s national events and which campgrounds are participating at           

If you don’t have an RV, but want to try camping, some KOA’s offer these discounts on cabin rentals.  It’s a great, low cost way to introduce your family to camping!  Check out the KOA deluxe cabins.  Most KOA Campgrounds now offer Cable TV in their deluxe cabins.  All KOA Campgrounds offer Wi-Fi.  KOA deluxe cabins will change your perception of camping, as they are a great, affordable, fun family vacation value.     

We hope that your summer camping plans include us at Meadville KOA Campground! We invite you to join us for Care Camp Weekends and to not only get a great discount for your family, but to help us change the lives of critically ill children.  We thank you, as always, for your generosity.  If you want more information about us, you can find it at  

We look forward to seeing you this summer!  Until we do, we always wish you safe and fun camping, wherever your travels take you!     

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville, PA.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251 or at

Sunday, February 15, 2015

North Kingston Ohio Couple Wins $800 of Free Camping & Prizes in Western Pennsylvania!

(Shown in photo above from front left are: Winners Pam & Jeff Harting, and Grandson Charlie, of North Kingston Ohio, Denny Quigley from Yogi Bear's Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest, Scott Boyer from Boyer RV Center, Tim Chilson from Meadville KOA Campground, Kathy Quigley, Debbie Cepris from Rocky Springs Campground, Elizabeth & Matt May from Presque Isle Passage RV Park & Cabins, Carrie & Todd Weir from Bear Run Campground, Lisa Shadron from Goddards Park Vacationland Campground, Becky & Mark Wineman from Kalyumet Camping and Cabins, Boo-Boo & Tracy Czambel from Yogi Bear Mill Run, Jim Cepris, and Ed Tanski from Buttercup Campground.) 
ERIE, PA (February 8, 2015) – Jeff & Pam Harting of North Kingston, Ohio enjoy camping with friends they call their “camping family” and already had plans to do lots of camping this year.  They just never dreamed that after receiving $800 of free camping in 2014 with the purchase of a fifth wheel RV from Boyer’s RV Center in Erie that they’d wind up winning another $500 of free camping for 2015!  In addition, Boyer RV Center presented them with a gift certificate worth $200.00 of RV supplies from their store and B & R Camper Sales gave them a $100 gift certificate from their store, bringing their total winnings to $800.00!
The Harting family was recently named the winners of the fifth annual Very Special Camper Contest (VSC), sponsored by participating campgrounds and RV Dealers in Western Pennsylvania. 

The Harting family, according to Meadville KOA Campground Owner Tim Chilson, were able to enjoy 14 different weekends of camping at the price of 7 weekends, because of the VSC program.  He went on to add, “This program introduces new campers to some of the finest campgrounds in Western Pennsylvania at a special introductory offer of half price camping because they bought a new RV at these local participating dealers!  It’s a one-of-a-kind deal!”   

When asked about what they liked most about the program, Charlie, the Harting’s four-year-old grandson, said he loved swimming the best!  Pam responded that “Western Pennsylvania is beautiful with all the lakes, but we really enjoy the great people we meet while camping!”

Like the Harting family, any camper purchasing a new RV from any of the participating RV dealers receives one night of free camping for a family of four from each of the 24 participating Western Pennsylvania campgrounds.  This program is valued at over $800 of free camping provided by the participating campgrounds.

In addition, any camper who stays at eight or more of the 24 participating campgrounds and RV parks and submits their completed contest entry form within a year of their RV purchase, is entered into a special drawing to receive an additional $500 in gift certificates, which can be used at any campground in the organization.

Denny Quigley, owner of Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest Kampground, said the successful contest will be available again in 2015.  Quigley added that, “Anyone planning to purchase an RV in 2015 can get more information from any participating RV dealer displaying the Very Special Camper 2015 information, or at any of the participating Pennsylvania Campground Owners Association campgrounds which can be which can be found at

Participating Western Pennsylvania RV dealers for 2015 program include Hufnagel & Majors in Harmony; Fame RV Center in Saegertown; Clem’s Trailer Sales in Ellwood City; Starr’s Trailer Sales Brockway; Boyer RV Center in Erie; Brooks Camper Sales Connellsville; and B & R Campers Sales in Butler. 

The participating Western Pennsylvania campgrounds include Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park at Kozy Rest in Harrisville; Kalyumet Camping & Cabins in Cook Forest; Rose Point Park Cabins & Camping in New Castle; Meadville KOA Campground in Meadville; Goddard Park Vacationland Campground in Sandy Lake; Farma Family Campground in Greenville; Shenango Valley RV Park in Transfer; Pineview Campground in Linesville; Nautical Mile Campground & Marina in Templeton; Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park in Mill Run; Buttercup Woodlands Campground in Renfrew; Campers Paradise Campground and Cabins in Sigel; Sparrow Pond Family Campground in Waterford; Bear Run Campground in Portersville; Uniontown KOA at River’s Edge; Harts Content Campground in Beaver Falls; Harecreek Campground in Corry; Friendship Village Campground in Bedford; Oil Creek Campground in Titusville; Rocky Springs Campground in Mercer; Presque Isle Passage RV Park & Cabins in Fairview; and Benner’s Meadow Run Camping and Cabins in Farmington, Bear Ridge Campground & RV Resort in Templeton, and Pioneer Park Campground in Somerset.

By Robyn S. Chilson

Robyn owns and operates Meadville KOA Campground with her husband Tim.  She can be reached at 814-789-3251.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Save Money on Your Summer Camping Vacations!

Who doesn’t love to save money? Everyone does, right? So we thought some ideas to help you get the biggest bang for your buck on your summer vacation travel plans were in order. We think these proven methods will help you maximize your summer fun and minimize your summer expenses!

Stay Closer to Home! Camping within 100 to 120 miles (that’s 1 – 2 hours to travel time) of where you live reduces your travel time and expenses, and gets your family enjoying your weekend much sooner for less. Staying closer to home gets you the experience without the expense of a longer distance trip, travel time, and more!

Stay Longer!  Instead of making four, 2-day camping trips with the RV this summer, make three, 3-day stays. You get an extra day of camping in, and the travel expense for only 3 trips! It saves you money on the gas, wear and tear, and is more relaxing!  Many campgrounds offer a stay 7 nights for the price of 6! Make it a staycation, and save even more!

Cook on the Campfire or Grill! Cooking over the campfire is a favorite of campers!   Try new recipes and don’t forget to make s’more or mountain pies! The meal doesn’t have to be elaborate to be loads of family fun! The kids or grand-kids will love making their own dinner and eating it!  Eating at the RV instead of eating out saves big dollars! Maybe even enough to slip in another day, or another whole trip depending upon how many times your family eats out, normally.

Become a KOA member! You don’t have to be a KOA Kampground member to camp with KOA, but there can be some big savings for your family if you are a member! KOA Kampgrounds charge you $27 per year to be a member. You save 10% every time you camp at a KOA Kampground and you get points like a hotel card. The points you earn can be redeemed for discounts and free camping. VKR Members can also take advantage of special offers and KOA Hot Deals, which save you even more! 

KOA has Special Offers: In 2015, when you purchase a campsite on May 8, you get Saturday Night, May 9th for just $10 at any participating KOA Kampground. On Father’s Day Weekend, Kids Camp Free for all VKR members! And of Course, on VKR Appreciation Weekend in September, you get one night free when you buy one night at all participating KOA Kampgrounds for all VKR members. If you don’t have reservations to camp on these weekends, book them today! With these kinds of savings, even paying the $27.00 for the card makes sense, because you’re still money ahead.       

Check for other Discounts, Free Camping, and Special Offers! Always check out the campground’s private website for discounts and special offers. At Meadville KOA, for example, we offer a hero’s discount on select weekends for fire fighters and police officers to honor their service to our communities. Other examples are our buy one night and get night free weekends on May 15 & 16, and Oct. 9 & 10, when you introduce another family to Meadville KOA for the first-time!  We provide your friend a free night for trying us for the first time and you a free night as a thank you for sharing Meadville KOA with others. We’ve met many new campers because our existing campers recommended us. We thought it’s only fitting to say thank you for sharing Meadville KOA with your friends by providing you both a great discount offer. We also offer returning camper discounts for our campers who camp with us 2 or more times a season!  It’s just another way to say thank you and show you our appreciation. Make sure you visit that discount page, and see how we’re working to help stretch your dollar.

Camp During the Shoulder Season! If you camp before Memorial Day Weekend or After Labor Day Weekend, you should find lower rates. Also, because demand is lower, you might be able to find great special offers that are available. One example is our cabin discount for April – June where you rent a cabin 4 nights for the price of 3! Yes, that’s a 25% discount. It’s a great deal for an early summer, affordable cabin vacation for your family. The rates for RV camping or tent camping sites are lower in the shoulder seasons too. If you used some of our money saving tips, you might even be able to fit in an extra autumn campout with your savings!

Seasonal camping is a great value! Seasonal camping reduces your gasoline costs because you can drive the better mileage vehicle back and forth to camp. It reduces wear and tear on your tow vehicle and RV, your time, and your work. It maximizes the use of your RV and time with your family, and minimizes your work. Why vacation just once a summer, when you could vacation on any days off, all summer long? It’s fun and affordable! It makes a lot of sense, and provides your family that time to get away together that all families need! Call us today and get started planning a very special camping vacation for your family - a whole summer of camping fun for the price of just one vacation! You can check out more info at

We hope these simple ideas will help you save money, get provide you more time with your family this summer.  

As always, we hope your plans include Meadville KOA Campground!  Until we see you this spring (hang in there, it’s only 7 weeks away!) we want to wish you and your family a very happy camping season and a great family vacation, where ever your travels take you!  

By Robyn Chilson                                                                                                                  

Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.     

Thursday, January 1, 2015

It’s RV Show Season!

RV Shows are a great place to begin your search for local reputable RV dealers.  They are generally scheduled for January & February in the Northeastern US when dealerships are slower. 

RV Shows provide you the opportunity to see newest models and talk to dealerships that you may not have heard of, and reduce your expenses and time by not having to drive to many different dealerships.  As a customer you can see and compare prices, brands, layouts, and more with one stop shopping.  There is always a huge range of quality & prices.  So when comparing units, make sure you’re comparing the prices of like models of differing brands.  One RV may look like another one, but you need to compare the options, construction, equipment, and features they both have to offer. See who offers the best deal but remember if the dealer isn’t reputable or isn’t equipped to work on the RV, or is located too far away to conveniently return the RV for service, your purchase may not turn out to be the best deal.  Don’t be afraid to talk with other RVers at the show. Many of these people have years of RV experience and knowledge of different products and dealerships.  Most will be honest and tell you when and where they’ve gotten the best deals & service.   

We talk to dozens of RV owners each year.  The biggest complaint we hear is that campers bought their RV from one of those big “discount dealers” that is 4-5  hours drive away, have trouble with it, and it’s a pain to take it back to the big discount dealership, and the local dealerships don’t want to work on it.  If you think about it, you can kind of understand their position.  You didn’t buy it from them, and them doing the work and getting the refund from the factory is very time consuming to their business.  Time is money.  That time also means time that they are taking away from serving the customers who did buy from them.  Who can blame them?  If you were their buying customer, you wouldn’t want to stand in line behind a repair for a non-customer, would you?  There you have it.  So, keep that in mind, these small business owners can’t compete with these “Wal-Marts” of the RV industry on price because they buy by volume.  But, those big discount RV Dealerships can’t and don’t offer you that home town  connection, service, and responsiveness that your local RV Dealer can.    

Buying an RV from a local reputable dealer insures you the best possible service, convenience, and shortest distance to travel for maintenance, repairs, & warranty work.  It is always a good idea to visit the dealership’s physical location before you buy, check out their service department, service hours, etc.  In addition, many RV dealers offer show discounts and sometimes manufacturer rebates are available.  So not only do you save money with the one stop shopping, but there are huge savings in the purchase prices!  Show specials also sometimes include discounts or coupons from campgrounds.  So, your new RV sometimes comes with savings to use it, too!

For more information about local RV Dealers who have partnered with campgrounds in Western PA who offer $800.00 in free Camping and a chance to win another $500 of free camping with the purchase of a new RV in a Very Special Camper (VSC) Contest, visit our website at:

RV shows aren’t just for RV dealers to showcase new and used RVs.  RV shows offer a wealth of information on the whole RVing industry.  Most campgrounds & RV resorts are slow or closed for the winter.  RV shows allow campgrounds to showcase new activities, special events, new amenities & extended stay (aka seasonal camping) availability to potential campers.  Make sure you stop by their booths and find new places to explore and exciting things to do with your family this summer!   

You can also find information for aftermarket RV products, RV accessories, RVing insurance, Camping or RVing Clubs, Discount Clubs, pick up brochures, camping directories for your state and other states, or the free KOA directory for the whole USA and Canada, and more! 

Even if you don’t intend to by an RV, you can learn about cabin camping!  Many people think of camping as ‘roughing it” with a tent, the ground, the rain, and a less than pleasurable “vacation”.  This is no longer the case.  For the price of a hotel room, most campgrounds are now supplying cabins.  Prices vary by campground and the amenities offered.  Camping cabins are generally the least expensive.  They are generally one room with beds and a table.  Cottage Cabins may offer kitchenettes, or a few more amenities, and deluxe cabins are lodges with deluxe facilities like suits with multiple bedrooms, full kitchens, and bathrooms.  So, there is no requirement to own an RV to have a family fun camping vacation!  You can enjoy the luxury of RVing with a camping vacation in a cabin and not miss any of the campground recreation programs and planned activities! 

Why not pack up the family for a fun winter-day activity and attend one of the local RV shows in your area.  Invite a friend to come along, and enjoy a day of looking forward to a summer camping season filled with friends & fun at these RV Shows: 

Ohio RV Super Show, January 7 – 11, at the I-X Center, Cleveland, OH.  Show Hours: Wed. – Fri. Noon to 9 pm, Sat. 10 am to 10 pm, and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.  Ticket Pricing: Admission is $12.50/person.  Two Day pass $20.00.  Children 12 & under are free.  Parking is $10.00.  Discount coupons for admission available on their website at:!

Pittsburgh RV Show January 10 - 18  At David Lawrence Convention
Center, Pittsburgh, PA!  Show Hours: Saturdays: 10 am - 9 pm, Sundays: 10 am - 5 pm, Monday through Friday: 4 pm - 9 pm.  Ticket Pricing: $10.00 for Adults, $9.00 Senior (55+), $5.00 Children 6-16.  Monday and Tuesday are BOGO nights!  Buy one adult ticket and get one free!  One dollar off Discount Coupons available online at:

Erie RV Show Feb 5-8 At the Bayfront Convention Center, Erie, PA!  Show Hours: Thursday 2 pm to 8 pm, Friday Noon to 8 pm, Saturday 10 am to 7pm, and Sunday 11 am to 5 pm.  General Admission: Adults $6.00, Children 10 & Under Free, and FREE PARKING!  More info online at:
We invite you to attend any and all of these RV Shows!  Stop by the KOA Kampgrounds booth and pick up some brochures, a KOA directory and a KOA bag!  Tell folks in the booth that you received your invitation to the RV Show from Meadville KOA Campground!  We hope to see you there!    

By Robyn Chilson

Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.  Kampgrounds of America, is now the world’s largest system of open-to-the-public family campgrounds.


Thursday, December 4, 2014

What’s Under Your Christmas Tree?

What’s under the tree is much less important than who is around the Christmas tree with you. The holidays are a great time to be together with family members and reminisce about fun times, and family outings. It’s also a great time to begin planning your summer camping vacations with your family! 

Here are some tips that might help make your travel plans or summer camping vacation better!   

If you’re putting a new smart phone under the tree, don’t forget to download The KOA Camping App!  It is available for download at the Apple App Store and Google Play sites. It’s a great way to have 485 of the best campgrounds in the USA and Canada at your fingertips. For more information or to view a special video on the KOA Camping App, go to

If the kids never know what to get you, or you never know what to give them, why not ask for or give the gift that keeps on giving? Ask for or get them a KOA Gift Card! You can buy them in any amount over $20.00! You can give them to the grandkids as spending money when they go camping, or to their parents to pay for the whole campout!  You can purchase those at

We have put together another schedule full of fun, family friendly themed event weekends with planned activities for the 2015 camping season! We hope you’ll check them out, and join the fun! You can see our themed weekends schedule on our website at:

Don’t forget that we offer special discounts and offers on our website all summer long!  You can book your campouts on any of our BOGO (buy one night, get one night free) or other special KOA offers for even more big savings! Check out all of our discounts at:

Don’t forget to provide us your email address when you camp with us, so we can email you our monthly email blasts with upcoming events and special offers and hot deals!  If you camp with us often and provide us camping reviews when you camp, you can become a VIP and receive even more special offers and discounts to visit us even more often!   

Seasonal camping is a great value! If you haven’t considered seasonal camping, maybe it’s time that you did! Wouldn't it be a great present to put under your tree this holiday season?  What better gift to give your family than family time to do what they love - camp! Seasonal camping reduces your gasoline costs, wear and tear on your tow vehicle and RV, time, and work. It maximizes the use of your RV and time with your family, and minimizes your work. Why vacation just once a summer, when you could vacation on any days off, all summer long?  It’s fun and affordable!  It makes a lot of sense, and provides your family that time to get away together that we all need!  Call us today and get started in a very special Christmas gift for your family - a whole summer of camping fun! You can check out more info at

So, don’t forget to make those camping vacation plans this holiday season, and as always, we hope your plans include Meadville KOA Campground!  Don’t forget to book early so you get your desired campsite on the dates you want to camp! We start accepting reservations for next season on January 8th, 2015!

And, until we see you next spring, or this winter at the RV Shows, we want to wish you and your family from us and our family, the very happiest of holidays and a Very, Merry Christmas!

By Robyn Chilson                                                                                                                  

Tim & Robyn Chilson own and operate Meadville KOA Campground.  Robyn can be reached at 814-789-3251.