Tom Heneghan - CEO, Equity LifeStyle Properties

The Outdoor Foundation recently released its Special Report on Camping – 2011. It contains many interesting facts and figures about camping including demographics and participation numbers.

One survey I found interesting centered on "words associated with camping." Some of the top words were outdoors, fun, family, adventure, peace and happiness.

Similarly, we recently asked our Facebook fans a simple fill in the blank question – "The best camping trips are ____?" Most of the answers echoed the words above. "When I am with my family." "When I can just relax." "When we have all our friends with us." "When we meet old friends or make new ones." "When we hear the waves lapping at the beach."

That’s it really. Camping presents itself as an opportunity to combine all those elements – friends, family, relaxation, exploration, peace and happiness.

I believe that’s one of the reasons camping continues to gain popularity. I’ve said many times that RVers and campers are resilient. By definition, resilience is the ability to adjust easily to change. We’ve seen a lot of change in our economy over the past several years and yet, we continue to RV and camp.

I think it goes back to the basic elements of a good trip - the intangibles. A sense of family, a sense of camaraderie and a sense of well-being. Have you ever sat around a campfire at the end of a long day outdoors, surrounded by friends and family and thought, "This is what it’s all about. I’ve got everything I need right here."

There’s a sports term when someone is performing at his or her best – "they’re in the zone". It generally means that the athlete makes their actions look effortless, even easy. I think many of you experience the "zone" when you get out and camp. Life feels more natural and becomes easier. It’s a great feeling.

We all value our leisure dollars and look to get the most for our money. Our Zone Pass offers great value in that it allows you to get in your own "zone" – it makes life easier and getting away and camping that much simpler.

What’s great about camping is that once you set up camp at one of our campgrounds, you can choose to partake in all the activities that are offered or you can explore the nearby areas. You’re a tourist but yet you come "home" to your site each night, and most likely talk to your neighboring campers, possibly exchanging stories around a cozy campfire. The adventure is what you make of it!

So facts and figures aside, the reason to camp is because it is fun, you are experiencing the outdoors with friends and family. The element of happiness exists as a by-product of the experience.

The season is upon us – get out and camp!

Thought Of the Month
"When we tug at a single thing in nature, we find it is attached to the rest of the world." - John Muir

Tom Heneghan
President and CEO