“Preserve your memories, they’re all that’s left you.”
“Stop fixating on stuff you can touch
and start caring about stuff that touches you.”
When you grow up on a farm in Minnesota, one of eleven kids, and the nearest towns are Fairbault and Morristown, you learn to make do. As Al LaCanne puts
“My mother’s favorite words were, ‘It’s good enough.’”
Grow up in that environment and you either set the bar at “make do,” or you figure out a way to find something better. Al went to Arizona in search of his something better and found it in a successful management career with a strategy that comes down to “Better than it has to be.”
Al says this about Silveridge and The Resort:
“Everyone who works at the parks CARES. That’s easy to say, but our management philosophy is, Your job is to help the residents have fun. You either want to do that or you’re gone.”
“Most RV parks are run by big corporations, so you have some MBA in Chicago or New York deciding how to squeeze every dime out of residents. They do that by having endless extra charges while squeezing every nickel on staff and amenities. And so residents end up feeling nickel-and-dimed. At our parks, we want to give the residents more than they expect. The people who come here are happy, successful people who deserve to get an experience that’s more than good-enough.”
Reminiscing about the history of Silveridge and The Resort, Al says, “When we took over the parks they needed a lot of work and we began to bring them up to a higher standard. We got to that standard, and then we raised it. For instance, a lot of places show movies in a ballroom or meeting room, but for me, seeing a movie while sitting on a folding chair isn’t going to the movies.”
So what about the future? What’s next for Al and the parks? He says, “We keep trying to make the parks better. I think of it the way Walt Disney talked of Disneyland — it will never be finished.”
Al is now imagining RV parks that are more than lively and cheerful. He turns philosophical when he talks about his vision:
“The people who come here have mostly stopped worrying about careers. So what matters then? Relationships. And memories. I think our parks do a good
job of helping people have great relationships, and now I want to help our residents save and share memories.”
And that brings us to the question Al wants to ask residents.
“I have a vision of helping people create and share memories. I’d like to do this two ways…
“One, we would have quality video cameras available for residents to use, and start a group that would volunteer to film events at the parks. The volunteers would be educated in videography and in editing. For instance, when the quilting group has a show, someone would make a video of the quilts and interview the people who made them. Then, after editing, the members of the club would have something to put on YouTube and to send to their kids
or relatives or friends.
“Second, I want to experiment with mounted cameras in places like our pickleball courts or softball field. We’d record the games and anyone who wanted highlights could request them. When you hit a home run, you can get a clip of it and share it.
“I get excited about these ideas, but I don’t want to press ahead unless our residents could share the excitement. Here’s what I want to know:
Would you like to have these video options available?
Would you volunteer to be one of our parks’ videographers?
Please send your answers and your thoughts.
CLICK HERE TO VOLUNTEER OR TO SHARE YOUR IDEAS