Well, we have another Good Sam Samboree under our belt and while it was enjoyable, it was not great. This was through no fault of the organizers of this year’s event. When we first joined the WI Samborees could expect more than 250 units. This year there were less than 150. In years past there were vendors for clothing, RV parts and accessories, cookware, jewelry and RV dealers, too. One year we even had shocks put on our motorhome at a Samboree. There were only three vendors this year. It is not worth it to vendors to come and setup for 4 or 5 days when the promise of return on their effort won’t pay their expenses. Seminars were offered, but not nearly as many as in years past.
While the benefits of joining the Good Sam Club are many, individual chapters are dwindling. Initially we joined so we would get out more with our RV, but we found great people in our chapter and we look forward to being with them at campouts and meetings. Our chapter has been in existence for over 30 years, but even our numbers have gone down. When we joined joined about seven years ago, we had more than 25 families and now due to members’ relocation, health issues, etc. our numbers are down to 15 families. Good Sam Chapters need to entice more younger families, but how. At this year’s Wisconsin Samboree, I saw only one young family.
In 2010, we traveled with friends out West and there attended a Samboree and found that many of the local chapters there have their monthly campouts during the week, thus insuring that young people cannot belong due to work obligations and school. And a crabbier bunch of old biddies you’ll never see. In contrast, a Samboree we attended down South was friendly, welcoming and lively. As I remember, you got a real feel for the area.
Good Sam/Camping World has a new CEO with some new ideas. Hopefully he will help breathe new life into the Good Sam Club.