Go RVing, ‘Black Folks Camp Too’ Partner to Help RV Dealers
This article was written by Rick Kessler and originally appeared on RvBusiness.com
Recently, Go RVing announced a partnership with Earl B. Hunter Jr., founder and president of Black Folks Camp Too, on a new video series that will discuss how RV dealers can market to and reach Black consumers.
The three-part series will roll out in January 2022 and will explain why Black consumers aren’t already participating in outdoor recreation activities, what knowledge gaps exist within the Black community, and how dealers can reach a Black audience and invite them to become part of the RV lifestyle. The series is available to dealers who participate in the Go RVing tie-in program and will be located within the Go RVing industry portal.
Prior to the announcement of the Go RVing partnership, RVBusiness had a chance to sit down with Hunter, who previously was the vice president of sales for SylvanSport, before launching Black Folks Camp Too on October of 2019. Here is an edited account of that conversation.
RVB: Why did you launch Black Folks Camp Too?
Hunter: To be frank with you, I wanted to bring unity not only to just the outdoor industry, but to the world.
We’re doing that by removing fear, adding knowledge and inviting more Black folks to enjoy the outdoor lifestyle with any and everyone. Because we believe once we get everybody around that campfire, we’re going to start having amazing conversations, and we’re going to find out we got more “sames” than we have differences.
The outdoor industry is like 98% white, right? And the lifestyle is probably 95% white. With that being said, it is probably the most segregated industry in the world. Our job is to make the industry more inclusive and make the lifestyle more inclusive.
RVB: And this, you say, is despite the annual study by Kampgrounds of America (KOA) that for several years in a row has said that minorities among the greater camping population is growing?
Hunter: Well, I think it is growing and it’s probably growing organically.
But there’s some things that folks have seen in these campgrounds, though. Their experiences are not all the greatest experiences. Black folks, particularly in the south, they see things and they’re like, “Wait a minute. Is that what y’all do back here? Is that what you do?”
Here’s what I do know. I know that most campers, particularly RVers, are very friendly and exciting and loving. But I also know there’s some traditions in campgrounds that haven’t necessarily been on par to what Black folks have thought about. They see different flags being flown and things of that nature.
We just believe that campgrounds, RV dealerships and outdoor retail spaces should really wave the flag of saying, “We want to invite you. We want to make sure you’re involved and you’re welcome. And you are more inclusive.” It’s as simple as that.
RVB: What are some information and resources that you offer that can help campground owners and operators?
Hunter: Mainly what we offer right now is the Unity Blaze. It’s the campfire within our logo, and it means “Treat Everyone, Everywhere, Equally.” We believe that campgrounds should be waving this displaying the Unity Blaze and telling folks, “Come on in. You are welcome. We are excited for you to be here. We hope you are excited to be here. Let us teach you how amazing our lifestyle is.”
Education is the key, right? So, what we do is we help educate campgrounds. We help educate their employees. We help educate people already enjoying the lifestyle. We also help educate the entire industry on why they haven’t seen folks who look like me in these campgrounds. Our job is not to twist arms, man. Our job is twist hearts.
Here’s the thing: you can’t fix a problem unless you understand what the issue is. And many campgrounds, and even the people in this room, they don’t even know the reasons why folks like me haven’t been in the outdoors.
Listen, Black folks spend $1.2 trillion a year. That’s our spending power. We should be spending some of those dollars in the outdoor space, right? Because the outdoor space – although it’s doing is amazingly well for the last year or so – that wasn’t done because of great marketing. That wasn’t done because of reaching out. That was done because we had a pandemic.
So, now is really the time for us to go after a new customer and grab that new customer and have those conversations.
I believe that the outdoor industry, particularly camping, is going to shift the world into an amazing, an amazing place. And if we do it right as an industry, we’ll be at the forefront of change of the world.