Expanding The Foundation Of Xscapers

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As the founders, it is safe to say that we have an obvious connection to Xscapers. When this idea of creating a community for working-aged RVers was developed and approved to move forward almost five years ago, we were not yet president or vice president of Escapees. It was our first big break. This concept would not only impact the future of the Escapees organization but, more importantly, its community. It was a daunting but exhilarating project that quickly became our personal obsession.

Xscapers was so much more than just a company agenda that we were responsible for making successful; it became a bond and our pride. We poured countless hours around the clock into ideas, planning and development as part of our daily lives. It was all we could think or talk about. “Hey, what about this?” Or “Wouldn’t this be fun to do?” We were in high gear with ideas flowing as fast as our imaginations could create them. While some ideas never saw the light of day following conversations over a couple of drinks, other ideas become part of the official company project lists and were quickly acted upon.

Much like a child, though, it continued to grow with each passing year, needing more guidance and attention. We were no longer able to host every Convergence or attend every event as our lives changed with the addition of another child and our new roles as president and vice president. Our responsibilities to Escapees as a whole grew drastically, and the days of focusing almost 100 percent of our attention on Xscapers was no longer a viable option. So, while Xscapers certainly still held a special place in our hearts, we knew we had to bring on some extra help. Not only to expand its community, but as an effort to simply keep up with the demand.

The Power of Community

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As luck would have it, we met an awesome member named JP Smith #115625 in Quartzsite, Arizona. While he offered his services as a volunteer co-host at first, we quickly realized he was something special, and he truly cared about the community. We continually bugged him about having a larger role until, eventually, he just gave in and became Xscapers full-time Convergence director. JP has taken the heart and soul of Xscapers, its Convergences, to a whole new level over the past couple of years that thousands of attendees have had the pleasure of experiencing firsthand. In addition, community members Brandon Hatcher and Kerensa Durr #115527 also joined the team as directors in the marketing department. While their work may go unnoticed by the masses, they have created the communication outlets that connect us all together. This includes streamlined processes to make your member experience more personal and simpler to use. They also volunteer their time to help with countless other tasks to better the community and organization. We’ve also welcomed Xscaper, Carrie Fay #135479 on board to help manage the blog content and the under-appreciated job of overseeing the social media pages.

So, while it has taken some time to adjust to stepping back from some of the hands-on responsibilities we once held with Xscapers, we have all grown for it. Xscapers now not only holds a special bond to us, but our family has grown. Now JP, Brandon, Kerensa and many others within the Escapees staff have created a personal attachment to this amazing community, just like Escapees. Not a day goes by that Xscapers isn’t a part of a conversation here amongst the staff not only regarding improvements or ideas, but the personal impact it and the community continues to make on so many lives.

Simply put, at 12,000 strong, Xscapers is a sizable force within the Escapees dynamics, and we are still as invested as ever! Over the years, we have accumulated several awesome ideas and goals to be added into our yearly project lists. While we can’t share all the details or divulge when they will be fully implemented, we can tell you about the general direction we are headed and some things to come.

As outlined in the last year’s “What the Future Holds for Xscapers” article, resources, industry voice, community, and an Xscapers-focused campground/home base are still very much the underlying tone as we continue into 2020 and beyond. While progress has continued to be made in these areas, there is more work to be done over the coming years. The reality is, we have purposefully selected core areas within the Escapees organization that we feel Xscapers needs to continue to focus and improve on as a long-term plan, with community still topping the list.

We continuously look for additional ways to expand our Convergences and diversify the locations where they are held. It is no secret that most Convergences have been held in the West over the past couple of years due to having more accessible locations and heavy RVer usage. However, in 2019 there were a couple of other events held on the East Coast by volunteers such as Carole and Scott Pleasants #129260, David and Cheryl Goldstein #126793 and Brandon and Kerensa. Not only are we working locations into our official plans over the next couple of years, we are also expanding our help to provide community members with the necessary support to make more Convergences a reality. As much as we all wish we could clone JP, he simply can’t be everywhere in the country throughout the year.

In addition, Escapees has recently debuted a completely self-sufficient trailer that will benefit all of the company event programs. While the trailer itself is an amazing and fun piece of equipment, its real benefit is what we can do with it. It opens new opportunities for us to comfortably host up to 300 people in locations that were once not practical. It is a great addition to our toolbox and one example of our long-term dedication of focusing, not only on maintaining the best RVing community out there, but on improving our ability to make additional connections.

Another example is our search for finding property for an Xscapers-focused campground/home base. While it was our full intention to have secured a location for this project by the end of 2019, the truth is we have faced many hurdles to make this a reality thus far. Arizona, New Mexico and Colorado were all among the top states in our search; however, it didn’t take long to shift most of our attention to the banana belt of beautiful Colorado. Several trips, phone calls and meetings took place for multiple properties that met nearly every check-box on our wish list. However, we ran into a reoccurring problem that would drastically delay our ability to purchase—zoning. This hurdle has several dynamics that are drastically impacted by local politics and community culture, ultimately making them nearly impossible endeavors for a multitude of reasons. That issue, combined with our ambition to build from the ground up on a minimum 40 acres, simply makes it a delicate and time-consuming process. We haven’t given up, though, and it is still very much a part of our short-term goals!

Strength and Growth

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Even with all of these exciting additions, projects and goals on the table for the future of Xscapers, we are always open to taking on new projects as they come up throughout the year. Some of the best ideas come on spontaneously, and we are always listening to the feedback from members on ways we can improve. After all, this community was built for you, and without your voices and participation in activities, the group would not be what it has become today. If you aren’t doing so already, we welcome you to follow along online to stay up to date on what’s coming down the pipe. In addition to our member news, we are active on Facebook, Instagram and the blog.

Each year brings a new level of excitement and we look forward to seeing where it will take us. Just like we mentioned earlier, it feels as though we are watching a child grow and continue to form its own personality. And, just like a parent, Escapees continues to set forth the values and guides Xscapers through its hurdles and accomplishments.

Xscapers is most certainly a milestone in our lives, and like many important life moments, there are unexpected impacts. For us personally, Xscapers created a closer relationship to the Escapees organization. Not simply because Xscapers is a part of it, but because the unforeseen correlation we gained of Escapees history and Joe and Kay’s story. This created a much stronger understanding and appreciation of what has been built over the past 41 years not only from a business standpoint but, more importantly, our family. It’s why we couldn’t be prouder to be a part of helping to maintain their legacy and the endless endeavor of making Escapees the best it can be.

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Travis and Melanie Carr

Travis is the grandson of the Escapees Founders Joe and Kay and no stranger to the RV lifestyle or the club. Melanie was introduced to the lifestyle at a young age through family vacations and has always had a passion for travel.
In 2015, Travis and Melanie founded a group within Escapees called Xscapers to better cater to the working-aged RVer. They now represent the third generation of family leadership as the President and Vice President of Escapees RV Club.

One Response to “Expanding The Foundation Of Xscapers

  • Travis Carr
    Robert Fruth
    4 years ago

    Love it. Very well written article and extremely informative. It is such a wonderful feeling to have found a community where I can proudly say, “Yeah, I’m an Xscaper and proud of it” Thank you Melanie & Travis, Chris & Cherie for taking this vision of your to the heights of where the Xscaper community is today. HOME SWEET HOME,

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