North American Truck Camper Owners Association

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The international organization for truck camper owners & manufacturers
 
 
 
 

NATCOA / INTCOA    - Question & Answers

Why are you doing this?

This organization started in March 2005 in the United States and Canada. The impetus for it was the frustration expressed by some TC manufacturers over the fact that many forums prohibit them from posting. This means they are unable to respond to questions or comments about their products. We decided to establish a forum where they could. In doing so, we discovered the obvious. Manufacturers are often the best people to answer a question.  At the time we formed this we had already established the North American Truck Camper Caravan (NATCC) which was basically a traveling rally. We decided that the two would make a good mix so we merged the 2 concepts into what became NATCOA. INTCOA (International TC Owners Association) is the umbrella name for ourselves, the Australian Club and any other international expansion. Although this RV type is known by other names in other countries, we decided to stick with "Truck Camper" for consistency. The terms "Slide-On", "Slide-In" or "Demountable" are synonymous. We are basically interested in promoting the Truck Camper lifestyle and have fun doing it.

We formed as a non-profit for 2 reasons. First of all as a club, a non-profit is the way to go. Since we have owners of companies as members, this also ensures that we do not show favoritism.

Why do you want to put on a show, aren't there enough already?

Well yes, there are. They are basically sales events where you may encounter a company salesman if you're lucky, more often dealers. We figured anyone in the RV business is probably there not only to just make money, but because they like to camp like the rest of us. So we thought, why not put on a show & invite the owners of the companies to camp & get cozy  with  their consumers. We don't bite, they don't bite and wouldn't you feel better buying a product off someone who has a human face? Well that's the theory.  So this is not only a show, it is also a rally.

Will the show / rally be anywhere else in future?

It will likely remain in the US Mid West. Once the contacts & infrastructure for an area are in place it is much easier to stage it in the same location. It is possible there may be secondary shows elsewhere, but the plan is to maintain the anchor location at Ogallala. This will also be the location of the annual NATCOA Rally and also the annual General Meeting. We do run several regional rallies a year in other parts of Canada, the US & Australia. We try to put the show ion bi-annually, but it is dependent on market conditions.

How does a non-profit run a show?

NATCOA is non-profit. The show is incorporated separately as an S-Corporation. This in effect keeps it separate, but closely associated with NATCOA. The show relies on NATCOA members to help it operate. It operates on pretty much a break-even basis. It shares the same name & logo.

What do you consider a Truck Camper, Slide-On or Demountable?

Any habitation mounted in the bed of a Pickup truck, be it metal, fiberglass or canvass. This can be anything from a sleeping bag in a Pickup bed shell to a 12 ft camper with A/C, fridge, shower & recliners.

Where are your headquarters?

Bellingham, Washington, USA. This is a town of about 100,000 between Vancouver, Canada & Seattle, USA. Don't go & try to find our 30 story office tower, however. We are simply a Post Office Box. We chose Bellingham since we registered as a non-profit in Washington State. We have many American & Canadian Members, and Bellingham is easily accessible from both sides of the border. The individuals who process our mail & memberships live within easy driving distance of it. Sometimes the mailbox only gets emptied once a month.

As we expand internationally, those clubs will run their own affairs with their own board on an equal basis with us. We will simply take enough of dues to support their share of Web hosting, etc, and maintain a common member database. We have some international members already, especially in Australia. If you are part of a TC club in another country, talk to us about becoming associated.

How do I know you are legit?

Here is a a link to our non-profit registration: NATCOA Registration. We still have to register in Australia. Until that happens, financial admin is done through North America.

Are you a club or an Industry organization?

The answer to that question, is club. We simply try to communicate with TC manufacturers who have the same enthusiasm for Truck Camping as their customers. The original intention was to form a club & try to have some involvement with manufacturers or a representative. One manufacturer, in particular, jumped in with both feet & suggested we organize a "Truck Camper Only" Show & Rally. This has taken us off in a slightly different direction than was first intended, but we have decided to go with it. Owners of companies sometimes show up at events. For example, in summer 2005, the owners of Torklift & SnowRiver both showed up at a remote lake in BC & camped along with us.

Will you intervene on my behalf if I have problems?

The simple answer is "NO". We are not the Better Business Bureau. We may, however be able to cut through some red tape & get you touch with the correct individuals. We have already done so on some occasions. We do not advocate for you, we will simply contact the correct individual for you & leave it up to their discretion whether they contact you back. At best, we are facilitators, not arbitrators.

Are you trying to take over other Truck Camper or RV Clubs?

No, we will co-operate with any other clubs, & cross promote their events. If another club wants to be part of NATCOA or  INTCOA we can work out a joint membership arrangement with them (see next header). If they want to roll themselves into us, they may do that as well & utilize our resources & funds. We represent the entire industry, many other clubs are brand specific & have a different purpose than we do.

I already belong to the LOA (Lance Owners of America). Do I get membership cheaper?

At present, no. As we grow we will try to work with clubs like the LOA & see if maybe we can offer NATCOA membership along with membership in their club at a reduced rate. This would not be sharing membership, but we should be able to offer membership in NATCOA at what it cost us to maintain an individual membership & thereby help out these clubs a  well. They could still charge their regular rate.

Do I have to join NATCOA or INTCOA to participate in Rallies or Caravans?

For caravans, Yes. For rallies, maybe. We hope if you attend a rally you will decide to join, so in that regard, they are recruiting opportunities.

Why is your forum free?

We decided from the start that the forum would always be open. It does help attract new members. Observations of other forums that are available only to club members, show they have little traffic. There are sections of both our forum, and Web Site that are only accessible to members.

How often do you have Caravans?

They are dependent on someone organizing them. We had one in the summer of 2005 in the Pacific NW of the USA & Southern BC. It was very successful, but they take a lot of work. We can provide advice to anyone who wishes to organize one. They can be small or large. We are hoping to get some organized in Australia.

Why International?

Why not? There may be individuals willing to swap RV's for vacation exchanges on another continent. We can also build a registry of people interested in hospitality exchange with other TC owners abroad. Your biggest vacation expense is accommodation. If we can make it cheaper & introduce you to the locals, why not? Our main thrust is in Australia where the Truck camper is suited to the geography.

Why do you charge different rates in North America & Australia?

The Canadian & North American clubs are highly integrated and have the same executive. Therefore Canada & the US utilize the same financial structure. Australia is a long ways away from North America. They set their own rates and we share some revenue to support joint efforts like the web sites & forums. We both operate under the same principles. We do charge 1/2 the North American rate for other countries, like those in Europe. We have no active clubs there, however.

What do I get for my membership?

Since we are a relatively new organization, at the present time, not much. Start up costs are high. We will send you a card and some bumper stickers. We are compiling a directory of members who are willing to assist other members who find themselves in trouble on the road or will offer a place to park overnight & that sort of thing. We will supply some funds for rallies. As membership grows we will be able to do a lot more. Some of our services are free to everyone. We hope people will want to join even if they can still have some of the benefits without joining.

How do you pick your executives?

Board of Directors are elected by the membership at a general meeting. The board consists of mainly consumer-members plus a couple of industry-sponsored members. The main work of this organization will be done by committees, which may or may not consist of board members. The main duty of the board is to make financial decisions & consult with members on the direction we want to take this organization.

Will you have regional executives?

At present, no. However, as we grow I think this will be inevitable. When we expand more outside North America, this will be an obvious move. We have no desire to try & control activities half way around the world.

Who are the main players?

The organization was started by:

Paul Beddows - Vancouver, Canada (co-founder)

Bill Mathews - Jacksonville, Florida (co-founder)

Bill Delorey - Brewster, Mass who co-founded the original caravan idea

Jerry Gale - Halifax, Canada who co-founded the original caravan idea

Dan Quinn - Chicago, USA, Our bookkeeper

Rex Willett - from Northstar campers. Current Annual Show Chairman

Bob Mehrer - from Snow River campers (company now defunct)

Robin Harper - From Torklift (now no longer with them)

Ian Swallow - Freedom Off road, Australian Northstar distributor

Plus a group of others too numerous to name.

NATCOA Board of Directors (2011) -  Rick Law, Gary Birenkott, Jay Trunkenbolz, Jay Taylor, Don Payne, Dan Quinn.