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. We have now started to form INTCOA (International TC Owners Association) in anticipation of expansion into Europe and Australia. 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 synonomous. We are basically interested in promoting the Truck Camper lifestyle and have fun doing it.
Northstar-Australia is the starting point for expansion there. If you are interested in helping set up infrastructure in Australia, contact one of the names in the contacts section.
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.
Are you going to try and run the Australian Club from North America?
No, we want the Australian Club independent as soon as possible. We will share Web Sites and the Forum. We also have a common member database. We are trying to encourage contact between North American & Australian Clubs. Anyone who wants to help organize in Australia, should contact Bob Murphy. See Contacts section.
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. Rex Willett of Northstar believes in it, so does Bob Mehrer of SnowRiver. Hopefully, so will several of the others as time goes on. So this is not only a show, it is also a rally. An Australian show may happen in future.
Will the show / rally be anywhere else in future?
It will likely remain in Ogallala, Nebraska. 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.
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
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 campering as their customers.The original intention was to form a club & try to have some involvement with manufacturers or a representavie. 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, Canada & 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.
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 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?
What do I get for my membership?
Since we are a very 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 plan to get some bumper stickers out in Spring 2006. We plan on holding prize draws on occasion. 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?
For now, they are appointed or volunteered and will continue to be so for the first couple of years .This is to ensure consistency while the organization is establishing itself. The board consists of mainly consumer-members plus a couple of industry-sponsored members. The main work of this organization will be done by commitees, 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 who is current president (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
Bob Mehrer - from Snow River campers
Robin Harper - From Torklift
Ian Swallow - Freedom Off road, Australian Northstar distributor
Bob Murphy- New South Wales
NATCOA Board of Directors - Paul Beddows, Bill Mathews, Rex Willett, Jerry Gale, Jerry Galang, Larry Christensen, Dan Quinn, Robin Harper, Joanne Crawford, Dean Emerson, Jim Duhamel.