Friday, December 2, 2022


Building an RV Park: Why we decided to “go for it”


By Machelle James
If I could bottle up all the love and support we have received over the last two weeks, I would have to try and capture Niagara Falls. Since my first article came out, we have received so many messages of encouragement in pursuing our RV campground dream. It’s crazy that people already want to make reservations as we haven’t even broken ground yet! That tells me we are onto something phenomenal!

What I am learning in the RV business is, if you have a great story, there really are some fantastic people that will connect you to other people to share your story and get the word out for your cause. I was so thrilled to be on Alan Warren’s The RV Show USA last Wednesday. It was my first time doing a live interview and I’m not going to lie – it was pretty intimidating. After a few minutes of remembering to just talk to Alan and pretend no one else was listening, it started to feel much more natural and relaxed.

I have been asked by many curious folks about what made us decide to leave corporate America to follow our dreams. I have to admit it was because I am a huge believer in personal development. Over the last several years I started reading books from Napoleon Hill, “Think and Grow Rich,” Jack Canfield, “The Success Principles,” and Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” What this has done for me is ignite my passions, searching for that inner hunger that was inside me.

Have you ever wondered, ”What is my purpose in life and how do I find it?” Reading these books opened my eyes and heart to a whole new world that I didn’t even know existed inside me. It also taught me how to think like an entrepreneur and what type of business ventures I would be good at. I took tests to discover my strengths – which are socializing, communication, people and compassion. What I am not good at are organization, finances and building things. Thank goodness those are my husband, AJ’s, strengths!

Sometimes your purpose is so close to you that you can’t even see it.  My youngest child, Jenna, was born missing part of her brain. Her official diagnosis is “Agenesis of the Corpus Callosum.” In turn, this gave her developmental disabilities. She is 22 years old and is mentally comparable to a 10–13 year old. She will always will have the mindset of a teenager, we were told. Oh Lord, help me – a perpetual teenager!

The reason I tell you this information is this is our WHY. Why are we opening a family campground? Well, simply put, after we noticed how much joy Jenna was having camping in the forest, we knew this was a safe place for her. She could explore the forest with us and she was getting exercise and she didn’t even know it! She also loves riding in our side-by-side, going fast on the trails, or rock climbing. She also loves to have lunch on a blanket in the middle of nowhere. She likes to be cuddled up in a hammock with her toys.

When my husband and I had that ah-ha moment last year, we both had tears streaming down our cheeks. It was as if Jenna was given to us to bring a safe place for all kids to discover campfires, toasting marshmallows and telling silly campfires stories.

When we were packing 28 years’ of photos away last week, most of them are camping either in the sand dunes or in the forest. It was as if the writing was on the walls, but we weren’t paying attention to the signs.

So as we put our house up for sale last week, I was not sad. I like giving tours of our home and meeting all these new people who could enjoy this house like we did. I hope we find a good family who makes memories here.

As we pack away late into the night, we are so lucky to have found our purpose. Bringing joy and nature to children and families. Bringing a sense of community. Bringing the most precious of children to our place where the parents don’t have to feel embarrassed for their special needs children’s outbursts or behaviors. We get it. We really do, and you are welcome to laugh and visit us with open arms.

So sit tight as we bring together a community dedicated to offering you a fun, safe camping experience. Until then, see you in the trees!

And please leave a comment.

Follow us on Facebook @ AJ’s Getaway RV Park or on Instagram at ajsgetawayrvpark.

Read the last post, Why I sold my house to open an RV campground, here.

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Sharon Nelson
3 years ago

I live in Heber, AZ and it’s a wonderful and beautiful area for camping, ATV riding, hiking, fishing, etc. The weather is beautiful. A great place for an RV park. Can you give me an idea of where in Heber-Overgaard it will be?I look forward to watching the park’s progress. I live at the top of the hill as you enter Heber (the neighborhood behind the Circle K).

Michelle Navarrette
3 years ago

I love this story! Jenna is simply amazing and that is a reflection of great parenting. May this be a huge success and wishing you blessings in abundance!

3 years ago

Your special campers will need “grandparents.” We’ll be following your story and will bring a few hugs – and a couple of our grandchildren – once you open.

D Mason
3 years ago

So happy for you. Far too many people remain trapped in the “I can’t give up this or that” or the illusion that money is success. Far too few figure out how to go to their happy place and succeed. We will be watching for your RV Park to open and hope to stay there some day when we wander down that way from northwestern Montana.

Don Cola
3 years ago

Sold my motor home last summer, wish I had it back cause I’d be on your doorstep the day you open.
AND…with my Downs grand daughter. Great success.

John Blackburn
3 years ago

Keep seeking and building on your dream. And keep us all informed as this inspiration unfolds. Big hugs to you all.

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  John Blackburn

Thank you John! We appreciate your support !! Can’t wait to share our story with you all!!

Betty L Kees
3 years ago

Cannot wait to hear more about your adventure.
Where are you building this RV Park? We full time RV and have hit a lot of rv parks some fantastic and some not so much
Thank you for sharing

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  Betty L Kees

Hi Betty! We will be in a small town in Arizona called Heber-Overgaard. It is at 6600′ and has plenty of forest and lake areas to go visit. Thank you for your support and I hope you will come visit us!

3 years ago

I love that we will “tag along” on this journey with you……My heart bursts with happiness every time I hear Jenna LOL at a new discovery or sensation. Can’t wait for the coming years!

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  Tammy

Thank you Tammy!! We are so excited to share this adventure with you!!

3 years ago

What an inspiring story! Hope to be able to follow the story as your campground is built. Wishing you all the best!

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  Ellen

Thank you Ellen!! We truly appreciate all the support from our fellow RV’ers!!

3 years ago

You can put a great campground together, treat your customers with respect, have a wonderful location, etc. but you can’t control the behaviors of the people who use your facility.

Bob Godfrey
3 years ago

Can’t wait for your campground to open!

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  Bob Godfrey

Thank you Bob! We hope to meet you up there someday!!! Thank you for your support!!

3 years ago

Wonderful story! Good luck in all your future endeavors. Sounds so exciting!

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  Roger

Thank you Roger! It is always an adventure around here! We can’t wait to share the good bad and ugly for the next year as we develop our campground!

3 years ago

That was a wonderful share.

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  Paula

Thank You Paula! We really appreciate your support!

Jim Bisson
3 years ago

Very noble of y’all for doing this. I admire y’all. As Gary P. Nunn says in a song “making a living is not making a life”. Y’all are going to make a life and a great one at that.

Machelle James
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim Bisson

Thank you Jim! We could not agree more! It is a crazy, beautiful journey we are on!

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