By Bill Gowen, F93847, National Vice President, Northeast Area
This is the third year that I have been asked to contribute to the “Executive Notes” column. If you were in my shoes, what would you pick for a subject? I wanted to choose something that would be fresh, of interest, and beneficial to FMCA. After I gave it some serious thought, the answer came to me quite easily: volunteerism.
Webster’s Dictionary tells us a volunteer is “a person who chooses freely to do or offer to do something, a person who chooses freely to enter into any transaction with no promise of compensation.”
In July 2001, during the “first timers” seminar at the Northeast Area Rally, I was proud to stand before a very large group of FMCA members and tell them that the entire Northeast Area Rally was planned and executed by volunteers. The only exception was that the Chapter Services Department at the FMCA national office in Cincinnati, Ohio, handled the rally registration and sent mailings to commercial vendors. Obviously, without volunteers there would be no area rally, as there would never be enough money to pay employees for the huge amount of work necessary to put it on.
FMCA’s international conventions are run with the help of many volunteers. And I understand the national Convention and Rally Committee will be seeking even more volunteers to help with the planning and execution of future conventions.
Volunteers also run your local FMCA chapter. As of this writing, FMCA recognizes 423 chapters, which are spread across the great North American continent. How could chapters exist if volunteers did not come forward to serve as officers, newsletter editors, rally masters, etc., to manage the chapter and plan the many get-togethers? Just think of all the fun and fellowship we would miss without volunteers.
Last summer I was asked to help with a seminar about FMCA member benefits. A good part of my time was spent discussing the intrinsic value of FMCA membership. Without volunteers there would be no intrinsic worth to FMCA membership, as there would be no chapters, area rallies, or conventions to enjoy. I told the group to remember that when you are driving to your next destination after the rally. Think about all the good times you have enjoyed as an FMCA member. And please remember that all of those good times came about because FMCA members volunteered to help make them happen.
If you’ve not yet joined the ranks of FMCA volunteers, please consider doing so. Many volunteering opportunities are available within your chapter, as well as at rallies and FMCA international conventions. If you’ve not yet stepped up to help in those areas, why not consider doing so? Make it a New Year’s resolution for 2002.
There is another volunteer service in which each and every FMCA member can participate: you can sign up a new FMCA member. Your reward will be a free copy of the very useful FMCA North American Road Atlas & Travel Guide. For each additional member you recruit, you will receive a $5 coupon good toward FMCA merchandise or Camping World merchandise.
Yes, Webster’s says a volunteer is willing to give freely, but a little help along the way can be very handy. For more information about membership recruitment, or to obtain a Member Recruitment Tool Kit, contact FMCA’s Membership Services Department at (800) 543-3622.