Family & Friends
By Helen Caserta, F101979
“The Big 10″ was the name given to the Northeast Motorhome Association’s 10th anniversary rally, held August 8, 9, and 10, 2002, at the Champlain Valley Exposition in Essex Junction, Vermont. Rally masters Charlie and Helen Caserta, F101979, along with members (and spouses) from the Northeast Motorhome Association’s executive committee “” Bill and Ellie Skolfield, F227377; Bill and Pat Conway, F99081; and Gerry and Esther Rogers, F98387 “” spearheaded the volunteer effort for this rally. More than 600 volunteers lent their support, with representation from more than half of the area’s chapters. The great weather only enhanced an already wonderful event.
More than 1,000 families attended the rally, which featured three theme days: Chapter Day on Thursday (everyone was encouraged to wear chapter colors); Association Birthday on Friday (many individuals wore costumes and joined in making great memories); and Patriotic Day on Saturday (both American and Canadian flags were flown, and members dressed in their nation’s colors). What a thrill it was to see so many flags flying from the motorhomes. The entertainment that evening was a wonderful history of the American flag that was arranged by Northeast Area vice president Bill Gowen, F93847.
The lineup of commercial vendors “” both the manufacturers in the coach display area and the vendor booths set up inside and outside “” was the largest representation ever for a Northeast Area rally. The coffee area was indoors and all the seminar locations were close by.
This year’s rally had a community focus. The fairgrounds had a wonderful “Welcome FMCA” banner made that was draped over one of the main entries. We had a successful blood drive supported by 68 people “” more than the Red Cross planned on. And the Frustrated Maestros-NE, Yankee Doodle Dandies were invited to play at a community-sponsored function Saturday afternoon, which many of our members attended.
Morning coffee was served by the fun-loving Canadian chapter, Allo Quebec, with the volunteers singing chapter-composed songs as they worked. The Frustrated Maestros provided plenty of good music to help start each day right. One of the food highlights was the famous ice cream social, with assorted flavors offered “” including sugar-free ice cream “” and several palate-pleasing toppings. The spaghetti dinner was well-received, and more than 450 people were served.
Many thanks to all the volunteers whose creative ideas and team effort proved instrumental in making this year’s rally a success. Plans are already in the works for the 2003 Northeast Area rally on Prince Edward Island, Canada, July 25, 26, and 27. Plan on joining us the weekend after FMCA’s 70th International Convention in Buffalo, New York.
Midwest Prairie Schooners Celebrate 25 Years
By Jody Hood, F90186
The Midwest Prairie Schooners celebrated their silver anniversary at the Coachlight RV campground in Carthage, Missouri, July 18 to 21, 2002. The chapter was chartered in July 1977 as the GMC Prairie Schooners. Ironically, the group’s first organizational meeting was held in the home of Ralph Mills, F20674, who today is the only charter member still active in the chapter. The chapter’s name was changed to Midwest Prairie Schooners as owners of other types of motor coaches became interested in joining the chapter.
Thirty-four coaches and 72 members attended the silver anniversary celebration, which was hosted by Ron and Nina Cutright, F79134; Frank and Phyllis Anderson, F62733; and Chuck and Pat Krueger, F230532. The Kruegers replaced Bob and Glenda Knoth, F247594, because of Bob’s hospitalization. Prior to Bob’s medical problems, the Knoths had made some adorable covered wagon centerpieces for the tables.
Mary Jo Dunlap, F102360, organized the door prizes and handed out “goody bags” to the attendees. Chapter members purchased matching T-shirts, which we all wore for our group photograph on Saturday. Special guests at the anniversary celebration were South Central Area vice president Jim Ammenheuser, F157201, and his wife Kitty, and former chapter president Joe Brownsberger, F97525, and his wife, Lois.
The chapter has had approximately 95 family members during its 25-year history. Sixteen members have served as president, starting with Arthur Mellott, F20600. Today, Bob Snyder, F233574, is president, with Ted Snell, F242374, as national director, and Ralph Mills (who also was a president) as alternate national director.
The catered dinner on Thursday evening was enjoyed by all, and on Friday morning our hosts served sausage and egg casserole, fruit, English muffins, bagels and cream cheese, coffee, and juice. Following breakfast, the group went on a narrated double-decker bus tour of Carthage.
That evening, dinner included hors d’oeuvres, a relish tray, punch, iced tea, coffee, and an anniversary cake. Following dinner, Nina Cutright presented a history of the Prairie Schooners; read correspondence; and recognized many who were on hand. Jim Ammenheuser presented Bob Snyder with an inscribed coffeepot from FMCA in recognition of the chapter’s 25th anniversary. Phyllis Anderson distributed door prizes to those in attendance, which included a pair of sweatshirts donated by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce. The grand prizes for the event were a pair of lounge chairs donated by Coachlight RV.
Prior to Saturday morning’s business meeting, we enjoyed cereal, rolls, fruit, and coffee. That evening we feasted on a banquet dinner at Hazlet’s Restaurant in Carthage. Sunday morning, following devotions, our hosts provided fresh fruit, breads, spreads, coffee, and juice before sending us on our way.
During the rally, chapter members enjoyed telling jokes and spinning tales, although a rain shower one afternoon sent everyone running for their coaches, carrying their chairs and drinks. At each rally we have a good time finding out about someone who has made a blunder in their travels. These goof-ups are announced at the Saturday morning meeting, and the embarrassed member with the most votes receives a dubious award for the month “” or until another Schooner is caught in an embarrassing situation.
The Coachlight RV campground where we met is located behind the sales lot of Coachlight RV, C2094, and many chapter members were seen looking at new coaches in their free time. Several members toured the Precious Moments Chapel in Carthage, while others searched out eating spots, antiques shops, and shopping.
It is a privilege to belong to the Midwest Prairie Schooners, and our gatherings are always a time of fellowship, laughter, and friendship.