By Jeff Jefcoat, F118344
When a motorhome owner joins FMCA, one of the things he or she agrees to do is to abide by the FMCA Member Code of Ethics and other rules and standards of the organization, which, as noted in the lead-in to the code, “represent all our endeavors to be good neighbors, careful and responsible coach owners and operators, and good citizens of our communities.” When revising the FMCA Bylaws, the Constitution and Bylaws Committee chose to fashion a more concise Code of Ethics for inclusion therein. The new Code of Ethics appeared in last month’s issue of the magazine as part of the revised Bylaws, but since the document is relatively short, I thought I would repeat most of the verbiage here for the sake of this month’s discussion about courtesy, consideration, and good manners.
The Code of Ethics notes that:
“Consistent adherence to the FMCA Member Code of Ethics is desired and required of every member, in order that the actions of all members may reflect favorably upon each other and upon FMCA; and thereby earn the confidence and respect of the public and its acceptance of FMCA and all its members.
FMCA Member Personal Responsibilities:
- Respect the rights and privacy of other members and coach owners on and off the highways.
- Comply with all Federal, state, and local laws and regulations governing the ownership and use of family motor coaches.
- Obtain permission to remain overnight, in a shopping center parking lot or on other private property, from the owner or responsible party of the property.
- Comply with all rules of National, state, municipal, and private facilities in which a member stays.
- Last but not least, members should not lose sight of the fact that there is a universal guideline known as the Golden Rule that directs all proper endeavors.
Therefore, recognizing that the public will judge all family motor coach owners by their individual actions, all members of FMCA, as well as its employed personnel, are enjoined to honor and comply with the FMCA Member Code of Ethics.”
For the most part, FMCA members are among the most courteous and well-mannered folks to be found. Every now and then we do experience an exception to this rule. Such was the case at our recent convention in Pomona, California. After each convention, a wrap-up and critique meeting is held by the Convention Committee. Several incidents were reported to the committee during this post-convention meeting in Pomona that I found particularly disturbing, and I thought I’d take the opportunity to mention these and a few other recent occurrences in this month’s column. Individually, these incidents may seem minor and hardly worth reporting, but I am concerned that trends may be developing that could affect our wonderful lifestyle and at best do not fit the FMCA Member Code of Ethics.
It was reported that during the convention a member used abusive language with one of our volunteers because we had temporarily run out of coffee during the morning coffee hour. Another threw a cup at an attendant because he was not allowed to have coffee from vessels that were being prepared for one of the coach manufacturers, who had contracted with catering for this service because they were hosting a customer reception later that morning. I know how seriously some people take their morning coffee, but . . .
Another reported incident involved a person who was attending a catered luncheon and returned a half-eaten meal and said the meat was not completely cooked. A second meal was immediately given to the person, whereupon the second meal was returned and the person tossed it back across the table toward the catering attendant. This meal was examined by one of our convention staff and found to be prepared as FMCA and the caterer had planned. Unfortunately, incidents such as these can reflect badly on FMCA as a whole.
Last year I received a request from one of our members that FMCA assist in trying to keep parking privileges at a certain Wal-Mart store. Upon investigation, we learned of numerous accounts of RVers, yes, motorhome owners, who had parked their vehicles without asking permission to stay overnight; set their jacks (without any boards or other protection for the parking lot surface); and pulled out the awnings, lawn chairs, and barbecue grill right there in the parking lot. In other words, they were indeed camping and doing so without any regard as to how it looked to the other people in the area. To cap it all off, when they drove away, the litter and trash from their visit was left strewn over the area. How much does a company have to endure before some action is taken at store locations where this is an issue?
All of us become frustrated from time to time about various matters; however, these frustrations can and should be discussed with the person or persons involved without becoming discourteous to anyone. And I don’t think it’s asking too much that consideration of others be given, especially our fellow FMCA members who are serving in a volunteer capacity at a convention or rally, and have paid the same registration fee as any other member.
FMCA has a Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee, chaired by Max Durbin, F76454, International Area vice president, that is one of the busiest committees in our organization at this time. Among other things, they assist FMCA members who are facing a restrictive RV ordinance in their community. Recently a request was received from an FMCA member seeking assistance in protecting his right to park his motorhome on his own property. Upon investigation, it was determined that the individual was parking his unit with the rear of the vehicle extending over the sidewalk. RV owners are being hit from all directions with parking restrictions, fee assessments, tripled taxes, tripled licensing fees, and other regulations. FMCA is assisting in all of these legitimate concerns. However, sometimes it seems we may be our own worst enemy as a result of a lack of courtesy, consideration, and good manners.
What should I as a member of FMCA do? I suggest that we each consider the FMCA Code of Ethics and satisfy ourselves that we are in compliance. In addition, if you see abuses of the many privileges we enjoy, courteously point out the concern and ask the person involved to please help us keep our privileges by being good neighbors. We RVers have a great deal at stake, and we need everyone to protect this enviable and wonderful lifestyle. May I count on you?
Early Bird Registration Deadline For Buffalo Convention is June 6
Make plans now to join us as we “Shuffle Off To Buffalo” this July for FMCA’s 70th International Convention. This convention will be extra-special because it will take us back to our roots “” the Northeast Area “” at a time when FMCA will be celebrating its 40th anniversary. FMCA’s founding families met on July 20, 1963, in Hinckley, Maine, to view a solar eclipse and decided to form an organization for “house car” owners. On July 21, 1963, they named the organization “” Family Motor Coach Association “” and made it official. The Buffalo convention dates are July 18, 19, and 20, 2003. Remember that because of parking restrictions, registrations are limited to 5,000 family motorhomes. Also, don’t forget that the early-bird registration deadline is June 6. Signing up by this deadline date saves you $35 over the gate registration price. Plus, early registrations assist FMCA in planning for the event.
Last Chance To Win A PT Cruiser
Have you signed up a new member since FMCA’s 40th Anniversary Member Recruitment Contest began on August 15, 2002? If so, your name is already entered in the drawing that will be held during the Buffalo convention for a brand-new “inferno red” Chrysler PT Cruiser and other great prizes. If not, you still have a little time. The cut-off date is June 30, 2003. So, introduce your motorhoming friends to the fun, fellowship, and many other great benefits afforded by membership in FMCA and earn a chance to win one of 10 fantastic prizes. And, your friend who joins between August 15, 2002, and June 30, 2003, has a chance to win either a 41-day Alaska caravan trip for two in 2004 or a post-Mardi Gras 2004 Caribbean cruise for two, courtesy of Creative World Rallies & Caravans, C1350. (See page 55 for contest rules and details.) Winning members do not have to be present at the drawing, but it sure will be more fun for everyone if they are. So, sign up a new member and invite them to join you in attending the Buffalo convention in July!