By Don Moore, F154921
As I write this month’s column, the Executive Board and committees of our association have just completed successful meetings at the FMCA national office in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Executive Board consists of the four nationally elected officers “” president, senior vice president, secretary, and treasurer “” along with the 10 national area vice presidents and the immediate past national president. The Executive Board and the standing committees and special committees of FMCA meet at the national office in Cincinnati in May and November to review operations, transact the business at hand, and plan for the future of FMCA and its members. Meetings also are held just prior to the association’s conventions in the winter/spring and summer.
The fall meetings in Cincinnati started a little earlier this year, with the Constitution and Bylaws/Policy and Procedure Committee meeting beginning on October 26 and ending on October 28. A thorough review of the FMCA Bylaws and policies and procedures was done. Bylaws amendments and new policies and procedures were considered, and all were presented to the Executive Board. Items that have a Governing Board approval level will be brought to the Governing Board at the annual meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, in August for their consideration.
From October 31 through November 2, an orientation was held for all newly elected national officers. Each department director and his or her staff presented their duties and shared information about how they serve the officers, committees, and members of FMCA. The staff members know their job requirements, and they are very capable, courteous, and helpful. I think they all did a great job working with the new officers during the orientation.
Among the committees that met in Cincinnati was the Convention Committee. Along with other business, committee members reviewed results and ideas from the Minot convention and discussed plans for the Pomona, California, convention in March. It was noted that attendance was down at a couple of recent area rallies, and we suspect that the rising fuel prices and other economic factors have played a role in this. Fuel prices have come down a bit recently, and as we make plans for FMCA’s international convention in Pomona “” to be held March 20 through 23 “” we are hopeful that this trend will continue so that FMCA members will be encouraged to attend this event. FMCA’s conventions continue to provide motorhome owners the opportunity to gather with friends to fellowship and have fun and share the motorhome lifestyle. They also afford motorhome manufacturers, dealers, component suppliers, and service providers an outstanding opportunity to showcase their products and also to gather feedback from their customers, which in turn helps to enhance the success and future of FMCA.
The Convention Committee has found it increasingly difficult to locate suitable facilities for convention sites. Many states do not allow out-of-state dealers to display and sell motorhomes to our members during a convention. The Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee is supporting the introduction of legislation in various states that will permit in-state and out-of-state dealers to display and sell during our conventions. Among other efforts and projects, the Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee also continues to work on enhancing the Motorhome Rights channel on FMCA’s Web site and to work on a parking rights CD, as well as to spread the word about the RV Friendly signage program.
FMCA’s Membership/Member Services Committee has been very busy working on new member benefits and brought forward six proposals to the Executive Board to be considered for member benefits. The MEDEX Plus emergency medical evacuation program continues to be a very popular benefit, and we have secured continued service for our members through 2007. The Risk Management Committee has done a great job in negotiating contracts and locking in the fees for years to come. This same committee brought forward one of MEDEX’s retail plans, called TravMed Abroad, Worldwide Emergency Assistance and Medical Insurance for Americans Traveling Outside of the United States (offering medical and evacuation coverage in areas not covered by FMCA’s Emergency Medical Evacuation Program), which our members will be able to purchase on their own. In addition, enhanced accidental death insurance benefits under the Loyal Years program will continue to be offered to members who wish to purchase additional coverage.
The Education Committee reviewed existing FMCA-supported education programs, which are designed to further educate our members with seminars and training.
The Long-Range & Development Committee has reviewed FMCA’s Strategic Plan and considered a plan for governance of FMCA in the future. The plan being considered would be phased in over the course of several years.
The Membership Recruitment and Retention Committee discussed several plans to recruit and retain members. They will begin by visiting campgrounds in the Western part of the United States this winter and hosting mixer meetings to introduce motorhome owners to FMCA and explain the many benefits of belonging to the association.
The Finance Committee met and interviewed several audit firms and then recommended a new firm to the Executive Board, who later approved the selection. The new firm will conduct FMCA’s 2005 audit. The Finance Committee also reviewed FMCA’s current financial status, as well as the status of the association’s investments.
The Meeting Hospitality Committee is a special committee that is chaired by my wife, Darlene, who is assisted by the other spouses of Executive Board members. This committee is responsible for providing and making arrangements for evening meals during the May and November meetings. After a long day in meetings, the Executive Board and committees seem to prefer eating in at our Round Bottom location rather than going to restaurants every evening. This is also a great savings to FMCA. There are three gentlemen chefs on the committee, Charlie Painter, Corbett Pool, and Bill Leahy, and they love to grill out. Each spouse is scheduled to take a turn working in the kitchen, and we also have a cleanup crew of volunteers.
The Family Motor Coaching magazine staff was authorized in March 2005 to have a publishing consultant review the magazine and make recommendations. During the November meetings, the Executive Board received a briefing on the recommendations that the consulting firm made. One outcome of this review is that the board voted to allow the magazine staff to seek an outside magazine design firm to assist in giving the magazine a fresh new look. This is something that the staff has been hoping to do for quite awhile but simply has not had time to accomplish in the midst of an already-busy schedule. Even though the staff will be availing themselves of outside help for the redesign effort, they still will be heavily involved in the process. Also resulting from the review was a recommendation to hire several new employees for various duties in this department to relieve the workload in some cases and to take other areas to the next level. The staff is still considering the recommendations and will be discussing various options with the Executive Board at future meetings. The overall comment of the publishing consultant group was that FMC magazine is a quality publication and steps taken would result in further improving the magazine.
The meetings were extended through November 19 and 20, because the Executive Board voted to have Bostrom Consultants provide a two-day leadership development training session to the Executive Board and the staff directors in the Cincinnati office. The next session will be held in March prior to the Pomona convention.
Disaster relief donation
I mentioned in last month’s article that a number of FMCA area associations, chapters, and individuals had made donations to bring relief to the hurricane victims. To support this effort, the Executive Board voted to donate $10,000 to the Salvation Army to be earmarked for disaster victims.
A salute to the troops
On November 11, Veterans Day, the employees at the Cincinnati office donated money to buy 2,000 small American flags that were placed on the front lawn at FMCA in recognition of troops who have lost their lives during the war in Iraq and in tribute to all military veterans. It was a very moving and beautiful sight. On behalf of the Executive Board, we want to thank the employees for this very thoughtful salute to all veterans.
We are blessed to be part of such a wonderful organization. I am extremely pleased with the cooperative attitude of the Executive Board and the employees. Although we do not always agree, we usually come to a consensus. We work hard to represent FMCA and have fun while conducting business.
Darlene and I would like to wish all of you a very happy, safe, and prosperous 2006.