By Don Moore, F154921
In my opinion, the best way for FMCA members to enjoy their membership in this association is to join a chapter. If you don’t belong to a chapter, you are missing out on one of the greatest benefits of FMCA.
FMCA has chapters all across the United States and Canada. If you live in a seasonal climate, you may find that chapters meet only during the warmer months and usually get together during the holidays. If you live in the South, the chapters in your area often meet year-round.
FMCA currently has approximately 485 chapters. Some focus on a common special interest, such as amateur radio or full-time motorhoming. Others are for people who all own the same brand of coach, or the same chassis brand. Then there are the chapters whose members reside in the same area and can enjoy the opportunity of getting together on a regular basis and use that motorhome for weekend trips, to see new places, and to make new friends. These are just a few of the types of chapters that currently exist in FMCA.
Once you belong to a chapter, you will find that you have joined a new family. Some people you meet will become your closest friends. Most have some of the same interests as you do. You can meet and exchange information all day about your motorhome experiences, and probably learn a few new ideas. Some chapters’ social activities include playing cards or other games, or going shopping or sight-seeing. Usually chapters hold potluck meals, cookouts, or go out to a restaurant as a group.
Some members join only one chapter; others join several. Darlene and I belong to several, although we are unable to participate much now, because being national president keeps us very busy traveling to conventions, area rallies, and meetings. We both really miss attending our chapter get-togethers and seeing our chapter friends. We look forward to attending chapter functions again once my term as national president comes to an end.
All chapters are not the same. I would suggest visiting several chapters and seeing which one you like best. A great way to accomplish this is to attend an FMCA Chapter Fair. We’ll offer one at FMCA’s 76th International Convention in Charlotte/Concord, North Carolina, and you are certainly invited to attend. The fair enables chapter representatives to display and discuss their club’s activities with anybody who wishes to learn more. So, if you are not quite sure just what a chapter is, or whether one might interest you, this is a perfect opportunity to experience the flavor of several different groups all in one place. Join one, or more than one if you like, or just pick up some information and then visit some chapter rallies and decide later if this benefit is for you.
If you won’t be able to attend this upcoming chapter fair, please don’t hesitate to contact the Chapter Services Department at the FMCA national office (800-543-3622), and someone will be happy to discuss chapter membership with you based on your location and/or special interests.
Also, if you would just like to peruse the list of FMCA chapters, a complete “Chapter Directory” begins on page 271 of the January 2006 issue of Family Motor Coaching and also online at www.fmca.com/chapters. “Chapter Changes,” a list of those chapters that have made recent changes in contact information or officers, appears in this issue beginning on page 230.
Get the most from your motorhome, too
With the higher cost of fuel this summer, some of you may be thinking of trying to save money as you travel. One good way to make your investment in your motorhome “pay” is to attend FMCA’s “Fast Track to Fun” convention in Charlotte/Concord, North Carolina, this August. First, consider that if you register before July 24, you can save $20 off the gate registration fee. And for your $119 “early bird” registration fee, you get so much: dry camping at the site (electrical hookups are available for an additional fee); fantastic daytime and nighttime entertainment (see the evening entertainment article on page 102 in this issue); seminars about everything from chassis to cooking on the go; and many chances to meet and enjoy the company of other motorhome owners. Add to that sales exhibits with countless products from which to choose, whether you’re looking for a motorhome, RV accessories, fun clothing, or just a snack; and the free coffee and doughnuts each morning; and the ice cream social, and …. Face it. For the price, attending an FMCA convention is one of the best deals around. I do hope you’ll take the Early-Bird Registration form for the “Fast Track To Fun” convention on page 96 of this issue and fill it out, or register online at FMCA.com or by calling the national office at (800) 543-3622.
On top of all the good things you can enjoy at the Charlotte/Concord convention, the area in which we’re holding the event is historical, beautiful, and has so much to offer. Auto racing fans will be in their element, with the many opportunities to see and learn about this sport. And the area itself is full of sights and history. Did you know that the first gold discovered in the United States was found near Charlotte? An article about what you can see and do in Charlotte/Concord appears in this issue of the magazine (page 84), along with an article about nearby New Bern, North Carolina (page 92). Other articles highlighting North Carolina sites will appear in the next couple of issues, along with additional convention information.
I hope that now you’re more than ready to get the most from your FMCA membership and from your motorhome. And I’ll see you soon at Lowe’s Motor Speedway in Charlotte/Concord “” August 14-17.