By Karen Powell, F191230
This month the Roll-N-Wheels chapter members are celebrating the group’s 25th anniversary. It’s the largest predominantly African-American chapter of FMCA.
The Roll-N-Wheels chapter was formed from several previous camping clubs dating back to the early 1950s, Offwego and Roaming Homes. Offwego members owned all types of recreational vehicles; however, several of their members decided to join the Roaming Home camping club, which was specifically formed as a chapter of Family Motor Coach Association. Through time the membership of both clubs faded due to retirements, members moving out of state, and deaths. But 12 families from Roaming Homes decided to change their name to Roll-N-Wheels and remain affiliated with FMCA.
Membership grew from 22 charter families under our first president, Henry Brown, F13313, and continued to expand under our second and longest-serving president, Leon Martin, F35517. Under past president Paulette Pace, F156715, membership increased to the current 96 coaches strong. We still have three charter member families active in our chapter.
The chapter’s official scope is the Detroit metropolitan area, and the majority of our members reside in FMCA’s Great Lakes Area. Several families have relocated to other states but have maintained their membership with Roll-N-Wheels and participate whenever possible. Our membership consists of different ages, careers, and ethnic backgrounds, but we all have one thing in common: the love of motorhoming.
Our chapter rallies are held from May to October, for which several families will volunteer to plan our activities and meals, which can include potlucks, catered dinners, or an occasional visit to a popular restaurant in the area. Rallies are held mainly from Friday through Sunday, but because most of our members are now retired or in the process of retiring, we often spend more than a few days camping. In fact, our members enjoy arriving before the rally and staying beyond the weekend.
Rally highlights have included traveling to places such as Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Tunica, Mississippi; and Memphis, Tennessee. The chapter has held several rallies at the Lazydays RV campground in Seffner, Florida, and at Beaudry RV Resort in Tucson, Arizona. Last year several families traveled to the FMCA International Convention in Minot, North Dakota.
This year the club began its 25th anniversary celebration with a visit in May to the Annual Tulip Festival, in Holland, Michigan, and to the Great Lakes Area Spring Spree (G.L.A.S.S. Rally) in Berrien Springs, Michigan. Our chapter chairs and volunteers in various areas: building security, information booth, fashion show, and parking. Another chapter rally took place last month at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Belleville, Michigan. In addition, a large contingent of our members will travel to FMCA’s 76th International Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, this month. And in September, for our grand finale we will travel to River Ridge RV Resort in Stanwood, Michigan (this rally is limited to current Roll-N-Wheels members only). Our 2007 rally season is still being planned.
I’m the current chapter president. Other officers are Alma Handy-Simmons, F114650, vice president/newsletter editor; Paulette Pace, vice-president/rally master; William Howze, F295493, vice president/wagon master; Herman Phillips, F137935, vice president/quartermaster; Toni Brooks, F184903, secretary; Connie Wilson, F277172, treasurer; Charles E. Powell, F191230, national director; Donna Warren, F163179, benevolence chairperson; and Doris Johnson, F321069, chaplain.
We are very excited about our chapter and are proud of our history. We would like to invite FMCA members who live in the Detroit metropolitan area to join the Roll-N-Wheels. Dues are $25 per year per coach, plus $15 per family for the new member activation fee, which covers badges and incidentals. For more information, contact FMCA’s Chapter Services Department at (800) 543-3622.