By Don Moore, F154921
Each November the Executive Board and committee members get together at the FMCA national office to plan the next year’s activities, take care of financial business, and discuss the issues at hand. We completed two full weeks of meetings last November 17.
FMCA, a member-owned organization, has the benefit of a solid foundation consisting of approximately 120,000 member families. But we can’t just sit on that foundation and dangle our feet. It’s always easier to relax and enjoy what has been accomplished by others, but we cannot afford to become complacent. We must remain eager to strive for future improvements. Each year we lose members to death or for health-related reasons, among others, and we try to overcome this loss by getting new members. Increasing membership is currently a major goal for us all.
At our upcoming convention in Perry, Georgia, March 19 through 22, I hope all of you will attend an open forum that will address the future of FMCA. Specifically, members will be asked to propose items for the Long-Range and Development Committee to consider. See your convention program for the date, time, and location of this meeting. In case you miss the Perry convention, the same forum will be held in Redmond, Oregon, during our convention that will take place August 13 through 16, 2007. Do you have a plan for the future of FMCA?
After the meetings in Cincinnati, Darlene and I traveled home to Illinois to spend Thanksgiving with our family. On November 25 we traveled to Louisville, Kentucky, for the 44th annual National RV Trade Show, which is put on each year by the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA). Joining us were senior vice president Connie Pool, F140306, and her husband Corbett; national secretary Ginger Painter, F23514, and her husband, Charlie; and newly elected Great Lakes Area vice president Ross Boyer, F268985, and his wife, Melanie.
This huge RV show at the Kentucky Exposition Center showcases the very newest motorhome models, plus the latest in components and accessories. This trade show is for manufacturers, dealers, and suppliers and is not open to the public. FMCA is there because, as a motorhome owners’ group, we have a vested interest in the well-being of the RV industry. FMCA is one of more than 300 companies that set up and staff a booth at the show, and FMCA has done so for many years. Representatives from RV companies can stop by the booth to pick up copies of Family Motor Coaching magazine and learn about advertising in our publication, as well as consider exhibiting at our conventions and rallies. We also promote commercial and family membership at our booth.
The event began on Tuesday, November 28, as we and hundreds of RV industry representatives attended the “RVIA Outlook 2007” breakfast meeting conducted by RVIA president Richard Coon. RVIA representatives believe the long-term sales outlook for RVs is favorable and expect 2007 sales to be as good as 2006. The enormous baby boomer generation is now beginning its prime RV ownership years, and this will continue over the next decade. The industry’s national “Go RVing” campaign will continue to promote RVing in 2007 by advertising in print, TV, and on the Internet.
On Wednesday morning we attended the annual prayer breakfast and heard guest speaker Rick Horton, former major league pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals and now a radio broadcaster.
Wednesday at noon, the FMCA Commercial Council luncheon and business meeting was held. This business meeting was conducted by Commercial Council president Mike Snell of Monaco Coach Corporation, C2111. Upcoming conventions were discussed.
On Wednesday evening FMCA hosted its annual reception for our commercial members, magazine advertisers, and convention exhibitors. The space drawings for the Perry convention were posted so that exhibitors could see where their booths or spaces will be for the show. The event was well attended and gave us the opportunity to visit and get acquainted with our valued commercial members and advertisers.
In our spare time we visited with show exhibitors throughout the huge facility, which has more than 900,000 square feet of total exhibit space.
As I have mentioned before, I believe the RVIA show is an excellent event and a good experience for all of us who attended, and especially educational for those who were attending for the first time.
After the RVIA show we all traveled home to prepare for Christmas. Early in the new year “” January 10 through 14 “” we plan to attend the Western Area Rally in Indio, California, and by the time you read this, the Southeast Area Rally in Brooksville, Florida, will be gearing up (it takes place February 7 through 11).
Speaking of rallies, I hope you are making plans to attend the 77th International Convention, our “Georgia Jubilee,” March 19 through 22, at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry, Georgia. As I’ve already noted, there have been many improvement to the grounds since we were there in 2005. There are 2.65 new miles of paved roadways in the family parking lots, and new retention ponds totaling 6 acres. Our goal is for all convention attendees to be happy campers. So, come join us in Perry. Registration currently is taking place, and signing up before February 26 will save you $20 over the gate registration fee “” not to mention help us with planning for the event.
Looking ahead to this summer, I also want to remind you to mark your calendars for our return visit to the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center in Redmond, Oregon, for FMCA’s 78th International Convention, August 13 through 16, 2007. Registration for this summer event begins April 2, 2007. In the meantime, save the dates, and enjoy safe travels.