By Don Moore, F154921
Memorial Day weekend marks the traditional beginning of the summer travel season. Most schools are out, and families are now busy enjoying summer vacations. As I write this, we are approaching the Fourth of July holiday, so summer is flying by. I hope your travels this summer will include FMCA’s 78th International Convention in Redmond, Oregon. Activities will be plentiful at the “Rediscover Redmond” convention and, of course, Central Oregon is blessed with many places to visit before or after convention.
Conventions are a benefit for our members, and we go to enjoy the seminars, entertainment, and all the activities, and to see our friends and make new friends. The FMCA Governing Board has business to conduct on Monday, August 13. A typical meeting lasts all day. One very important business matter will be the discussion and approval of the 2008 budget for the association. Jim Kern, FMCA national treasurer, and the Finance Committee presented the budget to the Executive Board at the May 2007 meetings in Cincinnati, and the Governing Board received it in the mail in July along with other materials for their meeting in Redmond. The Finance Committee and national office staff spent many hours working to present a sensible budget. Certainly, FMCA is not in financial trouble. We have our reserves and our investments, but it was determined that we needed to cut the budget to fit our income, as many other businesses have done in the past five or six years.
Magazine revenue, a major source of income for FMCA, has declined. Many of the RV dealers and manufacturers we have depended on for advertising revenue have experienced consolidation, and some have started their own publications in which they and other companies advertise. Also, membership isn’t growing like it once was. We sign up new members each month, but we also lose members. This is to be expected somewhat given our average age group. Health situations can impact our ability to travel and enjoy the motorhome lifestyle. We are optimistic for the future, though, as we realize the “baby boomers” have lots of interest in the RV lifestyle. Some love the motorhome lifestyle in and of itself. Others use their RVs to enjoy racing, boating, four-wheeling, horse and dog shows, etc. In some cases the baby boomers are still working, while others are already enjoying retirement. Remember: you, the members, are the best source of recruiting new members to FMCA. We continue to need your help to spread the word.
FMCA is member-owned and committee-driven. The members are the backbone of our organization. I have said many times, if we didn’t have volunteers, we couldn’t have quality conventions. We also have 59 full-time and 10 part-time well-qualified employees in our Cincinnati office. We must all work together as we have for many years to keep FMCA the premier motorhome association.
Our team includes a great group of convention volunteers we refer to as the advance crew. Some members comment on the fact that these volunteers receive a travel allowance. These dedicated members pay the same convention expenses as you and I do, and they arrive early at conventions, work very hard, and try to have some fun doing it. It isn’t always easy to have fun given the conditions those who work outside sometimes face “” rain, wind, cold, or heat “” but they make the best of it. Most volunteers get up very early to begin their duties, and some work all day and into the evening hours. We are fortunate to have a qualified, experienced parking crew to assist you in settling into your parking space when you arrive. We also enjoy the services of qualified, experienced volunteers in the area of security, safety, trams, handicapped transportation, youth activities, etc. If our volunteer staff were not qualified, some serious injuries and accidents could result. FMCA has a good track record in terms of safety. This helps to keep our insurance rates down, which is very important today.
Remember, the volunteers are members just like you. We are aging and many of us can’t produce like we once did, but we still try. The national vice president of the area where we hold a convention is responsible for lining up the necessary volunteers. If they are unable to supply enough to meet the needs, sometimes surrounding areas help. And we also supplement the volunteer work force by hiring temporary staff from the outside.
We continue to wrestle with state laws that are being changed and thus make it impossible for out-of-state dealers to sell motorhomes at our conventions. And in some states, out-of-state dealers are not even able to display coaches. Jerry Yeatts, FMCA’s director of conventions and commercial services; the members of the Convention Committee; and Max Durbin, chairman of the Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee, and his committee members are continually working with local government entities in an attempt to effect change. FMCA is legally limited in what it can do to lobby lawmakers, but we continue to do what we can to protect the association’s interests.
Darlene and I have had a busy summer thus far. When the May committee meetings in Cincinnati concluded, we traveled to Berrien Springs, Michigan, to attend the Great Lakes Area Spring Spree, also known as the G.L.A.S.S. Rally. Their theme was “Hawaiian Heaven at G.L.A.S.S. 2007.” It was a fun-filled week with plentiful seminars and crafts, indoor and outdoor exhibitors, an ice cream social, a red hat tea, great food, and four nights of entertainment. On Monday, Memorial Day, the parade to honor our veterans was led by the color guard from the American Legion along with the Berrien Springs High School and Middle School bands. The Michigan Knights of the Highway host this annual rally, and they are assisted by many volunteers. This year marked the 30th anniversary of the rally. If you missed all the fun, plan to attend next Memorial Day weekend.
Darlene and I traveled home for a few days and then on to St. Paul, Minnesota, for a site visit to prepare for FMCA’s 80th International Convention, to be held at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds July 14 through 17, 2008. We met up with Jerry Yeatts, Ranita Jones, and Mary Anne Crowley from the convention staff, along with FMCA executive director Don Eversmann and Loretta Buob, director of chapter services. We were joined by Charlie Painter, overall chief of parking, and his wife, Ginger, as well as Al Talbott, newly elected national vice president, Midwest Area, which will host this convention, and his wife, Dory. Representatives from Hale Northeastern, FMCA’s show decorator, were part of the work crew as well.
We met with the fairgrounds staff to begin the visit. They were very helpful and great to work with. FMCA hosted a convention at this location in 1980. Of course, many changes have taken place since then “” both at the facility and in terms of FMCA convention activities. With this being our first planning visit for the 2008 convention, we had some challenges to work out. We accomplished quite a bit that week, and then on Friday we all departed Minnesota and traveled to our next destination. We also continue to scout out locations for future FMCA conventions.
Meanwhile, I hope you’ll be pointing the motorhome toward Central Oregon soon and joining us as we “Rediscover Redmond.” It’s not too late to participate even if you haven’t already registered. Simply follow the directions that appeared in the July 2007 issue of FMC magazine (also online at FMCA.com) and sign up at the holding area. We’d love to see you there.
Until then, happy trails.
Area Vice Presidents Elected
On June 5, 2007, the ballots for the election of five FMCA area vice presidents were tabulated by FMCA’s certified public accounting firm, and the following FMCA members were chosen to serve for two years:
Midwest Area : Al Talbott, F223128
Northeast Area: Sam Allen, F273937
Rocky Mountain Area: Allen Rein, F214273
South Central Area: Fred Kennedy, F44281
Southeast Area: Charlie Schrenkel, F140050
Help Us Update Our Records
Please make sure to keep the FMCA national office informed when any of the information in your records changes. Changes may be reported in several ways. You can make changes to your membership records any time via FMCA’s Web site “” FMCA.com “” or by sending an e-mail to [email protected]. Changes also may be submitted by calling the Membership Department at (800) 543-3622, Monday through Friday, from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Although members’ phone numbers are for FMCA business use and not for publication, please remember to notify the FMCA Membership Department if your area code or phone number has changed. Similarly, if any other information has changed, such as your mailing address, zip or postal code, or e-mail address, or if you now own a different motorhome, please let us know.
We continue to add e-mail addresses to our membership records. These are maintained for FMCA business use only. If your e-mail address is not currently on file with us, please be sure to provide it. We prefer that members submit their e-mail addresses online at FMCA.com/membership. However, you also can e-mail the address in the following way:
Those of you who are listed in the Stoppin’ Spots section are asked to verify that the information is up-to-date. This list begins on page 986 of the January 2007 issue. If you are not included in this listing and wish to have your name added in one or more categories “” Stop Over, Come Visit, Mechanics Helper, or Pinch Hit Driver “” let the national office staff know that as well. The deadline for making changes for the 2008 directory is October 31, 2007.