Executive Director’s Commentary
By Don Eversmann, F240000
At its August 2007 meeting in Redmond, Oregon, the FMCA Governing Board approved a proposal to eliminate the membership listings from the January directory/member benefits issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine. This decision was based on the size of these listings and the associated costs (paper, printing, postage), as well as the fact that this information now is available online at FMCA.com.
In the recent past, the January directory issue included two listings of family members, one by membership number and the other by name. Governing Board members did acknowledge that since FMCA is a social organization, having membership information available is a valuable means of fostering personal interaction. However, the same family membership information previously published in the directory (by member number and name) is available at FMCA.com and is up-to-date as of the previous day’s enrollment. On the other hand, by the time members received their print directory, the family member listings already were two months old. So, the speed at which we are able to share information today also entered into the Governing Board’s decision to eliminate the print version.
As a motorhome owner, I have learned to appreciate the directory/member benefits issue of the magazine. To all of us FMCA members, it is an essential publication that contains much more than a January magazine. Don’t overlook the added value found within the pages of this issue of the magazine. When it arrives next month, look it over closely and be sure to keep it in a special place for reference as needs arise.
The January magazine is a tool by which FMCA communicates to its members what is available to them in the way of benefits and support. Each year this publication contains an up-to-date “Member Benefits Guide.” You can read all about your member benefits and refer to these descriptions when needed.
FMCA provides its members many benefits that are specifically tailored to travelers and motorhome owners. The variety of benefits includes items common to other groups, such as a credit card. Perhaps this causes some members to overlook the decidedly different benefits that FMCA has negotiated or purchased on behalf of the membership. So, I urge you to take the time to learn about all of your member benefits.
The “Member Benefits Guide” also includes descriptions of the more complex benefits, such as FMCA’s Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance and the MEDEX Plus emergency medical evacuation and travel assistance plan, written in language that we laypeople can understand. The January issue will include a form that can be signed and placed with your personal insurance papers to inform your beneficiary of the Accidental Death & Dismemberment insurance coverage. You’ll find paper MEDEX Plus “cards” with instructions and necessary information that can be cut out, laminated, and kept handy in case you need emergency medical transportation as you travel. Also described in the “Member Benefits Guide” are procedures for using FMCA’s mail forwarding service, trip routing service, and more.
In addition, the directory issue includes a Chapter Directory that lists every FMCA chapter and its officers, and provides the name of an individual from each chapter who can be contacted to provide more information about that group. (The Chapter Directory also is published in the August issue of FMC.) Individuals interested in joining a chapter can find a wealth of information to help them link up. “Join A Chapter,” a listing that appears five times a year in the magazine, contains invitations from chapters specifically interested in adding new members to their rosters.
The directory/member benefits guide issue also includes the Stoppin’ Spots section, a list of FMCA members who have expressed the desire to provide assistance to other members in four different ways. “Stop Over Spot” indicates that fellow members are welcome to stop over at the volunteering member’s home for a 24-hour emergency stay. “Come Visit” lists FMCA members who welcome visits at their home for a 24-hour friendship stay, unless invited to stay longer. “Mechanic’s Helper” indicates FMCA members who volunteer to help fellow members who experience motorhome breakdowns or repair issues while traveling through their area to locate quality local service. And if an FMCA member has an emergency while on the road that prevents him or her from driving the motorhome, he or she can look for a “Pinch Hit Driver” “” a fellow FMCA member who is available to drive the RV to a chosen destination at the owner’s expense.
The directory/member benefits issue also provides a chart that lists motorhome regulations, a handy “Motorhome Checklist,” and a list of public sanitary disposals that are available throughout the United States.
And last, but certainly not least, the January issue contains the Business Directory, a listing of all FMCA commercial members, arranged according to the products or services they offer, and information regarding how to contact them. FMCA commercial members are listed in these categories: Campgrounds; Motor Coach Dealers; RV Repair Service, Major and Minor; Custom Coach Converters; Motor Coach Manufacturers; and Services, Coach Components, and Accessories. This directory is a convenient compilation of RVer-friendly businesses that members will want to refer to often. And be sure to let these businesses know where you learned about them. The Business Directory also is published in the June issue of FMC and online at FMCA.com.
I often describe FMCA as a unique association, because from its inception it has included both consumers (family members) and product and service providers (commercial members). While many associations accept membership from either a provider base or a user base, FMCA decided to form a “family” of both. To FMCA’s credit, many advances in the motorhome industry have resulted from this union. Many commercial members have offered to enhance this relationship by offering discounts to family members. Please refer to the Business Directory not only when you’re at home but also as you travel. I think you will be pleased with the commercial members’ interest in supporting fellow FMCA members.
Please join me in carrying the directory/member benefits issue of Family Motor Coaching with you as you travel. Instead of multiple booklets, pamphlets, and documents detailing the specifics of membership, FMCA has seen fit to incorporate this information into one volume that is updated annually. Because of its new size, you should be able to find room for it in your motorhome more easily and have it available when you need to refer to it.
I hope your membership in the Family Motor Coach Association will provide you with assistance and support as you enjoy your motorhome. FMCA’s programs and benefits have been specifically selected to support you and me as motorhome owners.
As 2007 ends and 2008 begins, I wish you all safe and enjoyable travels.