By Jay Blumentahl, F230605
Committees! Who needs them? Aren’t they just a bunch of people sitting around arguing about one thing or another? Well, actually, in order to get many things done, FMCA’s Executive Board relies heavily upon the work of its various committees.
The Education Committee develops educational programs and provides information and educational opportunities to FMCA members. Over the years, this committee has either developed or seen to the development of many programs from which we hope you have been able to benefit. Some of these programs have to do with health and/or safety.
The RV Driving Safety course, which is run by the Recreation Vehicle Safety & Education Foundation (RVSEF) and taught by qualified safety instructors, not only teaches good driving techniques but may also entitle you to a discount on your insurance. FMCA and RVSEF subsidize the expenses of this program so that it is available to FMCA members for just $20. It is offered at FMCA international conventions and most area rallies.
Another important program, RV Weight & Tire Safety, also presented by RVSEF, stresses the importance of taking care of motorhome tires and making sure the coach is not overweight, thus avoiding potential danger. This seminar is offered at FMCA conventions and most area rallies. Working with that same group, we have set up an area at each convention or rally where you can get your coach weighed axle by axle and wheel by wheel. The cost to get your motorhome weighed in this manner is $49, but FMCA pays $15 of that for you. Did you know that the optimum air pressure (psi) for your tires is not automatically the maximum psi figure listed on the sidewall? Tire pressure should be set using the load and inflation tables available from the tire manufacturer. All axles on your coach may not require the same psi. On my coach, each of the three axles is inflated to a different optimum psi.
Fire & Life Safety in Your RV, another program offered at conventions and most area rallies, teaches FMCA members how to be prepared for and react to fires. The seminar is free to members since FMCA sponsors the cost of the program. By the way, when was the last time you checked your fire extinguisher?
The automated external defibrillator (AED) and CPR course, offered at some area rallies, teaches life-saving techniques and has already resulted in the saving of at least one life at an FMCA rally. Those completing the course “” usually taught by an American Heart Association instructor “” are certified in these techniques for one or two years. This course is deemed so important that it will be offered to the entire Executive Board and select staff in Cincinnati in the spring of 2008. The total cost of this course varies; however, FMCA pays the first $25 for you.
All of the subsidies for these courses come through a fund assigned to the Education Committee.
Another educational item, a Parking Hand Signals info sheet, is mailed out to all convention attendees with their credentials and is available online at FMCA.com. We believe it has helped to reduce mishaps as coaches are parked at the conventions. Fewer mishaps should translate to lower insurance premiums for FMCA. Also, we hope to have an article ready this year about your health, so watch future issues of Family Motor Coaching magazine for that.
Other programs have to do with training leaders within our organization. Chapter officer training/orientation is for all current and future chapter leaders, and is open to all members who want to be better informed about our organization. It presents an overview of FMCA “” its history, structure, documents, and governance. Training programs are available for each of the chapter offices held: president/vice president, secretary, treasurer, and national director/alternate national director. Most of these programs are presented as seminars at the international conventions and at some area rallies. How many have you attended?
The topic of mentoring, which I expounded upon in an article in this issue (“Mentoring New Members,” page 66), may become a seminar topic in the future. One of our goals is to make these programs available to chapters on DVDs and/or on FMCA’s Web site. All of these programs are under the auspices of the Education Committee.
Not only does the Education Committee develop or see to the development of these courses or seminars, committee members also evaluate them and make adjustments to improve them. The comments made by seminar attendees are read and, where warranted, changes are made. We have completely revamped the chapter officer training courses (and continue to do so) and have made improvements to the parking hand-signal instructions. After receiving suggestions for articles and/or seminars and investigating them, the committee chooses which to recommend to the Executive Board for consideration. We hope you will continue to submit ideas to any member of the committee, your area vice president, or any member of the Executive Board.
The Education Committee also works in conjunction with the other FMCA committees using our resources and knowledge to help them implement programs they develop for your benefit. We have been asked by the Long-Range and Development Committee to develop surveys and have been asked to work with the new Marketing Strategy Committee to put together a training program for recruiting new members. We are also compiling and making available information regarding issues, products, and trends as they pertain to our motorhome lifestyle.
Alice Bernard, F79098, of the Western Area; George Hebert, F93234, of the South Central Area; and Judy Keppler, F283131, from the Northwest Area are members of the current Education Committee, which I, Jay Blumenthal ( national vice president, International Area), chair. We meet once a year at FMCA headquarters in Cincinnati but keep in constant contact via e-mail and phone, sharing information and thoughts.
We hope you have taken advantage of what we have done for you and your chapter, and we look forward to doing even more.