By Beverly Krueger Knapp, F7747D
It all started with an invitation dated October 18, 1965. It began, “Dear Minnesota FMCA members,” and it was from Don Beissel, the FMCA national director at the time, who lived in St. Paul.
Don wrote that on October 29, Pat and Betty Leslie, F842, were hosting the first meeting of what would become the Pioneers chapter of FMCA. Their goal for the evening was to select a chapter name, have officer nominations, and generally discuss the pending chapter. With almost 200 member families in the Twin Cities area, the founders felt it was time for a Minnesota chapter to be established. The chapter was chartered on February 7, 1966.
The summer of 1966 saw FMCA’s third annual summer national convention held in Glenwood, Minnesota. It was expected that Glenwood would attract approximately 400 coaches from nearly every state, and from Canada. “A solid Minnesota chapter would insure that every one of the visitors would have a great time and remember Minnesota for its true greatness and warm hospitality,” Don noted.
Fourteen years later, in 1980, an FMCA convention was held in St. Paul. And now in 2008, the Pioneers look forward to having the association’s summer international convention return to St. Paul July 14 through 17.
During its early years, the Pioneers were fortunate to have charter members who had a vision that grew to sustain this chapter for more than four decades.
Our chapter newsletter is called “The Inbetween Times.” It is our way of keeping in contact even when we aren’t together at a rally or convention. Keeping in touch is what our motorhome family is all about.
The Pioneers chapter holds rallies once a month from April to October. The majority of its members are from Minnesota, but some are from the Dakotas and Wisconsin. Maybe that is why we have had rallies all over Minnesota and also in our neighboring states.
Our Christmas gatherings are typically held without our motorhomes, because by then our coaches are stored for the winter “” that is, except for the snowbirds who head south for the winter.
Our backgrounds may be different, but the common thread of enjoying travel based around a motorhome has bonded us together. As you are traveling, or if you are new to FMCA, we invite you to check us out. Visitors are welcome to attend our rallies, and membership is open. There is always room for more Pioneers in our family.
We still have active members with very low membership numbers. Henry Baron, F908, and two of his sons attended our 2007 Midwest Area rally. As the Pioneers have continued, we have welcomed second-generation members who boast a D (for daughter) or S (for son) at the end of their membership numbers. When you are active in motorhoming as a child, it is only natural to gravitate to the lifestyle as an adult. This truly puts the “family” in FMCA. With our heritage, the Pioneers could even have the G identifier added to the member numbers as a third generation of granddaughters and grandsons purchases motorhomes and continues the legacy.
The Pioneers, like FMCA, has a firm foundation that will carry us into the future. We hope to see you at the St. Paul convention this July.
Thousand Trails Of Texas Chapter Celebrates 20 Years
Members of the Thousand Trails of Texas chapter along with several guests gathered at the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails Resort in Willis, Texas, January 11 through 13, 2008, to celebrate the group’s 20th anniversary as an FMCA chapter and to take a look back at its history. Twenty-four motor coaches were in attendance.
The chapter got its start on October 11, 1987, when several Thousand Trails members met at the Medina Lake Preserve in Lakehills, Texas. During their stay, the resort’s manager suggested that they form an official FMCA chapter for those who belonged to both organizations. So the group drew up bylaws, submitted them to FMCA, and was granted its charter on December 5, 1987.
The chapter’s first official rally took place on January 9, 1988, again at Medina Lake, with 20 coaches in attendance. The group’s first roster included 24 member families, and the number grew to as high as 79 at one point over the years. Today the chapter has 55 member families, and five charter-member couples are still active in the chapter: Archie and Sylvia Henley, Shep and Donna Howson, Fred and Lou Kennedy, Floyd and Georgia Pilgrim, and Gale and Pansy White.
Anniversary rally masters Fred and Lou Kennedy and their assistants Clarence and Delores Crocker planned numerous activities throughout the rally. Evening fun featured games of Mexican Train and Pegs & Jokers. On Saturday afternoon, Fred told stories about the beginning of the chapter “” many funny stories. We laughed until the tears came into our eyes.
Joining us for this special anniversary were Tony Innocenti, Thousand Trails of Texas member and former South Central Area vice president, and his wife, Geri; Ben Loganbill, senior vice president of the Six-State Rally Association (SSRA), and his wife, Sue; Charles Adcock, SSRA northern region vice president; Dave Davies, SSRA southern region vice president; Irene Renfro, SSRA secretary, and her husband, Dave; and Tom Drennon, SSRA treasurer, and his wife, Jeanette.
We were pleased to have three new member families join us, too “” the Drydens, the Martins, and the Wattses.
We learned about this year’s upcoming Six-State Rally in North Little Rock, Arkansas, which will take place September 24-28, and we were encouraged to sign up and attend as a chapter. This area rally sounds like it will be the best ever. There should be hundreds of display coaches, lots of vendors, good food, seminars, crafts, and great evening entertainment.
Hawaiian Members Gather
By Kathy Curtis, F246309
Several members of Family Motor Coach Association who either live in or have ties to Hawaii, and also happen to be Country Coach owners, met for the first time at the 2007 Country Coach rally in Albany, Oregon. While there, they decided it might be fun to gather in their own home state of Hawaii.
After a few e-mails back and forth, five couples agreed to get together. The group included John and Cathy Kelly, former Hawaii residents who now travel full-time on the mainland; John and Regan Corboy, a couple living in Molokai; Duke and Nancy Albright, who live on the big island of Hawaii; and Charlie and Kathy Curtis, who live in Oahu. Bud and Page Cavallaro, the fifth couple, are full-timers who were on an extended cruise, and the time of their arrival at the Kailua-Kona port-of-call determined the date and time of the get-together. The meeting took place on Monday, November 26, 2007, at the Royal Kona Resort for lunch in Kailua-Kona, on the big island of Hawaii.
After some lively conversation, it was determined that the most frequently asked question at rallies and campgrounds was, “Okay, you live in Hawaii . . . how do you get your motorhome back and forth?” Tongue-in-cheek answers have included, “It was easy until the bridge closed,” or, “Now that the new Hawaii Chunnel is open, it’s a breeze!” Most who hear those answers hesitate with a puzzled look until they realize the impossibility of such a commute.
The Hawaii resident FMCA members firmly believe that most people who live and/or retire in Hawaii have no idea of the joy and comfort of traveling around our beautiful mainland United States, storing their motorhome at their last stop before flying home to Hawaii, and later returning to that storage location for the continuation of their adventure. We all do, and love every minute of it!
If you’re an FMCA member and a resident of Hawaii and are interested in getting together with other members in our state, please send me an e-mail. Perhaps we can start a chapter. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.