By Charlie Schrenkel, L140050
FMCA’s 84th International Convention “” titled “Redmond Rocks! Feel the Excitement!” “” was held August 11 through 14 in Redmond, Oregon, at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center. What a great convention it was!
We were entertained well. It was a packed house to watch The Long, Long Trailer starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. The audience snacked on popcorn and lemonade, and even got to see the dress that Lucille Ball wore in that movie. The next evening, Debbie Reynolds took us back in time through her many years in show business as we watched various film clips of her career and were treated to a little song and dance. Thursday night’s entertainment was provided by the Texas Tenors, who wowed the audience with their superb harmony and choice of music. Friday, Live Bait, a Jimmy Buffet tribute band, took the stage. On Saturday, the final night, we saw a super performance by Forever Motown.
One afternoon, there was a dunk tank occupied by FMCA national officers, one of the staff directors, and members of the Oregon Nordic Ski Foundation, an organization that promotes the development of cross-country skiing in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska, and which received the $500 proceeds from the event. Folks also gathered for the Ice Cream Social as they watched the water splash. They toured coach displays; sat in on many interesting and informative seminars; started their days at morning Coffee Hour, which included great music played by members of the Frustrated Maestros; and had the opportunity to do much, much more. I’m sure most who attended would agree that this was a great convention. Everyone was upbeat and had a good time “” even those who participated in the dunk tank!
As I walked around the Expo Center and spoke with FMCA members from the United States and Canada about everything from motorhomes to children, travel situations, and where to stop and not stop, I had an overwhelming feeling of missing my family, my grandchildren, and great-grandchildren back home. I continued to visit with all of you that I could, and to share many memories and meaningful stories.
Then it kind of crept up on me. Yes, I missed my family back on the East Coast, but I wasn’t really alone or out of touch with my family at all. You are my family! Yes, you. You, in the motorhome next to me in the campground; you, passing in the opposite direction on a busy interstate; you, sitting and watching entertainment at a convention or chatting in a truck stop while we fuel. Whether you are a Family Motor Coach Association member or not, we, all of us, are family. If you own a motorhome, you are part of my family. And we are a unique family at that “” people who enjoy the experience of motorhome travel and adventure.
It is true that we all come from a multitude of different backgrounds and vocations, but the one common denominator is motorhome travel. We FMCA members enjoy the camaraderie of traveling with fellow chapter members and getting together more frequently with our friends in the motorhoming community, as well as the other benefits of belonging to FMCA, which are numerous.
So, I would like to take this opportunity to reach out to you, my “distant relatives” “” motorhome owners who don’t belong to FMCA “” and invite you into the family. Perhaps you have picked up this magazine at an RV service center, an RV dealer showroom, or through friends. Or, you are reading this online at FMCA.com. I invite you all to our next convention, which takes place March 14 through 17, 2011, in Perry, Georgia. Let’s make this a real “home”-coming. You don’t have to belong to FMCA to join us at the convention in Perry next March; all you have to do is show up! You’ll be glad you did.
Safe and healthy travels.
Mail Forwarding Rates Lowered
Effective September 1, 2010, rates for the FMCA mail forwarding service have been lowered from $10 per month to $8 per month. The goal of this change was to keep the rates competitive with similar services but still to help cover the costs associated with offering this valuable benefit to FMCA members. If you have questions about FMCA’s mail forwarding service, please call the FMCA Mail Forwarding Department at (800) 448-1212 or (513) 388-5315 or visit FMCA.com.
FMCA president Charlie Schrenkel shared the following report with the Governing Board during its August meeting in Redmond, Oregon.
This has been a year of challenges, to be sure. The world economic situation has had a dramatic effect on the RV industry, as I am sure you are aware. Through the diligence and foresight of previous administrations, your association continues to be debt-free.
Your Executive Board has stayed the course you set in Bowling Green last year and has sought new sources of revenue; new programs that benefit our members. Your Finance Committee hit the ground running right after they were appointed last year and, as a result, have found additional sources that strengthened our financial position. More on that later when Wil Young and his committee give their report to you.
We have added income from our Web site advertising, and have benefited through the efforts of our IT department and their untiring focus to put Family Motor Coach at the top of the search engine lists, so that when you go online and search using the key word “RV” or “motorhome,” Family Motor Coach Association is one of the first things that pops up. FMCA also has a presence on the popular social networking sites Facebook and Twitter.
We have partnered with GMAC Insurance Company to give most of our members a better rate on their motorhome and car insurance while at the same time ensuring a licensing fee to the association for their participation.
Since January 2009, we have downsized our workforce by 17 people and cross-trained the remaining employees to fill the gaps of those who left. Our employees are paying 25% of their insurance premiums for single medical coverage and 50% for family coverage. Contributions to the employee’s 401(k) plan by FMCA ceased effective March 1, 2009. There have been no salary increases since January 2007, either cost of living or merit.
With fewer staff, we have reconfigured space at the Clough Pike location and have done some necessary computer programming and, as a result, have been able to bring the FMCA Store in-house at a savings of $60,000 per year.
We still average 700 new members per month. Each convention has a consistent attendance rate of 23% first-timers.
In January we started a recruitment campaign for 2010 called the “A Dozen Does It” program, which involves you, the chapter member, in recruiting for the association. As a help to each chapter, we have given each chapter president 5 free memberships; that’s approximately 2,500 free memberships. To date we have signed up approximately 300 new members from that free program. That’s 300 new members in seven months. Thirty-four percent of our membership has a chapter affiliation. Sixty-six percent of the membership is not chapter-affiliated.
At the Governing Board’s request, a committee was formed to seek a better, more economically priced medical evacuation plan. Through the committee’s hard work, you will be updated on their progress here today. The cost of this new program, by the way, is included in the 2011 budget.
A committee was formed to seek a new Executive Director; that committee is well on its way to interviewing candidates for this position. We sought outside guidance as to a proper timeline for this search to begin. More will be explained by Ross Boyer, chairman of the Executive Director Search Committee, during the meeting. Your association has had a Management Committee in place since November 2009.
I have said before that no one is going to help us through this period but ourselves. It won’t be easy, but we can build our membership base up to a healthier number.
The budget being submitted is a workable budget. It is a $92,000-deficit recovery budget. We continue to be optimistic about the remaining portion of 2010 and the upcoming year of 2011.
FMCA To Host One Convention In 2012
The Family Motor Coaching Board of Directors met via telephone conference on Thursday, August 26, and took under consideration continuing plans for the winter convention scheduled for Fairplex, in Pomona, California, in April 2012. Discussion included the lack of attendance at our three previous international conventions; the uncertainty of the RV industry; the current economic climate; and the availability of the venue in a time frame conducive to member attendance. They also took into consideration the actions of the Governing Board in Bowling Green, Ohio, and Saint Paul, Minnesota, requesting the Executive Board look into producing one convention per year during this economic downturn. It was determined that the 2012 international convention in Pomona, California, would be cancelled.