By Judy Czarsty, F79148
Acting National President
It is September, as FMCA enters a new year in terms of its leadership and then a new fiscal year on October 1. By the time you read this, the Governing Board will have met and heard committee reports, discussed and adopted a budget for fiscal year 2012, given the Executive Board feedback about the actions they took during the year, and chosen its four nationally elected officers to lead the association for the next two years. Because of magazine deadlines, an announcement regarding the officers elected for the new term will need to wait until next month.
During the meeting, new member benefits were unveiled. Information about several of these new benefits appeared in the August issue of Family Motor Coaching, starting on page 54. Among them, FMCA has partnered with Fantasy RV Tours to begin providing caravans and rallies geared toward our membership. Fantasy representatives are already working on interesting tours for FMCA members in 2012. Of course, to serve our diverse membership, a mix of short- and longer-duration tours will be offered. For more information, visit www.fantasyrvtours.com/fmca or call (855) 385-3622 (toll-free).
FMCA has been approved by Michelin Tire to participate in the company’s fleet rate program “” Michelin Advantage “” for motorhome and other tires. Details about this program appear on page 54 of the August issue of FMC and at FMCA.com/connect. FMCA is always looking for ways to help save its members money, and this may be the one for you.
This is just a taste of some of the information that was disseminated to the chapter delegates in attendance during the August Governing Board meeting. This meeting is where the membership is formally represented and makes decisions that will guide FMCA. The chapter national director, alternate national director, or temporary delegate is the spokesperson for the membership. This is one of the reasons that chapter membership is so important “” it gives you a voice in the governance of your association.
Each delegate is elected by the members in his or her respective chapter. These delegates are people who are willing to spend time to review FMCA’s quarterly financial statements; adopt FMCA’s budget; deliberate and debate changes to FMCA’s Constitution, Bylaws, or policies and procedures within the Member and Volunteer Handbook; elect officers at the national level; and at the local area elect a national vice president for their respective geographic (or international) area. Yes, you can see where I am going. If you want to have a say in your association, then you must belong to a chapter.
But there is much more to chapter membership than this. Chapter membership gives you a personal link to the association. It provides you the opportunity to get out and use your motorhome for a few days every month or so in order to attend local events with people from your area. Chapter membership gives this entity called FMCA a face “” that of neighbors, friends, and others who enjoy the motorhome lifestyle.
Chapter membership to me is a special bond with others. It is friends whose advice I trust, whether it be related to the best local repair shop, the best insurance company, places to see, campgrounds to stay in, or even their experiences with a medical procedure. Chapter membership means listening to the needs of my fellow chapter members and being there for them. It means visiting FMCA friends in the hospital, or sharing their grief at the loss of a loved one or a beloved pet, or helping make their recuperation from an illness more manageable by bringing meals or running errands, or whatever is needed. It may mean driving their motorhome to a chapter or national event “” just so they can participate.
I guess if you look at it from a purely self-centered viewpoint, chapter membership is a way to fulfill my own needs by being part of a group beyond my relatives. It is being connected to a larger family; being a member by sharing tasks; participating, when I can, in the family events; bringing my dish to share at gatherings; recounting stories of travels or what another member and I did; laughing over things that happened at previous get-togethers; and feeling the pain of loss when a member must leave the group or, sadly, leaves this world. These are the things that come with chapter membership and friendship.
What I have been trying to say is summed up in the words of a very special song. “No man is an island . . . no man stands alone . . . each man’s joy is joy to me . . . each man’s grief is my own . . . we love one another . . . so I will defend . . . each man as my brother . . . each man as my friend.”
Have you considered joining an FMCA chapter? Perhaps the time is now.
HELP US UPDATE OUR RECORDS
Please keep the FMCA national office informed when your contact information changes. You can make changes to your own membership records any time at FMCA.com, or by sending an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Changes also may be submitted by calling the Member Services Department at (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
Changes to your membership records can include your home and cell phone numbers, e-mail address, mailing address, and the brand of motorhome you own. We especially urge you to provide your e-mail address if it’s not on file with us. This helps us to contact you quickly in case important issues arise. Your private information is used only for FMCA business purposes.
If you are listed in the “Stoppin’ Spots” directory, which includes Stop Over Spot, Come Visit, Mechanic’s Helper, and Pinch Hit Driver categories, please verify that your information is up-to-date. This list begins on page 202 0f the January 2011 issue of FMC magazine and is online at FMCA.com (click on Members and then on Member Directory). If you would like to volunteer to be included in the 2012 listing, contact the Member Services Department. The deadline for making changes to the 2012 directory is October 28.