By Jerry Yeatts, F390000
Those were the first words on the inside front cover of Family Motor Coaching’s inaugural publication on February 15, 1964. The author, Bob Richter, one of the architects and the first national president of Family Motor Coach Association, was among those who had a vision for an association that would be an information source to thousands of adventurers pursuing a new form of travel.
This vision, as well as the hopes and dreams of the first officers and directors, and the founding families who traveled to Hinckley, Maine, 49 years ago to establish the organization, continues as Family Motor Coach Association proudly represents thousands of families who share in this wonderful lifestyle.
FMCA has been ahead of its time in the industry. In the first edition of Family Motor Coaching magazine, an article was written about the association commencing an industry standards program. The article stated that several people in the motorhome industry had “mentioned the need that exists presently for an industry-standards group, and for a seal-of-approval program to indicate that these standards are met in the construction of vehicles offered for sale.” As a “voice” for the membership, another article requested a grassroots effort to “eliminate tolls on the Mackinac Bridge, which links the upper and lower peninsulas of Michigan across the Straits of Mackinac.”
Many of the same questions exist today that were asked 49 years ago. Why do we have member identification plates? Wouldn’t it be just as easy to have decals or have members paint numbers on the motorhome? Well, back in 1964, the Massachusetts Beach Buggy Association had members paint numbers on their buggies to identify them as members of that association. As the story was related in FMC’s inaugural issue, “one day an MBBA beach buggy was seen ‘riding the tracks’ on a beach on Cape Cod; it jumped the tracks and ran over some people in its path. One passenger . . . was riding on the roof, and the other was on the tailgate; the accelerator was tied down to the floor. All hell broke loose for the MBBA, and they were barred from the use of the beach, until it was fortunately determined that the vehicle had been sold, several weeks previously, to the children who were driving it, and that they were not members. Of course, the MBBA number hadn’t been painted out.” The moral of the story is that the famed FMCA goose egg plate is classy, strong, distinguishable, permanent, yet removable when you purchase your next coach. These plates are a constant reminder of an association that has been in existence for nearly five decades and will continue for many more years.
Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress at the Magic Kingdom theme park in Orlando, Florida, tells the story of the evolution of technology in the 20th century. Mr. Disney created this theater for the 1964-65 World’s Fair in New York. The display allows guests to travel through time from decade to decade as the family discovers fantastic new technologies that make their lives more easy, comfortable, and fun — and sometimes a bit more complicated!
FMCA and the evolution of the motorhome are no different from the Carousel of Progress. A “slide” back in 1963 was defined as “a smooth metal inclined surface on which children may play.” Today, slides (or slideouts) are akin to room additions and greatly increase the available space inside an RV. The first known satellite was Sputnik I in 1957. Today, satellites give motorhomers access to hundreds of television stations wherever they may roam, and also help travelers to map their way to various points across the globe. I’m sure you can identify many more changes that have taken place with motorhomes. And, just like the fantastic new technologies with the Carousel of Progress, today’s technology with motorhomes seems to make lives more easy, comfortable, and fun, and, yes, sometimes a bit more complicated!
Exciting changes are on the horizon for Family Motor Coach Association. Some of you may notice that your magazine was wrapped in plastic (polybagged) and had a membership renewal notice included. Since Family Motor Coaching magazine is considered one of the most popular benefits among members, it seems appropriate that your renewal notice should come with your magazine. As your membership comes due, the wrapped magazine will be a reminder of the great articles and tips that await you each month in order to help you enjoy this wonderful lifestyle more fully. For those of you who have chosen not to have your magazine sent to your mail forwarding address, renewal notices will be delivered to you solo.
One note about the renewal process: It would greatly assist FMCA if you could renew at the earliest possible time. This will help the association to avoid the expense of sending multiple notices. The label on each issue of the magazine also includes your membership expiration date, so that should help you to keep an eye on when it’s time to renew.
It was not too long ago that I celebrated my 50th birthday. This always seems to be a milestone celebration in one’s life. Normally, friends gather to celebrate the beginning of a new decade. Yes, there are some jokes about being over the hill, stories resurrected from the past, and a toast for many more years of fun and camaraderie. Likewise, Family Motor Coach Association is celebrating in grand style with a year-long 50th anniversary celebration beginning at the 87th Family Reunion in Indianapolis, and culminating with a party in Gillette, Wyoming, June 19-22, 2013, fit for the finest association for motorhome owners. Details of the celebrations leading up to the 50th anniversary in Gillette will be shared in future articles in Family Motor Coaching magazine.
Mr. Richter stated, “. . . the need has arisen for a national information center for owners of these [recreational] vehicles and for those interested in them.” He ended his editorial in the first issue by stating, “It is dedicated to those far-sighted people who can realize that here we begin a new era in American travel.”
FMCA has remained a positive voice and has maintained the “national information center” that was envisioned nearly five decades ago. Through the association’s Governmental and Legislative Affairs committee, chapter involvement, area and national events, magazine articles, newsletters, e-mail blasts, blogs, forums, and just one-on-one conversations in campgrounds with like-minded individuals, FMCA members are able to benefit from the vast knowledge and experience of other members.
FMCA members are truly far-sighted people who share in a common bond. Here’s to the beginning of a new era!
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 196 0f the January 2012 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 2013 listing, contact the Member Services Department. The deadline for making changes to the 2013 directory is October 26.