By Charlie Schrenkel, L140050
FMCA National President
The breeze is just right on this late afternoon in mid-September, so I can make out the distant sound of bells coming from the little white church that’s nestled up against the mountain at the end of the valley. It’s times like this when I realize why I like the motorhome lifestyle so much. The freedom and the travel to new places, the new friendships we make, and those that we have enjoyed for some time put everything into perspective.
No matter how difficult your day may have been or what challenges you may be going through in your personal life, all seem to be made a little lighter through friends. A true friend doesn’t ask how heavy your load is; he just helps to carry it. We have met so many new friends through FMCA, have renewed old acquaintances, and have enjoyed every minute of it.
FMCA’s 87th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase, held in Indianapolis, Indiana, in late August, was no different. Everyone there had the same interest: motorhoming! What a party we had. Great entertainment, lots of vendors and seminars, and brand-new motorhomes to inspect. The Family Reunion in Indianapolis attracted a total of 1,849 family motorhomes and 362 commercial coaches, for a grand total of 2,211 motorhomes.
A lot has happened since the last issue of the magazine, and most of it occurred at the Reunion. I’ll touch on some things briefly, as they will appear in detail elsewhere in this issue of Family Motor Coaching.
One night during the evening entertainment in Indianapolis, the 50th anniversary mascot selected by you, the members, was introduced. Sheldon the Turtle will serve as FMCA’s designated “historian,” and he will be appearing in the magazine to help celebrate our anniversary, bringing you facts about FMCA’s history and significance.
We all like to reminisce about good times from years past, and that’s where you come in. Longtime FMCA members are invited to contact us by e-mail or postal mail and share their favorite memories. They can be anecdotes from past chapter rallies, area rallies, or conventions; stories about an FMCA member who made an impact; or tales of your early motorhome travels. They can be funny, surprising, touching, or simply nostalgic. You decide. And if you have photos you’d like to share, please do (black-and-white and color prints will be returned).
Members’ memories will appear online at FMCA.com and in Family Motor Coaching as part of our 50th anniversary celebration. If you send your story and photos to us by e-mail, please use firstname.lastname@example.org. If sending via postal mail, direct them to FMC editor Robbin Gould, FMC Magazine, 8291 Clough Pike, Cincinnati, OH 45244. We thank each of you for your input! You will help to make this anniversary special.
The October issue included an article about the new FMCAssist program that began October 1, 2012, after being approved by the Governing Board during its August meeting in Indianapolis. Please be sure to read that article as well as the Executive Director’s Commentary column in the current issue, which explains the process of selecting Seven Corners as the company to provide the new program. All FMCA members may take advantage of the services afforded by the new FMCAssist program, which does offer some enhancements over the prior one. It should be noted that although the services are available to all, members will be responsible for expenses incurred unless they opt to sign up for the Voluntary Member Participation Plan, which costs $85 per year for an individual or $105 per year for a family and covers expenses up to certain maximums outlined by the plan. An advertisement regarding the program appears on page 21 of this issue of the magazine.
The Governing Board also approved an Anniversary Life Membership promotion while they met in Indianapolis. This limited-time program is being launched in honor of FMCA’s 50th anniversary. For $1,050, an FMCA family receives a lifetime of paid membership dues in the association as well as the honor of knowing they have helped to support our fine organization. The opportunity for you to sign up for an Anniversary Life Membership is now in effect and will continue until our 50th anniversary Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase in Gillette, Wyoming, in June 2013. For more information, contact FMCA’s Member Services Department.
It seems the months move faster than the mile markers on the interstate at 65 mph. This month marks Veterans Day, on November 11. Remembrance Day is also celebrated on the same day in Canada. Our two countries have stood shoulder to shoulder through some of the most trying periods of our world’s history. Take time this month to thank a veteran.
We here in the United States also celebrate Thanksgiving this month. Regardless of your heritage, those of us on this continent have a great deal to be thankful for. Just living here in our respective countries, where we enjoy freedoms that many in other parts of the world do not, is a reason to be thankful. I am thankful that I can travel more than 2,600 miles in any one direction in my motorhome and never have to show anyone identity papers, except at Flying J. Seriously, we have much to be thankful for each and every day.
At the time of this writing, Jean and I are about to depart for the Six State Rally, set to take place in Shawnee, Oklahoma, the last week of September, and also attend the Eastern Area Rally in York, Pennsylvania, in mid-October. We will be attending the Recreation Vehicle Industry Association’s National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Kentucky, at the end of November to help promote FMCA to commercial interests. We are blessed that we can continue this motorhome lifestyle and see the many exciting areas and places that exist on this continent.
So, let’s see where our travels will take us at the time of the writing of next month’s column for the December issue. It may be another peaceful valley, with gentle breezes making wavelike motions across the hillside grass, or it may be a shoreline on one of our oceans or lakes that will win our favor. All made possible through our lifestyle, motorhoming, and our family of friends here in Family Motor Coach Association.
Safe and healthy travels.