By Jerry Yeatts, F390000
FMCA Executive Director
Last month, I recognized Kenneth T. Scott, L63, as a gentleman who had a dream for this association. Mr. Scott could not have fulfilled this dream without the vision of FMCA pioneer and founder Robert L. Richter, L1. He; his wife, Jean; and their four children embarked on a journey to Hinckley, Maine, in July 1963, where they joined 25 other coach-owning families from eight states and Canada in forming an organization that today boasts 80,000 member families. During the past 50 years, FMCA has issued more than 430,000 family membership numbers, as well as nearly 13,000 commercial membership numbers.
Mr. Richter’s strategy was simple. He invited some friends to join his family in viewing a solar eclipse and asked them to send in the names of anyone else who might be interested in attending this spectacle. This strategy remains the best way to recruit new members to Family Motor Coach Association.
In addition to devoting considerable effort toward spreading the word about Family Motor Coach Association and keeping the organization going in its early days, Bob and Jean Richter served as the first editors of Family Motor Coaching magazine, the first edition of which was published in February 1964.
Fifteen years after FMCA was born, Bob’s love of printing led him to found The Friends of the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Massachusetts, now known as the Museum of Printing. I wonder whether equipment similar to that used in 1964 to print Family Motor Coaching magazine is on display at the museum. If you live in the New England area, you may wish to take a weekend trip to North Andover to visit this museum. For directions and the hours of operation of the Museum of Printing, please visit www.museumofprinting.org.
Bob Richter passed away on December 26, 1993. At a memorial service a few days later, his oldest son, Bill, stated, “It seems that everyone who knew our dad has a favorite Bob Richter story, whether it is a silly joke that was stretched out to be a half-hour long, a touching story of his caring wisdom laced with corny wit, or an outlandish escapade to rescue something old, heavy, and usually covered with printer’s ink. The common thread in these stories is a remarkable man with a huge heart, a refreshing intellect, and an amazing memory for things both useful and useless.”
Many past and current members share some of these same characteristics. When I was introduced as FMCA’s director of conventions and commercial services nearly 14 years ago, I immediately became part of a “family” of caring people. The love of the lifestyle is second only to the genuine interest member families show for each other. Many of you have never met a stranger, opening your homes and your hearts. Stories that you share about an adventure, a mishap, or a special interest never seem to get old.
Bill Richter concluded his tribute to his father: “We all remember how Dad would never say ‘good-bye’ but preferred to simply say ‘peace.’” I am sure Mr. Richter would be pleased with how his adventure to Maine 50 years ago has continued to provide a special lifestyle for hundreds of thousands of members.
Peace to you, Bob Richter. Thank you for your vision in promoting this lifestyle.
Benefits At A Glance
The January issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine provides a glimpse of a host of benefits and discounts offered to association members. In addition, the Member Benefits Guide is available on FMCA.com. Simply click on Documents under the Members tab to view a PDF version of the Member Benefits Guide.
Over the next few months, I would like to highlight a few of the benefits afforded to you as a member of this great association.
Trip Routing. FMCA’s Trip Planning and Routing benefit through Spatial Data Sciences Inc. (SDSI) helps motorhome owners to enjoy the journey and to arrive at their destination more relaxed. The fastest way to receive your trip routing map is to visit FMCA.com and click on the “Members” tab and then “Trip Routing.” Simply follow the instructions, and you will receive your plan via e-mail a short time later. If you prefer, you may also request to have a copy of your trip routing plan mailed to you. Please see the Member Benefits Guide in the January issue of Family Motor Coaching magazine or online at FMCA.com for details.
50th Anniversary Edition Of The FMCA Road Atlas. Back by popular demand, FMCA’s North American Road Atlas & Travel Guide is available through the FMCA Store on FMCA.com. The 50th anniversary edition of this spiral-bound atlas is a “must have” for your travel around the United States and Canada. The locations of campgrounds/RV resorts, Walmart and Sam’s Club stores, Pilot Flying J travel plazas, and Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores are featured in this publication. The cost is $16 plus shipping. Supplies are limited, so don’t delay.
Mobile App. Stay connected with Family Motor Coach Association whether in your stationary home or in your home on wheels. The FMCA mobile app, available for Apple or Android smartphones or tablets and also Blackberry phones, gives you an opportunity to look for campgrounds and RV resorts, order accessories from the FMCA Store, read the digital edition of Family Motor Coaching magazine, and keep up-to-date with the latest association happenings. Access your phone’s or tablet’s app store for a free download.
BOGO (Buy One, Get One). Mr. Richter saw the value in introducing Family Motor Coach Association to other motorhoming families. From now until July 20, 2013, invite a friend to become a member of FMCA and you both can reap the rewards. The new member receives two years of membership for the price of one (a savings of $40), while you, as a recruiter, receive $20 in coupons (double the usual $10 recruitment coupon) that may be redeemed for membership dues, FMCA merchandise, FMCA events, monthly FMCA mail forwarding fees, and more. There is no limit to the number of families you can recruit to receive this benefit. In order for you to receive the double coupon, the member you recruit must use the BOGO code and must include your name as the recruiter on the membership application. See page 51 of the April 2013 issue for details.
Anniversary Life Membership. In honor of FMCA’s 50th anniversary year, members have a limited-time opportunity to show their loyalty to the association by signing up for a special Anniversary Life Membership. The cost of this membership is $1,050 and will cover your dues for life. The funds will help FMCA to maintain the high standards of support for those who look to the association for the best information, programs, and customer service in the industry. Please contact the FMCA national office at (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622 if you are interested in participating.