By Jerry Yeatts, F390000
FMCA Executive Director
“We observe today not a victory of party but a celebration of freedom — symbolizing an end as well as a beginning — signifying renewal as well as change. . . . Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans.”
— John F. Kennedy, January 20, 1961, Inauguration Day, Washington, D.C.
President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961 symbolized to many the beginning of a new generation of leadership for the United States. Some described the 35th president of the United States as charismatic, young, and humorous. His time in office came to be known as the Camelot years, capturing an era of youth and elegance within an old institution of government.
His inaugural address offered the memorable challenge to the American people: “Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” As president, John F. Kennedy set out to honor his campaign pledge to get America moving again. His economic programs launched the country on its longest sustained expansion since World War II. His vision of America extended to the quality of the national culture and the central role of the arts in a vital society. Being dedicated to human rights, he established the Peace Corps by executive order on March 1, 1961, with the goals of providing technical assistance; helping people outside the United States to understand American culture; and helping Americans to understand the cultures of other countries.
You may ask how this topic has any relevance to motorhoming and, more specifically, to you as an FMCA member. Well, many perceive the RV lifestyle to be like Camelot, in a way — people yearning to recapture and to enjoy youth, adventure, playfulness, and passion. And one could make the analogy that the goals of the Peace Corps are similar to those of FMCA in that FMCA offers a program of technical assistance; wants to help people outside of the association to understand this great lifestyle; and wishes for people familiar with the motorhome lifestyle to have a greater understanding of this association.
This past year has been devoted to celebrating FMCA’s heritage and honoring its founders, who had a vision for an association of like-minded individuals. In the November Executive Director’s Commentary, I wrote about Bob and Sue Haught, A82522, and their decision to “hang up the keys” after nearly 40 years of RVing. The friendships they made over that span of time, many of them while involved in FMCA activities, have been invaluable.
An FMCA chapter for a new “generation” of members is in the process of being formed. The focus of the chapter is members whose fondness for RVing was passed down to them by a parent or grandparent. These members are children and grandchildren of current or former FMCA members. If you are a legacy member, we would like to introduce you to others whose families have been members during the past 50 years. Please contact the Chapter Services Department (firstname.lastname@example.org; 513-474-3622 or 800-543-3622) for additional information.
During a recent college football game, I saw a commercial about the Nissan Heisman House that brought to mind the generations within FMCA. Two Heisman candidates arrived at the Heisman House in a new Nissan car with the music blaring. They approached the porch, where two former Heisman recipients, Barry Sanders and Desmond White, were sitting in rocking chairs, drinking lemonade. The new Heisman candidates said jokingly to the past Heisman recipients, “What are you guys, 80?” The commercial then flashed back several years to Sanders and White saying the very same thing to another generation of Heisman recipients, Earl Campbell and Sam Bradford.
I receive e-mails and phone calls from both new and longtime members of FMCA. Occasionally, a new member will ask why he or she should continue to be a member of FMCA since it seems like an organization devoted to older individuals. Longtime members have asked me why they should retain their memberships since they are traveling less. The answer to both questions is really quite simple.
Those of you who have been members of this association for many years most likely learned tips from the “older” generation. You learned how to troubleshoot problems with your motorhome by speaking with like-minded individuals or reading helpful hints in Family Motor Coaching magazine. For the younger members, I hope you also will be able to take advantage of sage advice from those who have traveled many years and many miles in their motorhomes.
A common thread remains that although the motorhome lifestyle has brought us together, it is the fun, friendship, and fellowship that will keep this group strong for years to come. And, remember, there will be a point in time when we all will be sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch of the FMCA house.
Looking toward 2014, I hope to introduce some subjects that may be of interest to a new generation of motorhomers. You will be hearing about homeschooling; thoughts and suggestions from FMCA’s recently formed Under 60 Task Force; and plans for an exciting youth program at the 90th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase in Redmond, Oregon, August 13-16, 2014. I also hope to introduce you to a few new staff members at FMCA, as well as to reintroduce you to some others. More importantly, I also would like to hear from you about your vision for FMCA in the next 50 years. What types of activities, benefits, and magazine and Web site content are important? We want to hear from you.
So, as we conclude this year of celebration, let’s continue to honor our members who have made this association what it is today but also begin to focus on the new generation of FMCA members who will move this association forward for the next 50 years!
National Office Holiday Hours. In observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, the FMCA national office and the FMCA Mail Forwarding Service will be closed December 24, 25, and 31, 2013, as well as January 1, 2014.
Please Allow Extra Time For January FMC To Arrive. Since the January issue of Family Motor Coaching enters the mail stream close to the Christmas holiday, it ends up in the mix of holiday mail, and delivery can be impacted by the Christmas and New Year’s closures of the United States Post Office. So, please allow extra time for this particular issue of the magazine to reach you. If you still do not have your copy by January 15, feel free to contact the Member Services staff at the FMCA national office (email@example.com; 513-474-3622 or 800-543-3622) to verify your address and request a replacement copy if needed.
FMCA Mail Forwarding. Travel to your favorite warm destination this winter with the assurance that your mail will be waiting for you at your next stop. FMCA’s Mail Forwarding Service is an affordable and convenient way to stay up-to-date with important letters, bills, periodicals, and packages. For a nominal monthly fee of $8, along with a postage deposit, you can travel with ease knowing that your mail is being handled by an established and dedicated staff with more than 100 combined years of experience. Tracking and mailing alternatives are available also. Contact the FMCA Mail Forwarding staff at (513) 388-5315 or (800) 448-1212; firstname.lastname@example.org.
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. Deadline extended through December 31, 2013.
BOGO (Buy One, Get One). From now until December 31, 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 a $10 certificate 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 certificate, the member you recruit must use the BOGO50 code and must include your name as the recruiter on the membership application.