I am reposting the FAQs that were posted at the end of the Thread that covered the campaigning regarding the vote to allow or not allow Towables. I will intersperse my comments and questions.
Frequently Asked Questions About FMCA Welcoming All RV Owners
1) Will FMCA chapters be required to allow owners of towable RVs to join their chapter? No. Chapters still control their own bylaws. Your chapter will not be required to allow owners of towable RVs to join the chapter if your chapter members do not wish to do so. The scope of the chapter will continue to be the chapter members’ decision, and bylaws can be amended at any time (to include – or exclude – based on non-discriminatory factors). Many chapters already have restrictions or special interests in terms of the brand of vehicle, engine manufacturer, hobbies, etc. This is good, a chapter is still allowed to be a brand or type specific group.
2) Are we going to change the name of the association? Why would someone join an organization called Family Motor Coach Association if they own a fifth-wheel travel trailer? “FMCA” is how most of us refer to the organization today, so our recommendation is to keep the name but move to using only the acronym, much like AARP did when it opened its doors to pre-retirees. The association will still legally be known as Family Motor Coach Association, but we will just refer to it as FMCA. It is not a real issue.
3) How will the rallies be affected? Our goal is to keep delivering a great experience to current members while also appealing to the younger crowd. We will re-evaluate our convention structure to provide new and different activities. For example, we may have multiple entertainment options presented at different times of the day to accommodate various ages and interests. In my opinion, YES, the rallies will be affected. There is a lot of similarities in RVs be they self propelled or only self-contained, but there are a considerable number of differences. I believe more difference than similarity. This will have a potential for reducing the number of MH specific vendors and seminars. There are only so many rooms and so much floor space.
4) Will FMCA be parking all vehicle types together at events? Yes. FMCA leaders have consulted with our layout and staging experts to achieve an optimum experience for everyone. This will prove interesting to watch. A MH with a Toad is simple, disconnect the toad, park the MH, put the toad over there. A towable must keep the Tow Vehicle connected until in place. This means that a late arrival or an early leave will be an issue much greater than a MH would be.
5) Will we need to retrain our parkers? It’s just a different type of vehicle, driven by equally skilled drivers. The same parking method will be used. I expect that the parkers will of necessity be retrained and we better hope that the towable people are able to really drive or it will be as interesting as watching a boat ram p on a Sunday
6) What parking differences are there in terms of parking towables next to motorhomes? Because we do pull-through parking in most cases, we do not expect to have any problems with parking at the conventions. Other RV organizations successfully park different types of vehicles together at their events. We'll see.
7) What about generator usage at conventions? On-board generators tend to be quieter than portable generators. FMCA will continue to offer various parking options as we do now, including “full generator” areas where generators can be run 24 hours a day and “no generator” areas where they can’t be operated. Owners of all RVs will have the option to purchase electricity. We will require that only manufacturer-installed on-board generators be used in general and full-generator lots. Portable generators will not be permitted. How is a Towable WITHOUT a built in Generator 'Self-Contained'??? Good that no portables are allowed, but I think there is an issue with the definition here.
8) Will all RV owner members have full benefits? Yes. As passed of course, they are not associates, they are members.
9) Will all members be able to hold national office? Yes, all full (family or life) members will be able to hold national office. Associate members are not eligible to vote or hold an office. As passed of course, they are not associates, they are members. This could get really interesting. Will there be enough towable members voting to turn FMCA into something even more different?
10) What is the willingness of our current members to accept all vehicle types? As demonstrated by the recent vote, most current members are very much in favor of this change. We know many members who started out with towable RVs before purchasing a motorhome. Our hope is that current members will welcome all new members, regardless of the equipment they travel with. I don't have any issue going camping with, camping next to, talking to or being friends with a towable owner. My issues are solely with FMCA ceasing to exist as FMCA and becoming GS Lite.
11) Towable owners’ educational needs may differ. Will FMCA focus on their needs? We don’t anticipate dropping any of our motorhome educational programs and will continue in our historic role as the authoritative resource for motorhome information; however, over time our content and seminars will naturally expand to include helpful and educational information about all RVs as members with other equipment join us. I'll take a wait and see, but my thoughts are that we will see less dedicated towards the MH as more towables join in, assuming they actually do join.
12) Does FMCA offer seminars regarding starting new chapters? We don’t have such a seminar currently but we certainly can, if members are interested! Not really a related issue. This is something that maybe should have always existed.
13) Will we keep the FMCAssist Medical Emergency and Travel Assistance Program? Yes. Opening FMCA to more RV owners will help the organization and spread out the cost of this expensive benefit over a larger pool of members. If we actually get a significant membership bump that hold for a period of time AND those members are the younger members we think we are going to get then we may see a benefit.
14) Some people look at FMCA as an elitist organization. Will opening up the membership to all RV owners help with that? It’s easy for people to think that way based on the previous motorhome requirement, but we know that FMCA members are warm, wonderful people. With the recent vote, we will welcome all RVers so they can experience our exclusive benefits without feeling “excluded” because they don’t own a motorhome! Many of us started with an RV other than a motorhome, and we strongly believe it’s not about the equipment; it’s about the people who chose the RV lifestyle. HOGWASH. If you don't own a Corvette, would you expect to be catered to and welcomed with open arms into a corvette OWNERS club? We aren't elitist, we are simply a group with like interests.
15) How do we keep younger kids active in FMCA? This presents an opportunity to revisit our Youth Program. We don’t want to just have an on-site babysitting service. Our goal is to provide meaningful activities for the children and young adults, too. With an infusion of new and perhaps younger members, we’ll have new ideas and new energy for our “family” members with families! This is a separate issue, something that we need. The assumption has been that all these towable owners are young and travel with kids and we will suddenly have an average age in the 50's. If we weren't attracting Young MH owners with kids before what makes us think we will now?
16) Why should I continue to be a member? FMCA is unique. It is a not-for-profit RV association, the largest in the world. Our mission is education (and fun) and, with that in mind, we continue to develop the offerings of the FMCA Academy. FMCA also provides great benefits, such as the tire buying program, the FMCAssist Medical Emergency and Travel Assistance Program, and the Connect-on-the Go and the Tech Connect+ Benefit Package. FMCA will continue to be unique among the major clubs because it is the only one owned and governed by its membership. We are now considerably LESS UNIQUE. Time will tell if this helps or hurts.
17) How will FMCA fulfill the vision that the founders had that FMCA would be an exclusive club for motorized RVs? We recognize your concern about this issue. However, to continue to exist as an association, we also recognize that we need to avoid stagnation. The RV marketplace has changed and evolved over time. We’ve looked around and seen that our families and friends – those we want to welcome as new FMCA members – have many choices of RVs that are not motorized. We want to make sure FMCA flourishes well into the future, and broadening our focus is a way to help ensure this. In reality, how many steps did we really take before this to address the perceived issues? Not many as far as I could see until just the last year and a half with FMCA Energized.
18) What happened to cause us to change our minds about non-motorized RVs? This isn’t the first time this idea has come up. Members have repeatedly asked FMCA leadership why the association didn’t welcome all RV owners. After all, it’s not about the equipment; it’s about the people who choose the RV lifestyle. Our goal is to make sure FMCA is around for the next generation. So, we need to continue to welcome younger RVers to ensure continued growth of the association. Have we up until now shooed away young people? No! And unless we start to offer up reasons for young people to join, we will only get older towable owners.
19) Did FMCA do this just because of the money? No. It’s about the family! Motorhomes don’t go to conventions; people do. We want dues to stay affordable for everyone while providing top-notch benefits. With more members over whom to spread the cost of the member benefits, FMCA can serve more RV owners. This of coure assumes a major increase in membership.
20) Younger people are known for not being interested in joining organizations, and they may not want to volunteer. How will we handle that? It’s true that younger people with families may be busy working, raising their children, and have other day-to-day demands that can make time for volunteering difficult. But we won’t know until we ask. By talking with them, welcoming them, and inviting their participation as volunteers, we may find they bring a higher level of energy to our volunteer efforts, even if they can’t participate as often as current members. Extend a greeting the next time you see a younger RVer, and you may find those who would be interested in FMCA membership aren’t so different from you! After all, millennials and Gen-Xers are the future of the RV industry. We keep going back to increasing membership, we have only a fraction of MH owners as members, young OR old. Does anyone really think that if we've failed miserably at attracting our coure group we'lll suddenly attract a whole new demographic?
21) How will we adjust our methods of communication as we welcome owners of towables, many of whom are likely to be younger than today’s FMCA members? We don’t have any plans in place to eliminate publications or current communications tools. We are already using email and social media effectively, and this will continue to evolve as we gain experience with these methods. Many may be younger, but so are a considerable number of MH owners and we can't attract them. Age today has very little to do with how people communicate. People in their 60's and 70's for the most part are quite comfortable with modern communication equipment. I bet almost all of them actually use telephones!
22) Will our benefits change? They may – but only for the better! Even today, benefits evolve to serve our members. As we see an increase in membership, we’ll just have a wider audience of member needs and interests. FMCA will never stop delivering value (and fun) to our members. We shall see.
23) Why couldn’t we have just grown the organization by getting more motorhome owners to join? FMCA has an active member recruitment program and has been signing up thousands of new members every year. However, we also have been losing thousands of members every year due to age-related factors. The new members who are joining today aren’t new to RVing – they have built friendships and memories with other RVers. Instead of feeling as though they were turning their backs on those friendships, we’d rather they just bring their friends along for the fun with FMCA! Not that I've seen. Manufacturers and Dealers should have information that gets put in buyer's hands. Campgrounds should have information in their brochure racks and we need to get more campgrounds to offer a discount.
The above in red are some thoughts I've espoused ever since I became aware of this issue. I intend to remain a member for the foreseeable future. I will state that I hope that my more dire thoughts and prediction fail to materialize and FMCA thrives, but only tome will tell.