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jeff753

Rally Attendance and Vendors

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It seems member Rally attendance is dropping along with the quantity of Vendors coming.   It's one of those catch 22s. 

Less vendors equals less members....less members equals less vendors 

The converse would also then be true...

More members equals more Vendors...more Vendors equals more members

Why don't you chose to attend rallies???

Why do you attend?

 

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Membership (and attendance) has been dropping for a long time.  Remember the Brunswick, ME rally with over 8000 coaches (2000?)!?!  Awesome place, awesome rally.  Some of the reduced attendance has to do with doing the same rallies at the same place over and over again.  Have you been to Perry, GA!  Not a lot of draw outside the grounds or the surrounding areas before or after.  I used to be a vendor and was very glad to get out of the rat race.  I think I would have shot myself if I had to go to Perry again.

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I get the impression many vendors are not happy with how they are treated?  Your experience; if you don't mind sharing?

Jeff Walukonis

FMCA ENERGIZED/U60 Task Force Chairman 

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OK, Jeff, just found this thread but I'll throw in a nickels worth. My view about lack of attendance AND lack of penetration into younger RV owners is attitude. Attitude of not just FMCA members but the organization itself.

Look at the answer given in the convention FAQ regarding kids "Are children and grandchildren welcome? Absolutely! Although there will not be a dedicated Youth Program at this event due to school being in session, there are plenty of things in the metro Phoenix area for kids to enjoy." Doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that, right? Wrong! The message this sends is: 1) there is nothing for kids to do AT the event. 2) there is nowhere to take kids so I/we can do anything at the event. Hence, there is no reason for me to attend the event. A similar message and reasoning happens for every single event regardless of size. 

Combine that with messages contained by the days selected (Tuesday thru Friday) and Exhibit hours (9-5). Obviously, they don't want working people to attend anything.

Conclusion: FMCA is for rich, old people, don't need to renew (because 1st year membership was given with motorhome purchase) or attend anything.

FMCA just lost it's best chance to retain and build a relationship with younger members before it even had a chance.

BTW I'm 55, my wife is 46 and daughter is 9. We have owned a motorhome since 2010 however did not join FMCA until upgraded in 2013. We attempted to socialize at chapter rally we stumbled upon at a rv park, that didn't go well. We have not attended any other events, life has interfered when we tried. While I did the 5 year membership, I don't have any incentive to renew at this time.

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Bill,

First Welcome to the Forum.

So sorry for your bad experience with the rally you stumbled on while in a campground. Please let me assure you that most RV Chapter more than welcome visitors more especially those with kids. As you have said most are older and have grandchildren themselves. Many don't get to see their grandchildren a lot and love to interact with small ones.

As for the National Rallies there are 2 each year and yes one does fall during the school year. That does make it hard with families that have school aged children. However there is also a summer rally that fall in late July and or early August. This allows those with children to attend. During the Summer Rally they do have many activities for different age groups of children. David and Loretta Marlowe are the Co-Chairs for the Youth Program and do a wonderful job of providing activities for the young folks. As an example when FMCA was last in Gillette Wyoming they had a bus tour to Mount Rushmore and I believe that included Devils Tower. FMCA and the Marlowe's work very hard to include Youth Activities during the Summer Rally.

Our next Summer Rally will be in Indianapolis in July 2017. That area should provide a bundle of things for the kids. I am sure that if you and Lise would like to help David and Loretta would welcome you with open arms. FMCA relies on Volunteers to make everything work.

So please reconsider on renewing your membership. FMCA needs new and young families like you and Lise. Without youth many organizations will not survive.

If you have any question please don't hesitate to send me a Personal Message. To send a PM just click on my picture and click "send a message". I will be more than happy to assist in any way I can.

Thanks for bring a Member of FMCA and I hope you continue to be a member,

Sincerely,

Herman, 

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The last time we had grand kids with us the youth program was not very friendly.  The trips off grounds had to have an adult with them.  If one adult is gone all day long that of course spoils it for that person.

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2 hours ago, desertdeals69 said:

The last time we had grand kids with us the youth program was not very friendly.  The trips off grounds had to have an adult with them.  If one adult is gone all day long that of course spoils it for that person.

May I respectfully suggest, that the conventions may need to be updated to appeal to modern families, because the original design of the conventions are somewhat outdated.  Back when I was a kid attending conventions, the idea was to seperate the families, so the kids were entertained, and the adults could visit the vendors, shop, and attend educational talks.

Now, families want to be more inclusive.  Our time with our kids is so limited during our regular lives, that we want to spend as much time with them when we are not working.  This is why activities at FMCA events need to have kids AND adults in mind.

Some suggestions: rent some bounce houses, set up a carnival either with FMCA volunteers or an outside vendor.  How about some sporting events like sand volleyball, a touch football game, or a tug-of-war (was done at the 1972 convention).  How about family movie night(s)?  Video game tournament.

Also, I think the TATs need to be more involved throughout tge year, and mentioned in the magazine more.  For a short while, the TAT president had a short column in the magazine, to discuss upcoming events, and I think this should happen again.  If not in the magazine, maybe on social media, like Facebook, so the kids of FMCA could communicate together.

I'm thinking about putting on a rally in Colorado next summer geared toward families with kids, but just in the thinking stage right now.

Later,

Chris G.  F3508s

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10 hours ago, billandlise said:

OK, Jeff, just found this thread but I'll throw in a nickels worth. My view about lack of attendance AND lack of penetration into younger RV owners is attitude. Attitude of not just FMCA members but the organization itself.

Look at the answer given in the convention FAQ regarding kids "Are children and grandchildren welcome? Absolutely! Although there will not be a dedicated Youth Program at this event due to school being in session, there are plenty of things in the metro Phoenix area for kids to enjoy." Doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that, right? Wrong! The message this sends is: 1) there is nothing for kids to do AT the event. 2) there is nowhere to take kids so I/we can do anything at the event. Hence, there is no reason for me to attend the event. A similar message and reasoning happens for every single event regardless of size. 

Combine that with messages contained by the days selected (Tuesday thru Friday) and Exhibit hours (9-5). Obviously, they don't want working people to attend anything.

Conclusion: FMCA is for rich, old people, don't need to renew (because 1st year membership was given with motorhome purchase) or attend anything.

FMCA just lost it's best chance to retain and build a relationship with younger members before it even had a chance.

BTW I'm 55, my wife is 46 and daughter is 9. We have owned a motorhome since 2010 however did not join FMCA until upgraded in 2013. We attempted to socialize at chapter rally we stumbled upon at a rv park, that didn't go well. We have not attended any other events, life has interfered when we tried. While I did the 5 year membership, I don't have any incentive to renew at this time.

Are you close to Indianapolis this July?  We are going to try to get a bunch of our younger group at that rally.  I don't disagree with what you said.   We initiated something called FMCA ENERGIZED at the West Springfield summer rally.   It's made up of the Under 60 Task Force.  There are 500 Task Force members nationwide and we had 81 at West Springfield.  We host some fun events, that are open to all, but try to bridge those cliques a bit. We also have some activities exclusively for our Task Force.  At West Springfield day one was the KIDZ Meet n Greet so the few kids that do attend can meet some kids in their age group.  

Anyway if you'd like to see our activities or partake in the task force discussions as we plan for Indy send Kathy an email at KAnderson@fmca.com   Kathy will add you to our email list (only a handful of emails a year) and we will also send you a link to the task force closed group on Facebook.  Check it out if you wish.  You can always drop off. 

Hope you have a nice Holiday Season!

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How long has FMCA existed and who is the typical FMCA member?  Kids are "welcome" in order to draw a small slice of RVers into the fold but the reality is clearly stated by billandlise above.  This club is extremely inclusive as long as you are over 55, retired and an empty nester but FMCA and families (ironic, right?) is not really the focus of this organization.

They were so desperate for members they even said they would allow any RVer (5th wheel, bumper trailers, P/U campers, etc.) to join FMCA.  It was quickly apparent that the FMCA organization was all about 'motor coaches" leaving those few that tried to jump in to the mix left out in the cold.  Where FMCA goes from here is anyone's guess.

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We have made a request to parse from the membership data base those under 60.  It seems the database at FMCA must be cumbersome because that is not something they can easily provide.  Our intention is to try to expand the participation of younger  Motorhomers. 

We have heard the average age is 72 and we know there are very few kids that attend rallys anymore.  There IS a large group of younger Rvers who travel in motorhomes.  Some even Roadschool their kids.  

A few of us got together in Madison Wi and we were all going to quit.  The rallys were geared towards the current demographic (by nature) and generally boring. Once you had been to a couple there was no draw.  They are not announced in a timely manner making it very hard to plan.   That same group had a couple informal discussions and decided we would try to make rallys fun for our age group and try to help FMCA be more inclusive to the younger crowd as well as provide ideas to making FMCA Fun Again. You can see the initial unwrapping of FMCA ENERGIZED at the summer rally in West Springfield in the October FMCA Magazine. We are going to do it again in Indianapolis in July.   So we ARE making that effort  

Having said that, there is a draw for the current demographic of FMCA (average age 72) and the organization could survive staying with that demographic, they do not have to change.

Some conclude families and younger people all have fifth wheels and trailers, not motorhomes.  While there is no doubt most do ...there is also a large group that have motorhomes and love to travel.   As FMCA changes the bylaws to allow for a sister club of towables there will have to be a shift in demographics as well.   More kids will breathe life back into the youth program.  Younger motorhomers would change demographics and entertainment needs.  

There does seem to be a consensus that FMCA has evolved into an elitist organization.  Someone pointed out that even with parking coaches at rallys officers, board members and previous officers get the best parking at rallys while the Family members are left with the leftovers.   

If we can get enough of us at Indy we can have some fun in addition to the normal rally stuff.  If you are interested in any of this join our Under 60 Task Force (now called FMCA ENERGIZED Task Force) by emailing kanderson@fmca.com and request to be added to the task force or join our Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/fmcau60taskforce/?ref=bookmarks or both.  An email to Kathy gets you added to future emails about ENERGIZED Events.   We only send out a few each year and you can get off the list just as easily.

Jeff Walukonis 

FMCA ENERGIZED Chair 

 

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Umm...I haven't attended an event yet but just saw this thread.  A comment was made that there wouldn't be anything for kids to do because "school" is in session.

You seem to be MISSING THE POINT.  If we are RVing with kids and if we are bringing them to the rally during "normal" "school" times then you need to ASSUME that we HOMESCHOOL.  DUH.  There are a lot of us homeschooling and full time rving.  One reason you might be seeing less numbers is you call this FAMILY motor coaches of America but yet you seem to not expect children.  I know the Fulltime Families group is GROWING since we found them last year.  Why?  Because they totally get that CHILDREN are a part of any FAMILY thing and if you have chosen to full time RV while you are still young enough to enjoy it to the fullest then you will take your children along with you.  

We will be attending your event this year as well as the Escapade put on by Escapees.  I notice that Escapees is working WITH FTF to put on events for children during their rally.

Hmmmm...I wonder if you wanted to increase your numbers if you could follow their lead.  Otherwise I'd suggest changing your name from FAMILY motor coaches of America to OMCA or RMCA or SMCA (older, retired or senior).  

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I'll toss in my 2 cents worth here, as a 57 year old female who worked in industry where my coworkers were 95% male.

I find FMCA to have a mindset from the 1950s.  Using the word "sexist" might be harsh, and I don't think the attitude of men-first is intentional.  I think it is a reflection of the aging membership.  For example, I was filling out the questionnaire sent out to volunteer for the Parking Team at the Chandler Rally in March.  It was asked:  "Is your wife or partner willing to serve on the Parking Team?"  I have no objection to the question or the word partner.  But I got very angry at "your wife".  They assume it's the husband who calls the shots, fills out the forms, etc.  I called the questionnaire's author at the main headquarters and let my displeasure be known.  At least change the wording to "spouse."  It's the "males rule" attitude puts me off.  Inroads are being made with some female taking leadership roles.  But still, I feel like I'm fighting the battles from my early career in engineering all over again.  It goes both ways.  I also take exception to "Ladies' Crafts."  I like to be crafty as much as the next person...but the titles of these events exclude any interested men.

I also find the entertainment to be very much geared towards the Lawrence Welk generation.  There are, of course, exceptions such as "3 Guys 30 Instruments" (Great Lakes and Madison Rallies) and Herman's Hermits/Peter Noone (Pomona Rally).  But I tend to avoid the entertainment because it is too old school for me. 

One other point that comes to mind is the attire used to designate a volunteer.  I'm sorry, but those foam baseball caps that the volunteers wear are UGLY.   This may seem petty, but what self-respecting young person wants to volunteer if they have to wear a foam/mesh baseball cap.  Ugh.  That almost kept me from filling out the form to volunteer to be on the parking team.  Give me instead a nice, bright t-shirt that stands out that I can also keep as a souvenir.

My husband and I love the rallies for the educational opportunities. Everyone has been friendly and helpful.  But now that we have had the RV for a few years. there is less and less motivation to attend an FMCA rally.  To be honest, I'm looking forward to trying one of the rallies from a competing organization.  I have heard anecdotally that they are more fun.

FYI...we did join FMCA Energized in the hope that something will change.

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I would like to weigh in because our reasons are not already mentioned. It may also be that our reasons are in the minority, but nonetheless should be part of the discussion.

We don't attend but a limited number of rallies for 3 very simple reasons:

1) we're retired & on a limited income and thus must limit rallies, as much as we enjoy them.

2) logistics don't always match up with our travels and location of rallies.

3) we prefer full hook ups.

we attend rallies for 3 simple reasons:

1) connecting with friends and the fellowship, and volunteering.

2) seminars & vendors

3) walk thru & preview new coaches.

hope this is meaningful to the discussion.

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We go to a number of rallies, they are all for our particular model coach.  They are national rallies, which may have 200 coaches, anywhere in the country, and regional rallies which may have 20 or so coaches held in our region.  The national rallies have all the vendors, regional rallies don't require as much travel.  We go to these rallies because we have become friends with most of the members in our region.  Plus, all of our rallies have full hook ups.  In the last four years, we've had national rallies in TX, IN, NC and last May in Myrtle Beach, and regional rallies in TX and AR.  Our 2017 rally is in central OK.  We have no desire to go to any rally with thousands of coaches, with nobody we know in attendance.  I feel like I know lots of good folks on this forum, and would not mind a "forum" rally, but I can't see any advantage in attending a national FMCA rally.

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FMCA rallies are actually pretty awesome (the first time at that location).  There are things you will see here and things that can be done here that you won't find anywhere else.  The problem is the repetition.  Perry, GA is the prefect example.  How many times would anyone go to Perry voluntarily?  Perry was the very first rally I ever attended back in 1995(?).  It was great.  After that rally there was a Freightliner rally which was at the Tom Johnson rally grounds in Marion, NC.  (If I got any part of that wrong, please just jump in and correct me).  The problem is the repetition of these rallies at the same location.  There is NOTHING to see or do in Perry, GA but there is a great open space.  OK, I know FMCA needs a lot of space and not a lot of space exists everywhere.  However, I think FMCA has simply gotten lazy trying to make arrangements for rallies in unique locations when it's so easy to make arrangements for rallies in the same 'ole places they have held rallies in the past.

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Well, I guess I threw gas on the fire! :) Thanks for the replies though. It opens communication and gives everyone a chance to have their say. That can lead to improvements as long as everyone realizes its not personal and acts accordingly.

Herman and Jeff:  I will try to make Indy, I will email Kathy and join the FB group. I'm willing to join the discussion. By the time I get to Indy, I may even be comfortable with helping since I'm attending other events this year. Which brings me to my first concern? issue? whatever. Bear with me, I'll get to the point eventually.

When I bought in 2010 (2005 Bounder) I was "gifted" a Good Sam membership. I never attended a rally (wrong place/time, etc.) or became involved with the organization. Upon renewal of that "free" membership, I chose the longest timeframe for the biggest discount because I still saw value in the group. Pilot/Flying J fuel discount program, Roadside Assistance and "club discount" for the occasional Camping World store purchase are examples.

When I bought in 2013 (2011 Tiffin Allegro) I was "gifted" a FMCA membership. I never attended a rally (wrong place/time, etc.) or became involved with the organization. Upon renewal of that "free" membership, I chose the longest timeframe for the biggest discount because I still saw value in the group. Michelin Tire program was the big reason at the time.  To clear up any misconception from my op, our membership does not expire until early 2019 and I had/have no intention of cancelling. I just didn't see a reason to renew from that initial purchase (1 yr free + 5 year).

As I "graduated" to full-time earlier this year, I discovered Fulltime Families as a support community for the life we were building on the road with a child. They introduced me to Escapees and it's subgroup, Xscapers with yet another "free" year of membership.  As a result, we are doing Fulltime Families Reunion/Legoland in February, Escapade in March and a Xscapers Convergence in April.

ok, so finally getting here...How are you/we going to differentiate FMCA ENERGIZED from the other organizations? Here's my thoughts

FMCA's draw to me was and is...motor coaches. Not campers or TT's or 5'ers. Motor Coaches. As a society we keep dividing ourselves, making and choosing sides we don't have/need to and developing a us/them mentality. Lets break that down not by competing with them. There is a place for 5'ers and TT's. But there is a special place for Motor Coaches. 

William "Bill" Anderson

F433108

2011 Tiffin Allegro

RAM 1500

Edited by billandlise
Remove non-pertinent, possible inflammatory sentence.

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On 12/17/2016 at 6:19 PM, aztec7fan said:

May I respectfully suggest, that the conventions may need to be updated to appeal to modern families, because the original design of the conventions are somewhat outdated.  Back when I was a kid attending conventions, the idea was to seperate the families, so the kids were entertained, and the adults could visit the vendors, shop, and attend educational talks.

Now, families want to be more inclusive.  Our time with our kids is so limited during our regular lives, that we want to spend as much time with them when we are not working.  This is why activities at FMCA events need to have kids AND adults in mind.

Some suggestions: rent some bounce houses, set up a carnival either with FMCA volunteers or an outside vendor.  How about some sporting events like sand volleyball, a touch football game, or a tug-of-war (was done at the 1972 convention).  How about family movie night(s)?  Video game tournament.

Also, I think the TATs need to be more involved throughout tge year, and mentioned in the magazine more.  For a short while, the TAT president had a short column in the magazine, to discuss upcoming events, and I think this should happen again.  If not in the magazine, maybe on social media, like Facebook, so the kids of FMCA could communicate together.

I'm thinking about putting on a rally in Colorado next summer geared toward families with kids, but just in the thinking stage right now.

Later,

Chris G.  F3508s

Your experience is definitely similar to mine.  I grew up in a family heavily involved in the organization and attended many rallys in my youth (Syracuse '77, Bethlehem '83, Des Moines '87, Tampa '90).  While a younger demographic at that time definitely existed, the organization still had that new and fresh feeling to it.  There were activities for families, we had FMCA friends we only saw at that time, and I remember the family focus, and older kids starting to take on the leader roles because everyone knew them so well already.  When my wife and I decided to go full-time last year with our 9, 3, and 2 year old one of my first goals was putting the 4-digit G goose-egg on our coach.

We planned much of our summer itinerary around the Escapees and FMCA rally.  We had an amazing experience at Escapade meeting the nicest people and experiencing kids activities.  After that, and combined with my own youth experience at FMCA, we were excited about West Springfield.  What a disappointment it turned into...  After requesting to be put around other families, we were put in the back of a field, scowled at by 50% of attendees for 4 days, dealt with some arrogant vendors, and put our 9 year old in kids activities that basically centered around getting the kids as far away as possible from the event all day.  And then the leadership...geez!  The current president doesn't pay attention to who can be listening when he opens his mouth.  From a rude comment made about children, to getting into a disagreement on the stage of the first timers welcome...it was pretty bad.  I happened to walk by the prep meeting for the ice cream social where he was going on a diatribe to the volunteers about 3 overused cans of caramel at the Perry event earlier in the year because people weren't paying attention.  Is this what's important??

After West Springfield it dawned on me.  Yes...the attitudes and people are part of the problem, but much of it is caused by the structure of the organization itself.  With all the elected positions at the national level, then the geographic levels, and then the chapters...along with who parks where and in what order to show that representation (because I hear that can turn into some real turf wars)...it's mind boggling.  And don't forget, the past-elected positions as well and where they all fit in.  You could spend 3/4 of a day at a rally walking around just reading the plates on coaches of all the positions some people have held, and see the politicizing going on for the next elections.  It just seems to me that when so many people are worried about all that, it takes away the focus on the membership.  When everybody wants to be a cook in the kitchen, you'll find out someday nobody is left in the dining room to cook for that once paid for the cooks.  That's where I think FMCA is.  A lot of people worried about what power they hold, their influence, and how to retain it instead of using the power of an organization to tackle the problems the membership is affected by:  a recent bad economy, atrocious entry costs to some Class A's now, monopolization of the industry, disappearing campgrounds, and the lack of long-term vision due to members probably only being paid / effective for 10 years max. because of the age demographic.

FMCA needs a major overhaul to fit the next generation.  This generation's purchasing and savings habits (which all dictate their entry into the motorhome world) are completely different.  I've met plenty of people (and families) now in their 40's and 50's like us, that laid down 6 figures for a  40+ foot diesel pusher doing what we want.  Not all of us are retired, we have ways to work online making a nice income, and can easily get into a nice used coach that fits our families.  Our current membership expires in 60 days and I doubt we'll renew.  I hope FMCA gets it and turns around their Sinking Ship image.  Maybe if they do it will be a good fit for us, but for now I'm not throwing money at something that the only good I can find is a discount on Michelin tires...which I don't need to begin with.

Jeff - kudos to the time and effort you put into Energized.  You definitely have the drive and I sense the overhead support to you is little.  But wanted to call that out.

Mark Addis
F5841G
Full-Timers from Sarasota, Florida
https://www.facebook.com/rvthatfamily/

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I filled out a questionnaire for the Monaco International Chapter of FMCA earlier this year.  I've attended about five of their rallies over the years, almost always as a pre-rally associated with an FMCA rally.  I enjoy attending these rallies but not every year.  Criticisms above are valid, if not universally, they are at least valid to the individual.  Everyone has their own expectations and values that influence their decision to attend or not attend a rally. 

We plan our summer travels sometimes several years in advance.  Not that we are making reservations or scheduling out trips, we just set 2015 as our year to see Newfoundland, and we did.  The summer FMCA rally was in the western US.  We weren't there.  In 2016 we spent the summer between our families in St. Louis, Denver and Sacramento areas.  We were out west and FMCA was in the east.  You see the problem.  We attend when our travel plans match the FMCA plans.  Lately it seems that FMCA plans are only announced a short time ahead of the rallies so it becomes difficult to change to match their schedule. 

We winter in deep south Texas and once we are there we don't pick up and leave until sometime in mid to late April.  We don't even leave to attend Lone Star Chapter rallies in Texas.  We'll attend those when they match our schedule leaving or returning to the Rio Grande Valley.  We can make this motor home thing work if we don't waste a lot money and time running around the country randomly. So don't look for us at any of the early spring rallies.  As of this writing, we are planning to attend the Indianapolis rally next summer.  

We agree that it is good to have rallies in different areas, going back to the same location is less appealing to us than going to a place we haven't visited before.  The rally in Gillette, WY comes to mind, we did the coal mine tour and the bison ranch tour and enjoyed playing some golf at their golf courses before and between rallies.  We enjoy the tours and will frequently take tours on our own as well.  The evening entertainment is a take it or leave it decision with us.  Like BlueFlame, we find most of the entertainment to be of little interest.  We enjoy touring the coaches to see what is new but are extremely unlikely to purchase one.  We do shop the vendors and have made significant purchases from them over the years.  We take advantage of free or low cost installation offers whenever possible.  We have done the big caravan thing several times, traveling in a caravan of several hundred coaches from the Monaco International Rally to FMCA is fun to do once in a while. 

For those with families, I would recommend the Indianapolis rally for one very good reason.  The Children's Museum in Indy is one of the best hands-on museums in the US.  I would plan to visit the museum before or after FMCA, plan to extend your stay for several days to visit that attraction with the kids.  If you travel east to Lexington, Kentucky you can take the kids to the Kentucky Horse Park.  We had to herd our granddaughters away from that attraction at closing time.  That will give the kids some experiences they won't forget.  Travel west from Indianapolis to Springfield, Illinois and visit the Lincoln Home National Historic Site.  It might sound like it isn't a kids thing but visiting the Lincoln Memorial gave our grandsons an experience they haven't forgotten.  They lower the flag each night with a Civil War color guard complete with a cannon.  After the ceremony the "soldiers" hang around to visit with the kids.  One put his hat on our youngest grandsons head for a picture,  priceless, as they say in the commercial.

It's the journey, not the destination.  Spend four days at the FMCA Rally and then find things of interest on the way to and from the rally. There are fantastic museums in Chicago, The Field Museum, The Museum of Science and Natural History, The Shedd Aquarium, The Adler Planetarium to name just a few.  St. Louis where we used to live has a great zoo located in Forest Park, site of the 1904 World's Fair.  Some of the original buildings are still there.  The park also hosts a Science Center and Planetarium.  This time of year the ice skating rink is open, in the summer you can churn up the water in the lakes with the paddle boats.  Go south from Indianapolis to Louisville, KY.  The Natchez Trace Parkway starts just SW of Louisville and continues on to Natchez, Mississippi.  It is one great trip in a motor home.  No trucks, speed limit of 55 MPH and every spot to visit along the parkway itself has information regarding turn-arounds in case you are towing a car.  Take three or four days and soak up a lot of early American history.  Take the kids to a ball game, pick your park, Cincinnati is close by, Chicago has two teams, St. Louis and Kansas City each have a team.  In Indianapolis there is a minor league team, the Indianapolis Indians, minor league games are much more appealing to children.

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On December 18, 2016 at 7:23 PM, BillAdams said:

...OK, I know FMCA needs a lot of space and not a lot of space exists everywhere.  However, I think FMCA has simply gotten lazy trying to make arrangements for rallies in unique locations when it's so easy to make arrangements for rallies in the same 'ole places they have held rallies in the past.

Now that some of the National Rallys are down to 1200-1400 maybe there are other locations that should be considered?  A place with a lot of full hookups  

I give the INTO Area a lot of credit for what they just did on their upcoming rally.  They had a unique location with full hookups, good entertainment and a limited capacity.  They sold out!

I will also say the GEAR Rally in Lewisburg this past fall was very very nice.  That fair grounds just put in a bunch of new full hookups 30 and 50 amp.  In addition, the town was voted the coolest town in America and Rates it!!  A few hills to get there but a neat place.  

 

 

 

 

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There have been many good points made about rallies in general , and the reductions in numbers but the real issue is people today want value for their dollar, When planning to attend we look at what is included and what is planned as extras. Many times the cost for theses extras is more that just going by ourselves and not being on someone else's time plan. When volunteering if the event planners schedule events for the volunteers then they need to follow though, canceling as was done at W.Springfield is not a good way to keep your help. Parking large groups can be a big challenge but when making plans to control traffic the real secret is keep people moving and make them feel progress is being made. On site transportation is another area, if the hosts are paying for golf carts, and they all do, then those paying rally fees are the real people paying users need to be told that they Must at least offer to help move attendees. While I know that many use their personal carts those attending cannot tell the difference. Where and when you chose a venue is not only based on size but also the chance of weather impacts. High or low temps can be offset by mechanical means if not too extreme but these chance for violent storms rise in some areas at the times when national rallies are normally planned. Trying to avoid these is more a safety item than we all might like to admit. Picture Kansas in tornado season. Central locations on normal travel routes make the most of members normal migrations and summer exploring adventures. Most of us would probably avoid Montana in winter.

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As I said before, I have not attended any Rallies yet. That's on the agenda for 2017 (4 now including Indy) but from what I'm gathering maybe FMCA need consider:

4 Regional Rallies instead of the 2 National ones. This is intended that people choose ONE to attend each year, not be able to attend all. Matter of fact, setup the computer to not ALLOW multiple attendances based on Membership #.  Chapter event attendance could benefit from this as well. 

If staying with National Rallies, break them up.

A Beginners Rally.  A Rally specifically designed for those new to Motorhomes with Seminars and Vendors selected accordingly. 

A Working Mans Rally. A rally with a schedule designed to accommodate people still employed such as Seminars running from 3-8 pm, Vendors open Noon till 10pm, etc.

A Remember When Rally. A rally specifically designed for the longer term members who have been there done that and would love to talk about it. 

Just a few thoughts for reflection, please chime in. 

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Jeff, I want to attend and never have (we have been members since 2009ish) the biggest problem is the time of the year and location of the rallies. DW and I both work (we are in our 40's) and still have two almost adult children at home. When I bring it up my wife always asks, What are we going to do while you are attending seminars? Uhhh, take the toad and see what's around the area, maybe go shopping, I have no idea? 

Then onto the hookups, with four of us our coach will only last 24 hours without empting the tanks and refilling the water, electric is a must. DW and kids will not shower in a public shower, DW reminds me all the time the reason we bought the coach was to be self contained. Then there is the dreaded time off from the daily 9 to 5, that time is limited with the kids almost spreading their wings and leaving the nest we try to spend as much time with them as we can as a family, after all that is why we bought the coach in the first place.

We have met quite a bit of people in our travels all due to the goose egg on the coach, all so far were great to sit and chat with. I can only hope a rally would be the same but in a larger scale, after reading the post above I'm beginning to feel a bit concerned about that, but still remain positive.

One thing that has baffled me with FMCA leaders with a title, you will see on other forums on a regular basis, but never on these forums. I will say that raises an eyebrow with me and doesn't sit to well. You would think if they were that dedicated to the organization they would be on here helping their fellow members.

I cannot speak as to how the rallies are geared now, someday I hope to experience it, sooner than later. I sincerely hope my expectations are met and I get to meet some of the great people I have met on the forum, others and learn a few things. I will continue to renew my membership as I enjoy the organization for the part of it I see at this time.

 

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I just read on another forum that one of the issues people are having is the posting or lack of posting dates far enough out of various Conventions, Rallies, etc.  More specifically, that FMCA doesn't post their dates far enough out in advance.  You can't tell me that FMCA doesn't know the dates and location of their events at least 2 years out.  My thinking is that they don't post this information very far out hoping that people will attend the current event. You can't tell me that an organization hosting a large event like Conventions doesn't know where and when the upcoming events are being scheduled. While not everyone may be, many of us are planners and like planning out their schedules a year out, especially when you are looking at miles and fuel.  Not everyone is retired and free to "wing" their calendars. I want to know when and where we are going far enough out (and six months isn't far enough) so that we may plan various events and get the most bang for our bucks.  We are already planning out our 2018 calendar.  There are several organizational events we would like to attend; however, without knowing dates and locations, it is impossible to plan.  I'm only one rig, but if FMCA might consider multiplying this thought by many more, they may see a difference in their attendance.   

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