pattie1tom

Open Letter to FMCA

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washbob   

I've enjoyed monitoring this forum and have not commented before, but felt I would add my 2 cents to the conversation. I personally like a mix of recreational vehicles when I camp or attend an event. When I was full timing, I stayed in a few of the Class A Motor coach only campsites and I personally didn't care for them. I found the crowd to be older, snobbish, & isolated. I now select campgrounds that do not restrict use to Class A only. The campgrounds seem more alive with the various campers.

I was at the Indy convention a few weeks ago and was having a snack at one of the picnic tables, when I struck up a conversation with two gentleman who were seated at my table. We discussed the convention and the question came up what type of unit did I have. I told them what I owned and the next statement completely floored me, they asked how it felt to be one of the 1 per centers. I had to ask them again what they said and they repeated the statement. I told them that I was not in the 1% upper income bracket. They stated they were attendees and staying in a trailer & had to park in a certain location, so as to not hinder the motorhomes. I have no idea what the parking rules for non-motorized recreation vehicles were for the convention, but it appeared to influence these two people.

I enjoy attending the FMCA national conventions and have met a lot of good people while camping at the event. I plan to attend future national conventions, but have not found a chapter that interests me.

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Interesting! Worked on the parking crew and there was no special location for them, other then the handicapped attendees who where parked with that general group.

I know there was one 5er parked with that group and only 6 trailers in total as far as I know.

They where parked with the services they requested unless they signed up late and where parked where there was space available.

I must mention that there was only a very limited number sights with full hookup or water.

Second, if memory serves me correctly that party in the handicap lot got a courtesy battery jump for there tow-truck just like any of the other attendees that might have needed one.

Rich.

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washbob   

I'm thinking I just stumbled upon two bitter people who were mad at the world. It did make for an interesting conversation, while enjoying my snack and break from walking around.

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Well said, if you start with a chip on your shoulder your vision will be blurred from there on.

It was good you just listened. Some folks might have said, Sorry your dog died, so how was the rest of your day?

Herman

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I applaude FMCA pairing with the Michelin Advantage program. I just completed the purchase and installation of six new Michelin tires on our Itasca Suncruiser.

The process is is simple and easy to complete, provided you get a cooperative Michelin Advantage Program tire dealer. The first dealer I contacted in Frederick, Maryland gave me the cold shoulder, so I went down the street to S&S Tires and found a competent and courteous dealer who made the transaction a pleasant experience.

Compared to my quote from a non-participating Advantage dealer, I saved about $87.00 per tire including mounting, spin balance and new valve stems.

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jeff753   

Going to try to rejuvenate this thread a bit.  

In the past FMCA has used its members to recruit new members. As the membership grew older so did those they recruit. As a result the average age is now 71. 

There is a core of younger motorhomers out there that FMCA is failing to capture in my opinion. For examples I'm at a nice Rv park in Louisiana and just talked to 8 class A motorhome drivers.  None of them have heard of FMCA.   The tire program and medical assist in themselves are worth the membership cost  They just have never been recruited  They are younger and have kids 

i think it's a design flaw not intentional exclusion  

FMCA recognizes if they don't get younger families back the club will die out. To that end they've started FMCA ENERGIZED.  This group of 500 members is generally under 60 and many have kids.  Some roadschool their kids. 

At National rallies ENERGIZED host fun things to do in addition to the regular rally entertainment. If the evening entertainment is too old we make our own fun. 

If you are in the Indianapolis area in July 11-17 I'd encourage you to check out the ENERGIZED group, and bring your kids to that National Rally and come play with us!  

If you or anyone else is interested post something in the ENERGIZED forum here or email us at FMCAENERGIZED@fmca.com or request access to our closed group on Facebook at  https://m.facebook.com/groups/854704651273774?ref=bookmarks

Next we need a link that has member benefits on one side and information to sign up in the other side. 

That way I could print one two sided page for the 8 Class A coaches I talked to today for their consideration. 

It's time to Make FMCA Fun Again if it is to survive. 

 

Jeff Walukonis

FMCA ENERGIZED Steering Committee

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-Gramps-   

One of the first things FMCA could do is promote itself, like this website and Facebook. I blogged here for years, now I post a link to my own site. It shocked me to attend an FMCA regional rally or even a national one, go to the FMCA booth to buy a shirt or hat, gather some info,  talk to other members and in the process find out the people visiting the booth didn't know that FMCA has its own website. In many cases the folks manning the booth did not know we have a website as well. Why is this?

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manholt   

Gramps.

The people who sell the FMCA Logo stuff, are a private enterprise and they know nothing, because they are not FMCA members!  Regular Vendors.

Jeff.  The only problem I see with your info. only being for 60 or less...I bet there are a lot off Grandparents out there that are FMCA members and travel with their grandkids in Summer and don't go to FMCA Rally. because they don't know about you!  I do, because I'm on forum...Think about it !

Carl

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Hate to burst anyone's bubble but I received an email from Charlie Adcock.

Here is one part of the email: (Hope it's okay to post.)

"[...]The time has come to act on what you, the member, have known for years: “Motorhomes” don’t come to rallies and events – PEOPLE do. “Motorhomes” don’t have a corner on the market for family, fun and fellowship - PEOPLE make membership in FMCA what it is. It’s time to lift the equipment restriction placed on us by our founders (so that ALL our friends and family who RV – including those who own towables, which is where most of us started! – can join the FMCA fun).


It’s time to catch up and welcome the entire RVing community in our plans going forward.   
There's an important vote coming before your Governing Board in July. Your leadership is being asked to approve allowing FMCA to welcome RV owners - without a motorhome limitation.[...]"[Unqote]

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jeff753   
4 hours ago, manholt said:

Gramps.

The people who sell the FMCA Logo stuff, are a private enterprise and they know nothing, because they are not FMCA members!  Regular Vendors.

Jeff.  The only problem I see with your info. only being for 60 or less...I bet there are a lot off Grandparents out there that are FMCA members and travel with their grandkids in Summer and don't go to FMCA Rally. because they don't know about you!  I do, because I'm on forum...Think about it !

Carl

Carl

Last year at the Perry rally the FMCA ENERGIZED steering committee unanimously changed the name from FMCA under 60 task force to FMCA ENERGIZED.  Why?   Because fun doesn't grow old.  If I'm canoeing on my 60th Birthday and I was born at 1pm.   Do I have to get out if the boat at 1???   No.......At Indy we are going to pub cycle downtown.  We don't care if you 90.  Come on.  DOGZ on Tour, Paint n Sip, Brew Tours, Wine Walks....let's play.  We are about relationships not birth certificates  

That's why the task force changed the name.  That's why we host activities that the whole family is invited to.   

 

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gulya   

I don't know where manholt gets his info from, but the people who man(woman) the FMCA store at area and national rallies are members who volunteer. 

As for Jeff I'm 71 years old and this past year I signed up a 72 old and a 39 year old.  I guess I messed up because that only comes out to 55 and a half. I'll try harder this year to get to that 71 average. 

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manholt   

Tom.

:lol::lol: Love it.  Not fond off having something showed down my throat...I'm 74 and have learned that "Volunteer or not, nobody does something for nothing"!  Runs the gambit from personal satisfaction to $$$.  Having been a member of FMCA, under 3 different #'s since 1973, I like to think I've seen and heard it all....got a lot of friends in "Low Places", that keep me informed.  Not always 100% correct.  So, If I'm misinformed about the Logo stuff, then I stand corrected and accept that.   Not the first or last time! :)

Jeff.  As you posted, your a closed group on Facebook and mostly under 60.  I don't do Social Media...Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Most of my friends don't either and it's got nothing to do with age, but Privacy!  I'm not against you, I'm for you and what your trying to do!  However, there has to be another way to keep all the members, notified of ENERGIZED other than the Forum (that's available to FMCA and non FMCA) and Facebook ! :o

One more thing for all :  I wonder, what is the average age of owners off towable?

Carl 

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gulya   

Carl, We tend to be volunteers, not for glory, not for money, just to help out the organization. We've worked at seminars, the store, parking and security with FMCA  good sam and other clubs. I guess we do it because we're bored. Clubs need volunteer participation to help keep costs down whether it's a local chapter or a national org. from a John Lee(MVC), Frances Fonner(tiffin travelers), or Conrad Klienpeter(Frost-tees) to a Jim Duncan, John Reynolds, Dave Kestler, John Walker or Charlie Adcock. 

That's what keeps an organization energized, not a blog or forum. 

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Glad I stumbled onto this thread here. The change to FMCA Energized is a good thing. The Under 60 half put me off. I am 64, my wife is under 60 by 12 months ( I won't tell her age!) and our daughter is 20. I believe the very survival of this organization lies in getting the average age down to the low 60's and 50's. We do need to be honest, not a lot of people in their 20s are going to be prospective members. Even 30s could be a challenge if you are in a career and starting a family. By allowing TTs in we open up the group to an incredible number of prospective members. A new MH is well over 60k for just about anything. An 'A' is in the low 100's for most. That is a very large bite for a young family. A TT can be had for under 20k that we'd have thought we died and went to heaven back in the 1960's.

And like the gentleman in the earlier post said, I am NOT one of the 1%! We just made certain choices. Could have a starter castle, chose the MH instead.

 

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dons2346   

" I don't know where manholt gets his info from, but the people who man(woman) the FMCA store at area and national rallies are members who volunteer. "

 

Not all that work in the store at rallies/conventions are volunteers. Some are employees of FMCA who work in the IT department. But the overall "store" itself has been farmed out to a separate company. If you don't believe that, feel free to call FMCA and ask!

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Jeff,

Glad I noticed this thread on the FMCA forum.   I don't check here a lot as there is little activity.   I have posted some comments on the iRV2.com forum and I think I should bring them here.  A little demographics first - 61  YOA retired had a 35 years in LE rising to the top of a small municipal department. Member of the FMCA since I first purchasing my first motor home in 2011 attended one Rally - the NEAR in 2012.  With that said.   As this thread included allowing towable members I will comment on that first - I have no problem. The organization needs members they are next logical group to go after.  Include them like any other member.  It helps bringing costs down with the economy of scale bringing costs down per member as long as growth is at a steady level so you don't have to hire more staff.   

As far as attracting younger members and not losing any more of the membership the organization has to take a good hard look at it self.  This is something the FMCA hasn't done or has done poorly.  It is not as simple as bringing in new members but giving the new members what they perceive as value for their membership dues.   Right now the only perceived value is the FMCA Assist and mainly because of the average age of the current members.   I have no issue with the FMCA Assist program and hope I never have the need to use it.   However, it is an insurance policy based with rates based on use.  Unless we get younger members the rates will continue to go up thus the dues go up or stay the same at the expense of other benefits.  In regards to the FMCA Assist someone has to correct the notion that the FMCA pays the bill. Whenever someone brings up a negative comment about the FMCA elsewhere someone else posts that they used the FMCA Assist and the FMCA spent $4,000.00 on them and it was great so don't change a thing.   If this is not how the FMCA Assist works please clarify the costs.  I imagine it takes up a good portion of the dues.   If it is self insured then the problems are deeper than I thought.

Let's address perceived benefits - what does a member get in return for his/hers dues - right now the FMCA has the FMCA Assist, the FMCA Magazine, which in my opinion is a good magazine but is desperate need of a makeover.    The other benefits are discounts - Tire discounts, road service discounts, insurance discounts.  These were great but today with the Internet you can almost find any item cheaper or equal somewhere else.  Also none of the discounts are exclusive to the FMCA.   For example the Michelon Advantage program is offered by other RV clubs.   Also it is my understanding that the Michelon Advantage gives nothing back to the FMCA while the Continental Tire give money back to the FMCA and members of the board argued against it.  It's a no brainer.  What the FMCA has to do is look for benefits that are exclusive to the FMCA - you have to join to get them or get them at a level better than elsewhere.    Loyalty to the organization no longer keeps members - perceived value does. 

In today's world an organization can no longer go on the business model they used years ago.   Perhaps the inclusion of towables is an example of adapting but about 10 years too late.   Today's world is online and I know that it is not easy for the older members.  The challenge to the organization to bring the same information on two platforms which many organizations do well.   What is the FMCA's answer to the Internet it was go to RVillage.com.   I went there and joined.  It is cumbersome and quite frankly a waste of my time.  I can't understand why in this age where websites generate money the FMCA would send members to another website.  Then I heard that a donation of $150,000.00 was given to that website for an official  presence.  It sounds like the decision made by someone who is clueless about the Internet.  The money would have been better spent on improving the FMCA website and  then you would attract traffic and maybe make some money by ad clicks.  You have to ask why doesn't this forum have the activity it does when you have 70,000 members.  Again if i am wrong about the donation please correct me as I am only a member and don't have access to the inside information.

The time is now to "energize" the FMCA - I think the FMCA has an opportunity to become the leader in recreational vehicle clubs. The only real competition is the Good Sam which is becoming nothing more than a marketing arm of Camping World.  But they got a couple of things right that the FMCA could learn from - the discounts at Flying J/Pilots and their Trip planner software that you need to be a member to use.  Both are attractive to younger rv'ers.   When you read the FMCA magazine letters the editor each month it seems like most of them are recommendations for a place that provides good service.   Does the FMCA solicit them as commercial members?  but even take it further why can't the FMCA come up with a criteria for a recommended service station based on more than one recommendation and/or perhaps a self inspection check list sent to the service station and issue a wall certificate (suitable for framing by them) good for a year or two.  Perhaps they will become a commercial member in return.   List them the website but if they wanted an ad or link to their website the FMCA could charge a fee.   Also why does the FMCA leave it to Motorhome magazine to list the best of the best motorhomes and equipment.  Why not survey the membership and post those results. It is only a survey and written article.  The FMCA has to step up and claim it rightful place in the motorhome world if it is truly the largest organization of motor home owners.  Nothing here will change if we add towables it only gets bigger and better.

Rallies - Social interactions where you meet people you haven't seen in a while, see new RV's,  check out some new products, attend some great seminars, and see some entertainment.  This is the model that worked well before the Internet and you look forward to seeing someone at a rally.  But look at what is offered and what you can get elsewhere - meet people you haven't seen in a while - social media and the internet made it so people talk to each other often if not daily - Check out new products - no need with the internet and the online reviews - see new RV's - RV shows are everywhere today and the Internet brings all  the models and reviews directly to you. attend some great seminars - visited YouTube lately - whatever is broken on an RV someone has made a video how to fix it. and lastly entertainment - you can start with the 200 plus channels on the cable and then the Internet.   The rallies need a makeover - I went to one and I figured the next year I would get a reminder - Nope.   I figured they didn't need or want me back. They have to have something that makes people want to attend - perhaps in conjunction with another event or festival or big name entertainment.  The perceived value figures into rallies also - is it worth my time and money.

Where does it start? in an organization as complex as the FMCA where directors vote and members don't it is hard for a member to understand how things work.   I am not even certain how directors get elected.  It seems to me that it has a lot to do with chapters which aren't for everyone.  Perhaps an explanation of how it works would make a good article in the FMCA magazine.  I know members are often asked to make their feeling known to the elected officials and I have sent an email to the President and had the opportunity to speak to him on the phone a while ago before I learned of some of things which I commented earlier and found him cordial.   I don't know why the previous Executive Director left but looking at the bio the new one which he put in his column in the magazine it seems that he was hired for his financial abilities not necessarily for leadership of an association.  I don't want to be critical of someone I don't know a lot about I am only going on what was in his letter.  Shouldn't the FMCA be looking for a leader with experience in running associations to get them out of this slippery slope and to provide them the leadership needed for the future. You would think an elected President / region director (or any elected position) would want to hire a strong executive director to rescue the organization.  Our current executive director maybe the right person but members can only go by what is in the magazine.

Lastly I write these comments as more of suggestions than criticism as I've been in a position where people often criticized with out offering suggestions and that is not the way to improve things.  Also if any of the information I posted was incorrect please let me know.

 

 

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Like many others I received FMCA National President Charlie Adcock email about allowing towables to join. The initial thought is greater numbers, greater influence into to the global (Recreational Vehicle) RV community. With most advantages their are usually disadvantages, the most obvious concern with this proposed C+BL modification is each group of RV owners will bring their points of concern and desired expectations of FMCA membership. If we as a group can't efficiently and effectively administer to the current membership, how can the FMCA administer to the needs, wants and desires of a larger more diverse membership with each division (Towable, Motorized, etc.) expecting to have their issue(s) be addressed by the FMCA?

After having attended FMCA rallies now in Georgia and Arizona. What I saw occur at Area and then President "meetings" was a system bound by 50 years of tradition, unchanged by the evolving world and membership needs with in this organization. In having conversations I am dumbfounded as to how conversations usually turn to FMCA membership and chapter dues that are "out of control", that are $80 to $100 USD annually while the person is discussing their most recent $470,000 USD coach purchase.

As I am a son member F184893S I had the fortune to travel with my parents, create lasting memories which lead me to purchase my coach. What I had the misfortune of viewing and hearing in the 1980's & 1990's with my parents at GLASS (Great Lakes Area Spring Spree) rallies was the politics of FMCA membership. The area rallies and national rallies at their "meetings" have deteriorated into a war of attrition as to which member, chapter or group can wait out the meeting the longest, get the most vocal so as to have the greatest influence.

In summery I offer the following;

1) FMCA needs to hold chapters into their area caucuses, you can't run a meeting with 400 different views and thoughts from each chapter wanting to rise and support their issue. The chapters need to formulate the key issue(s) of concern and empower the area presidents and executive board / director to act on their behalf for the collective FMCA. The current meeting system is dysfunctional at best. To be pointed I left during Perry, GA meeting as it was so nonproductive and dysfunctional.

2) FMCA needs to adjust their associate or retired dues, usual and customary charges are 1/2 of annual membership FMCA should reassess what associate dues are.

3) On-line payment of National and Chapter annual dues.

4) Life Membership at a cost that would allow FMCA to receive annual revenue from invested Life Membership Dues.

5) Tiered membership benefits aligned to (Associate, Member & Life) this practice is usual and customary with other organizations.

6) Continued expansion of FMCA member benefits. Examples of FMCA lagging behind benefits offered by other groups.

     a: Good Sam has greater campground participation and percent of discount then FMCA

     b: Local RV Show offered $2.00 discount with Good Sam membership, yet noting for FMCA members

7) Local recruitment at RV shows, link to the "Largest Show in Ohio", KOA, Good Sam, Passport USA, Pilot/Flying J, Ohio State Parks Volunteers in Parks (VIP program) and numerous other organizations. Guess what group I didn't see with a recruitment or benefit of membership booth / table?

http://www.ohiorvandboatshow.com/

8) Enter into working partnership with motor-coach manufacturers. If a person purchases a new coach offer a "complementary" first years membership at renewal time waive the initiation fee. Let's capture perspective new members at the time of purchase !!

The current FMCA directors are attempting to resolve past practices and 50 years of tradition, unchanged by progress that has placed the FMCA in this position. I'm just not sure that expanding membership base best serves the organization as a whole. If membership cost (annual dues) to benefits offered (return of value by membership) increases then membership would increase.

Here is the hoping that some suggestions serve as talking points, for the directors of the FMCA.

Fraternally,

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John,  Some good points and everything is doable in some form with probably the exception of the rv show discounts from the fact that the people running the RV show are that same people that own Camping World, Good Sam and Motorhome / TrailerLife Magazine  probably wouldn't play well with a competitor organization.   The other suggestions are centered in being in the now and aware what is out there and what an association can offer.   In a association ran by retired people from different walks of life the best thing to do is to hire an Executive Director that is up on everything about associations.  He or She is the one to bring in today's thinking while the elected officials bring in the history and tradition.   The blend then helps the organization cope with the future.  I don't see any of that at the FMCA.   Only been to one regional Rally and don't belong to a Chapter.  They don't seem right for me at this time.  The time I have for travels is limited so I don't want to forgo seeing America to attend a chapter event or rally that everything there i can get/see/do elsewhere easier.   After reading several posts on club/chapter directors voting does that mean I am an un-represented member?  Exactly how does the voting in the FMCA work?  The only rally I did attend when I first got my RV the FMCA was quick to tout that the FMCA was the only member ran organization of RV owners out there.  I have to ask are they really?

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manholt   

Dons2346.

Good to see your still alive!  Sometimes I feel like a Salmon going down stream in egg laying season! :lol:

I was at Diesel Club rally prior to Rawhide.  Rett Porter and Ken Carpenter gave a presentation of why we have to open up for towable's!  They did make a convincing presentation!  However a lot of it was without substance.  "We, FMCA, are losing money, we are close to going Bankrupt"..where is this coming from?  Do we have 2 set's of books?  I have seen nothing in the P & L statements for the last 4 years, that gives an indication of FMCA slipping down into Bankruptcy! 

Carl

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jleamont   
9 hours ago, hermanmullins said:

Investment, FMCA in RVillage. 

Herman 

Ahh, thank you!

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jeff753   
On 3/18/2017 at 9:27 AM, manholt said:

Tom.

:lol::lol: Love it.  Not fond off having something showed down my throat...I'm 74 and have learned that "Volunteer or not, nobody does something for nothing"!  Runs the gambit from personal satisfaction to $$$.  Having been a member of FMCA, under 3 different #'s since 1973, I like to think I've seen and heard it all....got a lot of friends in "Low Places", that keep me informed.  Not always 100% correct.  So, If I'm misinformed about the Logo stuff, then I stand corrected and accept that.   Not the first or last time! :)

Jeff.  As you posted, your a closed group on Facebook and mostly under 60.  I don't do Social Media...Facebook, Twitter, etc.  Most of my friends don't either and it's got nothing to do with age, but Privacy!  I'm not against you, I'm for you and what your trying to do!  However, there has to be another way to keep all the members, notified of ENERGIZED other than the Forum (that's available to FMCA and non FMCA) and Facebook ! :o

One more thing for all :  I wonder, what is the average age of owners off towable?

Carl 

Reposted from our Facebook group page

The FMCA ENERGIZED group page has grown from 31 a year ago to 231 today. 
We are generally the under 60 group, or those that still feel that way, of the Family Motor Coach Association. 
On our way to the Chandler Arizona rally a bunch of us caravanned from the east to Chandler taking over 2 weeks and hitting fun locations on our journey as we picked up more of our friends along the way. We are all about having fun and relationships as well as helping FMCA respond to our demographics. 

Indianapolis in July represents the third national rally we will gather at in only one year. 

We will have DOGZ on Tour, social gatherings, pub cycle, KIDZ Zone and a special ENERGIZED KIDZ Fire Safety seminar for kids (age 10 and over) with at least one parent, brew bus (they pick you up) as well as the offerings of the rally. 

Join us at Indianapolis in July for your next fun adventure.   

If you have already signed up for Indy (about 60 of us have) watch for updates on our ENERGIZED T shirt pre order for Indy as well as further updates.

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