This 40-year-old chapter carries on a tradition of fun.
By Peggy Jordan, F401999, Associate Editor
Pennsylvania is a pretty part of the United States, full of green hills and valleys, small towns, and history. FMCA members who live in the region formed the Penn Coachmen chapter in 1969, starting a tradition of fellowship that is carried on today.
The chapter has 286 member families, most of whom live in eastern Pennsylvania. Chapter president John Breisch said the members get together every month from April through November. Rallies are usually held on weekends, from Friday to Sunday.
For several years now, the first rally in spring has been held at the Schnecksville Fire Co. in Schnecksville, Pennsylvania. Going to this rally is a popular chapter event. "Because of the winter they are so anxious to get out," John said. And sure, it has become a bit of a tradition, so why fight with success? "With eighty people there, you think twice about doing away with it," he said.
Another chapter staple is the rally in May (held near Memorial Day) in Centre Hall, Pennsylvania. The group has a habit of attending the annual Eastern Area rally, too. There, many of them volunteer with trams or security. "We try to get them involved with the larger goings-on besides our local chapter," John said.
Chapter members also have a longstanding tradition of staffing FMCA's booth at the annual Pennsylvania RV & Camping Show in Hershey. There, they distribute FMC magazines and help potential members learn about the association.
Penn Coachmen rallies are always varied and fun. Rally locations, in addition to Pennsylvania, have included Delaware and Washington, D.C.
As for rally activities, the rally theme is determined by the event's organizers, so you never know what they will come up with. "We just let their imaginations run wild," John said. One year, for a country fair theme, chapter members played a game involving tractors pulling wagons. Blindfolded drivers somehow had to maneuver around a course, breaking balloons. Other rally themes have included Christmas in July, and even the "Love Boat." Games and dancing may be offered, as well as quite a bit of sight-seeing, if the location has points of interest.
The chapter will celebrate its 40th anniversary this August in York, Pennsylvania, at the York Expo Center. "We're inviting former members to join us, and new members would catch the enthusiasm," John said.
New members will definitely be welcomed enthusiastically, and the curious can check out plenty of photos from previous rallies and more details about the group and its rallies — including this year's rally schedule — at www.penncoachmen.org.
Chapter dues are $15 per year, or three years for $40. Membership also includes an annual yearbook. For more information, contact FMCA's Chapter Services Department: (800) 543-3622, (513) 474-3622;
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