By Lila L. Taylor, F22826
FMC magazine, February 2007
The Converted Coach chapter was born when a small group of FMCA members who owned converted buses held their first organizational meeting in Harlingen, Texas, on March 4, 1976. They elected temporary officers who developed the chapter's first bylaws.
All members who joined the chapter later that year through the 1976 summer FMCA convention were considered charter members. The FMCA charter recognizes the chapter as having a geographic area encompassing all of North America.
Our chapter is very grateful and proud of our charter founders. We have many members with very low-digit FMCA membership numbers, and some of our original charter officers (temporary and elected) are still active members on our roster: Don Hoffman, L2494; Kathryn Crawford, L1233; and Jim Holifield, L387. And Jimmy Goss, L9825, is the current vice president of the chapter's Central South region.
Our chapter welcomes all fellow coach conversion owners -- as well as those who don't own a converted coach -- to join us in fellowship, sharing of ideas, and rallies. Our rally activities are planned for members' enjoyment. Chapter members are very knowledgeable and conduct many of our seminars, sharing their information with enthusiasm. Plus, we offer tours, crafts classes, member swaps, crafts sales, and entertainment. We also can brag that our member cooks make great food.
We have approximately 300 member families. We hold our rallies just prior to each FMCA international convention in a location relatively close to the convention site. After our rally, we caravan and park together at the convention.
Typically, the rally host is the chapter vice president from that area. The hosts try to organize group outings specific to their area. For example, at our Minot, North Dakota, rally in August 2005, Pat and Bunny Covington, F171528, arranged for our chapter to tour the Minot Air Force Base. With all the high security, this was no easy feat. We were the only group that received the tour. The military needed everyone’s Social Security number to run background checks at least a month in advance. It was a great tour and rally.
Another fun and one-of-a-kind event was planned by Peter and Neida Naumburg, F161245, for the chapter rally in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The Naumburgs arranged to take willing members for hot-air balloon rides. They are pilots and also have their own balloons. Plus, a few of their friends brought their balloons, too. What a thrill.
FMCA held its first Chapter Fair at the Albuquerque convention to promote chapter membership, with table space provided for chapters to decorate and advertise. With the help of several members, the Converted Coach chapter won the International Area chapter blue ribbon! Overall, the rally and convention activities were an "uplifting" experience.
In 2006 we celebrated the chapter's 30th anniversary with rallies in Hemet, California, in March, and in Charlotte, North Carolina, in August. Previous anniversary rallies have been held in places such as San Antonio, Texas; Guthrie, Oklahoma; Billings, Montana; and Lexington, Kentucky.
As you may have guessed, this March our chapter will get together in Georgia (March 14 through 16) prior to FMCA's 77th International Convention in Perry. We'll be at the Georgia Agrirama in Tifton. Please join us! Reservations need to be in by February 20, so contact us soon (609-892-6461;
). We'll also be gathering in Oregon this August prior to the 78th International Convention in Redmond.
Please join us in enjoying each other's company. We will make you feel welcome! Remember, you do not have to own a converted coach. For more information about the chapter, contact chapter president Dean Patterson, F119309, 3794 Bell Meadows Drive, Longview, TX 75605; (903) 235-8478; e-mail:
. For general information about FMCA chapters, contact the Chapter Services Department at the FMCA national office: (800) 543-3622.