By Peter Kamenik, F293564
FMC magazine, June 2007
My late wife, Bonnie, and I joined the Trail Buddies Thousand Trails East chapter because it gives us the opportunity to take advantage of our Thousand Trails membership while participating in an FMCA chapter. It provides the best of both memberships.
To be a member of Trail Buddies Thousand Trails East, one must be a member in good standing of both FMCA and Thousand Trails (TT). TT members know all about this camping resort system, because they buy a membership package that entitles them to free access to more than 50 membership-based camping resorts.
Founded in 1969, TT is one of the largest and most successful private camping clubs in North America. It was formed through a combination of three strong membership campground systems — TT, NACO, and Leisure Time. For an annual fee, TT membership also entitles access to additional camping resorts through Resort Parks International (RPI), giving members entry to more than 300 camping resorts. In addition, members also may enjoy campgrounds that are part of Resorts of Distinction and Enjoy America systems at a reduced nightly rate.
Trail Buddies TT East encompasses TT locations in the eastern part of the United States. This includes eight TT preserves located in St. Clair, Michigan; Horseshoe Lakes, Indiana; Wilmington, Ohio; Forest Lake, North Carolina; Orlando, Florida; Chesapeake Bay and Lynchburg, Virginia; and Hershey, Pennsylvania. A good percentage of our chapter members have the Orlando TT preserve as their "home" base.
We currently have approximately 40 members in the chapter and would be glad to welcome more qualifying folks into our group. We've been around for 20 years now, having received our FMCA chapter charter in March 1987.
We try to have our rallies at TT preserves so members can take advantage of their TT memberships. Basically, we have two or more rallies each year. As of late, we've held one in Orlando in the winter and one in Hershey in the fall. We also have had rallies at the Forest Lake and Chesapeake Bay preserves.
This year we held a spring/summer rally at Forest Lake, North Carolina, in May, and October 3 through 7 we will hold our annual meeting at the Hershey TT preserve.
The rally host normally provides breakfasts and dinners. At times, when the preserve has a facility to provide meals, we have treated members to a breakfast at the chapter's expense. A rally fee covers the host's expenses.
For happy hour, people bring their favorite snack to share and a drink. After dinner all enjoy the camaraderie around the campfire. If possible, we try to go to a restaurant for one of the dinners.
Daytime activities have included games such as golf ball toss, and/or visiting area attractions and events. We have toured a chair factory, a pretzel factory, a chocolate factory, and a bologna factory. We even have attended polo matches.
If you're a member of TT and want to join in the fun, please contact the Chapter Services Department at the FMCA national office: (800) 543-3622; e-mail: