Members of FMCA's long-standing Pioneers and Badger chapters discuss the importance of sharing a common "family" history.
By Peggy Jordan, Associate Editor
With 2013 being FMCA's 50th anniversary year, this magazine has been full of photos and stories about the past. Your chapter may be thinking more about its past lately, too. Like FMCA, it has a heritage that is important for future members to appreciate.
Two women who have helped to keep their respective chapter's past alive are Beverly Knapp, F7747D, of the Pioneers chapter, and LeeAnn LeRoy, F269999, of the Badger chapter. Both chapters were chartered in 1966, and their stories have been preserved in the form of photos, documents, and memorabilia for almost 50 years.
Beverly and LeeAnn both noted how fun it is to see how RVs, campgrounds, and rallies have changed. By focusing on these topics, you can stock your nostalgia collection with items that will make future chapter members smile.
For example, take photos of the campground you're in, because RV parks likely will look different years from now. And don't forget the motorhomes. We all are interested in old-time coaches. "New members look at the style of motorhomes from the '60s and get a chuckle," LeeAnn said.
In fact, the next time you take a chapter photograph, consider posing people near things that may be of interest to future members. When the Pioneers put together a membership picture roster, Beverly said, "We have them standing in front of or beside their coaches. So that has given history as well."
Photos are the first things people think of saving when it comes to chapter history, but both LeeAnn and Beverly mentioned that meeting minutes and notes taken by chapter secretaries can reveal some fascinating facts decades later. Imagine finding out how many attended a rally 30 years ago, what was done, as well as the cost. LeeAnn wrote, "That is even more interesting than the old photos!"
Chapter newsletters, anniversary certificates, and any logo items you use, such as signs, banners, shirts, vests, or hats, all are potential nostalgia-makers. Then, when your chapter has its next big event or anniversary, you can set up a space to display these items. As the years go by, they will only become more precious.
Giving future chapter members the gift of your group’s heritage is a great way to keep your chapter going forward. "Sometimes we've thought, 'Why are we keeping this?'" Beverly said. "But it gives the group stability... A chapter is like a family, and if we can see where we've come from, it helps to give us direction to where we're going."
For more information about this chapter, or if you would like your chapter to be featured in Chapter Spotlight, contact FMCA's Chapter Services Department at (513) 474-3622 or (800) 543-3622;