This Midwestern chapter offers laid-back good times.
By Peggy Jordan, Associate Editor
FMCA members who live in southern Wisconsin, north-central Illinois, and eastern Iowa are invited to check out a small group with a big sense of fun — the Illini chapter.
The chapter’s 16 member families get together for rallies each month from April through October. Owing to the cooler weather at the end of the season, some members head south for warmer climes by late autumn. Chapter secretary Peggy Oswald noted that the chapter celebrates Thanksgiving during the “turkey campout” in October, so everyone can join in.
Rallies are laid-back and relatively unstructured. No major work or planning is required on the part of rally hosts. Typically, one night of a rally includes a potluck dinner, and another night, it’s “LEO – ‘let’s eat out,’” Peggy said.
“We try to go someplace where there are area attractions; we see what the members want,” she noted. And members join in activities as they please. At the August rally, some of them checked out area stores for bargains, and then returned to the RV park for board games and card games. (Rummikub is a group favorite.) A campfire in the evening after dinner makes for a pleasant way to end the day.
As for the chapter’s rally locations, most are held at RV parks in the north-central part of Illinois. In 2013 rallies were held in Kankakee and Shorewood, Illinois, among other places, and the chapter sometimes goes to Rockford. Peggy noted that some members traveled to Gillette, Wyoming, for FMCA’s 50th anniversary Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase this past June.
During rallies, a number of chapter members take it upon themselves to do something kind for their fellow RVing friends. For example, at the October rally, a woman in the group decided to host tea for the other women there. At the August rally, a man surprised everyone with his cooking skills by serving delicious chicken gumbo at the potluck. The chapter also gives as a group. During the September rally, chapter members held a white elephant auction, with all the proceeds going to charity.
Next year’s rally dates and locations had yet to be finalized when this was written, but the Illini will be getting together again in April. And wherever the rallies are, it’s certain the Illini chapter will welcome you if you decide to visit. “We have a nice group, but it would be nice to have more, so we’re always looking for new members,” Peggy said.
Annual chapter dues are $10, and an e-mail newsletter is available.