Motorhome Chapter Spotlight | FMCA
This small, friendly chapter enjoys outings in the Great Lakes region.
By Peggy Jordan, Associate Editor
January 2009 FMC magazine
In 1989 when the PALS chapter was formed, members named the group by using the first letters from the words "Pace Arrow Lakers." You had to own a Fleetwood Pace Arrow motorhome to join, and the "Lakers" part referred to FMCA's Great Lakes Area, which is the chapter's geographical scope.
Times change, of course, and as members replaced their coaches with other brands, they didn't want to have to give up their friendships. So ever since July 2000, the PALS chapter has welcomed FMCA members who own any brand or type of motorhome, be it a type A, B, or C, or a bus conversion. Most members live in the Great Lakes states, but that's not a requirement, either. Chapter president Bill Sunderman said, laughing, "The only requirement is you have to like to go out to eat."
This group has 20 member families representing all kinds of professions. Bill described the group as a laid-back, non-cliquish bunch that enjoys "whatever's going on, wherever it's at. We have fun."
The PALS' rally schedule runs from May through October. The year always starts at the Great Lakes Area Spring Spree (G.L.A.S.S.) rally, which takes place during Memorial Day weekend in Berrien Springs, Michigan. The PALS have a tradition of meeting and parking there together, and on the Monday of the rally they make sure coffee and doughnuts are available to awakening rally-goers. This chapter also attends FMCA summer conventions when possible; for 2009, they've signed up to drive golf carts for handicapped attendees at FMCA's 82nd International Convention in Bowling Green, Ohio.
The PALS like to center rallies around festivals and events. In 2008, the June rally involved a trip to see the many sights and the flea market in Shipshewana, Indiana. In July they met at FMCA's convention in St. Paul, Minnesota; in August, they all learned quite a bit about antique farm engines in New Haven, Indiana, at the Maumee Valley Antique Steam and Gas Association Summer Show. In September, the popular Sternwheeler Festival in Marietta, Ohio, was their destination. And they visited the Amish region of northeast Ohio in October, which is full of fascinating history and stores.
At all these destinations, members could choose what they wanted to do. Some went shopping, on tours, or to museums, while others investigated various activities in the area. Bill said that they've learned not to "over-plan rallies, so that every minute of the day is scheduled." As he explained, "If four of the guys say they want to go to the Auburn museum [a car museum in Auburn, Indiana], nobody gets upset if the other four or five do something else. "