- Created: Thursday, 31 January 2013 15:17
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA), an international motorhome owners club, has initiated festivities to commemorate its 50th anniversary in 2013.
CINCINNATI, Ohio — Family Motor Coach Association is recognizing its golden anniversary with the theme “Mile Marker 50,” which pays tribute to FMCA's rich history while looking forward to many future years as well.
During the early 1960s, prior to construction of the U.S. interstate system, a smattering of U.S. families discovered a new form of travel. They purchased retired school buses, transit buses, and other vehicles.
Propelled by trial and error, sweat and ingenuity, the new owners transformed their utilitarian vehicles into what they called “house cars.” They installed bunk beds, couches, stoves, refrigerators, rudimentary bathroom facilities, and other comforts of home and then hit the open road with their families.
House car owners in the Northeast and Midwest learned about one another through letters, phone calls, and informal conversations. Small groups of enthusiasts began to form in Michigan, Ohio, and other states.
In 1963 some owners began to discuss the need for a national association in which they could share their ideas of maintaining and enjoying their homes on wheels.
One July weekend in 1963, 26 families gathered on the grounds of the Hinckley School in Hinckley, Maine, with their house cars. They socialized, viewed a solar eclipse, and discussed the idea of forming a group for those who had adopted this new form of travel.
On July 20, 18 of those families voted to form a not-for-profit organization. On July 21, they agreed on a name: Family Motor Coach Association.
Today the association serves more than 80,000 member families. Among them are second-generation motorhome owners who have proudly taken a parent’s or grandparent’s membership number.
Nowadays, manufactured motorhomes and professional bus conversions have largely replaced the vehicles handcrafted by backyard mechanics. Regardless of the motorhome they own, FMCA members’ spirit of adventure remains intact.
Through the decades, Family Motor Coach Association has served as a valuable information source for motorhome owners. The association is also a launching pad for close friendships, as members enjoy sharing their common interest in motorhoming.
Against this tapestry, FMCA is celebrating its heritage throughout 2013. The association is taking a nostalgic look back at the early days via the pages of its monthly membership publication, Family Motor Coaching magazine, and on FMCA.com.
Motorhomers will celebrate the association’s 50th anniversary at FMCA’s 88th Family Reunion and Motorhome Showcase, June 19-22 at CAM-PLEX Multi-Events Facilities in Gillette, Wyoming. A “nostalgia room” will bring FMCA artifacts to life for longtime and new members alike. Vintage bus conversions, such as the Flxible brand bus that graces the association’s membership emblem, will be on hand for inspection. Many special events are in the planning stages as well.
Although sentimental trips into history are a fun part of observing any anniversary, the association looks ahead as well in a continuing quest to supply FMCA members with benefits to enhance the motorhome lifestyle, including the information they need to make their travels more enjoyable.
“FMCA has a great deal to celebrate this year,” said FMCA national president Charlie Schrenkel. “I’m grateful to the early leaders, who had the vision to lay such a solid groundwork for our organization, plus all the members who have labored throughout the past five decades to nurture it and watch it grow. Today, I’m proud to say that I belong to FMCA — the world’s finest organization for motorhome owners.”
About Family Motor Coach Association • Enhancing The Motorhome Lifestyle
Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) is an international organization for families who own and enjoy the use of self-contained, motorized recreation vehicles known as motorhomes. The association maintains its national headquarters in Cincinnati, Ohio, and currently has more than 80,000 active member families. FMCA offers its members a number of benefits, including a subscription to its monthly magazine, Family Motor Coaching; trip routing; mail forwarding; and group rates on motorhome insurance, a roadside assistance program, and an emergency medical evacuation plan. Perhaps the most important benefit of FMCA membership is the camaraderie and friendships that develop among people enjoying the common interest of motorhome travel and recreation.
Pamela Kay, Director of Communications
(800) 543-3622, ext. 234
(513) 474-3622, ext. 234