With the recent vote of the FMCA membership to invite owners of all types of self-contained, wheeled recreation vehicles (with permanently installed cooking, sleeping, and sanitary facilities) to join the association, we understand that you may have questions about what this means for you and other members of our FMCA family. If you don’t see the answer to your question(s) in the topics below, please feel free to contact the FMCA national office ([email protected]; 800-543-3622 or 513-474-3622).
Be assured: FMCA is and will continue to be the organization you know and love. We’re just broadening our horizons a bit and offering to share all of the good things about FMCA with more RVers. The best thing FMCA has to offer, of course, is you – the members! We’re excited to begin this new journey and are glad you are along for the ride!
1) Will FMCA chapters be required to allow owners of towable RVs to join their chapter? As always, chapters will determine the scope and special interests of their chapters and will control their own bylaws. The scope of the chapter will continue to be the chapter members’ decision, and bylaws can be amended at any time. Many chapters already have restrictions or special interests in terms of the brand of vehicle, engine manufacturer, hobbies, etc. Based on feedback received, it seems most chapters do intend to allow other types of RVs. And, of course, if you can’t find one that suits your likes and hobbies, you can always form your own.
2) Are we going to change the name of the association? Why would someone join an organization called Family Motor Coach Association if they own a fifth-wheel travel trailer? “FMCA” is how most of us refer to the organization today, so our intention is to keep the name but move to using only the acronym, much like AARP did when it opened its doors to pre-retirees. The association will still legally be known as Family Motor Coach Association, but we will just refer to it as FMCA.
3) How will the rallies be affected? Our goal is to keep delivering a great experience to current members while also appealing to the new and potentially younger crowd. We will re-evaluate our convention structure to provide new and different activities. For example, we may have multiple entertainment options presented at different times of the day to accommodate various ages, family configurations and interests.
4) Will FMCA be parking all vehicle types together at events? Yes. FMCA leaders have consulted with our layout and staging experts to achieve an optimum experience for everyone.
5) Will we need to retrain our parkers? It’s just a different type of vehicle, driven by equally skilled drivers. The same parking method will be used.
6) What parking differences are there in terms of parking towables next to motorhomes? Because we do pull-through parking in most cases, we do not expect to have any problems with parking at the conventions. Other RV organizations successfully park different types of vehicles together at their events.
7) What about generator usage at conventions? On-board generators tend to be quieter than portable generators. FMCA will continue to offer various parking options as we do now, including “full generator” areas where generators can be run 24 hours a day and “no generator” areas where they can’t be operated. Owners of all RVs will have the option to purchase electricity. We will require that only manufacturer-installed on-board generators be used in general and full-generator lots. Portable generators will not be permitted.
8) Will all RV owner members have full benefits? Yes.
9) Will all members be able to hold national office? Yes, all full (family or life) members will be able to hold national office. Associate members (people who have been members but no longer own an eligible RV) are not eligible to vote or hold an office.
10) What is the willingness of our current members to accept all vehicle types? Time will tell, of course, but we are hopeful that the nature of our members to be open and inclusive and welcoming will continue, regardless of equipment. As demonstrated by the recent vote, most current members are very much in favor of this change. We know many members started out with towable RVs before purchasing a motorhome, and many have moved to towables as an alternative to a motorhome.
11) Towable owners’ educational needs may differ. Will FMCA focus on their needs? We don’t anticipate eliminating any of our motorhome educational programs and will continue in our historic role as the authoritative resource for motorhome information; however, over time our content and seminars will naturally expand to include helpful and educational information about all RVs as members with other equipment join us.
12) Does FMCA offer seminars regarding starting new chapters? We don’t have such a seminar currently but we certainly can, if members are interested!
13) Will we keep the FMCAssist Medical Emergency and Travel Assistance Program? Yes. Opening FMCA to more RV owners will help the organization and spread out the cost of this expensive benefit over a larger pool of members.
14) Some people look at FMCA as an elitist organization. Will opening up the membership to all RV owners help with that? It’s easy for people to think that way based on the previous motorhome requirement, but we know that FMCA members are warm, wonderful people. With the recent vote, we will welcome all RVers so they can experience our exclusive benefits without feeling “excluded” because they don’t own a motorhome! Many of members started with an RV other than a motorhome, and some of our long-time members have chosen to move to a towable for personal reasons. We strongly believe it’s not about the equipment; it’s about the people who chose the RV lifestyle and this change allows us to continue to serve our family members for the right reasons, not just the RV they own.
15) How do we keep younger kids active in FMCA? This presents an opportunity to revisit our Youth Program. We don’t want to be limited to an on-site babysitting service. Our goal is to provide meaningful activities for children and young adults, too. With an infusion of new and perhaps younger members, we’ll have new ideas and new energy for our “family” members with families!
16) Why should I continue to be a member? FMCA is unique. It is a not-for-profit RV association, the largest in the world. Our mission is education (and fun) and, with that in mind, we continue to develop the offerings of the FMCA Academy. FMCA also provides great benefits, such as the tire buying program, the FMCAssist Medical Emergency and Travel Assistance Program, and the Connect-on-the Go and the Tech Connect+ Benefit Package. FMCA will continue to be unique among the major clubs because it is the only one owned and governed by its membership.
17) How will FMCA fulfill the vision that the founders had that FMCA would be an exclusive club for motorized RVs? Their vision was to create a community of people who enjoyed a certain lifestyle – the “RV lifestyle” – and at the time they formed FMCA, all the amazing equipment options we have today didn’t exist. We don’t believe they would have wanted FMCA to stagnate and build walls to keep people who enjoy a similar lifestyle (even if they tow their equipment) out. The RV marketplace has changed and evolved over time. We’ve looked around and seen that our families and friends – those we want to welcome as new FMCA members – have many choices of RVs that are not motorized. We want to make sure FMCA flourishes well into the future, and broadening our focus is a way to help ensure this.
18) What happened to cause us to change our minds about non-motorized RVs? This isn’t the first time this idea has come up.Members have repeatedly asked FMCA leadership why the association didn’t welcome all RV owners, but the time just wasn’t right. New and visionary leadership, governing board members with a broader perspective, a welcoming membership base, and the multitude of equipment options all came together to shine a spotlight on this very simple statement: it’s not about the equipment; it’s about the people who choose the RV lifestyle. Our goal is to make sure FMCA is around for the next generation. So, we need to continue to welcome younger RVers to ensure continued growth of the association.
19) Did FMCA do this just because of the money? No. It’s about the family! Motorhomes don’t go to conventions; people do. Motorhomes don’t use benefits, read magazines or gather around a table: people do. We want dues to stay affordable for everyone while providing top-notch benefits. With more members over whom to spread the cost of the member benefits, FMCA can serve more RV owners.
20) Younger people are known for not being interested in joining organizations, and they may not want to volunteer. How will we handle that? It’s true that younger people with families may be busy working, raising their children, and have other day-to-day demands that can make time for volunteering difficult. But we won’t know until we ask. By talking with them, welcoming them, and inviting their participation as volunteers, we may find they bring a higher level of energy to our FMCA family and our volunteer efforts, even if they can’t participate as often as current members. Extend a greeting the next time you see a younger RVer, and you may find those who would be interested in FMCA membership aren’t so different from you! After all, millennials and Gen-Xers are the future of the RV industry.
21) How will we adjust our methods of communication as we welcome owners of towables, many of whom are likely to be younger than today’s FMCA members? We don’t have any plans in place to eliminate publications or current communications tools. We are already using email and social media effectively, and this will continue to evolve as we listen to our membership.
22) Will our benefits change? They may – but only for the better! Even today, benefits evolve to serve our members. As we see an increase in membership, we’ll just have a wider audience of member needs and interests. FMCA will never stop delivering value (and fun) to our members.
23) Why couldn’t we have just grown the organization by getting more motorhome owners to join? FMCA has an active member recruitment program and has been signing up thousands of new members every year. However, we also have been losing thousands of members every year due to age-related factors (or, members who choose to move to a towable!). The new members who are joining today aren’t new to RVing – they have built friendships and memories with other RVers. Instead of feeling as though they were turning their backs on those friendships, we’d rather they just bring their friends along for the fun with FMCA!
Please keep in mind – these changes won’t happen overnight. We’ll always be the FMCA family. The people who choose to join us going forward will be just like us: friendly, welcoming, helpful – and FUN. The only difference is they might pull up in a different kind of RV.