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Old 02-09-2008, 04:28 AM   #1
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Please don't flame me for this one. I just finished attending the FMCA SEA rally and I thought it was really worth the time and money. It was very hard to find out ahead of time the agenda and vendors so I debated whether it would be worthwhile or not. It was and I am glad I went. I talked to one of my mid-40s friends last night who had the same thoughts and decided not to go. I told him all of the seminars I attended and he said if he had known that he would have gone.

I noticed that I was the youngest person pretty much until Friday afternoon (and then I think I just started assuming folks were younger so I wouldn't feel lonely ). My question is "How do we get folks in their 30s, 40s and 50s, still working full-time jobs with kids still at home more involved in rallies and such"? This can only be good for all of us. More participation, more vendors, more vendors, more vendor selection. Not to even mention what it would do to RV sales.

My intent is not to start an adversarial conversation but a constructive one. It was a great event, I can't wait for my next and I want to get my friends to go with me.
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Old 02-09-2008, 04:28 AM   #2
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Please don't flame me for this one. I just finished attending the FMCA SEA rally and I thought it was really worth the time and money. It was very hard to find out ahead of time the agenda and vendors so I debated whether it would be worthwhile or not. It was and I am glad I went. I talked to one of my mid-40s friends last night who had the same thoughts and decided not to go. I told him all of the seminars I attended and he said if he had known that he would have gone.

I noticed that I was the youngest person pretty much until Friday afternoon (and then I think I just started assuming folks were younger so I wouldn't feel lonely ). My question is "How do we get folks in their 30s, 40s and 50s, still working full-time jobs with kids still at home more involved in rallies and such"? This can only be good for all of us. More participation, more vendors, more vendors, more vendor selection. Not to even mention what it would do to RV sales.

My intent is not to start an adversarial conversation but a constructive one. It was a great event, I can't wait for my next and I want to get my friends to go with me.
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Old 02-09-2008, 06:08 AM   #3
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As long as people still work, it will be hard for them to attend rallies. They have a given amount of vacation time to use and they generally have family plans for a trip that all of the family wants to do.

We had been to a WIT state rally, a GS Jamboree and a FMCA event over the years where we were the younger ones attending. All of the activities were aimed at the older crowd and on the weekdays. The WIT folks were super friendly, just did not fit with our activities.

Rallies need to be scheduled for 3 day weekends and closer to home. The Texas Boomers has some younger members and most of us still work. The rallies are 3 day weekends and usually over some holiday to help with time off from work.

As soon as they can find a way to get me retired, I be happy to attend.

Ken
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Old 02-09-2008, 09:17 AM   #4
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Ken, I hear you. I can't wait to retire and go fulltime for awhile and be able to hit some of the rallies across the country.
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:08 AM   #5
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I want to go to one of the rallies,most are during the school year.We plan on doing one soon ,just to see what its all about.I stay informed with the magazine as well.
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Old 02-09-2008, 10:30 AM   #6
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">I want to go to one of the rallies </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
YO, FRANKIE:
The 80th International Convention is July 14-17,2008 in St Paul, MN.
and
the INTO area rally is in Oshkosh, WI. June 12-15, 2008
and
the Northeast Area Rally is August 7-10 in Essex Junction, VT.

I'm guessing VT is closer for you, if the kids are not back in school by then. ED
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Old 02-10-2008, 05:51 AM   #7
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I attended my first convention as a kid in upstate NY in about 1975, I think. My parents bought a MH in '74 and joined FMCA (their number is under 25,000). Every monthly rally was a Fri-Sun and had lots of kids. The members that were retired sometimes got there on Thursday, or left on Monday.

Fast forward a couple years and we bought our first MH (parents had a gap, but have a MH again and are still members). I knew the average age had changed over the years in FMCA, and I am the only one of my peers with a MH (we are mid 40's with 11 and 14 year old boys). A few friends have toy-haulers.

When I contacted some local chapters in AZ I got immediate, welcoming responses. They were encouraging new members and had a few upcoming rallies to attend and get acquainted. The next one was actually at a state park within 10 miles of my house....and it ran from Tuesday to Friday!! How do you possibly get any members who are not retired when your monthly rallies are mid-week? At the very least the rally should overlap a weekend with the main events being Friday eve or Saturday.

I haven't given up and am paying attention to upcoming schedules of local chapters to see when a free weekend for us coincides with a rally. We do look forward to our first rally (last one I attended was 1980). I also understand the flip side, if 95% of the membership is retired and wants to avoid the weekend crowd that makes sense. I guess I can't complain if I am in the minority, and others can't complain if they hold mid week rallies and get no younger/still working attendees.
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Old 02-10-2008, 11:01 AM   #8
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">My question is "How do we get folks in their 30s, 40s and 50s, still working full-time jobs with kids still at home more involved in rallies and such"? </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
This is a common question in many associations. Here are some things to think about, based on common fallacies and errors often made.

1) Don't try to buy participation. Forget gimmicks, price breaks, or other means that appeal to simple motivations.

2) Forget the obstacles such as kids, jobs, or whatever. People can be quite creative in inventing reasons for others not to participate and that creativity should really go elsewhere.

3) Hone your identity and brand. There is a reason people participate. Make sure it is clear and that your association's behavior communicates this reason unambiguously. (this is often extremely difficult to do)

4) Optimize flexibility. Provide as many different ways to participate as you can without sacrificing your identity and brand. For rallies, provide for short term visitation and a variety of parking options. Try flexible schedules.

5) Communicate. Make sure your website has complete and full information about your events and activities. Leave no question unanswered, even the ones no one thought to ask. Use several venues of communication from newsletters to public media to personal correspondence to any other way to reach out and touch someone that you can think of.

6) Make the attitude of invite, welcome, and 'join us' ooze from the pores. That means rules that are 'how to' oriented rather than 'you will be punished' oriented. That means taking the initiative to meet and greet. That means paying attention to any wallflowers and bringing them into discussions and activities.

7) Make sure that everyone that does participate gets what they attended to get and leaves with a smile and pleasant memories. Make sure that they will have stories to tell that will make others wish they were there.

Have patience, take your time, pay attention to detail, and really know why you have the event in the first place and you'll find you will have a lot of good friends to join you.
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Old 02-10-2008, 02:03 PM   #9
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Frankie, We have a few good chapters of FMCA right here in MA,RI,& CT. Jan and I belong to 4 and there are always kids and grand kids at the rallies if your intrested pm me and I will give you a calendar of events, Also you can come as a guest and see if its to your liking.

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Old 02-15-2008, 03:22 PM   #10
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We are in our early thirties and have been rving for about 7 years and purchased our first motorhome March '07. I don't know if there is an easy answer to this question, but we haven't been involved in any local chapters because we feel out of place. We have two boys, 7 and 11, and most of the groups that we have spoken with in our area consist of members much older (50+) than us. It's not that we don't enjoy their company but we love to do family activities. Our kids aren't much on socializing unless there are other children present. If there is such a group that consists of more "family" members, please let us know.
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Old 02-17-2008, 07:44 AM   #11
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BryanL: Great summary...BUT...FMCA really inhibits communication by not having an active, vital Discussion Forum on it's site. Two way communication between FMCA and members, and between members themselves, is VERY, VERY cumbersome and in most instances..absent all together. Younger folks LIVE on the internet and an FMCA Discussion Forum would likely generate greater participation for a variety of reasons including allowing working, younger families to see and plan for attendances and participation in FMCA events. Think about it...the Orig. Poster (OP) here, had difficulty learning about the seminar agenda for the meeting he was interested in....and a friend didn't go at all for lack of info. Multiply his difficulty times hundreds of other questions not easily asked and answered and....lack of participation evolves. Just an opinion. Steve & Lynette
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Old 02-17-2008, 01:30 PM   #12
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<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">FMCA really inhibits communication by not having an active, vital Discussion Forum on it's site. ... Younger folks LIVE on the internet </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
I have heard this many times.

Yet organizations did exist before the I'net. For instance, the WBCCI's biggest rally attendance and membership was back in the 80's. How on earth did they manage to get people informed without all these modern conveniences?

Yes, the I'net provides a good medium for communications but it is not a crutch nor is it a excuse for other failures.

I know from first hand experience about the inability to find necessary or even good to know information about events from my own experience with organizations - also going back to pre I'net days.

The first rule often broken is that the information has to be written down and not just common wisdom in people's heads.

A second rule is that the membership has to know that that information is available through habits gained in interacting with their club. It is one thing to know it, another to know it as an assumption, expectation, and habit.

A third rule is that information needs many avenues for dispersal.

A fourth rule is that information has to be available on request - complete and accurate information - and this availability has to be considered, in itself, as knowledge to disseminate and validate.

I know very well, from personal experience, the frustration that occurs when you ask other members at a meeting about what to expect and get divergent answers from supposedly authoritative sources; when you ask headquarters and get incomplete, inaccurate, or out of date information; when you attempt to communicate and get no acknowledgment; when you register and do not get all of the information you need to take advantage of your commitment.

Solving these kinds of problems is not a matter of any simple technical solution. I know of association websites that create more questions than they answer. Their websites only reflect the underlying problems, they don't solve them.

An example I have used as a laboratory experiment on this issue can be seen at SNU history and membership handbook. Also see the Coheridy Project for ideas and links related to organizational development and the Dear Association Leader weblog.

growing your organization takes passion, not excuses. No buts. There has to be enough passion to take care of the drudge work. There has to be enough passion to define a clear goal and consistent efforts towards that goal. It is not the path you trod or the tools you use but rather the destination you seek that is important. If you have your focus on your goals and the reason why the club exists, the members you need will be there.
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Old 02-17-2008, 05:44 PM   #13
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We were FMCA members, btu Idropped it and stuck with Good Sam. Joined a Good Sam Chapter with all families for kids. I looked around by me for an FMCA Chapter but most were older retired persons. I know they brought grandkids, but it's not the same, nor the same age bracket. I am 37, dw is 34. We would get the magazine, it always seemed geared more towards an older set and even the board and people pictured always seemed to be older. You need to start getting younger people with other ideas. ALL camping clubs are having the same problems. Good Sam still carries the tag as the froup that wears the vests. SORRY I DON'T. I don't know the magic thng totell you to atract families, I have been to rallies(not fmca) and my kids have fun. This year we are heading to Perry for THE RALLY. last year in NJ you had the FMCA rally I tried to get there, even for a day but couldn't. Maybe next time.
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Old 02-18-2008, 01:33 AM   #14
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Chickadee you have a great point about the younger folks living on the I-net. Every time I start to think that the I-net is a communications medium for the non-retired crowd I just have to go to a campground where there are a bunch of snowbirds and see how bogged down the wi-fi connection gets in the morning when they wake up and log on :0
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