Greetings from Summer Camp, a.k.a. Stoneridge Motor Coach Village, Blanchard Idaho. As of this writing Gail and I are busy cleaning up our site and getting ready to spend our first full summer in beautiful north Idaho. We are also looking forward to our second visit to the Canadian Rockies in late July.

First off, I cannot say enough about the great job the South Central Chapter delivered at this year’s National Rally. Problem after problem after problem was dealt with to the very best of everyone’s ability and the end result was a wonderful time. For those who were there (and we had a great SW Chapter turn out) you could see this event did not come easy. For those that couldn’t make it, please join us next year for the 30th Anniversary National.

While I have already communicated with our chapter membership, I still want to take a few minutes to talk about our merger initiative with the SoCal and NorCal/Norwest chapters. For many years these three chapters, which cover the entire western US and Canada, have been closely intertwined with many members belonging to two or even all three chapters. For both SW and NorCal/Norwest, rally planning has, in recent years, relied heavily of participation from SoCal members, who are often our members, too.
As we collectively struggle to get fresh volunteers and with them fresh ideas, the current presidents believe the best path is merging the three chapters into one. First, this eliminates redundant officers, second eliminates dues paid to multiple chapters, third brings rally planning under one umbrella, and forth puts our resources together to provide a better product to our membership.

Whether we are talking at the nation level of the chapter level, we need a couple of important things. First, we need to have a purpose and a product that encourages people to join and pay dues that is equitable to the value/benefit they receive. Second, we need volunteers that support the purpose and will provide the time necessary to improve and deliver the products/benefits the membership requires to continue their participation and pay their dues. This is not to say it’s all about the money. But if one invests in an organization and is paying dues, they should expect a return that has a value. That return may be in new friendships found, additional sources of useful information, pleasure from being part of a group with shared interests, etc. Even more important is when those returns are significant enough and the bond to the organization is strong enough to turn members in to volunteers and organizational leaders. I personally believe a merger gives the new chapter the best chance to attain these objectives.

Accomplishing our objectives requires a change to our ACA by-laws. This will soon be presented to the national membership for a vote. While some may think the status quo is just fine, I would argue that as our membership declines, and I think it will, we will need to restructure to provide the very best for existing and new members we can attract. Please think about what you would want the future of our group to look like in 5 or 10 years and how best to address the inevitable changes that will occur.

On a final note, a big SW thank you to Glen Tilley for the suggestion and all the members at our chapter meeting for their unanimous support of our plan to donate $1500 of our surplus chapter funds to the Scholarship Program. And, we look forward to matching that amount again next year.

Enjoy every day in your American Coach and travel safe out there,