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National Officers

Camping Today is a publication of the non-profit National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (FCRV). Issue frequency is 12 (monthly) on line at www.fcrv.org. Publisher is Family Campers & RVers, 137 Crandon Blvd, Cheektowaga, NY 14225. National Office Phone #: 716-668-6242, [email protected]. Camping Today is supported through FCRV memberships.  OWNER: National Campers & Hikers Association, doing business as Family Campers & RVers (non-profit), Bondholders, mortgage, and other security owners holding 1% or more of bonds, mortgages, and other securities: NONE. The purpose, function, and nonprofit status of this organization and the exempt status for federal income tax purposes has not changed in the last 12 months.

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From The President

As I write this column, the winds are swirling: the winds foretelling of the coming Spring and the potential winds of change. The voting for 3 different positions on the Board of Trustees opens on March 15th and will close on April 15th. Every registered family whose dues are up-to-date has the option to cast one vote; so couples should make their decision before casting that vote.

You may recall reading about the Ambassador Club in previous issues of Camping Today. This is a club that is being revitalized, and we are encouraging your participation. For the details of this program, reach out to your state, provincial, or regional directors for specific information. It always seems that certain locations do better at an activity than others. Which region has the most Ambassadors? Which State/Province has the most recruits? That would be interesting to learn.

Of course, the whole purpose of the Ambassador Club is to spread the fun and fellowship of group and family camping and to grow the organization. Many times I have heard that FCRV is “the best-kept secret of camping”. But I don’t want it to be a secret, and clearly with the many participants we already have in the Ambassador Club, other folks feel the same way. Spread the word! Group camping is fun. Come join us at Campvention and learn more about this exciting “Club within a Club”.

Now that the national office has been divided into separate responsibilities, it is important to note that Pat Wittmeyer, as our New Membership Ambassador, has a new phone number. She can be reached at (716) 327-5748. This is different from the regular main office phone number, (716) 668-6242, which Carl now uses on his end of things.

See you at the next Campfire!
Gerry Pfirsch
FCRV International President

Who’s Done A Great Job? – Awards – Deadline April 15th

Who’s Done A Great Job? – Awards – Deadline April 15th.
By Beth Standiford, Recording/Corresponding Officer

So many of our fellow campers do so very much in the line of volunteering, helping, knowledge, and time. Some of us have been at it for a very long time. They are a fount of knowledge. And always willing to help. Wouldn’t it be nice if we all took a moment to recognize those friends? Well, now you can. There are several possible award categories into which your friends might fit. Take a look and see if they are a humanitarian, a lifesaver, an outstanding person or chapter. Please look at the qualifications required to receive one of the outstanding prestigious awards given by FCRV and consider nominating someone. Questions? Contact your Recording/Corresponding Officer at [email protected]. Deadline is April 15.

FCRV National Election  – Voting Deadline April 15th

FCRV National Election
By Jeff Kendle

Greetings members! 

It is time to have a say, by voting for the President, Vice President Programs and the Corresponding/Recording Officer. Their bios have been in the February edition of Camping Today and are also in the March edition of Camping Today. Please read them and make your decision as to whom you want in these positions for the next 2 years. 

You will receive your ballot at the email address you have on file at the national office.  Be sure to check your Spam folder(s) or Promotion folder(s) if the ballot email is not in your inbox.   If you do not receive a ballot, contact your State/Regional Director. They should be able to remedy the situation.  You will need your member number to vote, if you do not know your member number contact your State Director.  You will have one vote per membership number.

Your vote must be received no later than April 15, 2024

Teresa Walorski

Recording/Corresponding Officer

Teresa and her husband, Rick, have been married since 2002. Together, they have 5 ‘kids’, 5 grandkids and 1 great grandson. After they purchased a pop-up tent trailer in 2003, they were walking around the RV Show and were introduced to the FCRV Organization. They have been camping with OOPS ever since. Currently, enjoying their Class-A Motorhome and road trips. With OOPS, Teresa has served as President and, currently, the Secretary. Rick and Teresa are the OOPS Field Director. For FCRV, Teresa has been the editor for the Fireside Embers since 2021 and has enjoyed volunteering at different Campvention events. Teresa has been with Mercy Housing since 2005, working with HUD paperwork and vouchers and Tax Credits, auditing low-income files, and has worked with HOAs keeping their minutes and financial statements. With Mercy Housing she can work remotely and sometimes works from the motorhome while camping or on road trips.

Platform Statement
Accurate and consistent record keeping are important to the history of any organization and FCRV is no exception. Currently, I see growth in membership to be the main priority. The generation we are trying to connect with will require some out-of-the-box thinking, planning and implementation on our part. It is hard to know exactly what is needed to bring in more people and to keep them happy and renewing, but working together respectfully is a great start. No one person can know everything, it takes us all working toward the same goal of making FCRV more stable and welcoming. Let’s reach out to those chapters thriving and see what they are doing. Taking in suggestions from all would be eye-opening. We must be more visible, and we have to offer attractive activities for all ages. Keeping school schedules in mind and having activities that include our youth/teens. For our current and future senior members having education in advanced technology, healthy cooking, health in general, computer safety, iPads, Medicare, exercising and such may be welcoming. Road trip ideas, group camping theme ideas, vehicle safety and RV driving instruction (so many women will not get behind the wheel of the motorhome or truck) would benefit us all. We need to set the example of working together respectfully for the good of the organization and having all age groups working together, we learn from each other and thrive together.

We are frequently asked, ‘Why stay with FCRV?’ We let them know that we attend and enjoy more campouts as FCRV members because of the comradery and the fact that we plan our future campouts. This is why we are Lifetime Members of FCRV. I sincerely hope I am given the opportunity to help wherever I can and to apply all my talents to furthering the aim of FCRV. Thank you!

Beth Standiford

Recording/Corresponding Officer

Beth has served as Recording & Corresponding Secretary since 2020. Her professional background has always been in administration, including a decade of service as Office Manager for stock brokerage houses, Sales Associate for insurance, and a Coordination Assistant at a Seminary. Beth & Paul, her spouse of 50 years, began camping in Indiana when the organization was known as NCHA They raised 3 children and guided them in the ways of camping, conservation, and wildlife. The family moved to Missouri in 2003 and joined FCRV, and have been active ever since. They stepped up to the call of volunteering in the organization and have held a variety of positions. Paul is currently the Missouri State Director, and Beth is the State Chaplain as well as Chapter (Pitch ‘N’ Pull) Secretary.
Platform Statement
I believe our main priority is membership growth. We must become more technologically savvy and take a hard look at what the campers who we are trying to attract are doing and adjust to it. We need show campers the advantages of belonging to our group, the stability and richness of a well-established organization, the friendship, the sense of belonging, the help in time of emergencies and the possible content for their blogging. New ideas should be explored. Can we get into the home-schooling curriculums and sponsor a course in Conservation or Wildlife? Can we partner with dealerships to offer information or a free campout with a local group when they sell a camper? How can we educate new campers in travel safety and camping etiquette? There are other camping organizations out there, but we must show that FCRV has more to offer. These are all avenues to explore and I’m sure there are many more. If elected to serve another term, I will support my fellow Trustees as we pursue creative ideas to grow our membership. The positions that I currently hold in FCRV allow me to be in touch with every level of the organization and help them to work together.
In addition, my current Secretarial project is compiling many historical records saved for posterity into the virtual office. This will provide a solid base of information for the future. Thank you for your time and I hope to serve you and FCRV for many years to come.

Ed Shaneyfelt

Vice President of Programs

Hello, my name is Ed Shaneyfelt. I am running for Vice President of Programs. I have been involved with NCHA/FCRV since my family joined in the fall of 1971. Through my years I participated in the youth and teen program and made a lot of friends along the way. Still today I am still making friends that become like family. In 1987 I married my lovely wife, Angie. We raised two wonderful children who participated in the programs also. Our daughter Paige was an Indiana state queen, and our son Fletcher was the first National Teen King. I have been involved or in charge of teen sports for the last 15 years. At the State level, I have been Northern rep, Vice President, President, Past President, and current President for Indiana over the last 25 years. Also, I have been serving as the National Campvention Director for the past 9 years.


Platform Statement

I am excited to embark on this new journey to make sure FCRV survives for future generations. To do this I believe the focus should be to update our existing programs, to ensure that they are best serving the needs of our existing members as well as benefitting new members as we continue to grow and expand. I am looking forward to working with the Program Directors to get this accomplished, whether it is the CAMP, Conservation, DASAT, Adult, Teen, Youth, or Veterans Programs. I will need to fill some open program director positions that are currently vacant. I understand that I would be responsible for those programs until I can find Directors. With the help of the directors and members, I believe we can create a prosperous future for our organization.

I’m here to represent the membership, please let me know your concerns if I’m elected so your voice will be heard. Your vote would be greatly appreciated.

Dora Lewis

Vice President of Programs

Dora Lewis is running for VP of Programs for a second term. Dora has been a member of FCRV along with her husband Jim, for 25 years. She has belonged to the Happy Wanderers chapter in CT. for 25 years. Dora has held the position of VP for her chapter, for two years. She has been involved with many committees and always willing to help when needed.  She has worked on 3 parking committees for National Campvention, she also was Chair of parking for 2021 Campvention in Wisconsin. Dora has Co-Chaired parking for 9 retiree rallies and also chaired two Red Hat luncheon at retiree rallies. Dora currently holds the VP of programs Trustee position.
Platform Statement

My goal for the next two years is to help, and guide the program directors in updating their programs to better serve the membership. Continue to help update the field manual, and bring it up to the 21st century with hotlinks and a central location for all our members.

I will strive to fill the vacant Program Director spots for Teens, Youth and Veterans. I will advocate for programs for Conservation and Wildlife and fulfill the FCRV goals to increase support for organizations that also share our similar beliefs.

Gerry Pfirsch

International President

Joined FCRV in 2005. I been an involved in function of FCRV as Chapter Officer, Field Director, Northern District Director, Assistant State Director, Regional Director, Co-Chair on two Campventions, and Presi-dent of this wonderful Organization. We have seen challenges and successes. It has been an honor to serve as the International President. We have embarked on moving FCRV into the 21st century. This endeavor has presented us with challenges and growing pains that we must navigate through to be successful. Past experiences in service have proven to be a great asset in serving as President in my second term. I also thank the past Presidents for their reliable council in navigating the future. They are a valued asset and a source of experience. It would be an honor to serve another term as President and thank you for the opportunity to do so.
Gerry Pfirsch
FCRV International President
Platform Statement
I would like to thank all my FCRV family for their support during this term as President. We have worked diligently to bring FCRV into the 21st Century and will continue this path to see FCRV succeed. I will always place what is best for FCRV over my personal desire in every decision. I believe that we must listen to what you as members tell us in our decisions and trust that the information you give us is honest and true to form our decisions as your leadership. We try to change identified items as needed and will continue to strive to make FCRV better. Knowing that the work we do will change over time requiring us to look at the future needs for the organization. This is the reason that your continued feedback is needed. It is my greatest desire to see FCRV succeed for another 75 0r 100 years and then some. I would like to say Thank you for your support and help in the future success of FCRV.
Gerry Pfirsch
FCRV International President

Welcome New Members

Family Campers & RVers would like to extend a warm welcome to our newest members:

Mouthaan, Stephen Mouthaan, Lisa CT Referred by: Lynn & Daniel Tinter
Reaties, William Reaties, Angela OK Referred by: Bill & Betty Reaties
Mitchell, Nick CO Found Online
Pearson, Gregory Pearson, Kim CO Found on Facebook
Catania, Joann NY Referred by: Sheryl Hoffman
Terrusa, Julie NY Referred by: Sheryl Hoffman
Mather, Robert Mather, Yvonne ON Referred by: Karen Chatfield
Hammonds, David Hammonds, Jeanette TX Found Online
Maier, James Maier, Rhonda NY Referred by: Claire Gunning
Morgan, Barbara NC Referred by: Tom & Cherye Dobson
Foster, Brian Foster, Tara NY Referred by: Mary Burrus
Honodel, M CO Found Online

Retiree Rally 2024 – Mineola, Texas

Keep an eye open for a full recap of the 2024 Retiree Rally in a future issue of ‘Camping Today.’

Join in on the discussion at the 2024 Retiree Rally Facebook group.
Click the link above or scan the code below.

Campvention 2024 – Frankfort, New York

Join in on the discussion at the 2024 Campvention Facebook group.
Click the link above or scan the code below.

Know Before You Go! (ongoing list)
By Deb Swanson, Campvention Chair

Fair Grounds:

Directions: Do not follow GPS directions to exit 31 on I-90. This will take you through downtown Utica. Take exit 30 (Herkimer-Mohawk) and let GPS recalculate. This will take you to NY5S and bring you right to the fairgrounds.

Ice: available on-grounds during office hours. Current cost is $3.25/bag; subject to change.

No Open Fires: No open fires allowed on the grounds. Propane fire pits are allowed in open spaces.

Parking: Absolutely need to bring extra water hoses and RV extension cords.

General Info: Bring your reusable shopping bags (paper bags available at store for 5 cents)

NY has a 5-cent deposit on cans and bottles (including water). Cans/bottles without NY printed on them will not be accepted. It is illegal to return cans/bottles (even with NY printed on them) if they were not purchased in NY and can incur a $100 penalty per item.

RV Dump: For the consideration of the units parked by the dump station, please use a sewer hose seal (available on Amazon for $8.62) on your portable waste tank.

Door Prizes at Campvention
By Deb Swanson, Campvention Chair

The 2024 Campvention team is asking states, provinces, chapters, and any individual families interested in participating, to donate a gift basket, or bag with items of their choice, to the evening door prizes. Baskets may contain new, or freshly handmade items of your choice, such as camping gear, state/province-themed products, favorite cooking/grilling utensils, or seasonings, etc. Be creative! Each registered family will receive a non-transferable raffle ticket upon arrival and must be present at the drawing to claim a prize. Obviously, the more donors participating equals more winners! Donors, please place a tag in/on your basket with the name and contact information of a representative, so the lucky recipient may send a proper “Thank You!” This is a great way to meet even more folks in our camping family!

FCRV’s Got Talent
By Craig Weber, Chair

It is sad to watch another FCRV tradition die, but this creates a new opportunity. Because of limited numbers, the FCRV International Band will not be performing at Campvention. This opens up a new opportunity for the “FCRV’s Got Talent” show. This is the second month that this has been posted so hurry and sign up. We are looking for anyone, regardless of age, to step up and show off their unique talents at Campvention this year in New York. Singing, Dancing, Story Telling, Stupid Pet Tricks, Comedy Routine, Group Skit, Piano or Instruments. ALL talents are welcome. Please try to keep your talent under five minutes. There will be a keyboard available. Sound guy will be able to handle CDs for you to sing. I hope all of you can find the time to show off your talent. Just click on this link, fill out the simple form, click SUBMIT, and I will be in touch. https://fcrv.org/fcrvs-got-talent/

WARNING: If we do not get enough talent signed up, Craig Weber will have to tell stories. For Example:

My aunt and uncle traveled to Russia for a conference at a time when tourists were tightly controlled. When they arrived, they were assigned a tourist guide, Rudolph Novatikov, who would be with them whenever they left their hotel room. Each morning Rudi, that’s what he asked to be called, would escort them to the conference. The conference lasted three days, but my aunt and uncle planned to stay a week to do some sightseeing. On the fourth day, Rudi showed up to guide them on a tour of Red Square, the Kremlin and Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Rudi promised that the next day they would go on a tour of the Ural Mountains with fantastic views of Moscow and the countryside. The next morning, my uncle stepped out onto the balcony, slipped and almost fell. The balcony was covered with a green slime. Big drops of this foul smelling, oily slime was also falling from the sky. Rudi appeared at the door and apologized that they would not be able to go out that day because of the rain. My uncle argued that this was not rain, but Rudi insisted that it was rain. The two men got into a very heated argument, shouting and almost coming to blows. My aunt, always the peacemaker, stepped between the two men, faced my uncle, and calmly said,….. Wait for it……….” Rudolph the red knows rain, dear”

This is your second warning.

Site Decorating at Campvention 2024
By Shari Weber, Site Decorating Chair

By now you know that Crazy Acres Campground at Beaver Spring Lake is sponsoring the Campvention 2024 site decorating contest. This year the theme for decorating is “Camping – Past, Present, and Future”. A little different from previous years, prizes will be awarded for first $40, second $30, and third $20 place. The folks from Crazy Acres are eagerly looking forward to seeing your creativity.

Remember to support our sponsor Crazy Acres Campground. They can be reached by phone at 607.278.5293 or email at [email protected]. Find details about the campground on the web at www.crazyacrescampground.com . They are taking reservations for the upcoming camping season.

Swap or Trade?
By Deb Swanson, Campvention Chair

What do these terms mean when it comes to Campvention? The definition for both words is basically the same: to exchange one thing for another. At Campvention, it means trading an item of significance to FCRV. They are small in nature and easy to carry in your pocket. They generally have a means of attaching to an article of clothing, or a lanyard. As an example, the Fiddler’s Green Chapter of New York, drew a fiddle on a shrinkable plastic sheet, attached a pin clasp to the back and handed them out at Campvention. They make for a great means of meeting someone new.

Teens to Visit Wolf Mountain Nature Center
By Pat Wittmeyer, Campvention Team Leader

The Wolf: to this day the wolf is a source of myth and mystery. Once revered by Native Americans, the wolf has been hunted to near extinction by humans. Almost too late, we discovered the essential role the wolf plays in the North American ecosystem. As an apex predator the wolf is key in maintaining ecological balance, keeping a wide variety of deer and elk populations as well as a variety of smaller mammals in check, thus preventing overgrazing and critical damage to flora in a region.

All Teens who attend the 2024 international Campvention will have a chance to look into the eyes of wolves, foxes and coyotes during a service project and visit to Wolf Mountain. This incredible preserve is home to 15 wolves, a small and dynamic pack of Coyotes, and a variety of foxes. We are working closely with the staff of The Wolf Mountain Nature Center, located in Smyrna, New York, to create a meaningful trip intended to educate our Teens, and provide them with the opportunity to help out at Wolf Mountain with a service project that will be designed to improve the experience for visitors to the preserve.

This field trip is roughly one hour from the Campvention grounds. Teens will travel in FCRV volunteer and chaperone vehicles, pack a lunch, and be expected to put in some time working on the service project we create with the assistance of Nature Center staff. The teens will be educated about the animals at the Preserve and have plenty of time to view them. Our teens will NOT come into actual contact with the residents of Wolf Mountain, to maintain the safety and security of both the visitors and residents of Wolf Mountain.

Additional information, details and expectations of this unique field trip will be published in the next issue of Camping Today. This adventure, along with others being planned at this year’s rally, should make the Campvention one to remember for our Teens!

2024 FCRV National Campvention
Disaster and Safety Awareness Training Seminars

By Joe Boswell, D.A.S.A.T. Director

Internet and Cell Phone Safety in Today’s Environment:
Come with an open mind to learn how to use your cell phone safely. This will be a review of things to do and things not to do when using a cell phone. Many important points will be discussed. Learn how your children/teens may be using the cell phone and passing along personal information without your/our knowledge. Learn how to protect yourself and your family. Important tips of understanding will be presented.

Citizens Guide to Emergency Preparedness:
How prepared will you be when an emergency occurs? To be covered in this seminar are various ways on how to prepare for the different types of emergencies, and what to do. A weather event can happen instantly. Do you know how to take care of loved ones in a moment’s notice? Preparation is the key to your survival. Knowing what to do, how to do it, and when to stay in place or evacuate will be discussed.

Cooking for Groups:
Many times, when a group of people gather, food may be served. Everyone loves to eat. This seminar originally written by Marilyn Rausch will cover the basics of food preparation. Some of the things to do and other things not to do as it pertains to the basic preparation, serving and consumption of food during the various seasons, winter, summer, spring and fall. Basic food safety guidelines will be presented.

DAT-Our Disaster Awareness Team:
One of National Campers and Hikers Association dba Family Campers and RVers foundational program areas is Disaster Awareness Training. Come to this workshop/seminar and learn about the various topic areas that fall under the purview of Disaster Awareness. Each area of awareness will be touched on, briefly. You will learn a lot, and this also gives you the opportunity to pick up some hints on topic areas to present at your chapter or state campouts. (Handout will be available.)

Campvention Marketplace
By Rhonda O’Neal, Marketplace Chair

Marketplace this year will be held on Thursday June 27, 2024 from 9am to 12pm. If you make things with your hands like crafts, blankets, jewelry, etc. and would like to sell them, then this is for you. Marketplace is for FCRV members to do just that. Items are available for purchase to all members. If this sounds like something you would be interested in participating in, then we can help you make that happen. The charge is $5 per table and that includes 2 chairs. You can bring your own chairs, too. Please email me at [email protected], and I will send  a registration form to you. Hope to hear from you soon!!

Campvention Parade
By: Lynn Tinter, Parade Chair

Our Campvention 2024’s parade will be Friday at 10am (registration will be on Monday at time and place TBA). The parade theme is “Camping – Past, Present, and Future”. Be creative – figure out how to depict the past, present, and/or future of camping. This is the 75th anniversary of FCRV, and we are hoping for a large showing at our national Campvention parade. We are planning on a walking and riding parade so start planning your entry. We encourage all state, province, teen, youth groups, retirees, chapters and individuals to participate. Historically, the parades went through the town we were camping in, but in recent times we have stayed on the campgrounds. More information will follow in upcoming issues of Camping Today.

Visit New York’s Capital – Albany
By Barb Turner, Campvention Publicity Chair

The state capital of New York, Albany, is less than 90 miles from Campvention 2024 at the Herkimer County Fairgrounds in Frankfort. Albany awaits your exploration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMh5KIPIQME 

Albany is the capital and oldest city in the U.S. state of New York and the seat of and the most populous city in the county of the same name. It is located on the west bank of the Hudson River, about 10 miles south of its confluence with the Mohawk River, and about 135 miles north of New York City.

The Mohicans and Mohawks occupied the area when Henry Hudson, exploring for the Dutch East India Company, arrived in 1609 and claimed the land for the United Netherlands. Fort Nassau was built in 1614 and served as a fur-trading post.

“Albany is one of the oldest surviving European settlements from the original Thirteen Colonies and the longest continuously chartered city in the United States. When New Netherland was captured by the English in 1664, the name was changed from Beverwijck to Albany in honor of the Duke of Albany (later James II). Duke of Albany was a Scottish title given since 1398. In 1754, representatives of seven British North American colonies met in Albany’s city hall for the Albany Congress. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania presented the Albany Plan of Union there, which was the first formal proposal to unite the colonies. Although it was never adopted by Parliament, it was an important precursor to the United States Constitution.” Learn more about Albany’s history at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany,_New_York 

Suggested Albany attractions you might consider visiting during Campvention 2024’s early days: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2gAGbI1uQ 

The State Capitol Building, State St. and, Washington Ave: tour the Capitol at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1KS71TWjbgU  to prepare for your visit.

New York State Museum, 222 Madison Ave., 222 Madison Avenue, Empire State Plaza, was established in 1836. It is the oldest and largest state museum in the country. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXAL4gp8_po; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IRL3CFTvCQ&t=39s  Empire State Plaza: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gyWYSQ87LWc 

The Egg: Empire State Plaza, center for performing arts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLykidc3jSY 

USS Slater, 141 Broadway, is a WW II Destroyer Escort which battled Nazi U-boats on the Atlantic protecting convoys of men and material. In the Pacific they defended naval task forces from Japanese submarines and Kamikaze air attacks. The USS Slater is the only one of the 563 Destroyer Escorts that remains afloat in the United States. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ewvC9YASc0  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cio2PJnicps 

Plan on visiting Albany. Suggestion: review the links included here and do your own search. When you arrive in Albany, start your visit at Albany Visitors Center, 25 Quackenbush Square. Enjoy your visit.

Wildlife at Campvention
By Deb Swanson, Campvention Chair

It is a time-honored tradition to raise funds for Wildlife at Campvention. After a couple years’ lull, the tradition was picked up by the acting Wildlife Director. Due to the generous donations by Campvention attendees, approximately $2,500 was raised in the last two years. Tom & Cheryl Martinez, the new Wildlife Directors, are asking for donations for their item raffle. Let’s keep the tradition going again this year. Thank you in advance.

TP Raffle 2024
By Kathy Howell, TP Raffle Chair

Here in Michigan the winter has been dreary!! But just recently there was a bright spot – The RV Show and SUNSHINE!! This made me think of Campvention and how close it is! We can’t wait to see you in New York. We have been busy scooping up deals for the TP raffle.

As you are making your lists of things to pack for Campvention, don’t forget to add a donation to the raffle. At Campvention last year we heard that someone didn’t like all the items in a grouping and didn’t want to put tickets in for the prize. Guess what? We take regifted items for the raffle!! Even if you win the prize and don’t like all of it, regift the unwanted item the following year! Did you receive a gift that isn’t just you? Bring it to Campvention and donate it to TP raffle!! All donations welcome – handmade items, gift baskets, gift cards.

This raffle raises funds in a fun way to support teen activities.

Happy Trails, Kathy, Jessica, and Zac

On-Grounds Transportation Help
By Nyhl Austin, On-Grounds Transportation Chair

I would like to invite any adult attending Campvention interested in volunteering to drive on-grounds transportation [golf cart] to email me at [email protected] to indicate your interest. If you haven’t registered yet, you can indicate your interest in this on your registration form, under the volunteer section. You will be able to choose the schedule for this at the time you register at Campvention. Any and all who volunteer will be appreciated. Thank you, Nyhl [and Linda] Austin On-grounds transportation.

Personalized garments; drinkware; clings; decals; kitchen & bath items. You can choose from our large graphic collection or use your photos or designs.

For FCRV branded items: https://stores.inksoft.com/fc_rv/shop/home

For other items: https://stores.inksoft.com/marshall_creations16/shop/home

Call or text: 410-533-0038
[email protected]

Know Before You Go – Or Come Back!

Know Before You Go – Or Come Back!
By Amy & Pat Wittmeyer

Conservation is not just protecting the Bald Eagle on US soil, or the infamous snail darter found only in Tennessee. Just imagine: you’ve traveled to other countries, collected amazing souvenirs and gifts to give upon your return, and all is well with the world….or is it?

Suppose while in another country, you bought “Dream Catchers” for your grands, intending to give them at upcoming birthdays. They’re beautiful, delicate threads wound around a hoop, and have lovely bird feathers hanging on the edges.

Or you pick up some ivory earrings in France, crocodile leather boots in Mexico, pretty shells on a Caribbean beach, genuine coral necklaces from China…all made with real animal parts. Yes, corals are animals! So many gorgeous, intriguing gifts to give upon your return to the US. Except, maybe not.

Are you familiar with United States import law? Are you aware of the limitations placed on bringing in birds, bird parts (like those lovely feathers on the Dream Catcher), claws, teeth and fur, just to name a few items? How about the sanctions established by such legal codes as the Endangered Species Act of 1973? Or the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918? How about CITES, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species? These are laws currently on the books which have a definite impact on your gifts and souvenirs. You’re just out for a nice vacation; why do you have to worry about such legalities?

Here’s why: when you return from your cruise in international waters, or from your trip abroad, your souvenirs are subject to review. While it may be acceptable to buy something made with, or trimmed with, fur as sold to you in another country, it may not pass muster upon your return to the United States. Bird feathers, even if picked up off the ground in another country and turned into a lovely piece of art, could be in violation of our import codes when brought into our own country. And then there’s ivory…

Most of us are somewhat aware of the voracious black market involving the importation of rare birds, endangered species, or their skins, pelts, plumage, or other body parts (rhino horn anybody?). And most of us would never even think of buying ivory in Africa. But what may be acceptable in foreign lands might not be allowed to be brought back to our own country. Our conservation efforts, as a country, are extended to include worldwide markets. If there is less demand for those rhino horns, or shark fin soup, or a variety of other animal materials, perhaps we can help slow, stop, or someday reverse the loss of species by lowering demand for those products. While you may have purchased jewelry, artwork, even clothing adorned or made with animal parts in other countries, and it is legal to purchase them in that country, they could be subject to seizure upon your return home because of those protections in place here in our own country.

There are useful resources that can help world travelers understand what is safe, legal and sanctioned when bringing purchases back from other countries. To start with, A Guide for Travelers (www.fws.gov) is an excellent brochure designed to provide a brief update on what is acceptable to bring back from your trip. Additionally, the USDA website page “Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, found at https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/traveler/intl-travel/souvenirs/souvenirs is an excellent guide to update travelers on the inadvertent and unintended import of pests. We all know about the Emerald Ash Borer, Dutch Elm Disease and the Gypsy Moth. None of these were intentionally brought into the US, but they got here, with devastating results. Reading up on issues such as this before you travel can make sure your return is safe, pleasant, and “clean”.

It’s an ongoing battle, but you can do your part by knowing what can be legally returned to the US and what is restricted. And if you don’t know specifically what is allowed and what is not, maybe it would be better to purchase gifts which are not made with real critter parts.

Smokey Bear Celebrates 80th Birthday 

Smokey Bear Celebrates 80th Birthday 

with New PSA Honoring His Legacy of Wildfire Prevention

America’s longest-running PSA campaign marks historic milestone with new work voiced by Brian Tyree Henry

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — To celebrate eight decades of Smokey Bear, the USDA Forest Service, the National Association of State Foresters (NASF) and the Ad Council are releasing a new public service advertisement (PSA) paying homage to the legacy of the iconic wildfire prevention campaign. Featuring actor Brian Tyree Henry as the new voice of Smokey Bear, the nostalgic film highlights Smokey’s longstanding presence in American culture and critical message that reminds audiences “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.”  

Experience the full interactive Multichannel News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/9213552-ad-council-smokey-bear-80th-birthday-psa-wildfire-prevention/ 

Since 1944, Smokey Bear’s wildfire prevention campaign has been singular in focus: to educate the American public on how to prevent unwanted human-caused wildfires through individual actions. Even after 80 years, his message is as important as ever, with nearly 9 out of 10 unwanted wildfires caused by humans.  

Developed pro bono by FCB, the creative agency behind Smokey Bear since his 1944 introduction, “Decades” ushers viewers through time to experience the generational impact of Smokey’s empowering message. The film revisits five previous decades to consider some of Smokey’s important lessons, like how to safely build a fire, or what to do with hot coals, showing that we all invoke Smokey Bear and honor his legacy when we act responsibly in the outdoors to prevent unwanted wildfires.


“Smokey and his iconic message ‘only you can prevent wildfires’ has been heard and heeded by countless Americans for generations,” said Mandy Scott, USDA Forest Service National Wildfire Prevention Program Manager. “‘Decades’ provides an iconic look at how that message has educated generations by revisiting his important lessons for preventing unwanted human caused wildfires.”

“The 1944 Smokey Bear campaign was born from a need to inform the public about our role in preventing wildfires. As the national wildfire crisis grows in severity, with each year bringing unprecedented wildfire activity to new states, taking significant tolls on resources, responders and our forest lands, the imperative of Smokey’s message has to grow right along with it,” shared Scott Phillips, South Carolina State Forester and President of the National Association of State Foresters. “Every person who Smokey’s message has touched is one more asset in the combat against catastrophic wildfire.”

“Smokey Bear and his iconic message have been welcomed into our homes and made a permanent fixture of American history and culture,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. That kind of legacy is only possible because of the continued innovation from FCB, NASF and the USDA Forest Service to keep Smokey relevant while his message remains consistent.”

While Smokey has evolved over the years – appearing on lunchboxes, stamps, social media, and even as an animated emoji, his “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires,” message has withstood the test of time. This year, he is proud to add Brian Tyree Henry to the list of incredible celebrities, from Sam Elliot to Betty White, who have lent their voices to spread his wildfire prevention message.  FCB New York’s vision to modernize the legendary Smokey Bear costume was brought to life by a team of artisans and engineers from special effects studio Alterian over a 16-week journey. It took four highly skilled puppeteers to operate the new suit, allowing Smokey’s iconic line to be delivered with no assistance from CGI.

“Smokey Bear is an American icon, and FCB New York could not be more proud to play a part in sharing his important message over the decades,” said Ida Gronblom, FBC New York’s Executive Creative Director. “For Smokey’s 80th birthday, we wanted to pay homage to his years of wildfire prevention education by taking a trip down memory lane, reminding everyone that although Smokey teaches wildfire prevention, only you can prevent wildfires.”

In addition to the “Decades” film, FCB collaborated with talented illustrator, Sam Gilbey, to develop vintage movie posters mirroring Smokey’s 50s, 70s and 80s decades. Best known for designing intricate cinematic posters, Gilbey portrays nostalgic versions of Smokey in each highlighting some of his prominent wildfire prevention tips. From campfire safety to properly securing tow chains, each poster uses timely aesthetics including character clothing, art style and colors to transport audiences back into each era. Through each masterful illustration, Smokey is featured as the protagonist of American culture’s wildfire prevention movie.  

This campaign will be distributed across TV, radio, print, Out-Of-Home (OOH) and digital throughout the country and is an extension of the USDA Forest Service, National Association of State Foresters and Ad Council’s ongoing partnership to prevent unintended human-caused wildfires where we live, work and play. Over the past 80 years, Smokey Bear has left his mark on American culture. In 2023, close to 80% of survey respondents correctly named Smokey Bear by name based on his image. In addition to high awareness of Smokey Bear, almost half of survey respondents indicated that they know a few tips related to preventing wildfires, which is a key goal of the campaign. In addition to the new work, Smokey will be celebrated throughout the year at national and local events, social media, brand partnerships and more. To learn more about wildfire prevention, visit SmokeyBear.com, and follow Smokey on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with the hashtags #SmokeyBear80 and #OnlyYou.

Dear RV

Do you have questions about your RV, accessories, best practices, etc? Submit them to Dear RV and our staff will attempt to answer them. The answers are based on years of camping experience, but we don’t guarantee that the answers will apply to your specific unit or situation. If someone submits a question and you can add to our answer OR have a better answer, please submit below with information about the original question. Your submission will be reviewed for possible publication in a future Dear RV Q&A. So, send us your questions and we will send you an answer. Remember, all submissions are anonymous.

Us here at Dear RV!

Dear RV

Unbeknownst to us, some animal chewed through our sewer hose (on the underside of the hose), and we didn’t see it. Pulled the lever after being parked for 6 days. “It” was everywhere and stunk to high heaven! The neighbors were NOT happy. We got out some bleach product and started cleaning as best we could, but the smell persisted for a couple of days. We feel terrible for having had such a thing happen, but since it did, how SHOULD we have cleaned it up?

Well, Dear Unbeknownst

This is a Crappppppyyyyyy situation to say the least. There are many lessons that we can take away from this situation. Something I do is I generally do not let my sewer hose remain out and hooked up during my outing. I generally take it out when dumping and then unhook it, placing it back in storage when not in use. This protects the hose from the kids and pets from tripping over it and from stepping on it. In your case it would have protected an animal from chewing a hole in the line, resulting in the cost of cleaning up a very unpleasant mess.

Cleaning up can be very costly in some cases. An example of this is I know some RV park owners that given the location of their park would be required to have a professional Restoration Company dispatched to the spill and do the cleanup to avoid a fine. They explained that they would have to have as much of the sewer vacuum up as much of the water as possible, antimicrobial applied correctly to the exposed concrete and then flushed with water, and vacuum that contaminated water up. This would be a costly mistake to say the least. Another way of handling this is simply to clean up as much of the spill as possible and then flush the area with water to dilute the mess and wash it with a mild soap. Rinse the area well with water again. Thus, diluting with a generous amount of water. This is the adage that: DILUTION IS THE SOLUTION! I know that these are two ways that different locations take to get to the same end result both have the end result needed in the end.

Another lesson that we can take away from this is never pull the tank and walk away. Stay with the dumping process and close the valve with the first sign of problems. It could be, as in this case, a leak in the hose or could be a backup in the sewer line. In both cases the result is a stinky mess in the end.

For the clean up, bleach will kill some of the germs but often might not remove all the stink. Soap and water will help with this, and the bleach will then kill the germs that could cause diseases in pets and children if they come in contact with the nasty stuff. This will be aided by diluting the concentration with water. Dilution is the solution once again.

I hope this helps some not feel too bad as we have all had a spill when dumping the RV tank at one time or another. Learn from our mistakes and never leave the dumping unattended.

When not in use, put the hose back into storage, thus not tempting a hungry critter from snacking on the dump hose causing leaks. If you have a spill, remember to dilute and clean it up.

I hope this helps and thanks for asking Dear RV.

Feed My Sheep – Dietary Restrictions

Feed My Sheep – Dietary Restrictions
By Beth Standiford

Hey Campers! It’s that time of year again. No, I don’t mean tax time – well, yeah, that, too, but time to think about going camping and what to fix for those fabulous potlucks we all so enjoy.

This year we need to be a little more aware of other campers with food sensitivities. Some of our members are allergic to specific foods or have dietary restrictions. It would be nice if, when a dish is prepared, you might note somehow (post-it on the item, include the recipe, etc.) if it has cinnamon, lots of sugar, chocolate, shellfish, or nuts. Please keep in mind some of our campers are diabetic or require a gluten-free option. If you would like to make a gluten-free dish, please avoid cross-contamination of pots, pans, cooking utensils, countertops, and ovens/fryers of all kinds. We also should set those gluten-free dishes on a completely separate table to keep them safe for our campers.

Wondering what to prepare? Taste of Home.com offers a wide variety of ideas. Summertime favs like Five-Bean Salad, Broccoli Salad Supreme (LOVE those grapes), Beans & Sausage, Slow-Cooked Ham & Pineapple. Something easy like chicken simply baked & seasoned with salad dressing and onion soup mix. Fresh fruit. Or how about a charcuterie board with fruits, gluten-free salami, shrimp, ham, and turkey, a few crackers (always check the label) and some York peppermint patties?

Come on, Campers. You’re a creative bunch. Just a little time and effort to make our fellow campers comfortable, welcome and well fed!

Calling all Photographers!

Calling all Photographers!
By: ‘Camping Today’ Staff

Whether you use expensive camera equipment or simply your phone, we want your pictures! Whether you have training or enjoy photography as a hobby, we want your pictures! Our website editor, Carl W. Fromholzer wants and needs pictures of our chapter, state/provincial, and regional campouts. He says pictures of children and furry camping friends are particularly fun. Use this link to share your pictures https://fcrv.org/camping-today-submission-forms-event-recap/ This goes directly to The ‘Camping Today’ team. There are a few questions about your picture to answer when you submit your picture. As they say a picture is worth 1,000 words, so go out and snap some pictures.

There isn’t an official Campvention or Retiree Rally photographer, so individuals taking pictures and sharing them with us is welcomed.

Here are some links to websites providing tips on how to take better pictures with your phone. The tips in the various sources are similar which emphasizes their importance in taking good pictures. Each source has more detail and photographs within the website.

Quick tips to take better photos with your phone: 

  • Set your position before taking the shot. Closer the better. Being closer brings out more detail.  
  • Use a grid to help frame pictures.
  • Stabilize your phone.
  • Keep the lens clean
  • Use the rule of thirds (The rule of thirds is a composition guideline that places your subject in the left or right third of an image, leaving the other two thirds more open. While there are other forms of composition, the rule of thirds generally leads to compelling and well-composed shots) 
  • Pay attention to lighting. Avoid using flash and use natural light when possible.
  • Never use digital zoom. 
  • Adjust focus and exposure.
  • When photographing animals and pets, focus on the eyes. 

Here are some other websites with more in depth info on how to take better pictures with a cell phone.

Phone photography 101: CNET’s guide to taking better pictures – CNET
Phone photography 101. This site has many tips on how to take different types of photos.

18 Tips for Taking the Best Photos With Your iPhone | PCMag  
Some of the Easy Tips and Tricks for better iPhone photos

5 Tips for Taking Great Photos of Your Pets | PCMag


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263 Beaver Spring Road Davenport, NY 13750
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Milestones & Birthdays

Members Doing Good Deeds
By Angie Shaneyfelt/Indiana State Director

Scott Semper has been a member of NCHA/FCRV since 1984 (but before that he camped with his parents in the organization). Scott lives in Rensselaer, Indiana and volunteers at the Fire Department. They recently put the article below on Facebook and I want to share it with our membership. We have great members in our organization! Way to go Scott.
Let us tell you about Scott.

This is Scott Semper. Scott is retired (mostly) and in 2022 he was having supper with our Fire Chief. Scott mentioned that he would be willing to do some work around the station as a volunteer. That was all the Chief needed to hear. Since then, Scott has occasionally taken time to come by the station and clean the trucks.

This past month, even though Scott has some arthritis in his hands and joints, he showed up over and over and took it upon himself to WASH AND WAX EVERY TRUCK. That is a huge job!

We sure appreciate Scott’s dedicated effort! After a fire, the last thing the guys want to have to do at 2AM is scrub down the trucks. Even though someone may not be a firefighter, there are plenty of things volunteers can do.

(The other day we had a rescue call and before we rolled, Scott gave the driver specific instructions not to get the truck dirty….and we didn’t!)