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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, 4904 Transit Rd. Bldg. 2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. Office Manager – Pat Wittmeyer 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), 4804 Transit Rd. Bldg.2, Depew, New York 14043-4906. 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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ArticlesEvent RecapBirthday ShoutoutMilestoneFarewell –  Dear RVEvent Submit

From The President

Well, here we are in February, and the Camping season is fast approaching. We look forward to seeing you at Campvention in July. Have you sent in your registration? Campvention ‘23 Chair  Connie Black and her team have a fun-filled week planned for us. We will see you there.

In recent meetings, we asked the Executive Board members as well as the Advisory Council members this question. I am also going to ask you, the membership of FCRV the same question.:

What are you willing to change to ensure the long-term survival of FCRV to see us through the next 75 years? Please send me your comments and ideas to my email [email protected]. I will add your comments and ideas to future planning.

We encourage you to share your local schedules with the organization and, as you yourself are exploring the country, make plans to attend FCRV chapter events, making new friends along the way. Also, share recaps of your outings through the portal we have set up for this. This will show the world we are an involved and active organization.

Looking forward to a great camping season!
Gerry Pfirsch
FCRV International President

Generous Donation Received by the Scholarship Fund

Generous Donation Received by the Scholarship Fund

The Family Campers & RVers Hank Nathan Memorial Scholarship committee would like to thank Neva and George Lockett for their recent, generous contribution to the scholarship fund.  Neva and George donated $10,000 in the memories of their two children, Adam Lockett and Alison Lockett. The Scholarship Fund, named in memory of our late Founder, Hank Ellsworth Nathan, is used to assist members with the financial expenses of post-secondary education.  Applications are accepted from all students, regardless of age, who are registered at an accredited institution of learning.  Application information can be found on the FCRV website and in the monthly online national newsletter, “Camping Today”.  Because of Lockett’s generous donation we will be able to fund several students as they pursue their goals through higher education.  Many, Many thanks to Neva and George Lockett!

Richard ‘Dick’ Smith Remembered

Richard ‘Dick’ Smith Remembered

By: Barb Turner

Richard “Dick’ Smith of Strongsville  passed away on January 5, 2023 at the age of 99.  Dick & Pat who predeceased him in 2020 were avid campers and very involved in NCHA/FCRV through their camping years.  They were founding members of the FuNCHAsers Chapter in northeast Ohio.  They served as Field Director, Ohio State Directors, and Great Lakes Regional Directors.  As state directors they chaired Campvention 1983 at Buck Creek State Park in Springfield, Ohio which led to the establishment of the Buck Creek State Park Campground.  They were also part of the establishment of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.  Dick served as a National Trustee as national treasurer and as the FCRV Retirees treasurer.

For us personally being ‘raised’ in the organization in Ohio, Dick & Pat Smith were a part of that ‘raising’ of us.  We became field directors in 1979 when Dick & Pat became Ohio State Directors.  As noted above, Dick & Pat chaired the 1983 Campvention at Buck Creek State Park where Ohioans prepared the grounds for the 3895 units that attended!  From field directors we moved to district directors under them.  The district director position is the only ‘job’ we’ve had in the organization that we didn’t like.  We were going to resign that position when they asked if they could submit our names to succeed them as Ohio State Directors.  What?  That was crazy!  They told us to think about it.  Our first reaction was “we can’t do that”.  We had a list of “no way” reasons.  Then Jim said we should look at the other side, the positives.  We told them to submit our names.  They mentored us but also told us to be ‘Jim & Barb’, not ‘Dick & Pat’.  That’s what we did.  There were times when Dick might have questioned that advice, especially after they became our Regional Directors when they guided the Great Lakes Region.  Dick served as a National Trustee as national treasurer, as noted.  When Jim became national president, Dick gave him his yellow tie as back in those days the Trustees wore green sports coats with white shirts & yellow ties at formal meetings.  (Yellow ties were not readily available!)  Dick & Pat enjoyed the organization and were sad when they decided to sell the motorhome and give up camping.  They are both gone now, but they will always be remembered as members of our NCHA/FCRV family.

Obituary link: https://www.clevelandcremation.com/obituary/richard-l-smith/

Wildlife Program Grants – April 20th Deadline

Wildlife Program

By: Debbie Swanson

The Family Campers & Rvers wildlife program was originated to help with the conservation of wildlife. It is the responsibility of all Family Campers & RV members to practice the conservation of our natural resources. Without our soils, minerals, waters, forests and wildlife, there would be no place to camp and no place to enjoy nature. There would be no Family Campers & Rvers and there would be no man.

FCRV Wildlife Program offers grants of financial assistance to responsible governmental and private organizations, to assist them in wildlife conservation projects.  These grants are based on the importance of the project to wildlife conservation. 

All grant applications must be submitted on form WL-GT 1, (link below) and must be thoroughly researched by the applicant, who must be an FCRV member. It must include a signed letter of request, by a responsible person within the organization requesting the grant.

If you are aware of an agency in your area that does wildlife conservation, reach out to them, find out what programs they are doing and encourage them to apply for a grant. In the past, we have given out grants to zoos, bird sanctuaries, groups that plant food resources for wildlife and many other worthy causes. The financial need for these groups is endless and every dollar counts. 

Although not necessary, we would like the FCRV member sponsor to present the check in person and take some pictures of the facility for publication in Camping Today. 

Applications are due by April 20th.

If you have any questions please contact Deb Swanson at [email protected].

2023 – 2025 Election of Trustees – April 15th Voting Deadline

2023 – 2025 Election of Trustees

By: Shari Weber, Nominating Committee Chair

Next month you will be able to vote for the Vice President Planning and Development and Comptroller. The Executive Board and Advisory Council will vote for the Vice President Operations. There is one candidate for each office. An email for each member number will be sent out in March. The email will have a link to the voting portal where you can cast your vote. You will need your membership number to vote. You will only be allowed to vote once. Your vote will be tallied and verified by Shari Weber, Nominating Committee Chair, Gerry Pfirsch, President, Beth Standiford, Recording/Corresponding Officer, and Dora Lewis, Vice President Programs (the three trustees not on the ballot this year). The deadline to cast your vote is April 15th. Please show your support for these people who have volunteered to take on these important responsibilities.

Sandi Wingert



My husband Joe Wingert and I joined FCRV in 1999. We were Charter members of Rocky Explorers in CO until 2022. We are life members of FCRV. Held the position of Field Directors for 2 chapters, Rocky Explorers for 11 yrs and the Rocky Raccoons for 4 yrs. We held every position in the Rocky Explorers. We attended our first Retiree Rally in Ladson SC in 2010. We have worked the Retiree Rally in Parking. Joined YARS, a National chapter, that meets twice a year in 2011. Joined FCRV Winter Texans, a National chapter. I took over planning activities for the FCRV Winter Texans in 2022. We joined the Trailblazers, a retiree chapter in CO in 2022.

I am running for the position of Comptroller for FCRV. I have held positions with different names for the same job. They were Comptroller, Business Manager, Office Manager, Bookkeeper for auto dealerships.

Platform Statement

I believe it is extremely important to accurately record all transactions of activities of the FCRV organization. I would monitor and control cash flow, make sure we were in compliance with government regulations and compile a financial report for the FCRV organization. I would be responsible for recording all assets, liabilities, profit/loss statements. As Comptroller I would take on the responsibility for protecting the public trust of the FCRV funds very seriously.

I believe that the best interest and the future for FCRV would be cultivating new family members. We are losing members everyday. So gaining new members through a good marketing campaign would help our longevity.

Amy DeCamp

Vice President Planning & Development


Amy is a lifetime camper. Her parents joined the Starcraft Camper Club (NKA Family & Friends Camping Club, FFCC) in the mid-80’s, while she was an undergrad at Eastern Kentucky University. Amy and her wife Linda joined the local and national clubs in 2004 and were selected as National Rally Co-Chairs 3x. Amy is serving in her 14th year as president of the Ohio Stars Camping Club. She was appointed to the position of FCRV VP of Planning and Development last April after initiating/overseeing the merger of FFCC/FCRV.

Amy holds a Juris Doctor from Capital University Law School and spent nearly 20 years in law enforcement and criminal justice/legal education. She opted to become a “professional camper” in 2010, joining the sales force at Colerain Family RV, which is now part of the 107-store (and growing), nationwide Blue Compass RV network.

Platform Statement

I’ve understood the value of camping since a very young age. I developed friendships, explored new places, and learned to treasure our environment. Now, each outing offers opportunities to meet new faces and strengthen relationships with camping family across the U.S. and Canada. Not only are we able to spend precious time together, but to do so by sharing what we love – camping and enjoying the outdoors!

“Club camping” in the past easily enticed new members. When you purchased a specific brand of RV, you received information on its camping club. The few RV manufacturers at that time supported their groups financially and regaled them with goodies at rallies, thereby strengthening brand loyalty. But that has changed…hundreds of different manufacturers have come and gone over the decades, and the manufacturer-sponsored groups disbanded due to financial constraints. Brand loyalty is rare, and lifestyles have morphed into summers of non-stop activities with family members splitting in different directions for individual pursuits. Yet here we are…a nearly 75-year young camping family facing these hurdles head on and forging into a brighter future. Why? Because we still believe in the value of developing friendships, exploring new places, and protecting our environment!

My platform is simple – with your support, I plan to update our marketing strategy, develop a stable of solid, industry-leading supporters, continuously extol the virtues of our mission, and grow this club! These last two should be of utmost importance to you, as well. Let’s do this together, friends – join me! Thank you!

 Linda English

Vice President Operations


Linda and John have been members of FCRV since 1993. They were soon appointed field directors then district directors and have held every leadership position in Michigan since that time. Their current reign as State Directors began in 2011. This year will be their third time serving as team leaders for Campvention and they have hosted many state and regional campouts.

They have been married 50 years, have 2 children, 8 grandchildren, 5 great grandsons and are expecting their first 2 great granddaughters this year.

Linda has a bachelor’s degree in business with a 42-year career in public education before retiring in 2014. The last 26 years were at the third largest intermediate school district in Michigan. As administrative assistant in pupil services, she shared audit responsibilities and knowledge of educational law assisting local public-school districts.

Her hobbies are exploring, gardening, reading, quilting, and spending time with family and friends

Platform Statement

I am excited to embark on this new journey continuing my commitment to make sure FCRV survives for future generations. To do that I believe the focus should be to create programs and activities that will increase interest for our young generations. Technology is the key to successfully reaching this generation and the commitment from every member.

Our teens are also so important to our future, and I believe they lack the mentorship and voice to share their ideas. Let’s encourage them to show us what is important and interesting to them, so programs and activities are provided.

My strengths are listening, observing, and helping others. Friendship and kindness are what makes a group inclusive, not exclusive. Let’s be open to new thoughts and ideas.

When our membership was thousands, guidelines were important, thus our manuals. I believe to grow; we need to change what was by removing what is no longer relevant. Let’s think about making our guidelines simple with fewer rules.

Most young families are two-adult working families, and their free time is very precious. The younger generations want to be active and have fun! They are also not joiners. They want programs that are current and relevant with the focus on camping. Let’s figure out how we can connect to this generation to encourage growth and see our organization survive for future generations.

Plan to attend the 2023 Campvention in the Great Lakes Region. We have some new and different activities planned this year in Richmond, Indiana!

Recommendations For National Awards – April 15th Deadline

Recommendations For National Awards

By: Beth Standiford Recording & Corresponding Officer

Campvention will once again be the time for the presentation of awards to persons who have been selected to receive them for their service or other contributions to FCRV, camping, conservation, etc. In some cases, they may be awarded at another time or place. You, in the Field, are the best qualified to suggest and nominate the people who should be honored. We request only that you be judicious in your choice of nominations. Please, recommend only those persons who have made unusual contributions to FCRV, camping, conservation or others that fall in line with our specific programs.

A list of all previous recipients of Plaques and Citations is posted at FCRV.org. The list is in alphabetical order so that names can be checked quickly. Please take the time to check and see if the individuals you are nominating have already been presented with an award. A couple or individual may be considered for an additional Citation if the circumstances warrant. Plaques are only awarded once.

If you have a problem with the fillable forms, please let me know and we will see what we can do to make your submission work.  But, again, please don’t wait until the last possible minute.

I am looking forward to the submissions and awards for 2023, and hope you are, too.

(All award forms can be found in the member section of the website HERE)

Scholarship Registration – April 15th Deadline


By: Deborah Swanson

Who Can Apply: Any FCRV member, or their dependent* children planning to enroll, or currently enrolled, in an undergraduate, graduate, or trade school, may apply for an FCRV scholarship. An applicant must be a member for at least 18 full calendar months before application, and in good standing.

*Dependent children of members applying under their parent/guardian’s membership must be a dependent thereof for the year of the scholarship award, and be eligible as an income tax deduction.

How to Apply:  Applications for 2023 will be available on Scholarship America’s website @ http://learnmore.scholarsapply.org/ncha/  Applications will only be accepted online at the above address. The application MUST include the FCRV member holder’s name, membership number, postal mailing address, and, most importantly, an email address at which the applicant can be contacted.  Pay special attention to the entire website and follow the directions closely as you will only have one opportunity to complete the application. Scholarship America will not contact you to make any corrections. Do not assume that it is the same as last year as it may have been changed.

      Applications must include the following:

  1.   A current, complete transcript of grades. Grade reports are not accepted. Transcripts must display student name, school name, grades, and credit hours for each course, and term in which course was taken.
  2.   Two online recommendation forms, one from an FCRV member, (can be a trustee, regional director, state director, district director, or any member who is not related). AND, one from a school official, or your immediate supervisor if you are working. Your application will not be complete unless all required materials are submitted electronically, and you will not be considered for a scholarship.

Stipend: Annual Scholarships are awarded carrying a stipend ranging from $250 to $2,000.The Schuh award of $2500 is given to students who study the fields of wildlife or conservation. Part-time, and trade school, students will receive one-half of the granted amount. Scholarships are for one year. Recipients may reapply for a scholarship each year they meet the eligibility requirements.

Selection of Scholarship Recipients: Applicants are scored, and ranked, by Scholarship America who then recommends the ranking to the FCRV Scholarship Board. The Board then confirms the ranking and the award. The Board of Directors present the awards at, or after, the Annual General Meeting held at that years Campvention,

Eligibility Requirements   

  1.   Parents, or guardians, must be a member of FCRV for 18 full calendar months or longer.
  2.   Applicants must be enrolled, or accepted, into an undergraduate, graduate, or trade school course of study in an accredited two-to-four year college, university, or trade school. Part-time students must carry a minimum of six credits and full-time a minimum of twelve credits.
  3.   Applicants currently enrolled in college are given equal consideration with incoming freshmen students.

Scholarship Considerations:

  1.  High school graduates will have their class ranking scored by Scholarship America.
  2. College students should have at least a 2.3 grade point average on a 4.0 point scale.
  3. Consideration is taken for maturity, leadership, related activities, and goal of the candidate as related to the objectives of FCRV.
  4. Special consideration is given to applicants majoring in fields related to conservation, ecology, or outdoor activities, although all other fields are considered.
  5. This is a competitive Scholarship therefore the lowest ranked applicant may not receive an award.

2021-2022 Financial Report

Total Dues: $48,899
Non Dues: $10,235
Interest & Dividends: $15,708
Total: $74,870

Office: $26,307
Publication: $5,400
Trustees: $3,390
State & Program Directors $93
Field: $26,606
Payroll: $54,446


Cash: $8,943
Other Current Assets: $13,415
Other Assets: $24,836
Long Term Investments: $297,584
TOTAL ASSETS: $344,779

Credit Cards: $815
Payroll Liabilities: $2,581
Long Term Liabilities: $45,480
TOTAL EQUITY: $ 295,903

Balance at Beginning of Year:  $90,833
Contributions: 0
Interest: $4,277
Advisory Fees: $1,187
Investment Losses: $11,960
Balance at Year End: $81,962

Balance at Beginning of Year: $284,393
Contributions: $1,175
Interest & Dividends: $19,164
Advisory Fees:  $4,001
Investment Losses: $51,547
Balance at Year End: $248,107

Camping Today/Social Media Forms

Camping Today/Social Media Forms

By: Barb Turner

Camping Today submissions have been technologically streamlined.  By using the submissions forms below, members can easily submit articles and share upcoming events, recaps of activities completed, as well as farewells, milestones, birthday shoutouts, and ask questions of Dear RV. 

Click on the hyperlink below for the type of ‘Camping Today’ submission you’d liked to send.

Articles Event Recap Birthday Shoutout Milestone Farewell Dear RV Event Submit

In addition to Camping Today, submissions other than the articles are placed in queue for  sharing on social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.  After research and recommendations, promotion and publicity of FCRV and our activities via these formats will enhance our exposure, both to our members and the RV world.  From the beginning, NCHA/FCRV has been referred to as ‘the best-kept secret’.  Survival in the modern world won’t happen as the ‘best-kept secret’.  Let’s shout that we are here!  We are ‘happening’!  And, we welcome all campers & RVers!

If you have any questions submitting material, contact [email protected]

Retiree Really 2023 – Dothan, Alabama

2023 International Retiree Rally

By: Ronald & Reba Ray, 2023 Host for the International Retiree Rally

Gearing up for the 2023 FCRV Retiree Rally in March?  Get those reservations in and plan on having a good time.  Early days will start on March 24 (Friday) and go through March 27 (Monday).  The rally will start on March 28 (Tuesday) – April 2 (Sunday).  Everyone must make plans to leave on Sunday by 2:00 pm.   

To keep the International Retiree Rally going forward, we will need people to step up and take over some of the positions to run the rally.  Position we desperately need now are:

  • Someone to run the sound system,
  • Someone to step up to host a rally,
  • Someone to step up to be a photographer for the pictures of state and provinces,
  • Someone to take over the scrapbooks,
  • Someone to call bingo,
  • Someone to step up and chair a committee. 

If you know of anyone who is willing to step up or know someone that would be good at this then, please let us know.  You can contact Linda Hennie ([email protected]) or Reba Ray ([email protected]

This is a good way of getting to know people and making new friends.

Our chairmen for the 2023 rally are working hard at making this another one to remember and put on the books.  We have 3 good entertainers, 2 meals, ice cream social, games, vendors, and a lot of fellowships in the works for this rally.

Bring a door prize so everyone will go home with one.  

Only a couple of more months and we will be able to see each other again.  We will have brochures for the early days so you will be able to go and visit around Dothan.  Walmart is nearby, and 2 RV dealerships are within 5 miles or so.  Other shopping and antique stores are nearby, also.

We are looking forward to seeing you there. 

RETIREE GAMES at the 51st Rally in Dothan, Alabama 

By: Shari & Craig Weber and Margorie Bates, Games Chairs

The time to get “Nutty” with the “Nutty Campers” is getting closer. Get your game on! Or, just come and have some fun. This month I am featuring some more outside games we plan to play.

At central registration there will be sign-up sheets for the different games. This allows for planning, but if you don’t get signed up, just show up at the scheduled time and you will play. We enjoy playing a variety of games. Currently, the complete rules for the games FCRVers enjoy playing are listed on www.fcrv.org under programs, Adult Activities. Anyone with access to the internet can access this information. Winners will receive their recognitions at the end of the games and also in an announcement from stage.

Corn Hole is played with bags filled with “corn”, thus the name of the game. There are two 48” x 24” boards with one 6” hole set 9” from the top and centered 12” from either side. The boards are set 27 feet apart. Each player or team has 4 bags to throw alternating one at a time. The play goes until one player or team has scored 21 points on or over. For the rally, we shorten the time it takes to play by allowing each player or team to throw 10 times and take the final score. This allows for us to enjoy this game and move on to enjoy other games as well.

Bean Bag Baseball is also played with filled bags (usually beans), thus the name. This game is played with two teams of 5 – 12 (preferably 9) players. The game is played like a regular game of baseball with innings and players who “bat” (throw bags). Players throw until they get a hit, get three strikes, or throw the bag in an OUT hole. There are 3 outs per inning and 9 innings of play. A special board containing various holes such as home run, 3 base, 2, base, 1 base, and OUT is used for players to throw from home plate which is 17 feet from the front of the board. There are chairs placed behind the board for bases, and players must walk the bases and touch each one including home plate to score a run. You can come with an already formed team, or we will put a pickup team together for those who aren’t already on a team.

The rally has enough bean bag baseball sets to play the tournament; however, please bring cornhole sets so we can play. Please assure that your set is 48” x 24” which is the regulation size and made of wood. Check the schedule for when and where corn hole will be played and bring your boards about 15 minutes ahead of time so we can get them set up.

Meet FCRV International King & Queen Candidates

By: LaNelle & Leon Ishmael, Rally K/Q Coordinators

We are Phil and Joanne Rich. We joined FCRV in 2005. Originally from Connecticut, we retired to Greenwood, South Carolina in 2016. Our granddaughter, Katie ran for teen queen three times. We helped with the teens doing whatever was needed. We worked on building the floats and loved doing the noise parade. While in Connecticut Joanne served as State Historian.

Since moving to South Carolina, we have served as state directors. Joanne is program chairman for both the state and retiree groups. Joanne has just become the National Historian so currently Phil remains South Carolina State Director. Both have worked at National Campvention and Retiree Rallies. Currently ,we are serving on the registration team for the Retiree Rally.

Phil retired from Triem Industries. Joanne retired from Chubb Insurance Company.

We have two children, Pam and Greg, and two grandchildren, Katie and Steven.  Joanne volunteers at Hospice Thrift Store in Greenwood. Phil likes to read and work in his garden. Joanne loves crafts and enjoys quilting, sewing, reading, scrapbooking, cardmaking, cooking and working in her flower beds. We both love to travel and camp with our friends.  We belong to 3 chapters: South Carolina, Georgia and YARs. We have been married 56 years.

We both enjoy meeting new people and promoting FCRV. If elected to represent FCRV as Retiree King and Queen, we will do our best to encourage others to join and will work for the good of the organization.

Nuts About Dogs Pooch Parade 2023 

By: Robert & Rita Letellier, Pet Parade Chairs

Welcome! to the pooch parade.  We will be giving out a gift to all participants.  The winners will receive an award & some surprises which will be given out on awards day.  There will be 5 dog categories:  Most Adorable, Best Behaved, Best Trick, Owner pet-look-alike and Best-in-Show-dog.  Cats are invited. and the winner will also receive an award and surprises.  The category will be Best-in-Show-cat!  Please come!!!

Give What You “can”  – Retiree Rally Food Drive 

By: Beth Standiford, Food Drive Chair

FCRV makes a big impact on the locations where we hold Rallies and Campventions.  For this reason, we want the impact to be a positive one.  We, as a collective group, bring a lot of income to the area where we camp in the form of fuel, food, tourism, eating out, entertainment, local sites, etc.  Food/Fund drives are a great way to give back and say thanks to a community where we’ve had so much fun with our friends.  Food drives help local charities keep their shelves stocked, and it raises awareness among our camping community to the hunger and needs of those around us, even though they may not be immediately visible.   

We are providing for the basic needs of others and giving a sense of dignity and pride to those who can then provide for their families. The facility we will be donating to is the Wiregrass Area Food Bank.  This organization procures and distributes excess food and grocery products while cultivating community awareness and participation.   An equal opportunity employer, this non-profit charity feeds the needy in six counties in Alabama. Complete with frozen and refrigerated storage as well as canned goods, they provide food to the needy at no cost.   Food is distributed by affiliate agencies (churches, other pantries, soup kitchens, day cares, emergency shelters and the like) at no charge and are members of the Feeding America National Food Bank Network.  A table will be set up in the main building to accept donations all week of Rally and will be delivered along with any and all monetary donations.   

For every $1 donated, the Wiregrass Area Food Bank can provide 9 meals to feed the hungry.

Last year, cash donations exceeded my expectations by so much more than I thought possible.  This year, I am asking every person at the Rally to donate the equivalent of one meal, either in canned goods or in cash donations.    

I know you won’t let down the deserving people of Dothan, Alabama.  Any questions or comments can be directed to me at [email protected]


GP-38  Real Country Music  

GP-38 delivers Real Country Music along with a mix of southern & classic rock with an unmistakable Muscle Shoals, Alabama influence.  Put all of this together with nearly 100 years of combined experience and you have a high energy performance that will have everyone singing along, dancing, and having a good time!  Enjoy GP-38 at the FCRV Retiree Rally in Dothan, Alabama at the end of March!


Bama Breeze Band   

Bama Breeze Band (Roger Hussey, Shawn Stuckey, Rick Shiver, Jimmy Harris and Savelle Norsworthy) play music from Alabama to ZZ Top, Classic Country and some Southern Rock. They all live in the Dothan area and perform there. The youngest in the group is in his 40’s, and the oldest is in mid-70’s; he has played with people like Merle Haggard, George Jones, Tammy Wynette, Charlie Rich, and other legends.  Check out the links:


Retiree Rally Flea Market

By: Richard and Frances Jackson

You can participate in the Retiree Rally Flea Market! Bring unused items you have around the house or make crafts to bring and sell. Booth space is free, and you keep the profits from your booth.

A Home for Lap Robes

By: Beth Standiford

During the Retiree Rally if you would like to make/donate a lap robe ,we have found a great location to support in Dothan, Alabama:  The Dothan Rescue Mission.

Providing a haven of hope for the lost and lonely, and those who may call the streets their home, as well as being a lifeline for those drowning under the waves of adversity and the undertow of addiction.   They are on the street and help those in need with hot food, clean clothing, temporary shelter, and the possibility of a more abundant life, seeking the least, the last and the lost.    

Founded in January 1979 the Rescue Mission started as a men’s lodge, women’s lodge, and soup kitchen. Later new construction provided them with an office, admin building, 25-bed Men’s and 16-bed Women’s lodges. Responding to the need in the community in 2010, yet another new construction allowed for a family lodge. And finally, in 2018 opening a 10,000 square foot facility, with a 60-bed Men’s, 25-bed Women’s, 16-bed Family Lodges, a chapel and full kitchen. 

They are currently being 80% supported by their two thrift stores:  2210 Ross Clark Circle and 3736 Ross Clark Circle, your donation will most certainly help.   Thank you. 

(Lap robes may be knitted, crocheted, quilted, or purchased.  Typical size for wheelchair patients is 27”x36”.  Lap robes sizes chart: Small – 36”x45”; Medium – 30”x60”; Large – 45”x60”.)

Don’t Forget to Bring Door Prizes

By: Pat Crow, Door Prize Chair

It’s time to get it in gear, the Retiree Rally is drawing near. Door prizes are fun to give and to receive and this is a fun part of the rally. Please bring something that you, yourself would like to receive. Thank you.

It’s Not Too Late to Join the Variety Show

By: George Walters, Variety Show Chair

Let other campers know and see your talents  

We have talents-don’t leave them hidden

Remember that this is NOT a contest 

Sign-up sheets will be available at the Registration Table

Can you:

  • Sing
  • Dance
  • Put a Skit Together
  • Tell Jokes (Clean)
  • Tell Stories (Clean)
  • Organize a Line-Dance (or Teach a Line Dance Class)
  • Anything I didn’t think of!

Alabama Interesting Facts

By: Barb Turner, Retiree Rally Publicity Chair

The 51st FCRV International Retiree Rally will be held in Dothan, Alabama March 28 – April 2, 2023.  The rally will be our first in the state of Alabama.  Over the past issues, places/sites to visit have been shared. This month I thought I’d share some interesting facts in no particular order about Alabama.

Alabama Has the Most Snails of Any US State – By Far.

Alabama Was the First State to Recognize Christmas as An Official Holiday.

The First 911 Call Was Made in Alabama.

It was the 22nd state in the nation and is the 30th largest state by area.

Alabama had the first electric streetcar system

The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center is in Alabama

“Sweet Home Alabama” became an unofficial state anthem

Mardi Gras in Mobile is the oldest celebration of Carnival in the US

The Apollo 11 rocket was made in Alabama

 Helen Keller was born in Alabama

 Alabama has a lot of underground caves

  1. Scott Fitzgerald lived in Montgomery

 Alabama has the longest state constitution

The largest cast iron statue in the world is in Birmingham

George Washington Carver founded a school there

Conecuh Ridge Whiskey is the state beverage

An Alabama woman invented windshield wipers

Alabama was the 22nd state in the USA

Rosa Parks helped initiate the civil rights movement in Alabama

Martin Luther King Jr. led a protest in Montgomery

Mobile Bay was a major port during the Civil War

Baseball player Henry Louis (Hank) Aaron was born in Mobile in 1934[BT1] .

Boxer Joe Louis was born in Lexington in 1914. He died in 1981.

Baseball player Willie Howard Mays was born in Westfield in 1931.

A skeleton of a prehistoric man was found in Russell Cave.

Huntsville is known as the rocket capital of the World.

Alabama is the only state with all major natural resources needed to make iron and steel. It is also the largest supplier of cast-iron and steel pipe products.

In 1902 Dr. Luther Leonidas Hill performed the first open heart surgery in the Western Hemisphere by suturing a stab wound in a young boy’s heart. The surgery occurred in Montgomery.

Alabama had the first electric trolley in the world.  It was opened in 1886 in Montgomery.

Explore these Alabama facts and discover more before traveling to Dothan the end of March.  See you there!

Campvention 2023 – Richmond, Indiana

Campvention ’23 Registration Musings

By: Beth Muschinski, Registration Chair

It is months behind us now, but one week in December had us sheltering in our Harry Potter cupboard under the stairs while the tornado sirens went off (no problems).  The very next week, we were dealing with blizzard conditions, high winds and below zero temps (ok, we were obviously NOT in MS ).  The next week, which was New Year’s, the temps were in the upper 50’s, and the snow was gone….in WI!!!  Who ever heard of New Year’s in the 50’s there????  Not in a long, long time.   It was an interesting few weeks.

But, holy cow!  How did it get to be February already?  Time flies when you are having fun ,and I guess I must be having a ton of fun being FCRV Campvention Registration Central.

So, here is a taste of what’s to come in July….as of December 31, 2022 we have 111 registered campers!  Wow!  My hope was to have 100, and y’all just made my heart sing!  Of these, approximately 40 have never attended an FCRV Campvention.  Oh, you are in for a treat!

So, that being said, keep in mind that there are over 900 sites at the Wayne County Fairgrounds so there is room for many, many more campers.  Bring your friends, bring your family, bring your neighbors, bring a stranger (they won’t be strangers for long, I promise).  Tell others while around the campfire!  Let’s fill those sites and make this a week to remember.

It has been a little slow getting reservations since the end of the year but don’t wait to send yours in.  If you are anything like me, it will be forgotten until the last minute, and while that is ok, you will feel better once you send that registration in, trust me. 

So, the moral of this story is…….if you have already registered, that is wonderful.  If you have not yet registered, don’t wait any longer.  Give yourself a goal for this year and join us in Richmond, IN for the 2023 FCRV Campvention, hosted by the Great Lakes Region plus two Wisissippians.  If you don’t know what a Wisissippian is, come to Nationals, and we will tell you our story.

The Adult and Family Activities Committee Needs Help

By: Craig Weber & Brian Fuller, Adult and Family Chairmen

The Adult and Family Activities Committee is asking the help of our members to find several items for Campvention in Richmond, Indiana July 9 – 14. We are currently looking for someone with a multi-mic Karaoke System with a wide variety of music for a Karaoke Hospitality. We are also looking for more BINGO cards with the window slides. We are trying to put together Bean Bag Baseball, but we need boards. If you have any of the items we need, please contact Craig Weber at [email protected].  We hope to have the Adult and Family Activities Center open each day from 9:00 am until you want to go to bed.  We are planning Line Dancing, Bingo, Euchre Tournament, Card Bingo, Balloon Volleyball and maybe a few other surprises, not to mention the national Adult Competitions in Washer Toss, Horseshoes, Ladder Golf with a possible Corn Hole Tournament. Of course, Bowling will Happen (90 spaces reserved) and Jim Turner’s Golf Event. This will be an exciting, fun filled Campvention. Hope to see everyone in Richmond, Indiana. Thank you.

Save those Pop Tabs & Plastic Caps 

By Patti Thieme, Tabs/Caps Chair

Pop tabs will be collected at Campvention 2023; they will be donated to Ronald McDonald House at the Riley Children’s hospital in Indianapolis.  If you choose not to haul all your tabs to Richmond, you may take them to a recycling center between now and the Campvention and get them weighed, obtain a receipt for pounds and the dollar amount.  Then take the donated amount to your local Ronald McDonald House or similar charity.  Don’t forget to make a copy of the receipt and bring it to Campvention to turn in to me.

Also, we collect plastic caps for benches. Indiana FCRV members have purchased a few benches in the past in memory of an FCRV member and placed the benches in those members’ hometowns or favorite campgrounds, or wherever that member wants to donate to.  The list of caps include: water bottle caps, Gatorade caps, milk jug caps, butter bowl lids, cottage cheese lids and peanut butter lids to name a few.  We will have containers for collection of these all week.  Just put that plastic cap in your pocket until you pass one of our containers!  You can also start saving now and bring with you.  Go to www.greentreeplastics.com to find a complete list.  

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Register now! – Market Place

By: Duane & Ruth Keegan, Marketplace Chairs

Interested in raising money for your Chapter by selling your Chapter Projects, OR for yourself to sell your own craft/hobby items or other merchandise? Now is the time to make plans and register for “Marketplace” when you attend Campvention 2023 in Richmond, Indiana July 9-14, 2023. 

Spaces are available for $5 each, which include one table and two chairs. Multiple spaces are available.

DEADLINE TO REGISTER is June 14, 2023.  Checks must accompany the registration form and be made payable to: FCRV Campvention with ‘Campvention 2023’ written on the memo line.  

Further information or questions, you can email Duane or Ruth Keegan at  [email protected].

Register now for the MARKETPLACE!

Indiana Interesting Facts

By: Barb Turner, Publicity Chair

The 63rd FCRV Campvention will be held in Richmond, Indiana July 9-14, 2023.  Campvention 2023 will be the third Campvention held in the state of Indiana.  The two previous were both held at Camp Atterbury (1972 with 7842 families & 1982 with 3674 families).  (If any of you have memorabilia/memories from either/both of these Campventions and would like to share for upcoming memories article, please share with me.)    

We’re back in Indiana 41 years later in July.  Sites/Places to visit have been shared.  Indiana Interesting Facts is the theme this month.  

Some interesting listings from  https://www.movoto.com/guide/in/indiana-facts/  

are in no particular order:

The North Pole actually doesn’t get any letters for Santa Claus, believe it or not. Indiana does. Every year, the aptly named town Santa Claus, IN, actually receives those letters in the thousands. Even better, each and every one of those letters do get a reply!

Baseball was practically born in Indiana – Fort Wayne, to be exact. The very first professional game occurred in the town on May 4, 1871.

The name “Indiana” stands for Land of the Indians—but in reality fewer than 8,000 Native Americans actually reside in the state today.

One of the biggest mysteries ever in Indiana was where the name “Hoosier” ever came from. This explanation came close, when a Quaker from Richmond, Virginia, by the name of Sarah Harvey had written in an 1835 letter about the “old settlers in Indiana…called ‘Hooshers.'” She explained that a ‘Hoosher’ was actually a type of cabin called a ‘Hoosher nest,’ and that’s what those settlers lived in. That sounds pretty accurate, but still to this day, people debate about the nickname of every Indiana resident.

The two main schools of the state – Indiana University and Purdue University – wanted to stand out among the many institutions of the U.S., by signifying their rivalry in such a way that it would make many raise an eyebrow with puzzlement. Both schools decided that they would take a bucket surrounded with numerous metallic I’s and P’s, to make it look like a trophy. It’s called the “oaken bucket,” and both schools battle over it every year during football season.

Indianapolis had the pleasure of hosting Elvis Presley’s last concert right in Market Square Arena in 1977. He actually died three months after his performance.

Oddly enough, in Indiana, mustaches are illegal as long as the bearer of mustaches has a troubling addiction toward kissing people. Pucker up.

Campvention Parade

By: Sue & Carl Fromholzer, Parade Chairs

Campvention 2023’s parade theme is the “Great Lakes Rose Parade”.  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.  More information will follow in upcoming issues of Camping Today.

Adult Bowling News

By: Craig Weber

Thank You to all FCRV members who responded positively to the possibility of an Adult Bowling event at Campvention in Richmond, IN. I received 50 positive responses which means I made arrangements for 90 people at Richmond 40 Lanes in Richmond on Thursday, July 13 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM. A party package that includes 2 hours of bowling, 1 – 14” pizza and 1 – 64 oz pitcher of pop for each group of six, shoes are included. Cost will be about $12.50 each. Please register for the event in advance (by June 1) using the following link https://fcrv.org/campvention-bowling/ and send payment by check to Beth Muschinski at the address on the form. Thank you to all. See you in Richmond.

Campvention 2023 Service Project  

By: Barb Turner

Quilters, knitters, crocheters, cutters, and tyers, your skills are needed to complete a new Campvention service project for Richmond, Indiana in July.  The idea: make quilts and blankets to provide comfort to children experiencing trauma.  

At this time, we are working with Birth to Five of Wayne County (https://mybirthtofive.org/) and the Richmond Fire Department.  The local hospital stopped accepting handmade quilts and blankets with the onset of Covid and hasn’t resumed at this time.

Some of you are accomplished quilters, knitters, and crocheters.  Some of you might be ‘wannabes’!  For you, cut & tie fleece to make warm comfy blankets.  Self-binding quilts made with two pieces of fabric & batting and tied with embroidery floss might be the project for those with basic sewing skills.  (That’s me!)  For help/review, there are many YouTube tutorials to help you.  Sizes: keep in mind that we’ll be servicing from birth and beyond.

We are asking you to bring completed projects to Campvention 2023 in July.  In addition, for those of you who travel with your sewing machine, a ‘sewing center’ will be set up where you can create as your time allows.

We hope that you are as excited about this project as we are.  So, let’s get to quilting, knitting, crocheting, sewing, cutting, tying……creating for kids!

Entertainment Spotlight – Thursday Night Dancing Through the Decades

By: Jill Serbousek, Entertainment Chair

With a live band (Stays in Vegas) playing from 7pm to 10pm, join us on Thursday night for a dance party celebrating the decades our membership represents. Stays in Vegas will be playing our favorite songs from Motown to modern pop, and we hope to see everyone out there dancing the night away. Stays In Vegas is an entertaining 6-piece dance band co-fronted by the sassy & soulful Shannon Kramer and energetic entertainer, Jesse Moore.  https://www.staysinvegasband.com/

DRESS CODE: Start planning your outfits now. We’d love to see everyone come dressed up in the style of ‘their’ decade – for example: the decade you attended prom, got married, OR just your favorite decade. You can dress up in fancy gowns and suits or dress down in your rolled up jeans and white t-shirts. 

PRIZES: We’ll have awards for best dressed single, best dressed couple and best dressed ensemble (you don’t have to be related to make an ensemble but you will have to share the prize if you win). This dance is for all ages; so, dress up your whole family, and we’ll see you there.

Back to Our Roots Program for 2023 

By: Marci Mcintosh

NCHA/FCRV began nearly 75 years ago in 1949!  As we continue to honor our roots while moving forward into the future, the 2023 Richmond Campvention Committee is excited to put together a presentation of our history that will be a part of the announcements at Campvention.  And you’re invited to help us! We’re looking for photos and videos of NCHA/FCRV, especially Campvention.  If you have memorabilia in the form of patches, vests, buttons, trade items, door magnets, flags, chapter banners, state banners, etc., please take pictures or video of them and send them along. We’re talking parades, noise parades, hiking, hospitality (especially the lines) pageants, sports, games, pranks (teepeeing), stealing/relocating mascots, aerial views, group photos, individuals.  If you think they show the essence of NCHA/FCRV over the years, send them to me… Marci [email protected].  If the files  are too large to send, contact me, and we’ll figure out how we can transfer them.  If you’re interested in telling a story about NCHA/FCRV on a video, let’s do it!  If you can, please try to include the year, state/province/region/district/chapter and the names of the people, if you have any or all of this information. I can’t wait to see all the memories from everyone.

Site Decorating Contest

By: Shari Weber, Site Decorating Chair

The Great Lakes team is bringing back the site decorating contest for Campvention 2023 in Richmond, Indiana in July. . Everyone is invited to decorate their site according to the theme:  ‘CAMPVENTION’S COMING UP ROSES’ 

Displays will be registered at central registration indicating site number where the display will be set up and who the decorators are. The decorations can be put up at any time. They must be ready by noon Wednesday, July12. Judges will come around Wednesday afternoon to judge the displays. 

This is being sponsored by Grandpa’s Farm Campground & RV Park in Richmond, Indiana. Please be sure to stop and stay or just to say “Thank you”.

The displays can be created by an individual, a family, a group of families, or a chapter. The displays can be made of any material you wish to use to depict the theme.

There are four prize categories: Most Colorful, Most Creative, Prettiest, Most Unique.

Get those creative juices flowing and bring some roses to Campvention in July!

Calling All Youth to Campvention 2023  

By: Deena Felver, Chairman & Pat Cohee, Co-chair

This is Deena Felver, and I have a fun-filled week planned for the youth at Campvention in Richmond, Indiana this year.   

There will be a different theme every day.  There will be a Halloween day so make sure you pack the Halloween costumes, and parents and fellow campers, make sure you bring the candy to fill up the buckets. There will be a Cinco de Mayo day, a water day, and an honoring-the-veterans day. So, with that all being said, bring your swimsuits or water attire and maybe a picture of a vet that is special to you so we can honor them.   There will also be a craft or activity every day to go with the theme for the day.   

I hope to see lots of youth in attendance at Richmond.  We are planning a fun-filled week, and I am excited to meet the youth (their parents) and other new people.  Remember to bring Halloween costumes, swimsuits/water attire and candy!

If you have any questions regarding the youth programs scheduled for the Richmond Campvention, you can email me at [email protected].

Campvention Hospitalities  

By: Denise Weiss, Hospitality Chair

Now that the holidays are over it seems as though Campvention is fast approaching in Richmond, Indiana, too. Hard to believe it is right around the corner.  Looking forward to catching up with old friends and meeting some new ones.  What a better way than to do that by hosting a hospitality during Campvention and showing what your state, chapter or group is all about. You can host them during the day or evening.  You can even host a breakfast one if mornings are more your style. Anyone can host a hospitality.  

Please send in your request form that is found in this issue of Camping today.  Send them in as soon as possible to Denise Weiss at ([email protected]) or Stacy Davis at ([email protected]) and put the word Hospitality in the subject line.  They will be granted on a first come first serve basis. So please get them in as soon as possible. Deadline is May 1, 2023.


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“Out of the Ashes”

“Out of the Ashes” – Adventures in the Field: Stories from a Wildlife Technician

By: Amy Wittmeyer

When I was working in California on a camera trapping project in 2021, we were based in Shaver Lake, a small mountain community in the Sierra National Forest. The main center of the community itself was a small paradise, green and beautiful and everything you’d imagine a small community in the Sierra Nevada mountains to be. However, just outside the borders of the main village, it was a whole other scene.

In 2020, the summer before I began working there, Shaver Lake was ground zero for a massive wildfire. At almost 380,000 acres, the Creek Fire was the largest single-source fire in California history at the time (the record was broken again in 2021 by the 963,309-acre Dixie Fire). Other complex fires were larger, but they were started by multiple ignition points such as lightning and merged into larger fires later.

The Creek Fire started in the Big Creek drainage downstream of Mammoth Pool Reservoir and quickly exploded into a firestorm, devouring the dry, drought-stressed forest with high winds and rapidly moving flames. Several hundred campers became trapped in a campground on Mammoth Pool Reservoir and had to be rescued by air, and the nearby small town of Big Creek was destroyed. Shaver Lake center was saved by the incredible efforts of almost 1,000 firefighters working tirelessly to dig fire lines and extinguish flames threatening the community.

When I arrived in June 2021, less than one year since the fire began, the devastation in the forest surrounding Shaver Lake was heartbreaking. Foundations of homes stood completely bare, and tall, old trees stood black and charred beyond hope. The ground was nothing more than 8-12 inches of ash and rock. I came back from work every day looking like an old-timey coal miner, covered head-to-toe in soot and dust. Even as our work spread out into the surrounding Sierra and Sequoia National Forests, the environment was very similar. Much of the project area in those forests has been affected by wildfire, with the exception of the highest elevation sites. Something like 50-60% of the study area has been destroyed by wildfire within the past 10 years.

It can be very hard to work in these areas and see the beautiful forests destroyed by such vicious disasters, but it also reveals just how resilient life is. Already outside Shaver Lake, fresh shoots were sprouting from the base of charred tree trunks, flowers were blooming along the roadside, and birds were nesting in stumps. Our camera traps did reveal some wildlife activity even in terribly damaged areas, though the dynamics have certainly changed.

One reason the southern Sierra Nevada Pacific fisher population is so endangered is habitat fragmentation. Fisher habitat is primarily mature, old-growth forest, and fishers need large expanses of such forest, but these forests face a severe multi-level threat from drought, beetle infestation, and fire. While other wildlife species do seem to use burned areas, fishers have all but disappeared from many such study locations across the southern Sierra Nevada’s within the past few years.

When facing the problem of wildfire, it can be very hard to have hope. What can we really do? Well, according to the National Park Service, 85% of wildfires are caused by humans. Unattended campfires, discarded cigarettes, equipment malfunctions, and intentional arson are among the many sources of human-caused wildfires. With just a little bit of responsibility and mindfulness, we can work to stop preventable wildfires and reduce the devastation being caused to our homes and our forests. Working in the west has helped teach me many wildfire prevention measures, including several that apply to anyone recreating outdoors:

Don’t park vehicles on or in long, dry grass; the hot undercarriage can start a fire.
Drown your campfire completely; leave no hot, hissing coals behind.
Do not allow your trailer chains to drag on the ground; they can spark and cause a fire.
Don’t release paper lanterns into the sky; they can still be hot when they fall and start a fire if they land on dry vegetation.

It will be a very long time until the forest surrounding Shaver Lake is restored to its prior splendor, but as Dr. Malcom said in Jurassic Park: “Life, uh, finds a way.”

Dear RV

Hi there everyone, we are introducing a new article in Camping Today. We would like to welcome you to Dear RV. This is a place where you can ask the questions that you are hesitant to ask members of your Chapter, State, or your Neighbor. Your questions will be answered from our point of view, and it will hopefully give you a chuckle as well as some useful information to help you in your RVing experience. You may not agree completely with all our answers, but our goal is to give honest information to you as to how we do our RVing. We would prefer to not know who is submitting the question. So, send us your questions and we will send you an answer (possibly that you were not expecting) but an answer, just the same and possibly with a small dose of humor for good measure.

Us here at Dear RV!

Dear RV

 Is there anything I can do to retain or improve the trade-in value of my camper?

Dear Valued Camper,

There really is a lot you can do to get the best trade-in dollar for your camper.

  1. Clean, CLEAN, CLEAN!!!!!!!  A clean camper says you valued your investment enough to keep it sparkling. Touch up those door dings, clean that upholstery, and scrub that stove!  
  2. Remove personal items.   Just like selling your house, take down pictures, remove that kitchen witch, clear off that refrigerator front.  People need to be able to see the camper, not your stuff.  And they don’t want to be able to walk in and know that you had a pet.
  3. Does everything work properly? Doors and drawers close, refrigerator, stove, furnace, etc.  
  4. Timing is important. People are looking to buy in the Spring!
  5. Price it to sell.  Forget the sentimental value of it.  You won’t get it. 
  6. Use Social Media.  Get GOOD pictures in a perfect setting.
  7. If you are selling it yourself, be honest with all aspects of the RV when they ask as honesty goes miles, and you will never regret being up front and square with the sale.
  8. I would suggest that you set the table as if you were about to sit down for lunch with two plates and silver just like you were camping. I have been told this lets the prospective buyer see themselves in the seats as if it was their camper. 
  9. Go back to the top of the list and see number 1  

Dear RV wishes you Good Luck!    

Dear RV

What is “work camping”? Who is eligible? Where can I try it out? Can they fire me?

Dear Work Camper, 

Seems like these words don’t go together…work camping…..but they do.  It can combine part or full-time, or even volunteer work in exchange for free campsite.  Some even include free utilities.  But it’s not all fun and games. Some places work you really hard, long shifts.  And if you are retired, you must pay attention to how much you can earn.  There are places on the internet where you can find work camping jobs by state or province, or just all over.

On a slightly different take, but along the same line, I know many construction workers that live in their RV and move with the jobs that the company has who are work force campers. It also, I think, refers to the many YOUtubers and influencers that live and travel making a living on the content that they generate from their experiences. Over the last few years there has been an  explosion of families that live in an RV with the flexibility of “road” schooling and remote working providing the freedom and time to travel with their families. I know of many traveling nurses that go from assignment to assignment living in the RV. 

All I can say is, try it and see if the hours and job are for you.  If not, then pull up stakes and move on.  That’s what camping is all about. 

Thanks for asking Dear RV

Powers Out, Now What?

Powers Out, Now What?

By: Joe Boswell, National DASAT Directpr

The wind is howling; the snow is falling. Temperatures outside are frightful. Or could it be hurricane force winds, and a lot of rain? No matter what the weather there is a chance the power may go out. Now, what do you do? It all depends on how well you are prepared. Preparing ahead of time and listening closely to the local weather forecasts can make all the difference. So, let’s take some time, and review what you should do,or could do to be prepared for power outages. 

First, let’s look at the power line. Are they covered or surrounded by trees? If this is the case, contact your electric company and report this issue. Then they can take action to remove and/or trim the trees so in heavy winds and snow, branches or the trees will not be likely to take down the power line. If the power lines have been disturbed, call the electric company and let them address the issue. You do not want to be electrocuted because transmission lines on the ground can be killers. 

Once a power outage has occurred, contact your electric company and see how long it will be out. Give the person who answers the phone as much information as possible, such as the visible problem, your address, and other information so the issue can be addressed quickly. Keep in mind that during severe weather conditions, one may have to wait until the storm passes before electricity can be restored. The electric company will react accordingly, restoring power in a safe and reasonable manner. Keep in mind that to restore power the electric company will need to check the transmission lines, the substations, the main distribution lines, tap lines, and individual services. Remember the local homeowner is low on the list during power outages; agencies that protect life and property such as hospitals and fire departments are the first ones to have power restored. Next issues that impose immediate danger are addressed as quickly as possible. 

Here are some simple steps to prepare for power outages:  If you have someone in your household that requires electricity to operate a life support system, plan and have an alternate source of power or lodging available. Check your flashlights on a regular basis to make sure the batteries are working correctly. It is a good idea to have extra batteries available.  Lanterns and candles are not recommended because they can cause fires. Do not use these items if you have pets in the household that could knock them down easily. Have a battery-operated radio with fresh batteries on hand so you can stay turned to the local news and weather reports. Stock emergency food and related items. These include nonperishable foods that do not need cooking, such as canned fruit, canned milk, peanut butter, crackers, cereals, and energy bars. Having a freezer full of food may not be a good idea, especially when the means of cooking these items is limited. Keep a manual can opener handy and disposable plates with utensils. Remember you can use your gas or charcoal grill for cooking, but use it outside. Store extra water in clean containers. Yes, you can draw water and keep it in the bathtub, laundry tubs, or other very large containers for use if you know a storm is coming. Plan for an alternate heat source especially in the winter months. A wood burning fireplace or wood stove would work in this case. Remember to stock up your supply of wood ahead of time. Set aside extra clothing, blankets, or sleeping bags, if available. Check your smoke detectors to make sure they are working properly. Fill up the gas tank of your car, especially if you need to evacuate. During heavy snow, stay put and do not drive unless necessary. Keep cash on hand; keep in mind that credit card machines may not work during a power failure. If you are a farmer or have livestock, have a means of feeding and watering them and remember to check on their general welfare on a regular basis. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and do not use it for general conversation; use it only in an emergency as getting it recharged could be a problem. In this case, having a corded phone may be more useful. Keep in mind cordless phones may not work if the power is out. An auto adapter for a cell phone may be useful for recharging purposes. 

During the power outage, do not open the freezer; foods will stay colder longer if the door remains closed. Used stored water from the bathtub to flush the toilet. In this case, put the water in the toilet tank then flush. Turn off the water supply before flushing. Toilet tanks hold gallons of water, so plan accordingly. For general purposes, snow can be used as a source of water, but not for drinking. Make sure the stove (oven) is off if you depart; if left on or if it comes on while you are gone, this may cause a fire. In cold weather do not use a gas stove to heat the house. Do not set dishes, towels, or paper products on the stove. They could cause a fire if the stove comes back on after the power outage which is dangerous. Have a pool,or hot tub?  This water can be used for general purposes, but, here again, not for drinking or cooking purposes. Turn off your heating system to prevent a surge in power once the power is restored. After your power has been restored, restart the heating system.

Basic Safety: using a generator – do so outside, never in the house. A generator in the house is a disaster waiting to happen and can cause serious injury or death. Never touch downed power lines as they are dangerous. If a tree or other object has landed on the power lines, leave this alone. Let the professionals handle this and restore the power in a safe manner. This is what they are trained to do. If power lines are down in your neighborhood, report the damage and outages to your local power company.

Here is some information to include in your Storm Kit Checklist. Remember many of the same items should be in your “to-go-kit.” Flashlight with batteries, battery operated radio, extra batteries, can opener, utility knife. A camp stove and small grill may be useful. Paper cups, plates, and utensils. A tarp, signal flares, needles and thread are useful items. Aluminum foil, toilet paper, paper towels, soap, personal hygiene items, plastic garbage bags with ties are handy items. A plastic bucket with a tight-fitting lid, along with disinfectant and chlorine bleach, are helpful to have available. For the little ones, infant formula, diapers, bottles, all hand-packed and ready-to-go. Remember to include your medications, insulin, dentures, eyeglasses or contact lens supplies. Have available pet foods and cat litter. In the summer mosquito repellent is essential. A fire extinguisher, along with a map of the area may be useful. Your address book with contact phone numbers is a basic item to have available.

First Aid supplies are essential, make sure they are up-to-date and ready for any emergency. This should include the following: sterile adhesive bandages and assorted sterile gauze pads. Include antiseptic sprays, ointments for burns and cuts. Hydrogen peroxide, scissors, tweezers, moist towelettes, a thermometer, petroleum jelly, cleaner and or soap, aspirin, pain relievers, antacid tablets, laxative, and finally latex gloves. 

As for your food supply, remember that nonperishable food items are important. If you have stored these items, rotate them every six months for freshness purposes. Store at least a three-day supply of nonperishable foods that do not require refrigeration, cooking, or a lot of water or a lengthy process for preparation. These items might include ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits and vegetables, canned juices, peanut butter, jelly, trail mix, and staples such as sugar, and include salt and pepper. Bottled water and powdered or evaporated milk will be useful. Parts of this paragraph are stated above. It seems repetitive, but it may need to be.

If you have followed these simple suggestions, you will find that you are prepared for most any emergency. Preparing now will save you time and energy in the future. Remember the scout motto: “Be Prepared.” 

Source: Southern Maryland Electric Cooperative, December 2022 brochure

It’s Their World, Too – Curbing Your Dog’s Instinct To Hunt And Harass Wild Animals

It’s Their World, Too – Curbing Your Dog’s Instinct To Hunt And Harass Wild Animals

Reprinted by permission of All Animals, a publication of the Humane Society of the United States.

SOMEWHERE TOWARD the end of the last ice age, we formed an alliance with wolves. Maybe the ancestors of dogs got food scraps while our own ancestors gained protection from predators and other humans. These social species eventually collaborated on a vast scale, possibly even hunting wooly mammoths together. Since then, our relationship has gone through a few updates. We began herding partners, and now we’re beloved best friends, living in heated homes. But there’s one part of this shared lifestyle still in need of modernizing; the tendency to let dogs chase, injure or kill wild animals. Domestication has not dampened their primal instincts, and even small pooches sometimes believe they can take on the wild world with their teeth.

Scroll the social media feed of any wildlife rehabilitation center to see the sad results. From Washington, D.C., to Atlanta to Oklahoma to Seattle, the stories of maimed songbirds, snakes, turtles, opossums, otters, raccoons, rabbits, foxes and fawns repeat themselves.  Sometimes animals have no visible injuries but have been chased to exhaustion. Even sadder are the countless conflicts we rarely hear about, those wild animals killed outright by dogs, or by humans who think their pets should have exclusive use of the outdoors. Bears and coyotes, attracted to human-made food sources, end up being punished for problems that people could have easily prevented.

The impact of free roaming cats on wildlife has long been a hot topic, but the role of dogs gets less attention. 

Many people see antagonism toward wildlife as natural behavior and therefore intractable. Describing her Scottish terrier puppy’s harassment of a black rat snake and his delivery of a groundhog to her door last year, my neighbor responded blankly to my expression of sadness by saying, “He’s a ratter, that’s what they do.”

When I relayed that conservation to HSUS senior director of urban wildlife programs John Griffin, he noted that splintered attitudes toward wildlife often culminate in dog-wildlife encounters. “If that terrier brought them a charismatic species- a fledgling robin or Easter bluebird,” he says, “then it would probably be a different feeling. That’s part of the bias that exists.”

Being a friend to animals means considering not just our pets and the wild animals we cherish, but also those who have little to no perceived value or legal protection. In many states, groundhogs can be killed all year, as can coyotes and other animals viewed as “pests,”with no limits on the numbers. Open seasons on raccoons, skunks and opossums often last for many months. Add other forms of human destruction-pesticides, habitat removal- and it’s a wonder these animals have anywhere left to go where they are not under constant stress. The least we can do is avoid unleashing our dogs on them, too. Here are some steps to keep both dogs and wildlife safe.


DON’T RELY SOLELY ON FENCES. Fencing inhibits quick escapes-a lesson we learned when our dog cornered an opossum at midnight. Thankfully my husband intervened in time, but that was the end of those late night leash-less walks. Especially at night and at dawn, when wildlife are most likely to be out, six foot leads can help prevent conflict.


CREATE STRUCTURE. We all thrive on routines, and dogs aren’t the only smart animals in our environs. Squirrels, deer, rabbits and many others take note of times and places that appear safest. Take your dog out around the same times every day when possible, and create pathways he/she can follow.

LEARN WHO SHARES YOUR SPACE. Do you have a persimmon tree where an opossum eats fruit in autumn? A potting bench that a skunk hides behind? A shed where foxes are raising their kits below? Your dog will sniff them out even if you don’t. Learning the habits of wild animals will help you give them the space they need. 

KEEP AN EYE OUT. A dog’s obsession with a certain spot in the spring, for example, might indicate a pending attack on a rabbit nest. Armed with the knowledge, you can pull him/her away, add a temporary barrier that allows rabbits to come and go but prevents dog access, and leash your dog until the rabbits have grown. When you see dogs harassing wildlife, you can also redirect their instincts, making noise and offering treats to distract them.

REMOVE CONCENTRATED ATTRACTANTS. Bird feeding leads to some of the most preventable and sometimes devastating conflicts between humans and wild animals. It can also make wildlife more vulnerable by attracting them in large numbers to the same spot. Birds find far more food and shelter in native plantings anyway, so I encourage people to create habitats that help all animals and diffuse their presence across landscapes. (Extra bonus: wildlife gardens offer the best Cat TV for our indoor feline friends!)

Most of all, remember that just because dogs were originally trained to hunt wildlife doesn’t mean they can’t be retrained, or at least redirected now. Terriers may have once been “ratters” but my neighbor would no sooner expect him to catch rats than wooly mammoths. Rather than allowing pets to terrorize groundhogs and black rat snakes (who actually are ratters), why not think of them as partners in a new endeavor, one that forges a more peaceful coexistence?

Nancy Lawson is the author of The Humane Gardener.