Members of this Florida chapter have fun, and do quite a lot of giving in the process.
By Carol Luetjen, F213470
FMC Magazine, August 2009
The Gulf Coast Pelicans chapter was chartered in 1995, and the late Max Durbin, F76454, who chaired FMCA's Governmental and Legislative Affairs Committee for many years, served as our first president. We focus on fun, fellowship, and food.
The chapter, which has approximately 80 members, is based in southwest Florida and holds rallies in October, November, January, February (at the Southeast Area Rally), March, April, and May. Our most popular rallies take place January through April, when our entire chapter is usually in Florida. Host towns for our gatherings have included Sarasota, St. Augustine, Fort Myers, Port Charlotte, Homestead, and Pine Island.
If we find an interesting event or attraction somewhere in the state, the hosts will sometimes schedule a rally around it. We've been to the Block Party in Punta Gorda/Port Charlotte, have toured Shark Valley at Everglades National Park, and have seen the Royal Lipizzan Stallions in Myakka City.
If you come to one of our rallies, we will make you feel welcome. We also might make you laugh. At our theme rallies we dress up and plan food around the various themes. At this year's Kentucky Derby Rally, ladies wore big hats and we all enjoyed mint juleps. We even had a "bookie" who took "bets," and we watched the race on a big-screen TV. Other rally themes have focused on pirates, Thanksgiving, casinos, and Mardi Gras. Rallies also have included craft or seminar sessions.
We have a mix of full-hookup and no-hookup rallies, with meals out, potlucks, or small-scale cooking where we all pitch in so the hosts can enjoy the rally, too.
We also volunteer at will call/registration or in security at the Southeast Area (SEA) Rally. We park as a group if we can and enjoy each other's company after our work is done for the day. We know that volunteering enables us to interact with members from outside our chapter. At FMCA conventions, we have helped with the handicap and activity golf carts, seminars, the FMCA Store, and security.
We also have a luncheon around Christmas each year where we bring gifts or monetary funds for a cause, such as a domestic violence shelter, a school for "forgotten tweens," or any group that needs a helping hand. Last year we had around 25 couples in attendance and collected more than $325 for the school for tweens. We also had a car full of gifts for moms and children at a local domestic violence shelter, including more than $200 worth of gift cards and checks.
Chapter dues are $30 per coach the first year (which includes badges) and $10 each year thereafter. We have a Web site, too: www.gulfcoastpelicans.com. For more information about the Gulf Coast Pelicans, contact the Chapter Services Department at (800) 543-3622, (513) 474-3622;
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