Rally Q and A

by Terri Warren

We don’t have the money/don’t want to spend the money on all the rallies we would like to attend next year all at once. Is there anything we can do about that?

Yes, at the annual meeting the board did address this issue. If you would like to attend a rally but don’t want to spend all the money up front, you can pay a $25 deposit within two weeks of registering and a spot will be held for you. Use either the online registration or send a check to Judy Smith, our treasurer, to hold your spot. If funds are not received within two weeks of registering, your spot will be cancelled. The balance must be paid within 60 days of the start of the rally to maintain your spot.

Sometimes we need to cancel a rally we have reserved. It’s a little confusing about the cancellation policies for the individual rallies. Can you help?

Agreed. This year, we have posted the complete cancellation policy for each rally in the rally issue so there is much less room for confusion. These policies are dictated by the individual parks, not by the unit. In some cases, you will lose part of your money, sometimes all of it. Sometimes you will be able to get a credit for a future date if you cancel.

The unit reserves the sites in advance and pays for them. We can’t be in the position of losing money on rallies due to cancellations and I’m sure that makes sense to everyone. If you still have a question, please drop the host a note for clarification

We love the all potluck rallies but it surely would be nice to have someone around to act kind of as a host.

Yup, we heard that loud and clear in the survey. Each all potluck rally this year (with the possible exception of one) has a board member or kind person who has agreed to serve in the role of host. We recognize the need to have someone around to be the go-to person. But please be nice to them so they’ll do it again some time!

I’m retired now and would like to camp during the week – do you have any mid-week rallies this year?

Yes, as a matter of fact we do! Several rallies include a Thursday night stay and one, Charbonneau, is all mid-week up in Pasco, WA. For rallies farther away, they are scheduled for longer time periods but with special arrangements, MAY be able to be shortened if the need arises.

I still work and it annoys me that so many rallies start on Thursday now. Can I just come on Friday and Saturday?

In some cases, yes, that can be arranged. And one or two rallies are scheduled specifically to accommodate that request. Please check with your host to see if they can help you if this is not specifically stated in the rally summary. The reason a lot of rallies start on Thursday is because so many members asked if they could arrive early. Hosts decided to make that part of the schedule.

How are rally sites assigned?

Most of the time, the hosts know nothing about the specific sites. If you get a site that you don’t love, don’t assume there is some intention there – it’s just chance! Sometimes, a campground will charge more for more desirable sites – better views mostly – and there may be a greater charge for those sites. But in general, the hosts just assign spots based on length of the trailers and if there are special requests like being near a bathroom or being next to a friend, they try to honor those requests.

Why do some rallies assign potluck contributions?

Our experience this year was that at some of the potlucks, everything that came was a salad, for example. That happened twice. In the survey, people asked that assignments be made but that people who live a long ways from the campground, not have to bring a main dish the first night. That request makes sense and hosts will try to sort that one out. In general, for small rallies, assignments will be made to try get a variety of salads, mains, sides, desserts.

How is it decided how much a rally will cost?

Costs are determined separately for each rally. For all potluck rallies, we charge for the site plus a small amount for morning coffee and another small amount for registration fees. For rallies that are hosted, the host also includes charges for food. Sometimes that’s minimal, sometimes it’s more, based on what the host wants to prepare. It’s up to the registrants how much they want to pay so they may select rallies partly based on price. The addition of the potluck rallies was an attempt at keeping the prices down so all can attend. But campsites are not cheap any more so that expense will always be present.

I have food allergies/food preferences. Can my host accommodate these requests/desires?

That’s totally up to the host, but it for sure won’t happen unless you notify your host of your preferences. Please feel free to do that but don’t be disappointed if plans are in place and changes cannot be made.

If you have food allergies, please ask your host or people who prepare potlucks if the dish contains the offending foods. The last thing we need at a rally is someone needing an Epi pen injection! As a rally host myself, I always try to meet the needs of the people camping with us, even if that means something as simple as dropping a veggie burger on the grill with other burgers and brats.

I’ve never attended a rally. I don’t have a clue what I’m supposed to do and feel a little anxious about stepping into a situation where everyone knows each other and I’m the outsider.

We’ve all been there once. I remember feeling so much better about that because Mike Rogers welcomed us on the phone first, then in person. He was so gracious. We are going to be working on a mentoring program this year for our members to ease that initial meeting and first rally. But until that is finalized, here are a few tips:

  1. You can bring an appetizer to happy hour and that would be warmly welcomed.
  2. Bring your plates, napkins, glasses and silverware to the site where the dinner is happening and save yourself a spot.
  3. Bring something to drink if you wish, bottles of wine (or boxes) on the table are always fun to see. And if you share, even better.
  4. Wear your name tag. Yes, lots of us know each other but we want to welcome new members and can only do that if we can read your name.
  5. Put your dishes down next to someone who’s dishes are already in place – that way you are sure to meet at least a few people at your table and probably more.
  6. Make yourself known to the rally host. They will introduce you to others.