By Christina Sweeney, Rotary Service & Engagement staff
Rotary Fellowships provide an opportunity for members to explore their hobby with others around the world. Members of the International Recreational Vehicle Fellowship of Rotarians (RVF) have a common bond—a love for recreational vehicle camping, travelling, and making friends. The fellowship started in the United States in 1972 and has now grown to around 900 members from the United States, Canada, parts of Europe, and Australia. We spoke to RVF Secretary Debbie Conover about her experience.
Conover was first introduced to the fellowship in 2004. She explained, “It was my husband Geary’s idea. He wasn’t a Rotarian, but he was always working behind the scenes. He thought RVing would be a way to meet people with similar community values.” Conover and her husband have been members ever since. Membership in Rotary Fellowships is open to any interested individual, so you don’t have to be a member of a Rotary or Rotaract club to get involved.
The RVF hosts regional gatherings across North America and Australia several times a year with one large Annual Rally of up to 100 vehicles. Conover shared, “My first rally was in 2005 in Chicago for the Rotary International Centennial Convention. It stands out because of the camaraderie and how much fun it was to be in a large group from all over North America.”
The tradition continues to this day. In fact, the fellowship will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. To commemorate the occasion, members will meet up in Kerrville, Texas, United States, before the Rotary International Convention in June and then travel together to Houston, Texas where they’ll hold their Annual Rally.
The fun and connections aren’t limited to RVF-organized events. “After the 2010 Annual Rally in Montreal, my husband and I traveled across Canada and visited with fellowship members along the way. What a great way to travel,” Conover shared. In addition, “Many impromptu rallies have happened at our place in Tucson, Arizona, United States with members from Canada, Australia, and other parts of the United States visiting at the same time.”
If you’re interested in sharing your passion for recreational vehicles with others, contact the fellowship through their website: rvfrinternational.com. As Conover expressed, “The RVF highlights the Rotary spirit of fellowship and community through the ways we share ourselves and discover other cities in the process.”
Learn more about the International Recreational Vehicle Fellowship of Rotarians in the November 2021 issue of Rotary magazine.