We have been at a Samboree at Southern Palms RV near Eustis, Fl. We were early birds by arriving on Tuesday, November 13th, when the Samboree officially started on Wednesday. We will head out for Okeechobee on Sunday morning after striking camp. I do not have good Wi-Fi at the motorhome so this will be about a week’s post in one.
What is a Samboree? It is a gathering of members of Good Sams Chapters. This Samboree is the fall Florida Samboree. We have three a year. There is a winter and a spring Samboree. The weather in summer is not conducive for such an event. Some states have only one Samboree. We attended the South Carolina’s only Samboree on the way south to Okeechobee this year. It was held at an RV Resort on the beach at Myrtle Beach. Maybe more about that in another blog.
This gathering at Southern Palms has attracked about 400 RVs. There are Class A, B and C Motor-homes. There are fifth wheel units and travel trailers. There are units costing $10k and others that are other $2 million. But the owners all have several things in common, a love of travel, fun, meeting fellow RVers and raising money for charities.
What these people do for the four days is centered on the four traits they have in common. They meet old friends and make new friends. They share events from there lives with others. Comparing campgrounds and adventures is a common topic. Old friends catch up on what has transpired since the last meeting. There are seminars on topics of interest to RVers. One that I enjoyed at the South Carolina Samboree was put on by “Geeks on Tour.” I will share what I learned there when I write about that event.
Some of the memebers of our chapter waiting to play bean bag baseball.
At a Florida Samboree we have a very full agenda for the four days. There are outdoor games such as Bean Bag Baseball, Holey Board and Bocci. These games are played as team sports. Quite often the clubs form teams. The bigger clubs enter more than one team. A lot of good fun and good natured kidding takes place. You always cheer for everyone, even members of the opposing team. The reason for being here is to enjoy and all are here to enjoy themselves and have fun.
Bob, chapter president, throwing a washer at Holey Board.
A chapter member, Fritz, throwing a washer at Holey Board.
The indoor games are Hand and Foot, Euchre, Wizard, Chicken Foot Domino, Pinochle, Cribbage, Trivia and Skip-Bo. These are run by the various clubs. First and second place pins are awarded. I was fortunate enough to get cards to tie for first place at euchre. (Probably helped that Lou and I play euchre a lot.) I finished third at cribbage.
The indoor games are played in the main assembly area.
Breakfast is served to start the day. One day is a sausage biscuit. Two days are donuts. the other day is my favorite, sausage gravy on biscuit. Of course there is plenty of hot coffee, regular and decaf. Lunch one day is hot dogs and an ice ream social. There is a catered dinner one evening. Our club has a potluck one night. We all go out to a local eatery another. The other night is on your own.
One of the clubs is selling lunch to raise money for a charity.
The stated purpose of Good Sams is to help those who need help. Every chapter has one or two charities that it supports. The charities are varied. Dogs for the deaf, Boggey Creek which is a camps for terminally ill kids and their families, battered spouses, and many more, The monies are raised in many different ways. A portion of chapter dues is one way. The most money is raised by holding a raffle at the Samborees. 50/50 raffles are one way. Raffles with prizes like charcoal grills, $100 worth lottery tickets, boards to play corn-hole, baskets of food and wine, a wagon full of goodies, just about anything that the imagination can come up with.
This is the wagon loaded with goodies raffled to benefit Dogs for the Deaf.
Mother and daughter selling tickets for a chinese raffle on various items. (I didn’t win, again.)
At one chapter’s table you pay for a rubber duckie. Your registration number is written on the bottm with water proof ink. On Saturday the ducks are dumped in a stream or pool. The first duckie across the line is the winner. They have so many ducks that they have to run preliminary heats then race the fastest of those heats in the final. The prize is a share of the take.
The ducks as they start their race across the pool helped by wind and fans.
Ducks as they approach the finish line to snatched on order of finish.
The Chapters set up tables for a flea market. Again some of the money goes to charity. The same is the same for a craft show.
Our chapter, Good Time Sama, setting up for the flea market.
Nearly $10,000 was raised for Dog for the Deaf and Florida Guide Dogs. Over $3,000 was raised for Boggey Creek which is a camp for kids with all sorts of diseases like spina diffada, cancer, MS, and many others. Families are at the camps with these kids. Also more than 50 special balnkets and over 80 homemade “bears” were donated for the kids and there families.
There are evening meetings at the fair grounds building where people are recognized for various reasons such as out-of-state dignitaries, volunteers, game winners, etc. Raffle winners are announced. There is entertainment. Two nights a week the hall is filled for Sambo. That is Good Sam Club’s version of Bingo. Cards are bought by the players and money is paid out. A good percentage goes to a charity.
There is a theme for the Samboree, PIRATES. there is a parade where golf carts are decorated and riders in costume. Some chapters dress up and walk handing out candy. It is another fun event.
There was a special event held for couples who celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in 2012. We received a hand delivered invitation. This event was very nice as we renewed our vows. (We were married on August 26th, 1962. Fifty years later to the day, we were in Ashtabula attending church services in the church where we were married. )
Sorry this is so long but it is a weeks worth of blog. Tom.