What does Community mean to you?

It all started with a question my brother asked me a couple of years ago about our travelling lifestyle. But, don’t you miss feeling like part of a community?  he asked.  Not at all, I said.  Probably too quickly for his liking as he gave me that ‘look’.

What is Community?

Hmmm, both #1 and #2 could be describing us as RV’ers and our lifestyle. I am part of a community – what’s there to miss?  The question kept nagging at me.

We certainly interact with plenty of people, however the life style is transient and further, we don’t stay long in any one place. Do we know these people that we speak with?  Not really.

I think my brother’s question finally hit home. I didn’t feel like I was part of a community and I needed that – I actually did miss it. And three years later along came Riverbend Motorcoach Resort  in LaBelle, FL.

Our Florida Community

The resort is a 1st class RV resort in Florida – nestled along the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and away from the maddening beach crowds, hotels and traffic. Chuck and I stayed 3 months last year and went so far as to extend last winter’s stay into the 1st week of March as we didn’t want to leave! We also came back this winter – for the 5 month season!

There’s yoga, shuffleboard, bocce ball, and pickle ball. Want to quilt, paint, or bead a bracelet? How about water aerobics, bunko, mahjong or bingo? There’s daily 4:00 p.m. Yappy Hour in the Bark Park, and Saturday morning ‘all you care to eat’ breakfasts. You can’t miss the themed Mexican and Italian dinners or the Tuesday and Thursday lunches in the River clubhouse. Don’t even think about missing the Seafood lunch every 2nd Friday – it’s a packed house! How about running your model train or racing your remote control race car? There’s fund-raisers and charity events and burgers, beer and pizza.  If the weather cooperates there’s even Margarita Monday pool parties!  We share our food at pot lucks and travelling happy hours and exchange recipes. Did I mention that everything is manned by volunteers? Shopping, prepping, serving, cleaning, teaching and playing – all by volunteers. Quite frankly, it’s astounding!

Volunteerism at its best

The place runs like clock work thanks to the efforts of all the volunteers! Every activity, every planned meal, every business decision, every event is run by teams of volunteers. Volunteering is encouraged – and I was in! Want to work at the bar? Sure! Can you help in the kitchen? Of course! How are you with computers? Want to work the cash and computer? Absolutely! Can you help organize the dog parade? Yes! How about golf cart shuttling? Yup!

What is the appeal?  Definitely, the friendliness, generosity and sincerity.  There’s a hand wave and acknowledgement of every person you see – every time.  We know almost everyone on a 1st name basis (name tags help).  And, it’s the extraordinary level of volunteerism, participation and encouragement.

Honestly, I never felt quite this way living in our various ‘sticks and bricks’ homes.

Perhaps one could say that we need to stay in places for extended periods of time and that will solve the problem.   I don’t think that’s the answer.  I think Riverbend is a special place.  Certainly the most special place we have been so far.

The season ends…

…in April and most people make their way north, east and west – away from the hot & steamy Florida summer. It’s sad to leave and sad to see these friends go. There’s hugs & kisses, exchanging of e-mail addresses, new Facebook friends and promises to stop and visit whenever our paths cross and wherever our travels take us. We share in the joy of grand babies being born and wipe our collective tears sharing in the pain and sadness of illness and death. We love each others pets and laugh at each others antics. And, we congratulate our achievements.

We have found our com.mu.ni.ty – our RV community.
Our travel plans are taking us west next year.  In other words, we won’t be back to Riverbend – until the 2020/2021 season.

I miss them already!

16 thoughts on “What does Community mean to you?”

  1. Excellently written, and so familiar. Our community here in Indio is similar, but I have to say Riverbend sounds amazing! Congrats on finding a new “home”!

  2. Too funny that you finally updated us all Jacquie cuz I’ve been wondering about you guys quite a lot lately, I guess because Spring is just beginning up here in the “far North” ! Miss your smiling faces, any chance of another Ottawa visit? Helen xo

  3. Oh honey. What a great blog. Your Riverbend Life is to you what Asbestos was to me. No matter where I’ve lived since I have never ‘belonged’ nor made the same type of friends as I did in Asbestos. Now as I reach the twilight of my years the friends and acquaintances are passing one after the other and the Christmas card list deminishes every year. I hope you will continue spending time at Riverbend for as long as you are both enjoying it.
    I love you and miss you.
    Mom ??

  4. Most EXCELLENT post Jacquie and once again s I see the picture you paint crystal clear…
    ❤❤ “Home Is Where Your Heart Is” ❤❤

  5. Well, well, well, you really were listening! LOL A very interesting entry into your blog. I really do like hearing about growth, especially through introspection. I’m glad the question tugged at you. To wax philosophically for a moment, to me: the very basis of life is freedom (sounds like the RV offers that, but really it’s the choices that you make), the purpose of life is joy (you seem to have found joy in so many areas of the your current life and Riverbend has offered even more) with the result of life being growth or ever expansion (which comes from each new opportunity to be involved and learn or teach a skill thus becoming a service to others in their growth). It really sounds like you have hit the trifecta with your RV lifestyle in Riverbend and Indio. Well done.
    Community is a very interesting concept. The mechanics of the community are well represented in you 2 definitions above. And yes they do define the nature of community. Each one of us must find our own personal definition of community. And since each person can really only speak for their own thoughts, each person must have a definition that includes themselves because that’s what makes up the ‘whole’. My question was more ethereal than mechanical in nature. For me my community is Alberta. And within my definition of community, my ethereal piece is “Wherever I go in the world, I always sleep well. Whenever I return to Alberta, my heart sleeps well.” If our purpose in life is to find joy and happiness, who am I to argue with someone who is happy. My hope and my question to cause growth within the community is “Where does your heart sleep well?” I am most appreciative of having found where my heart sleeps well, and I wish that for all.
    Take care of each other, be safe and keep having fun. I love you big sister,

  6. Love your thoughts about RiverBend. We have found it to be the same – never thought I would find such a great community of friends at this time in our lives. Looking forward to seeing you in a couple of years. Safe travels and enjoy!

  7. Jacquie and Chuck I saw you guys pulling out this morning. It was sad because I didn’t get to say good bye. I will miss you both at Bingo next year and will miss just seeing your smiling faces. Riverbend won’t be the same without you. We are headed home tomorrow and will certainly miss our Riverbend friends until next year. Shedding a little tear right now knowing tomorrow we have to leave. Tell Chuck my grandson picked NC State! I guess it will be go Wolfpack instead of go Tarheels for us for a while. Love and miss you both!

    1. Thanks your comments Connie! I’m sorry we didn’t get to say good-bye but our paths will cross again. You must be excited about your new coach house. There’s nothing wrong with Go Wolfpack! Start investing in ‘red’ stuff…

  8. Great description of our RiverBend home! We will miss you and Chuck next year but look forward to having you back in 20-21! BTW, you were one of those great volunteers who make RiverBend so special! Thanks for doing so much to help! Happy and safe travels until we meet again…..

    1. Thanks your comments Gloria! What fun spending time with both you and Rich. RB is definitely a fun place to volunteer at – it was my pleasure!

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