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!