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Winter Texans Celebrate with a Community Spirit

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Seniors having breakfast together at a campsite

They embrace. They celebrate. They catch up. This course of events will be played out again and again for the next few months in RV parks and resorts throughout the South.

When Winter Texans travel south every year they have the distinct pleasure of re-uniting with their winter communities; those campgrounds and resorts that host the same people year in and year out. For Winter Texans, reuniting with friends they haven't seen in months is one of the many highlights of their lifestyle.

"We all look forward to seeing each other." says John Tetzlaff. Tetzlaff, a Wisconsin native who has been full timing and a Winter Texan with his wife Bobbi since 2003, recalls the strength of his community, the North Texas Airstream Community, "You get to know everyone and everyone gets to know you. You become very close friends."

At the North Texas Airstream Community, community action is vital and unique. With only one paid staff member running the 50-acre 153 property RV Park, community members are expected to do their part to make the community run properly. Community members take up a variety of tasks including landscaping, public relations, and treasurer responsibilites, among others. Volunteerism is at the heart of the RV Park and is responsible for having forged many life long friendships. It is the glue that binds.

For Tetzlaff, the community is central to his experience. So much so that he cites it as one of the primary reasons why he and Bobbi had selected the community, "it's one of the main reasons we're here."

Bob Kaemmerer had been full timing with his wife Marne for 10 years. Their Airstream trailer was "getting a bit heavy" and they were looking for a home base. They found their home at North Texas Airstream Community. "I'm a retired high school band director, so when I heard the community had its own choir and band I became interested." Kaemmerer plays saxophone in the band, along with Tetzlaff who plays cornet. They just played their annual Christmas concert.

One of the keys to creating a welcoming atmosphere is community. At Paradise Park in Pharr, Texas the staff throws an annual Halloween party to welcome snowbirds back for the winter. During Thanksgiving an annual Thanksgiving Day feast is held in the park's activities hall. Last year 200 Winter Texans were on hand for the feast.

Annual reunions at RV parks are a part of the RV tradition and lifestyle. But they are not to be taken for granted. They require hard work, planning, and of course people. Successful reunions are an indication of community strength. Without a community bond few RVers will return to the same RV park each year. For RV parks that host successful reunions it is clear that a strong community connection is alive and well. And that is reason to celebrate!

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