A history the Origination of the Penn-lehigh Unit (093)

Organizational Meeting Hellertown, PA December 13,1970

Engelman, Wilson

The Penn Lehigh Unit is a member of the Wally Byarn Caravan Club International, Inc, There are several hundred units throughout North America, formed as non-profit organizations for Airstream trailer owners. These organizations have formed to assist in Improving the general welfare of the traveling public, and oppose all legislation which is discriminatory and injurious to trailering.

The Wallv Byam Code of Ethics must be strictly adhered to In order to maintain membership in the WBCCI.

The Penn Lehigh Unit had its Inception early In 1970 when a small contingent of Keystone Unit members decided to form a new unit

. The innovators of the Penn Lehigh Unit were Ed & Mary Litwhiler, Charles & Ann Deihl, the Rev. Dr. George & Winifred Wilson and John & Margaret Hayes.

Starting in early 1970, meetings were held at private homes in winter and at camp outs in summer throughout the year. The Unit increased its membership at each meeting and at each meeting additional information was received on requirements and regulations needed to form a new unit and be recognized by International.

A name for the Unit was one of the early topics discussed. One of the pre-requisites for membership is that the Unit name must indicate its location. Since most of the people Interested in forming the new unit were from the Lehigh Valley of Pennsylvania, the official name became “Penn-Lehigh:’

It was decided to hold a Christmas party at the Dewey Fire Co. Hall in Hellertown, Pa, on December 15, 1970, to determine what interest could be initiated to form a new unit.

To be recognized, a new unit must have at least twenty-one members. The party, (food, drink and entertainment) was enjoyed by all and the enthusiasm for the new unit was overwhelming but the goal of twenty-one members was not achieved; two more members were needed.

It was decided to continue trying for additional members;

an Executive Board was appointed. The Rev. Dr. George Wilson was appointed president

. The first Executive Committee meeting of the Penn Lehigh Unit, WBCCI, was called to order January 1971, by President Wilson, The meeting was held at the Wilson home. Present were George & Winifred Wilson, Charles & Ann Diehl, Mary Litwhiler, Ralph Pidcock, Margaret Hayes, and Ruth Huggans.Guests were Edward Litwhiler, John Hayes, Carl Huggans & Doris Pidcock. The membership of the Unit was reviewed.

There were twenty-one charter members with four paying 1971 International dues through Penn-lehigh, fifteen paid International dues through the Keystone Unit and two paid dues through other units. The required membership was now achieved and immediate steps were taken for a charter.

The second Executive Committee. meeting was held February 6, 1971, at the home of Carl & Ruth Huggans, Coopersburg, PA. Mary Litwhiler, in charge of sites for the summer rallies reported the first rally would be held April 9-11 at the KOA. Campgrqund, Route 100, Foglesville, PA.

The second rally would be May 28-30, 1971, at the Montour-DeLong Fairgrounds, Washingtonville,. PA.

The March 6, 1971, Executive Committee meeting, held at the home of John & Margaret Hayes, was opened by President Wilson. Treasurer, Margaret Hayes, reported a balance of $53.91 in the bank. It was decided that in lieu of flags for the officers, signs would be made for them. It was decided to discuss a monthly publication or newsletter, for the purpose of informing members of rallies and unit news, at the April rally so that all unit members could participate in the discussion.

The idea of a Penn-Lehigh Unit emblem came up at this meeting and was also tabled for discussion at the April Rally. Ruth Huggans, Membership Secretary, reported the Penn-Lehigh Unit now had 23 members.

The first membership meeting of the Penn-Lehigh Unit was held at the KOA Campground, Fogelsville, PA, April 10,1971. President Wilson introduced the officers for 1971:President-elect, Ann Diehl; vice President, John Hayes; 2od Vice President, Ralph Pidcock; Recording Secretary, Winifred Wilson; Treasurer, Margaret Hayes; Membership Secretary, Ruth Huggans; trustees: Mary Litiwhiler, Charles Diehl, Charles Cox, Peter Coste.

Treasurer, Margaret Hayes, reported the Unit had a bank balance of $46.19.· Ruth Huggans, Membership Secretary, reported that the unit had 35 members and three applications pending.

At this rally and at several rallies during the next two years, white elephant sales were held to raise money for the Unit. These sales provided hilarious entertainment and were very successful. John Hayes was appointed to represent our President at the International Rally in Salem, Oregon and he and Margaret would serve as delegates for the first time for the Penn-Lehigh Unit

A name for the newsletter was discussed; a committee chaired by June Goodman, was appointed to receive suggestions and report at the next membership meeting. A prize would be given to the winner. At the Memorial Day Weekend rally, May 28-31,.1971,

June Goodman announced the best suggestion for the Unit newsletter. Mary Kohrs had submitted the winning name, The “PENNSYL “

During the first rallies’ soup and crackers or a light supper was served to everyone upon their arrival Friday evening.

By the August Rally at Newfoundland, PA, the membership had increased to 48 and the Treasurer, Margaret Hayes, reported a bank balance of $349.20.

At the Labor Day meeting at Mac’s Barn, President Wilson appointed a committee to nominate candidates for the coming year. Mary Litwhiler gave a report on sites for the next year.

The Unit emblem, designed by Ann Diehl and made by Les and June Goodman, has its permanent place on a pedestal between the U.S. and Pennsylvania flags during all Penn-Lehigh Unit membership meetings.

Ann has also designed bulletin boards which have been used for display purposes at the International Rallies.

The first favorable recognition from the Wally Byam Caravan Club International was a letter from President Alex Christiansen dated December 2, -1970, and addressed to the Rev. Dr. George Wilson, President. It reads as follows: “We are happy to welcome you and the members of Penn Lehigh Unit of Pennsylvania into the WBCCI, Inc. I am sure that you and the members of the newly activated unit will enjoy this association with the WBCCI.”

The Penn-Lehigh unit charter was approved June 23, 1971. It was signed by President Alex Christiansen and Secretary W. B. Stanley, of WBCCI. The charter was received by President Wilson in October 1971. The charter was framed and presented to the membership at the Christmas Party held at the Dewey fire Company, Hellertown, PA Region 2 President, Bruce Maclean officially presented the charter to the members. He later served as International President in 1974-75.

At the business meeting on September 22, 1973, President John Hayes appointed Ed Litwhiler to look into the possibility of the Penn­Leigh Unit purchasing land to create its own Land Yacht Harbor. At the April 20, 1974, meeting Ed Litwhiler reported that approximately $22,000 had been pledged by both the Keystone and Penn-Lehigh Unit for the acquisition of land for an Airstream Park in Central Pennsylvania. The committee traveled many miles and spent many hours in their effort to locate a site and when a suitable site was located, the price was not within reason. At a membership meeting .in July 1976, it was decided to table the subject of a Land Yacht Harbor.

The Penn-Lehigh Unit has been fortunate in having active and energetic officers and unit members. The Unit has not shirked any duties asked of them by the Intemational or Pennsylvania Units. Our Unit holds a business meeting at all rallies so that members can express their opinions on any proposals made by WBCCI and can be informed by any changes affect our Unit. Penn-Lehigh has a church service at all rallies. Paul Martin, Les Goodman and Robert Schreffler share duties of conducting services when a minister is not available.

A choir made up of Unit members was formed early in the Unit’s history and is a large part of the church service. It is directed by J. Ernest Martin., Offerings from the. services are given to charitable organizations in the area Where the rallies are held.

Peak membership for the Penn~Lehigh Unit was reached November 10, .1979, with 91 members. The Unit is financially stable and its prestige has grown with other state units and the WBCCI.

It is not known when this history was written or who the author was. We might assume the year was 1979 since that is the last date mentioned.

This year (1999), we are re-doing the Directory (Red Book) completely as it has been several years and there are many changes in the membership list as well as the Constitution and Bylaws which must be reviewed by WBCCI every five years .

We are pleased to be able to include in the new directory this record of how Penn Lehigh began; there are only a few who had copies. Many of us who are new to the club have not known those charter members who worked so hard to form such a great unit of Airstreamers. We only know two of the names mentioned in the history – Litwhilers and Goodmans.

At this writing there are 37 Regular Members, four Affiliate Members; and a group of twelve “friends:’ . These are people who have had to give up their Airstreams and can no longer be active participants of the Club, but we wanted to maintain our “friendships” with them, so we created an Alumni group just to stay in touch. They are invited to dinners and/or a Saturday afternoon at the Buddy Rally

We continue to be an active Unit with good support from our members. We do have some older members and it seems that life takes its toll every year as more make that most difficult decision to give up our ‘wonderful way of Iife”~~ We also have several younger members who are still working and can only attend when busy schedules allow.

With our International organization we look to the future for a stronger club, with young people coming to our Rallies; all ages participating and taking the responsibilities of an office — so Penn- Lehigh can grow and become bigger and better as we approach the 21 st Century.

At the July 1996 buddy Rally held at West End Fairgrounds in Gilbert, we held our 25th Anniversary Celebration. The committee had searched old records and invitations were sent to all those. who had been past members of Penn-Lehigh to come for our “Party” on Saturday afternoon of the rally to help us celebrate. We asked them to bring pictures or other memorabilia to add to our Scrapbook. Twenty-two past members were in attendance. There was a catered luncheon at noon. Followed by entertainment by the Allentown Harmonica club and a picnic supper of hot dogs with a salad and dessert .. It was a wonderful day. Everyone enjoyed renewing special friendships and it was hard to separate as It was time for folks to go home, promising they’d like to come again next year. Everyone agreed that it was a good idea ~~

SO BE IT! It won’t be the same as our 25th but we want to have a “Home Coming/Buddy Rally” to become a regular activity in July! History recreated and remarked by Marge Gutschmidt while updating the RedBook