Black RVers Gather in Gadsden, Ala.
More than 200 families are expected to attend the Alabama Black Campers Organization’s (ABCO) Southern Regional Rally this week in Gadsden, Ala.
The annual event is taking place in Gadsden for the first time. The event for recreational vehicles begins today (May 15) at River Country Campground and continues until Sunday, according to the Gadsden Times.
“It’s a beautiful location,” said Lawrence Joseph, ABCO president. Joseph said he especially likes the campground because it’s surrounded by water.
ABCO, a local camping club of the National African-American RVers Association (NAARVA), is the host of this year’s regional event.
P.A. Rhodes, a member of ABCO, said it is a huge deal that Alabama was selected out of all the Southern states.
“This is the first time we’ve had an event like this in Alabama, (and) we expect anywhere from 200 to 210 recreational vehicles,” Rhodes said.
The event is known to attract families, many of whom have met before because of a shared love for RVs, community, travel and recreational activity.
“The organization is family oriented,” Joseph said. “It is a unique group of people that enjoy working and spending time together.” Rhodes said it is that camaraderie and loyalty that make the organization special.
“We promote family, family, family,” Rhodes said. “We are a community; we watch out for each other and each other's children.”
In addition to keeping an eye out, families get to enjoy each other’s company. Joseph said the trip is filled with events and activities for both adults and children. This year the list includes ice-cream socials, golf tournaments and cookouts.
Rhodes said events like this are meant to foster friendships and create a sense of community because people always meet someone who becomes a lifelong friend.
Joseph said there also will be a children’s parade where each child will carry a flag representing one of the Southern regions.
NAARVA is a nonprofit organization with more than 5,000 members.
Rhodes said the organization gives out scholarships and is dedicated to community service.
More information about NAARVA or ABCO is available by calling Carolyn George, rally coordinator, at (205) 328-5989.