Creating a New Chapter
If you have found a group of friends that you like to camp with and you would like to make that group an official South Carolina Chapter of Good Sam, the first order of business is to contact the SC State Director. The contact information for directors outside of South Carolina can be found at GoodSam.com/club/chapters. Your state/provincial director can help you through the following steps:
1. Draft Standard Operating Procedures: Good Sam has one Constitution and Bylaws for the entire United States and Canada. All State/Provinces are required to operate within the boundaries of the Constitution and Bylaws. However, if your Chapter would like to draft Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) specifically for your chapter, you may do so. Your Director should have an example of a typical Chapter SOP to guide you in this process.
2. Chapter Officers: It is important to note that your chapter does NOT have to choose to elect officers. However, if you choose not to elect officers your chapter will forfeit the right to vote at the state level. If you choose to elect chapter officers please follow the next step:
3. Electing Chapter Officers: Meetings can be held as often as you like, but should be held at least once a year. Your chapter officers should be able to attend this meeting. It’s not recommended that Chapter officers be in the same family. However, depending on the size of the group, it can be impossible to avoid this. Suggested list of Officers:
a. President - (This is probably the person that is the “natural leader” in the group) At first, this position can be temporary in order to get the Chapter started. The president typically will preside over all meetings and is expected, if they so choose, to attend (or send a representative) to the State/Provincial Committee meeting.
b. Vice President – Not all chapters have a Vice President. You can choose whether you would like to fill this office or not.
c. Secretary - The purpose of the Secretary is to take down notes during any business meeting and distribute to all members of the group. The Secretary also keeps up with Chapter membership by completing the Chapter Roster and submitting either to the President or the State/Provincial Director once a year.
d. Treasurer – The purpose of the Treasurer is to collect any dues and/or donations and to distribute funds, as determined by the guidelines of the Chapter.
4. Membership: All Chapter members must be members of Good Sam. The prospective President should make sure that all potential members have a valid Good Sam Membership. If they are not, and would like to join Good Sam, they can sign up by calling Member Services at 1-800-234-3450 or by going online.
5. Choose a Name for your Chapter: Your Chapter name will most likely describe the type of group you are. For instance, Chapter who like to ride motorcycles could be called the “Idaho Two Wheelers.” Choose something that describes your interests, describes your members or something that’s just “FUN.”
6. Decide How Often/When your Chapter would like to camp: The main purpose of your Chapter is to camp together and HAVE FUN. Decide when and how often your Chapter would like to camp together. (For example: once a month, middle of the week, Holidays only, Rallies only, weekends only.) It’s your Chapter –so remember you can camp together as little or as often as you like.
7. Decide if your Chapter will maintain a treasury: A treasury can be maintained in order to cover group reservation fees (so the whole group can camp close together), hold money for donations or for gift cards/flowers for members in cases of illness or death. The treasury also can hold the money for State or Provincial dues. These dues are determined by the State/Provincial Committee.
8. Dues: Not all State/Provinces require dues to be paid. This is decided upon by the State/Provincial Committee. If dues are required by your State/Province, these will be paid once a year. Your Chapter should determine the amount of dues that the Chapter will require. Again, this is optional, but most Chapters require dues in order to fully operate as a chapter.
9. Chapter Patches, Vests, Banners, Etc. Chapters may elect to design a patch to wear on a vest. This patch is usually designed to represent the chapter name. Your Director can show you some examples. Your Director will also have information on where you can have a patch designed and manufactured.
10. Complete Chapter Roster: Complete your Chapter Roster and submit to Director. Your Director will then submit this to Headquarters in order for you to receive your official Chapter Charter.