The beginning of March, we had the opportunity to participate in our first RV rally. We’ve been a part of Fulltime Families since we hit the road nearly 2 years ago. With my work schedule, however, our timing hasn’t allowed us to participate in a rally, until now.
Our journey from New Orleans took us east to Orlando. Along the way, we stopped in Madison, Florida where the RV rally took place. We stayed at Jellystone campground, a cute park with several playgrounds, jump pillow, bounce houses, mini golf, a water park, tether ball, & Gaga ball (I’ll explain in more detail later).
With this being our first rally, we didn’t know what to expect. We were super excited to meet people & make connections, but nervous at the same time. I think the kids had an easier time making friends than we did. They just say, “Hi. Wanna play?” and they’re off. As adults, we have to find a conversation starter or some common ground to get the ball rolling.
Initially, what made it challenging was the sheer amount of people. There were 69 families, so about 280 folks in all. Where do you start? To say the opening ceremony was overwhelming would be an understatement. In fact, we left that first night wondering what in the heck we signed up for.
But we shook off the first day jitters, and jumped back into the activities. They had morning “Coffee Talks”, which were small group gatherings discussing different topics like building relationships, healthy eating on the road, videography, etc. The afternoon sessions were much like the coffee talks but took place after lunch, so they were great for those of us who aren’t morning people. These small group gatherings were a great way to not only learn something new but also get so know folks without feeling the pressure of such a large group.
Our favorite part of the rally was probably the small group potluck and branch campfires. Again, these small gatherings were a great way to get to know other families without being overwhelmed. Friendships happen best around a meal or a campfire, right?
There were sessions provided for the kiddos, too, with art projects and games. However, our kids’ favorite part of the rally was the GaGa ball. We’d never heard of this game until we arrived, but it was all the rage. It originated in Israel, and GaGa means “Hit Hit”. The players enter an octagonal sand pit with a rubber ball in the middle. The kids then push or slap the ball across the pit in an attempt to tag the other players out. The last one standing wins.
The kiddos spent from sun-up to sun-down every day at the GaGa ball pit having fun playing, making friends, & soaking up the Florida sun. In fact, they have an address book they made at one of the crafting sessions that is now full of friends names, emails, phone numbers, or instant message links so they can keep in touch with their friends on the road.
Here’s a couple of photos of Will with his new friends Spencer & Jasper. There was a costume contest during the closing ceremonies, and Will’s friend Jasper dressed up as Will. It was so cute! 💗
The rally also had a Mom’s Night & Dad’s Night Out. It was another opportunity to get to know our peers & have some fun, too. For the ladies, we played a dice game called Bunco. We gathered in groups of 4, and rotated every round, so we played with new people. Between the snacks, adult beverages, and the fun of the game, I was able to meet so many other ladies I’d not connected with before, and I had a blast doing it! In fact, I may have had a little too much fun and felt it the next morning, but it was worth it!
The guys had a casino night with poker, blackjack, and craps. They, too, had some adult beverages to go along with the fun. Bill was smarter with his alcohol consumption than I was, but he stayed out a bit later than I had.
With all the activities of the rally, and late nights over the campfire, we were exhausted by the end of the week but also rejuvenated. It was so amazing to have met all these folks that are living life on the road just like we are. We feel like we now have a community to belong to, that we’re not alone in this crazy journey. The best part is we all have a few new friends, too.
We can’t wait to attend another RV rally and continue to grow our new friendships!
For more photos & video of our time at the Fulltime Families Reunion rally, check out our YouTube video. NOTB Goes to Its First FTF Rally
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