By Amber Mahaffey
ELKHART, Ind. – About 250 people came to the RV/MH Hall of Fame on Wednesday evening to witness “The Reveal” – a successful effort to breathe new life into a formerly dilapidated travel trailer in a project that organizers said helped bond participating members of the RV Women’s Alliance.
The Reveal represented the culmination of nearly a year’s worth of labor on RVWA’s Drab to Fab project to update, upgrade and completely refurbish the old trailer. Appropriately enough, RVWA members dubbed the completely renovated the “Chrysalis” – representing a transformation from a caterpillar to a butterfly.
At Wednesday’s event, RVWA President Susan Carpenter asked the volunteers to stand, prompting applause from attendees. More than 80 people – mostly women – from across the industry came together to assist in the renovations, and many of them attended the Drab to Fab Reveal event to see the final result of their efforts.
Carpenter and Tracy Anglemeyer, RVWA’s Special Projects Chair, traded anecdotes that includes a story about a female volunteer who had never handled power tools and ended up paneling the entire bedroom and a tale about Carpenter’s “cheater” tape measure, prompting laughs from the audience.
RVWA leaders took time during the ceremony took time to recognize designers Lisa Chapman, Sarah Reynolds, and Cassie Russell; Project Coordinator Ashley Pletcher; and Social Media Lead Sarah Chavez. Sponsors of note include Airxcel, Patrick Industries, the RV Technical Institute, and Huebner Marketing, but the list of those involved spans the industry.
Most RVWA volunteers had only seen snippets of progress during the entirety of the project. Until Wednesday, few have seen the final product.
RVWA kept people engaged by sending weekly updates to sponsors that detailed progress, including releasing a total of 35 videos to social media.
“You never got to the see the RV in its entirety, but you got to see different parts of the build as we built up to the reveal. But Susan was always hanging out – and she’s very much represented in all 35 of those videos,” said Jordyn Foos, RVWA vice president.
Carpenter agreed, “It was 10 months, and when I say 10 months, it was basically all-consuming of my life for 10 months, and that was great because during COVID, what else are you going to do?”
Since its formation a bit more than two years ago, RVWA has hosted a variety of networking and educational events. However, the Drab to Fab project was the organization’s biggest undertaking yet, according to Carpenter.
So, what happens to the Chrysalis now?
Carpenter said those interested in a chance to own the trailer can go to drabtofab.org and purchase a ticket within the next 60 days. Shortly thereafter, one lucky winner will be gifted with the culmination of the RVWA’s latest efforts.
“Obviously, the grand prize is the RV, but there are other goodies to win,” Carpenter said, “and all the money goes to the RVWA to help us in our next journey.”