I have a business card which I call an idleness card because I'm not busy any more. It say at the top "The Homeless Network". Underneath that it says "Anyone can join". When I give it to people they sometimes say "Why the Homeless Network?"
In the Campervan and Motorhome Club of Australia, the CMCA, there are many chapters which meet more or less regularly for social purposes. Our chapter is called the Highway Wanderers because most of the members live full time on the road. We only meet occasionally because we are spread out all over the country and getting a sufficient number together to have a gathering is a bit difficult. We are all blessed, however, by an unwritten rule of the club which says that anyone is welcome at any chapter meeting so we get to meet lots of people from all the other chapters as we travel around.
In recent years the club has seen the emergence of special interest groups. These are networks of people with a common interest who can share their experiences and the solutions to their special problems.
The first such group was the Solos Network. People who travel alone have particular problems which the rest of us don't share and getting together helps them to cope with these problems.
With the success of the Solos Network, other groups started to come together. The next was the HF Radio Network for those who use HF radio to communicate with one another, with their families, and with the emergency services when they are out in the backblocks.
After that the people who drive Big Rigs saw some benefit in forming a group. Sadly, they put together membership rules which exclude most of us, even those of us who share some of their problems because of the size of our rigs. Apparently they see life in a bus or coach as being quite different from life in a motorhome with a trailer!
There are now groups of fifth-wheelers and off-roaders as well.
The name of these groups used to be "network" which has at least some inclusive connotation. They are now called "special Interest groups" which has something of an exclusive connotation.
I can't join the Solos Network because I travel with my wife. I can't join the Big Rigs Network because I drive a "purpose built" motorhome. I can't join the fifth-wheelers because I have 4 plus 4 wheels. I haven't joined the HF Radio Network because I use UHF CB, and I haven't joined the off-roaders because I prefer to keep to the bitumen.
I find the rise of these exclusive groups a little unfortunate because the great strength of the CMCA is its inclusiveness. I decided that I needed a network that I could join. I realised that I should create one that everyone can to join. The idea of the Homeless Network was born.
The rules are simple.
Members sometimes ask me where they can get a flag. I say "You'll have to do what I did, make your own."
It has been suggested that we should have a meeting at Casino Village. "How?" I asked. " Send a letter to all your members." "But we have no membership list" I said. "Then advertise it in the Wanderer." "But we don't have any officers" I replied.
I was asked if I would like the CMCA to formalize the Network. "But you can't," I said "it has as members all sorts of people who can't be members of the CMCA. We are the ultimate inclusive network."
Membership is large and growing. It includes caravaners, people with tents and even people who have yet to set out on their own journey across Australia.
The Homeless Network is very, very inclusive.