Glamping for a Good Cause: Southern-Area Sisters hosts Vintage Trailer Trot

Christine DeLong inside "Jewel," her vintage camper.
Christine DeLong inside "Jewel," her vintage camper.

When she fell in love with camping, Jennifer Megliore knew she’d found something special.

“I was obsessed with finding a very small camper that I could pull with my little car,” she said. “I just loved the idea of being able to have my home wherever I wanted it to be.”

As an adult, Megliore found that home isn’t always a building or a 24-foot Winnebago. Sometimes, it’s a chorus of support around a campfire or the perfect thrift find from a friend she met through a Facebook page, now known as KickSAS (which stands for Southern-Area Sisters). Ranging from their mid-30s to mid-80s, these sisters have a lot of love for camping and even more love for making friends, which becomes increasingly evident by how openly they welcome visitors into their campers for a cup of coffee and a conversation about all things vintage.

That same welcoming spirit extends to the community during the inaugural Vintage Camper Trailer Trot at the brand-new Savannah Lakes RV Resort in Hardeeville, South Carolina.

Although the event is free, volunteers will collect the suggested $10 donation to support two causes near and dear to the KickSAS gals. Two-thirds of the proceeds from the event will benefit Hospice Center of the Lowcountry, a non-profit hospice care center providing a brighter outlook on end-of-life care.

“At Hospice Care of the Lowcountry, we believe it’s not about dying, it’s about living! Our mission is to honor life by providing compassionate care and guidance for those in our community experiencing serious illness, end-of-life and grief,” Hospice Care of the Lowcountry Director of Fundraising and Development Sharonica Gavin said.

The event’s sunflower theme isn’t its only tie to the Hospice Center of the Lowcountry. A more personal tie lies within the relationship between the KickSAS sisters and the Hospice Center of the Lowcountry nurses who cared for beloved KickSAS member and Hilton Head Island High School teacher Karen Wilson. The remaining proceeds will honor Wilson’s memory through the Karen Wilson Special Education Empowerment scholarship, which benefits the academic and personal growth of two high school students receiving Special Education services, Wilson’s specialty, in South Carolina. By empowering these students, KickSAS hopes to lend a helping hand wherever possible.

“That's Karen in a nutshell right there,” Megliore said. “She was such an endearing person. She was the first one to lean in if anybody needed any kind of help, the most caring person you could meet, as are so many teachers.”

Christine DeLong inside "Jewel," her vintage camper.
Christine DeLong inside "Jewel," her vintage camper.

The 'Jewel' of the Trailer Trot

The group welcomes a range of camping styles in their excursions, from tent camping to conversion vans, casitas and air streams. Megliore believes KickSAS member Christine DeLong’s estate model camper, Jewel, will be the star of the Trailer Trot—and she’s probably right. After all, few campers have a full-size bathtub, let alone a turquoise one.

Form and function are equally important in such a small space, but decoration is where the real magic happens. Jewel is a time machine transporting visitors to a different era, replete with beautiful lace curtains, an incredible origin story and a lively hostess prepared for a fabulous party at the drop of a pillbox hat.

But Jewel is just one dazzling example of the themed decor on display at the Trailer Trot.

“You'll be impressed how these girls go out of their way to show a theme. They have vintage luggage, they have picnic sets, they have outdoor cooking areas, living room sets. Some of the girls set up outdoor spaces that would make anybody envious,” Megliore said.

Christine DeLong’s estate model camper, Jewel, has a full-size turquoise bathtub.
Christine DeLong’s estate model camper, Jewel, has a full-size turquoise bathtub.

Megliore’s 1968 Shasta 1400 centers on a theme of travel, birds and migration, which she said was inspired by the idea that “if you don't like your destination, you have the power to change it.” Make sure to check out the Flip Flop-Inn as well, a lovely home away from home adorned with flip-flops right down to a hand-quilted bedspread.

These ladies don’t collect these themed items on their own. Megliore said it’s common for a new friend to tag along and catch “camper fever,” a look she and the other KickSAS gals know better than any other. Within a few months, they’ll be looking for a camper of their own, and KickSAS will be right behind them to help them come up with ideas and work through any challenges that arise along the way.

“The shared experience that comes together around a campfire is something special that a lot of people don't get to experience,” Megliore said. “I think everybody's relaxed, and it’s free time, perhaps with a beverage, and we just enjoy spending time together. You can just sit there and watch the embers. There's something healing about that. It seems to wipe away the dust of everyday life.”

The KickSAS gals also recharge by looking for fun finds at thrift stores, antique markets and any other location offering fun finds. Nostalgia is central in their outings, and these women are proud to create the same experience with a table of camper collectibles available for purchase at the Trailer Trot. Here, visitors can peruse the KickSAS gals’ favorite ornaments, plates and vintage tablecloths while benefitting an organization that makes difficult times a little easier.

“It's so hard for us when we lose one of our members like Karen, who was an exceptional person. I think that's why we appreciate Hospice of the Low Country so much because they made her passing as gentle as it could be,” Megliore said. “It is the greatest relief you could feel to know somebody's going to be well cared for.”

By sharing that comfort with countless others through the Vintage Camper Trailer Trot, Megliore and the rest of KickSAS have proven how easily home can go from a place to a feeling—something special you can carry everywhere you go.

If You Go >>

What: Vintage Camper Trailer Trot

When: Noon to 2 p.m., March 23

Where: Savannah Lakes RV Park, 170 Savannah Lakes Drive N, Hardeeville, South Carolina

Admission: Free, but $10 suggested donation

This article originally appeared on Savannah Morning News: Southern-Area Sisters hosts Vintage Trailer Trot fundraiser