“Work hard. Believe in yourself. Set goals. Surround yourself with good people."

Becky ABecky A., Director, Christel House Indianapolis

A few weeks ago, I attended the very first graduation for our Christel House Drop Out Recovery School (DORS) here in Indianapolis. It is a program where adults, age 18 and older, can earn their high school diplomas (not a GED) and college credit at a local community college at the same time. We launched the program in August 2012, and in our first year, have approximately 175 students ranging in age from 18 – 53.

Our first graduating class consisted of 5 students, four women and a man. They ranged in age from 19 to 34 and had 9 children between them.  All of them have struggled to make ends meet on minimum wage pay and were searching for better lives for themselves and their families. Life is tough, but even more so when you don’t have a high school diploma. The average high school graduate earns $8,000 more a year than a person without a diploma. That extra $8,000 a year means the ability to put food on the table, buy diapers for babies, put gas in the car and pay the electric bill each month. It also translates into an extra $300,000 in earnings over a lifetime. It has a significant impact on a family’s quality of life and on a person’s own self-worth.

Each of our graduates had a dream to earn their high school diploma. As I watched them march in to “Pomp and Circumstance,” wearing their caps and gowns, I thought about how much courage it must take to return to school after not having a positive experience the first time. All of them juggle jobs, families and school work. It has been an uphill battle, but they didn’t give up. They were not looking for handouts. They were willing to put in the work to improve their lives.  They just needed a place to do that. That place is Christel House.

As I congratulated them, each one told me how hard they worked to achieve this milestone in their lives. The young man told me there were days he just wanted to give up and would think about blowing off class, but his classmates would text him and tell him he needed to come to school. One of the young women told me that she was deeply grateful to our principal, Emily, who was both tough on her and her biggest champion. She gained the self-confidence she needed to understand that she can do anything she sets her mind to do.  That young woman is going on to study at our local community college now.

The commencement speech was delivered by Christel DeHaan, the founder of Christel House and co-founder of RCI.  She shared with the graduates her thoughts on how to live a successful life. Work hard.  Believe in yourself. Set goals. Surround yourself with good people. Good advice coming from anyone, but most poignant because of who was speaking.

I’ve heard Christel DeHaan give that same advice many times before and I’ve seen her live it.  My first job out of college was at RCI and I am fortunate to work with her at Christel House.   You may not know this, but RCI was started in her living room nearly 40 years ago. She set goals, worked hard and surrounded herself with good people. What started as a home-based, fledgling business is now a leader in the vacation ownership industry and a multi-national company that sends millions of people on vacation around the world each year. 

“Work hard. Believe in yourself. Set goals. Surround yourself with good people.” It works. I hope our graduates carry that advice with them throughout their lives.

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A final thought about Christel House

Gordon G. - RCI Membership and Timeshare Vacation Info

I hope you enjoyed reading stories from all of us this week about Christel House. As the week comes to a close, I’d like to leave you with one more story. A while back I had the great privilege of meeting some of the students, and seeing this organization’s mission in action, at the Christel House in Indianapolis, Indiana.


Instead of being asked to read to a group of young children, those children read to me and other guests from story books each of them had created. Each hand-made book was filled with words and images describing what Christel House meant to its young author, and what each now thought their opportunities could be.  It was so inspiring to learn from the children in this sincere and poignant way how Christel House had opened their eyes to the world of possibility—to see that they now believe they can accomplish really anything if they put their minds to it. Later, as I spoke with them, I heard many say that they would never have felt such hope if they hadn’t been schooled at Christel House, which gave them not only the tools to aspire to be whatever they wanted, but also the self-esteem and belief that such hopes are indeed possible. It was wonderful to see. 


More recently, a Christel House graduate addressed a gathering at the ARDA convention this year (the ARDA convention is held each year for professionals in the vacation ownership and resort development industries). After describing her extremely impoverished background, she shared with us how Christel House had allowed her to succeed in ways she never had thought possible.  This 19-year-old girl was so articulate and confident, it made me very proud to be able to help such an organization, even in a small way, to make such a powerful impact on young people’s lives. 


I hope you’ll join me in supporting this life-changing organization. And attention RCI subscribing members: if you send a contribution to Christel House by December 31, 2012, RCI will match it. Learn more about Christel House here.

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Cabo or Bust!

We are new members to vacation ownership and last fall we decided to trade our time at Pueblo Bonito Emerald Bay for something in Cabo. We called RCI and got the most wonderful place in Cabo called Playa Grande. We would definitely go to Cabo again and Playa Grande would be on the top of our list. Thanks!

- Mary B. from Las Vegas, NV
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Perfect Snow in Steamboat Springs, CO

Our trip to Steamboat Springs, Colorado in January 2009 was the best start to the new year for us. Our adult kids decided they too wanted to go, so we booked a week in a three bedroom suite. It was fabulous! The resort was beautiful (especially at night) and very convenient to the slopes, as we just walked across the street to board the shuttle and in less than 10 minutes, we were at the mountain. The kids had the best time of their lives and will never forget the trip. They still talk about Steamboat having the perfect snowflakes...I'm not kidding when I say that we had perfect weather the week we were there as it snowed every day. The kids boarded everyday except one, opting for a snow play day! They built a fort and messed around and just had fun! We ski, so we were up on the mountain every other day (age, I guess??). This is the second time our kids opted to go on a vacation with us since we bought ownership with Wyndham Vacation Resorts almost three years ago, making both those trips more memorable than anything. We can really have a terrific time with them when we are away from all the stresses of living. We are just getting ready to book our next ski trip and the kids are asking "Where are we going this time?"

- Susan B. from Fullerton, CA
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Algarve, Portugal 2007

In August of 2007 our family spent a week of vacation at a wonderful RCI affiliated resort property in the Algarve region of Portugal. Our view from the balcony was not only of the beautiful pool and palm trees but beyond that we could see the fabulous beach and rock formations. Hundreds of colorful umbrellas dot the sand while sun worshiping tourist stroll up and down the shoreline. We enjoyed a fun family night buffet out at the pool with entertainment by performing "Parrots" and dancing to a live band. Our regular timeshare is at the amazing Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, but this visit to Portugal gave us the advantage of visiting relatives and having a great vacation at the same time. We love the options that an RCI subscribing membership gives us to fully utilize the benefits of time-share ownership. Thanks RCI.

- Julie J. from Corcoran, CA
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RCI PlatinumSM membership – enjoy it on vacation, or at home!

Paul M. - RCI Points Product NewsGreat news in the RCI Weeks world…RCI Weeks subscribing members can now upgrade to RCI Platinum membership!  This upgraded tier of membership was made available to RCI Points® members last year, and they’ve enjoyed the many benefits of being an RCI Platinum member both at home and while on vacation.

Need an excuse to check out some new or different local eateries?  Look no further!  RCI Platinum dining discounts range from buy-one-get-one deals on everyday purchases like coffee and donuts, to big discounts at great restaurants.   And, if spring has you thinking about a “tee party :)”, check out the amazing RCI Platinum golf discounts.  The list goes on…think big city tour discounts, major metropolitan attraction discounts and more.

(We hope) It goes without saying that our goal is to help to enhance your vacation ownership, and there’s no better way to do that than every day while you’re at home.   And, when you’re ready to get away, the Priority Access feature gives you access to exchange vacations in awesome locations where exchange availability may otherwise be scarce.  Locations vary, but we’re talking about places like Chicago, Boston, New York City, San Diego and Seattle – all undeniably great cities! The Unit Upgrade feature is really cool too – as an RCI Platinum member, if a larger unit is available two weeks before your vacation’s check-in date, you have the opportunity to be automatically upgraded.  Who couldn’t use a bit more space to relax?!

And don’t forget, with Platinum Rebates on RCI transactions like Guest Certificates toward accommodations, Extra VacationsSM getaways, and Combined Deposits (for RCI Weeks members), it only takes a couple of transactions and you’ve almost covered the $55 USD annual RCI Platinum fee!  I’m not a fan of the phrase “no-brainer”, but…

To upgrade to the RCI Platinum membership, please call an RCI Vacation Guide today.

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With the New RCI Weeks Exchange System, You Can Be Choosy

Julia G. - RCI Weeks News and InformationI hope by now you’ve had a chance to check out the new enhancements for RCI Weeks members on RCI.com. If you haven’t, I highly recommend doing so, as the new site has a lot more information for you about your Deposits and the exchanges you are searching for.

If you have visited RCI.com, you may have noticed that there are now numbers next to each of your Deposits and next to each exchange vacation. Those are called Deposit Trading Power and Exchange Trading Power! Your deposit has a trading power, known as Deposit Trading Power and each exchange vacation also has a trading power, known as Exchange Trading Power. Make sense?

So why am I telling you about all of this? It’s so you have a better understanding of all of the options you now have available when exchanging through RCI.

Now that you can see the Deposit Trading Power and Exchange Trading Power, you can make better decisions about how you’d like to use your ownership week. You may have found a great vacation that has a lower Exchange Trading Power than the trading power of your Deposit. Hurry up and book it! Once you do, you will receive a Deposit Credit on your account which has a Deposit Trading Power equal to the difference between the Exchange Trading Power and the Deposit Trading Power used.

Can’t find the exchange vacation you’re looking for with your Deposit Trading Power? Well simply deposit your next year’s vacation week, combine your Deposits, and voilá – more Deposit Trading Power! Now you should have more exchange options available to you.

As you can see, these new enhancements give you many more choices than you had before. I do want to say though for those of you out there who don’t like choices…fear not, the RCI exchange system works similarly in many ways to the way it always has (and trading power is not changing), only now, some of the changes allow you to actually see the Deposit Trading Power of your deposited weeks and Exchange Trading Power of available exchange vacations, and have a lot more flexibility in how to use your Deposit Trading Power to look for that perfect vacation with RCI.

For more information about these enhancements, click here.

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What’s New with Endless Vacation® Magazine

RCI Timeshare Exchange and Vacation ExperiencesWith so many new additions to RCI this year (the RCI® app for the iPhone®, new RCI.com search functions, RCI TV and the RCI channel on YouTube, etc.), you didn’t think we’d forget about Endless Vacation Magazine, did you? We know that you are always looking for more ways to get the most out of your vacation timeshare ownership – and as the Publisher of the North American version of Endless Vacation Magazine, I know you’re excited when we add more to the magazine - so, starting with our first issue of 2010, we added a 10-page RCI Member Section.

In every issue, you’ll now find tips and information to help you understand your RCI subscribing membership and member benefits (like when it’s the best time to deposit or how RCI.com can help you plan your vacations), updates on RCI, and membership news (did you know that RCI follows environmental-sustainability best practices?). You can also see a listing of newly affiliated resorts that have recently joined the RCI exchange network, special member-only offers, and RCI vacation stories from subscribing members like you!

We’re constantly working on ways to make it easier for you to get on vacation. I know the RCI Member Section will help you in your planning journey. So, what do you think of this new section? What other information would you like to see? Let us know by commenting below.

iPhone is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

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Even More Timeshare Exchange Tips

Beth S. - Timeshare Exchange TipsA few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry called "A Few Timeshare Exchange Tips". In that post, I shared what I learned from a subscribing member when I first started with RCI ten years ago as a Vacation Guide. If you thought that members knew everything about timeshare resorts, keep reading to see what another veteran vacation planner taught me!

It was my very first call with multiple bookings. The member was a self-proclaimed family reunion planner, and planned a huge event for her family every other year. Her requirements? A new vacation destination each year, at least five 2-bedroom units, and it had to be in the summertime.  To top it off, she only owned one week per year!

Here’s how she planned: She saved her deposits for two years at a time, and then used them for two of the units. She always planned a year in advance, deposited early to help maximize the Trading Power of her week, and picked an area where there was Extra VacationsSM getaways inventory so that she could easily get the extra three units. She explained that timing is everything. This is true whether you need five units or one unit!

I’m not saying this strategy will work for everyone, but the biggest thing I learned is that no matter what kind of vacation you are planning - whether it’s for a reunion, a romantic getaway for two, or a place the kids would enjoy – you can be really creative in using your existing timeshare resorts ownership (plus, if you familiarize yourself with our Extra Vacations getaways inventory available to RCI members, you open up the doors to even more vacation opportunities beyond just your exchange options!).

Are there any additional tips you have? If so, please comment below.

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Trading Power at RCI: How Our Timeshare Exchange Program Works

Gordon G. - RCI Membership and Timeshare Vacation InfoTrading Power is very important for you when you are booking a timeshare exchange with RCI! This is how we determine what timeshare exchange offers to provide you.


The RCI Weeks program is based on a like-for-like principle. This means we will always work to provide you with a timeshare exchange similar to the deposit you provided us. That is, if you provide us with two weeks in a very popular destination, we will try to give you two weeks in another equally popular destination.


Most of the inventory in our timeshare exchange program is provided by members who deposit their ownership week with us. RCI members have up to 24 months before their start date to make a deposit. Within that two year window, other members may ask for that same start date for their vacation. So our job is to try and match everyone we can with all the deposits we get from other members.


Although all exchanges are made based on Trading Power, it takes higher Trading Power to travel to highly demanded areas with limited supply, or during highly demanded weeks of the year (like Christmas Week, 4th of July, etc.).


The Trading Power of your deposited week is based on a lot of factors, including how many members have historically asked for your type of deposit, how many deposits like yours we get, the quality of your resort, and the size and season of your deposit, just to mention a few. We compare all of these to the vacation that you request, and if the Trading Power is similar (or if your deposit has more Trading Power), then you will have a great chance of getting what you are asking for.


You probably have heard our Guides talk about depositing early. That's because you can usually help to maximize your Trading Power by depositing early. If you don’t deposit your week until 3 to 4 weeks before your vacation, we cannot give your week to someone else until then. And I'm sure most of you would want to know if you had an exchange long before that!


Also, other members are depositing into our timeshare exchange program all the time. So, if the vacation you want is not available right now, enter an ongoing search for your choice of destination or time of year! These searches get prioritized for matching new member deposits. So an ongoing search helps improve your chances of getting the timeshare exchange you want.


Finally, to maximize the number of people we can send on vacation, we are always acquiring inventory from our resorts and other sources like hotels, especially in big cities where there are not many timeshares.


Our goal is to use every unit we get and to get you on the best resort vacation we can. So deposit early, enter ongoing searches if a unit is not immediately available, and be as flexible as possible! Have a great vacation!

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