All posts by Tiffany Albright

Grapevine Raises a Glass at Annual GrapeFest

The Grapevine Chapter (Grapevine, TX) held the 36th annual GrapeFest from September 15-18, 2022. This true Texas wine experience includes the largest consumer-voted wine competition in the US, and features multiple entertainment stages, unique artisans, and plentiful food booths along the six blocks of Main Street. Attendance for this year’s 4-day event surpassed 200,000 people.

Grapevine Ambucs have been involved with this event for over 20 years. Currently, five chapter members serve on the GrapeFest steering committee.

The Grapevine Chapter’s Dog Wagon, located in the center of the festival, provides fresh AmBurgers, chili dogs and chili pie. A few Amtrykes are always on display next to the wrapped Amtryke trailer to attract extra attention.

The event recruits other local civic and social groups as paid volunteers to staff gates and beer booths, with all of the revenue going toward local fundraising. In addition to the Dog Wagon, Grapevine Chapter volunteers also manage and staff the Champagne Terrace and a beer booth, and staff four different paid parking lots. Proceeds from GrapeFest are used for historic preservation.

This year, Grapevine Chapter and GrapeFest were featured on the local ABC affiliate WFAA in a live interview with Larry Corder. During the event, Grapevine Chapter recruited two new members and added several potential members to their email list. Cheers to another successful year!

Red River Cycles to Success

The Red River Chapter of AMBUCS in Fargo, ND held their second annual fundraiser at CycleBar in West Fargo. The event took place on Saturday, September 25 from 2-4pm. It was a windy day, but nothing could keep these Ambucs down!


The bike ride was from 2:15 to 3pm. The 25 riders registered in advance, with a recommended donation of $20 per seat.

Red River also layered on a second fundraiser by partnering with local business Real Good Cookies. They ran a pre-sale cookie fundraiser from September 2-16th, and buyers could choose to pick up their cookies at the CycleBar Fundraiser or have them shipped directly to their homes. The pre-sale was very popular, and 35% of the sales went back to Red River Chapter. The Real Good Cookie van also drive from Grand Forks, ND and sold cookies during the event. Their new Pumpkin Chocolate Cookie was especially popular. Ten percent of on-site sales that day also went to Red River Ambucs.


The chapter had eight members in attendance, and four Amtrykes on display throughout. All-star Red River volunteer Dave put the Amtrykes together. National President Carmela Davis attended and brought a National President visitation patch, and RoughRider Chapter President Kristina Bouley from Bismarck, ND also attended.

The event was the perfect combination of fitness and fun, and altogether raised $1,325.

It’s Time for Fall Branding!

What is Fall Branding, you ask? It’s an annual nationwide campaign to recruit new AMBUCS members that runs from October 1 to November 30.

It’s a great time to get your chapter’s visibility up in your community. To help with that, this year we’re focused on rolling out highly shareable videos and photos every week to help you spread the AMBUCS mission. Check out our latest video from The Great Amtryke Giveaway, on Youtube and Facebook!

Keep an eye out on our social feeds for new content each week in October and November.

In addition to the obvious benefits of growing your chapter, and earning the standard 10 points for your chapter score for each new member, you can also earn bonus incentives for recruitment during Fall Branding, including…

  • Chapters that recruit 5 new members between October 1 and November 30 become Top Spread Chapters (major bragging rights)
  • Members who recruit 3 new members during Fall Branding earn a Branding Iron pin, in addition to their Big Hat if they don’t already have it (and ditto on bragging rights)
  • 20 point bonus for chapters recruiting 5 new members during Fall Branding
  • 20 point bonus for each member who recruits 3 new members during Fall Branding
  • 20 point bonus for each recruitment contest held between chapter members or between chapters during Fall Branding

There’s plenty of time to get your chapter out there and to bring in more volunteers. Every day is a great day to be an Ambuc! Good luck!

Learning New Tricks in West Texas

For over 55 years, the Lubbock Monterey Chapter in Texas was best known for making and serving hamburgers, curly fries, nachos, and ice-cold Coca-Cola in the early fall at the South Plains Fair Grounds. Their restaurant was one of the first stops for fairgoers, who loved the great tasting food at a valued price, but more so they loved that their dollars went to support the AMBUCS missions of inspiring mobility and independence. Lubbock Monterrey always had Amtrykes on display inside the restaurant, which caught peoples’ eyes and led to great conversations.

The restaurant was extremely successful, netting an average of $25,000 a year for the chapter, but it was also hard work, with long shifts extending late into the evening over 10 days. It grew to be unsustainable for the chapter membership, and they began brainstorming alternative ways to raise funds. When they struck on the idea for Summerfest, they knew they were onto something.

The Lubbock Monterey Chapter in Texas held their third annual Summerfest on August 13, 2022.

Summerfest takes the chapter nine months to plan, with numerous committees and subcommittees organizing various pieces, but it all culminates in a single, spectacular night that includes a buffet dinner, craft beer and wine tastings, a silent and live auction, and a live band for dancing under the beautiful West Texas stars.

This year’s event was their most successful ever. Over 300 people attended (up from 2021’s attendance of 200), and revenue almost doubled. Ticket sales and proceeds from the live and silent auction raised a net total of $46,000 in one night. That’s a huge improvement over 10 days of slinging burgers.

The key to the live auction’s success were renowned professional auctioneers Auction Airs (from the Barrett Jackson Auto Auction where seen on TV), who also donated their time. Live auction items included a helicopter hog hunt, a pellet smoker and 12 months of steaks, and more. Silent auction items included a 2-night New Mexico resort stay, a custom cornhole set, office furniture, and more. Each chapter member was responsible for helping to fund auction items from local businesses and their personal networks.

The Lubbock Monterey Ambucs found a meaningful way to incorporate the AMBUCS mission. The highlight of the event was the presentation of three Amtrykes to the following recipients:

Oliva Anders, a 7-year-old girl born with Cerebral Palsy
Nohemi Salazar, a 14-year-old young woman born with Spinal Bifida and,
Matt Dawson, a local Fire Fighter / First Responder who was critical injured in the line of duty in 2020

Attendees were so moved by the presentations that seven additional Amrykes were funded before the event was over.

“It was an extremely emotional yet gratifying evening. Everybody smiling and lots of dancing,” says Chapter President Bobby Sanders. “We have already begun planning for Summerfest 2023.”

A Mouth-Watering Rally for a Good Cause

The Conshohocken Chapter of AMBUCS in Pennsylvania recently held the 15th annual Conshohocken Restaurant Rally (with a brief pause in 2020 for Covid protocols). This year, 200 attendees participated in this unique culinary tour of 20 local restaurants.

Conshohocken has a thriving restaurant community, and an even larger community spirit. Many restaurants not only participate, but prepare a signature dish or two to share, along with sharing their space, staff, and time with event participants. Special Olympic athletes from the community were invited to attend for free, and items donated by local businesses and individuals were raffled off to raise additional money.

This event, like many of the best events, came together over a meal between friends. Debbie and Vince Flocco discussed the idea of a fundraiser centered on area restaurants with fellow Ambuc Tom Wcislo, and the first Conshohocken Restaurant Rally was born.

This is not your average dining event or food tour. The event started at the Great American Pub, a local restaurant and one of the event’s largest supporters. All the ralliers met in the pub’s ballroom in the late afternoon to grab a goodie bag with a map and a list of participating restaurants before they headed out.

Attendees broke up into smaller groups and spread out, so as not to cause too much of a traffic jam in one restaurant at once. Two buses were waiting out front to take people to restaurants off the main drag on Fayette Street. Attendees enjoyed a few minutes of sampling delicious food at each place, before moving on to the next dining spot.

Each year, a participating restaurant in the rally is awarded the Conshohocken Cup, a prize voted on by ralliers and awarded to the restaurant with the best dish of the day. The winning restaurant this year was Viggiano’s. The runner up was Trattoria Totaro, and 3rd place went to Chiangmai.

The Conshohocken Chapter of AMBUCS brings together a dedicated group of volunteers to make this event happen, and the community support they receive is a testament to how deeply their work is felt. Cheers to 15 more years, and then some!

Tyler Area, TX Chapter Builds Ramps and Partnerships

Volunteers from Texas Ramps, Tyler Area AMBUCS, and the Tyler Junior College Student Physical Therapist Assistant Organization joined together in early September to complete a 40-foot wheelchair ramp for an individual in need in their community.

Tyler Area AMBCUS partners with the Texas Ramp Project each month to build a wheelchair ramp in the community. The chapter provides the labor through member and community volunteers. Texas Ramps will complete the site visit to determine the ramp specifications. They will also purchase the ramp supplies and transport equipment and tools to the site. Tyler Area AMBUCS donates $500 to the Texas Ramp Project for ramp materials each quarter. Their partnership has worked well, and has resulted in a more robust ramp program, and more ramps for area residents facing mobility challenges.

The partnership started about 8 years ago, and has resulted in over 80 ramps being built in their community.

The Tyler Junior College Physical Therapist Assistant Program often volunteers to join in the monthly builds, and their students know how to work! Several Tyler Area Chapter members are alumni of the program, so it’s a great way to stay engaged and to encourage the next generation of students to get involved in the community.

We love seeing the Shoulders Together spirit in action!

New AMBUCS Merchandise Store

There’s a new online home for AMBUCS gear! Check out our Shopify storefront, featuring the AMBUCS 100th Anniversary Commemorative Book (with over 100 chapter histories!), a 100th Anniversary Commemorative Art Print, 100th anniversary t-shirts, and more! Additional items will be added and existing items will be restocked in the coming weeks, including stocking stuffers for your favorite Ambucs this holiday season! Visit the store

Membership HUB FAQs

We wanted to tackle some frequently asked questions at National Conference and in our inboxes about the Membership HUB.

Q: Did I miss the Scorecard deadline on September 10th?
No. The Scorecard no longer exists. Therefore, the 10th day following each quarter is no longer a deadline. Instead, we encourage you to enter activities on an ongoing basis in the HUB, but the only reporting deadline is now June 10, which is 10 days after the end of the AMBUCS year on May 31.

Q: I can’t update my activities in the HUB. Why not?
If you’re unsure how to update activities, check out this quick training video! Note that only committee administrators can report activities in the HUB, but if a chapter wants to give that privilege to a non-admin, all they have to do is add the person to the list of chapter administrators, found within the list of chapter officers.

Q: Why don’t I see my chapter’s score when I’m logged in to the HUB?
The scoring feature isn’t quite working yet. The developers found a bug and are working on it. Anything you’ve reported will result in points once that feature is turned back on. As for now, all chapters show a score of zero. When this feature is working, your real-time score will show on your chapter’s page. We hope to have this feature up and running very soon, and we will make another announcement when it’s live.

Q: Where do I input my Amtryke sales total for the quarter?
You no longer have to enter quarterly sales totals. All trykes given or recycled result in 5 points each.

Do you have more HUB questions? Email to get answers!

Walker and Muskegon, MI Chapters Collaborate on Amtrykes

Most Ambucs know the secret to our organization’s success is the winning combination of a powerful mission and the world’s most dedicated volunteers. Earlier this summer, two Michigan chapters showed us the power of working Shoulders Together to help two young people in their communities discover the joy of riding their own Amtrykes.

Robin Hollebeek, a physical therapist at Whitehall Public Schools in Michigan (and fun fact: a former AMBUCS scholarship recipient), worked with the Muskegon Chapter to try to get her 4th grade student Max a bike. Max was born with Down’s Syndrome and couldn’t ride a traditional bike, but because he didn’t need all the bells and whistles of an Amtryke, the Muskegon Chapter initially approved the purchase of a tricycle from a local bike shop. Like all bicycle suppliers, the local shop had a hard time getting bikes in, and after almost one year of waiting for the tricycle, the bike shop informed Max’s family that his tricycle was not going to arrive.

Max rides his Amtryke
Aiden rides his Amtryke

Robin also had another student, Aiden, who she thought would be a good candidate for a hand-powered Amtryke. During COVID, the Walker Chapter amped up their ReCycle program, accepting and refurbishing used Amtrykes to donate to new families. They had a tryke perfect for Aiden’s needs, and Musketon Chapter President Cathie Gagnon accompanied Aiden and his mom to meet Al LeMieux of the Walker Chapter at their Amtryke trailer. Aiden took his new Amtryke home that day, and immediately began riding it around his neighborhood. “His new bike caught the attention of the neighborhood and soon kids were knocking on Aiden’s door asking him to come out and ride bikes with them,” said Robin.

Hearing about the struggles to get Max a tricycle, Al pulled out a second Amtryke from their supply. Robin loaded up the Amtryke in her trunk and brought it to school to Max to try out.

“Max, who is typically wary of motor skill activities had a huge smile ear to ear,” said Robin. His mother and our special education director were present and their smiles were almost as big as Max’s.” Max was able to take the donated Amtryke home that day, and has ridden it every day since.

Huge kudos to Cathie of Muskegon Chapter, and Al and Jerry of Walker Chapter, for helping connect Robin and her students with their Amtrykes.

Dusting off the AMBUCS Blog

For a few years there in the early to mid-2010s, it seemed like EVERYONE who was on the internet had to have a blog. National AMBUCS was not immune to the trend, and it makes sense, really. With over 150 chapters in over 30 states across the country, it would be impossible to highlight every awesome activity in the quarterly magazine or monthly e-newsletter. Unfortunately, like many great ideas, we tried blogging a few times, and then moved on to other activities. Yet the blog continued to live on the website, which is where I found it.

Hi! I’m Tiffany, the new Director of Marketing and Communications for National AMBUCS. I started in late June 2022. My job is to lead the communications strategy for the national office, to serve as the editor and publisher of AMBUCS Magazine, to maintain our website and social media channels, create and update volunteer training resources, and in general to ensure the brand identity and marketing of the organization align with our mission and programs.

One of our biggest opportunities as an organization is to tell our story. Ambucs (any active member of an AMBUCS chapter) often say our organization is the best kept secret, and after three months on the job, I believe it. I didn’t know about National AMBUCS or the Piedmont Chapter of AMBUCS three months ago. Today I’m proud to work for an organization with such passionate volunteers, who are so committed to our critical work of Inspiring Mobility and Independence.

So one of the projects I’m taking on is to restart this blog. I believe telling our story – as often and as publicly as possible – is the best way to educate people about the AMBUCS mission and the work we do, to reach more people in need, and to recruit the volunteers who will sustain our 100-year-old organization for the next 100 years.

If you’re a member of a chapter, I may be reaching out about featuring your story in an upcoming blog post. We’re still accepting chapter story submissions for the magazine, and I’ll be sharing as many of your photos, videos, and events on social media as I can. Email me anytime at

If you’re a member of the general public, or a member of the press, I’m here to answer any questions you may have about AMBUCS, our adaptive Amtryke program or Scholarships for Therapists program, our chapters, or anything else.

I’m looking forward to working Shoulders Together with our members to spotlight their work, and the impact they’re making in communities across the US.