50th Anniversary Celebrations
50th Anniversary WBCCI
I am curious to know what other WBCCI members, units and/or regions are planning to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of WBCCI.
A recent post on this forum brought up the topic of 2005 being the 50th Anniversary of WBCCI. Although I had heard faint whispers about it, (a commemorative trailer maybe in the works, the International rally) this raised my curiosity as to what WBCCI was going to do to celebrate. I checked the WBCCI website - nothing. I called HQ - the staff person who answered the phone didn't know if this was the anniversary year and had to put me on hold and check. When she came back on I found out, yes this is the 50th anniversary. No there are no particular plans except the International Rally. No there is no info packet available to provide ideas to units and regions on how to commemorate this event. No she doesn't know of any plans for any promotional or souvenir commemorative items to be made available for purchase. No, there was no committee organized to assist in commemorating the anniversary, and no she had no idea who might be working on anything or what projects, if any might be planned. Then I called one of our regional officers - basically the same story. Then I got the 2005 directory. The cover is gold and it says "WBCCI's Golden Anniversary - Wow!
Fifty years is a big deal. It is very sad to think of the opportunities lost to WBCCI by making so little of this special time in the club's history. With proper planning and making this a focal event, it could have been a great recruitment tool on all levels from Units to International. It could have been a fantastic public relations and public awareness opportunity. It could have been an excellent way to regenerate enthusiasm and to recognize the efforts and contributions of individual members, of units and of regions. It could have been the starting point for a new concepts to revitalize the club. Most of all it could honor the past and help educate members and the general RV community of what Airstream ownership is all about, why it is special, and why being a member of WBCCI is a great investment and opportunity.
Most organizations I have been involved with set up a committee (usually volunteers) to develop celebration plans, maybe create a special logo, consider events and special activities, create an information packet and all sorts of other things to celebrate a milestone in the organization. On big anniversaries like the 50th it is usually a year long series of activities. A theme is often established, the elements of which are used by all components of the organization. I am not talking mandatory big bucks. With a little effort and a lot of creativity amazing things could happen even on a limited budget.
Some missed opportunities I have seen include the PR packet recently put together by WBCCI. It could have included more material on the history and in particular, promoted the anniversary year. It would have been a great use of resources to coordinate promotional efforts.
The directory could have included lots of historical tidbits - images and pictures from the early rallies and caravans, sample text from old rally schedules and programs, a dialog on how the member numbers came to be and why the Blue Berets. (Both of these can be found in the book Trailer Travel Here and Abroad By Wally Byam.) Instead the directory just had lots of pages for notes. Nothing that jumped out at me other than the cover.
What about a special commemorative issue of the Blue Beret? Is anything planned? What about the Website? I'd love to see a timeline of key dates in the club's history for instance. Do you have to go to the International Rally in order to participate in any "official" anniversary celebrations or possibly get anything that commemorates the anniversary?
I don't know if I just couldn't see the information right before my eyes or if it is truly a case of a very low key acknowledgment that this is the anniversary year. Maybe things are planned and will show up at a later date. Hopefully before the year is out something more than a yellow cover on the directory and the name of the International rally will show up.
Thanks to the post I mentioned earlier our Unit will be celebrating the 50th Anniversary of WBCCI. We have already developed some ideas and even begun to implement some. Our next Unit meeting will provide an opportunity to do some brainstorming and see what other things we can come up with.
So if you know of plans you would like to share, I'd love to hear them.