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Old 04-30-2011, 08:26 AM   #1
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Question Airstream history facts

I was told that when the club was formed it was done so by Airstream dollars.

Thereafter, IRS had an problem with a non profit commingling with a for profit and there had to be a split.

Anyone have history of those events?

Or explain in detail what happened?


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Old 04-30-2011, 08:31 AM   #2
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you might want to look into the Jack Rabbits before you say "Airstream" start the WBCC...

Also the "club" was not started by Wally or Airstream. Your fact checkers will soon find that out.
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:22 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LI Pets View Post
I was told that when the club was formed it was done so by Airstream dollars.

Thereafter, IRS had an problem with a non profit commingling with a for profit and there had to be a split.

Anyone have history of those events?

Or explain in detail what happened?


.
Don't know how you missed it when he was around, but Dale "Peewee" Schwamborn's mother, Helen Byam Schwamborn, founded the club.

Steve
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Old 04-30-2011, 10:40 AM   #4
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It is my recollection that the club was formed near the end of a caravan in Canada by members of the caravan. I believe that Wally had already left the caravan for Europe, but Helen was leading the caravan.

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Old 04-30-2011, 11:32 AM   #5
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History in brief

Here's the quote from Wally himself, "the 1955 Canadian Caravanners decided to do something more concrete. A committee was elected at our Meeting Time in Quebec and commissioned to draft a constitution for a Wally Byam Caravan Club. The Caravan was in Nova Scotia by the time the draft was ready to be considered, and with a few modifications it was accepted at the first membership meeting on August 3, held on a beautiful hillside overlooking historic Annapolis Valley, certainly an appropriate setting for the foundation of an organization devoted to outdoor life. “Pop” Riley was elected Acting President and Helen Schwamborn Acting Secretary-Treasurer."

The WBCC was formed to give families the opportunity to caravan and rally close to home. Whereas, the Wally Byam Caravanners primarily organized more time comsuming extensive caravans that only the well to do and/or retired could afford. The Caravanners were a company club as was the newsletter that Helen edited and published.

The first WBCC rally at Bull Shoals was paid for by the company and was primarily a celebration of Wally's birthday.

The WBCCI continued as a company driven club up until about 1989, the year Larry Huttle became president. Airstream derived about 60% of its sales from club members, and to promote that pumped a lot of money into the club in various ways. It was a business investment, but the IRS ruled that that made the club simply an extension of the company. So, it was then that Airstream lost its vote as a trustee on the WBCCI Executive Committee, and financial aid to the club gradually diminished.

About 1990 or maybe 1992 (I lost my notes when my hard drive was corrupted), the club lost 3,000 members in one year. Some of this was from the perception that Airstream had turned its back on the club, and some of it was from the admission of other Airstream products (the squarestream and fifth wheel for instance).
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Old 04-30-2011, 12:34 PM   #6
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Interesting post Forrest.
At the time I joined in 72 Airstream was giving the club quite a lot of financial support and the dues were quite reasonable although I don't remember the exact amount.
We also used to receive a copy of the Caravanner paper as well as the Blue Beret although the Caravanner may have been sent out by Airstream... Seems like it stopped coming in the late 80's or early 90's
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Old 04-30-2011, 01:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest View Post

The WBCCI continued as a company driven club up until about 1989, the year Larry Huttle became president. Airstream derived about 60% of its sales from club members, and to promote that pumped a lot of money into the club in various ways. It was a business investment, but the IRS ruled that that made the club simply an extension of the company. So, it was then that Airstream lost its vote as a trustee on the WBCCI Executive Committee, and financial aid to the club gradually diminished.
Thanks Forest, having said that, I think I recall that info from a conversation with you several months ago.

Was that the reason the bylaws were designed at the time from the top down control since Airstream was involved( and on the board), rather than a member up set of bylaws?

Or was it like that from the very beginning, if so why?



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Old 04-30-2011, 02:06 PM   #8
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Was that the reason the bylaws were designed at the time from the top down control since Airstream was involved( and on the board), rather than a member up set of bylaws?

Or was it like that from the very beginning, if so why?
That requires some speculation on my part because I have never seen the original Constitution or Bylaws. They were not included in early Membership Directory books. Joe (the VAC Historian) has studied the directories more than I have, so might be better able to shed light on that. But I believe (just from memory again) that the earliest Constitution printed in the Membership Directory was in the mid-Seventies. I browsed that only briefly, but was struck by its similarity to today's.

It does seem to me that Airstream considered the WBCCI an investment, and the Constitution was designed to protect that investment. It only makes sense from Airstream's point of view, but later, when the Club dynamics changed, the structure of the Club didn't - at least not significantly and not in a way that reflected a Club driven by the membership. But again, that is only an educated guess on my part.
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:29 PM   #9
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Here are the original incorporation documents:

http://www2.sos.state.oh.us/reports/...&Din=D067_1917
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Old 04-30-2011, 07:37 PM   #10
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Dated 6/21/57.

No where does Wally Byam's signature appear nor does the word "Airstream"...
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Old 05-01-2011, 12:51 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forrest View Post
That requires some speculation on my part because I have never seen the original Constitution or Bylaws. They were not included in early Membership Directory books. Joe (the VAC Historian) has studied the directories more than I have, so might be better able to shed light on that. But I believe (just from memory again) that the earliest Constitution printed in the Membership Directory was in the mid-Seventies. I browsed that only briefly, but was struck by its similarity to today's.
The WBCCI Constitution was first included in the Membership Directory in 1964. The earliest Directory I have that includes the Constitution is 1966 and at that time the constitution was one (very large) page long versus seven pages in the 2011 Directory.

I have not studied the differences between the 1966 and 2011 onstitutions, but perhaps will take a closer peek when I get a little free time (but not tonight).

BTW, I do not have any early copies of the Bylaws, so I have no idea how those may have changed (i.e. gotten more complicated) through the years.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:05 AM   #12
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Joe, can you please post it here when you have time?
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Old 05-01-2011, 11:25 AM   #13
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For those who were in the club when Wally was alive (and I was), there should be little doubt that nothing happened at Airstream, Inc., or the WBCC without Wally's approval. After all his name couldn't have been used in the club name without his approval. And, does anyone really believe that the administrator of the club just "happened" to be a family member?

To shed some factual information on this topic, I thought we should read a quote from Dale (Pee Wee) Schwamborn:

"Why was the WBCCI established?

Three very simple words, ‘TO HAVE FUN.Airstream like any other manufacturing company was created to make a product. For the owner and entrepreneur, Wally Byam to fulfill his goals in life and to make a living.

The first Caravan in 1951 was conceived to assist Airstream owners, and others (the first few Caravans were open to all manufactured RV’s), to travel as an American Community. Airstream’s reward was publicity to sell Airstreams.

The Club was a natural occurrence. This American Community of Airstream owners wanted to get together on a local basis and chew the fat, remember the good times, and take their Airstreams out on a more frequent basis, but for a shorter period of time. The Club Members wanted the club to be exclusive for Airstream Owners only.

Let’s go back to Caravans. The Caravans could never have gone ten miles with out a sub-structure and delegation of duties. Wally Byam was a master of organization.

The Club core was the volunteers; the go-to-people that assisted in making the Caravans go. This spirit, this dedication, this form of personal involvement was the core of the WBCCI in 1955.

Check out the Jack Rabbits; thank them for your club today. They “hounded” Wally to form a club.


My Mother, Helen Byam Schwamborn, was given the task, by Wally, to start a headquarters to be the home of the Club, and the action center for Caravans. Three major Caravans came from the Headquarters in the early days. (Europe 1956, Africa 1959, Around-the-World 1963.)

Because of the dedication of the members and the organizational and interpersonal skills of Helen, the Club grew, and grew, and grew…what a growth!

Yes, Airstream funded the Headquarters. Yes, it was a marketing tool. However both entities this symbiotic relationship endorsed the purpose, ‘TO HAVE FUN.”

My pride swells every time I pass an Airstream on the highway, or see one on TV.

Remember, have fun, that’s what this is all about.

That’s all Wally wanted for you, and that is all my Mother wanted for you.

TO HAVE FUN!

See you on the road."

Dale “Pee Wee” Schwamborn
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:50 PM   #14
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Joe, can you please post it here when you have time?
OK, I scanned the WBCCI Constitution from the 1966 Membership Directory and attached it to this message (sorry I don't have the software to rotate it to be right side up). When you look at it, you will see that it was adopted on January 24, 1964, so I believe this is the same version that was published in the 1964 Directory.

The 1964 to 1966 version is simpler. It has only nine (IX) sections versus sixteen sections (XVI) in the 2011 version. Many of the sections that do exist in the original version did get longer and more complicated by 2011. One observation is that the influence of Airstream Inc. is more obvious (as expected) in the 1964-66 version. Interestingly, in the original version, the some powers are defined for the Board of Trustees, but no where that I could find is there any mention of who makes up the Board of Trustees and how they are selected or elected. There is no mention of the Executive Committee, the Nominating Commitee, or Revenues and Dues at all.

I did not review the differences in detail, but it seems natural to me that the Constitution was simpler in 1964-66 and has become somewhat more complicated in the years since.

I will now leave it to those that are more concerned with these details to delve deeper into the differences and similarities between the two versions.

Enjoy!
Attached Files
File Type: pdf 1964-66 WBCCI Constitution.pdf (228.6 KB, 44 views)
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