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Old 02-05-2004, 07:59 AM   #1
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The Survey

Perhaps this month's Blue Beret will be worth a read simply for the survey regarding WBCCI membership. The questions regarding the pomp and circumstance are interesting, but the one that knocked me off my chair was the one pertaining to whether or not all Thor products should be allowed in!

It's a sad irony that Airstream sales are doing better than they have for years, and that the median age of new buyers is dropping, yet the ranks of the WBCCI are shrinking quickly. It's good to see a recognition of that and attempts such as the survey, but one wonders what they're thinking with the Thor question!
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:22 AM   #2
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Re: The Survey

Quote:
Originally posted by Midamrail
The questions regarding the pomp and circumstance are interesting, but the one that knocked me off my chair was the one pertaining to whether or not all Thor products should be allowed in!

It's a sad irony that Airstream sales are doing better than they have for years, and that the median age of new buyers is dropping, yet the ranks of the WBCCI are shrinking quickly. It's good to see a recognition of that and attempts such as the survey, but one wonders what they're thinking with the Thor question!
I know I'll be flamed here by the WBCCI cheerleader patrol so give me a second to put my flame retardant suit on...........

OK......

I agree fully with you perceptions and observations.... it just goes to show where the leadership midset is....I mean here is the WBCCI, an Airstream thing, yet rather than change to adopt the lowering age demograph as some units have tried (with some success), they'd rather keep the status quo by getting other folks with different brands, same parent company to augment the numbers to justify their existence rather than change to accept the lower median age of buyers of Airstreams. That's my take on it....

Now keep in mind, I don't have the article, but by going with what was posted, if true, it's just another sad fact in the list of things...

By the way, I did tell an untruth on my last post.....as I thought about it....one copy did come in looking like it was attacked by a wood chipper.
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:30 AM   #3
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Hmmm ... random thought ...

If the WBCCI fails to implement some changes ... changes needed to grow the club instead of shrink it ... I could see a new club forming to meet the needs of Airstream owners who are unable to to justify joining the WBCCI.
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:34 AM   #4
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Validity

Okay, Flame thrower on high!

very good feedback, but I am wondering, what makes you think they do not accept lower median age of buyers of Airstreams?

that was what you said, was it not?

Quote:
I mean here is the WBCCI, an Airstream thing, yet rather than change to adopt the lowering age demograph as some units have tried (with some success), they'd rather keep the status quo by getting other folks with different brands, same parent company to augment the numbers to justify their existence rather than change to accept the lower median age of buyers of Airstreams. That's my take on it....
As usual, twink, you are on the out side looking in. It would seem that as much time you spend here, you are privvy to the age spectrum of the WBCCI.

Only age I know them to turn away is NONE!!!!!

What dont you understand about come one come all?
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:36 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Porky Pig
Hmmm ... random thought ...

If the WBCCI fails to implement some changes ... changes needed to grow the club instead of shrink it ... I could see a new club forming to meet the needs of Airstream owners who are unable to to justify joining the WBCCI.
Hey I'm all for it....I love hanging out with the Airstream crowd informally without the stares, pomp and circumstance and those silly little berets. If there could be something less stale that I would't have to re-create (given the fact that there are still a good number of working families part of the Airstream community), I'd be all up for it.

I would suspect that a good model would be as I said what is done here informally....at least it would be a great place to start and build on from there. I was really hoping though that change would have happened from within...maybe it will someday, but not if they let other brands in. I think (and just my personal opinion here) that the WBCCI should remain an Airstream only club. But look at me, not even a member and telling them what they should do...true, but it makes the most sense to me!

I do think that WBCCI accepts any Airstream member...they don't discriminate at all, I suppose my comments are more along the lines of embracing the younger demograph, not just taking them in to keep membership up, but actually modifying the mindset that it's geared toward empty nesters or Airstream Millionaires. Some units do this well, most might not...I think it needs to happen from the top down to be really effective. The article as described however, is somewhat disappointing.
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:47 AM   #6
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Thor and SOBs

I agree that the all time standing qualifications for membership should remain as being an owner of an "Airstream" RV

I have not seen this months BB but I am looking forward to seeing it.

I cannot help but think that the WBCCI will not even go for other brands. Just my opinion.

Smily
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Old 02-05-2004, 08:55 AM   #7
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Whoa!

Eeks! I didn't mean to start a war here, though I can certainly see both sides of the coin. We've been WBCCI members only since 2001, and, quite frankly, the only reason we are is to fulfill the requirement for membership in VAC. There are some people (one in particular who posted earlier in this thread) in our local unit whom we consider friends and whom we enjoy seeing at local rallies, but that's really all we derive from the WBCCI. The Blue Beret is a poor-quality publication; the WBCCI rallies and caravans are either too long, too rigid, or too boring for us; and we feel quite out-of-place at WBCCI functions with our older trailers, our dogs, and our early 30s ages. We've attended a few of them and will probably never go back based on our poor experiences. Ironically, my retirement-age parents feel the same way about the WBCCI rallies they've attended with their restored Argosy.

I think the WBCCI has some value now for those of us in the under-65 age bracket, has greater value for those in retirement, and could have greater value for everyone if the changes we've all discussed were either implemented unit by unit, region by region, or by a paid national executive director.

It's not hard:
- Improve the Blue Beret
- Hold shorter, less structured rallies where it's actually okay to have a campfire and even to drink a beer around the fire (we've been told at 2 different WBCCI rallies that campfires are a definite no-no - unbelieveable!) and where you don't have to report to breakfast with a beret or a silly costume at 7 AM
- Celebrate the vintage trailers with vintage parking and open houses rather than treating them like mobile homes with the plague
- Stop discouraging dogs and kids
- Caravan the way Wally meant it - down secondary roads, off the beaten path, and with some spontaneity and adventure
- Provide shorter caravans with new and different themes (Route 66, the National Road through Indiana, whatever)
- Quit holding Internationals where there are virtually no hook-ups!
- Work with Airstream dealers to spread the WBCCI word - maybe a dealer-sponsored rally each year for new owners

The list could go on and on, but until we stop complaining and do something, the leadership of the WBCCI will continue to fumble around and watch the ranks decline further while the VAC continues to grow.
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silvertwinkie


Hey I'm all for it....I love hanging out with the Airstream crowd informally without the stares, pomp and circumstance and those silly little berets. If there could be something less stale that I would't have to re-create (given the fact that there are still a good number of working families part of the Airstream community), I'd be all up for it.
Ok, Eric... I'm searching for my napalm...

A point that you might be missing is that the WBCCI isn't the Boy or Girl Scouts. You don't have to wear a uniform. You're not required to attend any of the events for merit badges. You're free to attend those functions that pique your interest and let the rest pass you by.

We attended the International when it was in Sioux Falls a couple of years ago. I had really mixed emotions about it after we left. As working stiffs, we came in on Friday evening that week, and there wasn't anyone at all to tell us what to do or where to go, or even what the 'Bullpen' was. Fortunately, some kind individual experienced WBCCI members took care of us (outside the formal organization channels) and told us what to do, where to go and what to expect. The next morning, bright and early we were directed to our site by a very grumpy and unhelpful oldster. It had not started off well. We went to a couple of the evening performance events and were charmed by acts that, if they weren't, probably should have been accompanied by accordians. (Truthfully, some of it was excellent, some of it wasn't worth going to; it was all geared, in my opinion, to the Lawrence Welk generation, entertainment that I'm not particularly fond of.)

After that, though, the experience over the weekend did nothing but improve. We hung out with the Vintage group (as we have had three "Vintage" units now) as well as those in our own unit and found the company to be superb. The individuals of all ages who attended that International were what made the trip worthwhile.

That said, I was bad this year and didn't get my dues paid until AFTER the deadline for the membership book printing, so we're not in it, but our membership is up to date.

I have a close friend from the Left Coast who flew into Sioux Falls to attend with us, and will be attending as an officer of her unit in the Bay Area this year in Michigan.

She's urging us to attend. I'm not sure I will given that it's over the 4th of July weekend, my biggest workday of the year with our local celebration, but I wasn't so turned off by the last one that I won't consider going again.

To reiterate, although the current WBCCI is a CARAVAN club, not a marque club, and it caters to it's current membership's desires, it will become whatever the next generation of MEMBERS decides it will become. I expect that it will not change based on the wants/needs/desires of folks who haven't joined. That just isn't the nature of organizations. If those members who take over the leadership share our vision of what it should be, then we'll be happy campers. If not, well...

Eventually as we thirty, forty, and fifty-somethings take over the reins, you'll see Lawrence Welk replaced with an aging Aerosmith, Doobie Brothers, or Steely Dan, much to the chagrin of the now twenty-somethings who would rather hear rap or reggae. It is the way of the world I guess...

I too would hate to see Thor white boxes admitted; however, if the WBCCI remains a CARAVAN club, and white-box owners caravan more than Airstream owners, I guess it would make sense. If the WBCCI moves more toward a marque club makeup, and begins to cater to the needs of the younger owners, then it will survive well into the new millenium.

It is refreshing to see that the club leadership recognizes that things are not well in Camelot, and are at least willing to explore alternatives to see what might work.

Apologies to all for the length of this tome...

Roger
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Old 02-05-2004, 07:05 PM   #9
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So let me see if I have this straight.

Now that I have joined the WBCCI and will be receiving the Blue Beret, it will be a shredded rag that is focused on the "older" generation that can caravan for 50 days at a stretch down the already beaten path???

Also, that the "International" rallies are geared to the "older" generation and is more like being holed up in your trailer and not socializing....


From what little I have learned in life (being a "youngen") you have to play by the "house" rules to learn what you're involved in. Once you know the house rules you can then start to make things happen, by woking within rules. Things like a group to welcome the crowd that can only show up on the weekend, because we have to work. Or maybe a special weekend International rally geared to the working stiff.

Just some thoughts. I will go dig up my flame proof gear now, please give me a minute or two.
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:00 PM   #10
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After reading through the 45 posts on this topic so far I have come to a conclusion. Many of us are getting stir crazy and need to hook up and hit the road.

Soapbox on:

The Blue Beret is a publication that is a product of the club as it exists TODAY. The club as it exists TODAY is looking for ideas on how to better recruit and retain the younger members as well as recognizing the contributions of the past members and officers.

In this month's issue is a survey about the club, membership, the International, the Blue Beret and a profile of the member that answered the survey. I would have to say that the fact that headquarters is asking for feed back from the membership is a sign that they know that change is needed and they are looking for direction. If you have an idea for the Blue Beret all you need to do is approach them, heck even Smillie has an article in it. Fill out the survey and send it in. Remeber they ASKED for feedback, give it to them.

At the risk of repeating myself there are hundreds of local units, they will welcome you with open arms in most cases should you decide to attend a function and check it out before joining.
There is a recruitment process that is also done but is unit based. The members normally will not seek you out and harangue you to join. We want willing participants that will enjoy the fun and fellowship that is the club. If the unit you try is not for you, then try another. Not all units are going to accept that we are younger, in some cases more affluent, have different ideas about what a rally should be, etc. But if you stand on the sideline and do not participate you get out EXACTLY what you put in.

NOTHING.

If you want the club to change so it is more like you, and does more you like, than join and make it change.

I have found in many conversations with older members that they like, or at the least understand, the changes we have made this year in efforts to encourage new members. In most cases if you can explain why, and how you think something will be better, most reasonable folk's can agree to change. I will admit that there are those that say "that is how we have always done it and how we will always do it". Those members will also get what they have always gotten as someone here on the forum states in their sig line.

So if you want the club of TOMORROW to be what you are looking for you need to join and participate TODAY to make it happen. I am not saying that you need to become an officer of the unit. If you want to and can spare the time, great. If not then at least be active and make your voice heard. Attend rallies, chat with the region offers meet other unit members and see what they do. As Red Green says " I pulling for you, we are all in this together".

Soapbox off

BTW my Blue Beret was no worse for the wear other than being folded in half.
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:20 PM   #11
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Thumbs up agree completely

Nicely worded, Brett

My "Polar Bear Safari" issue of Blue Beret has just arrived today, grrrr...ragged, torn edges and folded in half to boot~

Oh well...no worse than some of the others..
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:22 PM   #12
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Thumbs up Good post ... Brett.

You're points are valid and well thought out.
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Old 02-05-2004, 09:57 PM   #13
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VAC Advantage Newsletter

Coloradobus,

I joined in August and have received two quarterly VAC newsletters so far. They run about 40 pages and are loaded with vintages photos and drawings. The editor is Bryan Burkhart, the author of the Airstream book and that might explain why it seems so useful and interesting. They seem to be currently marching through the years and the last issue featured 1954 through 1967 Airstreams. Hopefully the next issue will touch my Airstream year.

Ken mentioned that there are lots of old issue that can be downloaded from the VAC website that will more than entertain you. They are Adobe Acrobat PDF files that look like they were scanned back into the computer.
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Old 02-05-2004, 10:35 PM   #14
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Debate

The thing that bothers me about the BB survey is that it sort of came out of the blue (no pun intended). Obviously, there has been some proposals made, probably at International, but where has been the oportunity for proposal and debate at the grass-root level of the WBCCI. The Blue Beret would be the logical choice to present and sponsor such dialog, but it doesn't exist. The best dialog is on this forum, but not everyone on this forum is a WBCCI member, and likely not many of the International officers read this forum. If they do, they seem to be keeping quiet about it.

BTW, question #7 "The WBCCI membership base should be broadened to include any RV brand made by Thor Industries, parent company of Airstream," is actually an old controversy. It follows from allowing motorhomes and Argosy RVs into the club. I don't have a problem with Argosy owners being in the club because I know what the history is behind Argosy. But as for letting all Thor products in it would be a deal breaker. What would be the point of belonging to a club that looks just like every other RV club? Try to imagine what a Thor product is? Thor owns many different RV companies, and the quality ranges from the very cheap to the ultra expensive. My interest is Airstream trailers, not econo-boxes.
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