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Old 01-05-2016, 09:12 PM   #1
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Do I even fit in?

OK, so I'm a first time Airstream owner (and full-timing). I currently call the DC Metro area home and have a couple cross-country trips planned for the rest of 2016.

That being said, I want those fancy red numbers and, given that I don't know anyone else in my network with an Airstream, I also want to make some new friends in the community.

At the risk of sounding... terrible... I have to admit that I feel kind of strange joining my local chapter because I feel like I'd be the youngest aged member in the group -- probably by a few decades (at least judging by the photos on the site). In other words, I'm not sure I'd even fit in.

Do I just bite the bullet and jump into the local chapter or do I "cop-out" and just join the national one instead?
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Old 01-05-2016, 09:37 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by paulsingh View Post
At the risk of sounding... terrible... I have to admit that I feel kind of strange joining my local chapter because I feel like I'd be the youngest aged member in the group -- probably by a few decades (at least judging by the photos on the site). In other words, I'm not sure I'd even fit in.
I was the youngest member of my Unit when I joined, the only unmarried male, and one of only two Unit members who was still working for a living. Not only did I fit in just fine with an older, married, retired crowd, but this year I'm even the president of my Unit.

That said, I'll freely admit that not all Units are the same. Not demographically, not philosophically, or politically. One good thing about WBCCI is that if you discover that the Unit you joined isn't exactly your cup of tea, you can change your membership to another Unit next year. You're not locked into the same Unit forever.

Not only that, but while you're officially a member of one Unit with regard to voting, you can join other Units as a non-voting affiliateŚ as many other Units as you want. I'm an affiliate of a second unit, and between my two Units I've got a wide array of activities that I can participate in if I so choose. Or I can go off and do my own thing without them for a while, whatever strikes my fancy at any given time. Being a Unit member doesn't obligate you to attend all of the Unit's functions, either.

You could join as a member-at-large if you want, but it costs the same, or more, to be an MAL as it does to be a Unit member. With the drawback that as an MAL you're not on any Unit's mailing lists to find out what activities they've got planned.

You say you've got some cross-country trips planned. I suggest that instead of joining a local unit that you'll be traveling away from, you might want to join a unit near one of your trip destinations.
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Old 01-05-2016, 10:27 PM   #3
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There's certainly a lot of difference between units and it's probably best to attend a few different units' rallies to get a feeling for their particular "culture". (BTW, the local WBCCI organizations are called "units", not "chapters".)

As Protag pointed out, you can join WBCCI as a Member at Large, but it doesn't really make too much sense as there are several units that only charge $1 a year unit dues, considerably less than the Member at Large fee.

As a matter of fact, one of the dollar-a-year units is the Washington DC Unit WDCU which is right in your neighborhood. They also have a reputation as a relatively young, fun-loving unit. You might start with them and go from there.

Just to clarify, units have no geographic boundaries, so you can join any unit you want. For example, our "base" home is in Ohio, we have a summer cabin in northern Minnesota, and we usually take the Airstream somewhere warm in the winter. Our primary unit affiliation is the Wisconsin Unit and we're associate members of the Miami Valley Unit of Ohio! Airstreamers get around.
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Old 01-06-2016, 11:25 AM   #4
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I had the same concerns when we joined back in 2008. We where the youngest and still worked, etc.. But from the first time we meet the local unit, we felt we where with friends. Doesn't matter the age, we are all Airstreamers.

We have only had good times and fun with our local Unit.

Shop around for a unit that fits your needs, check the units website and read their newsletters and see if there activities are what you want to do.

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Old 01-06-2016, 11:53 AM   #5
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At 47, I will probably be the youngest member of the Mississippi Unit for many more moons-
The "big red numbers" are part of the nostalgia/mystique for me-
Join WBCCI. Go to some rallies. Enjoy it.
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Old 01-06-2016, 12:02 PM   #6
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Hi from AZ. . .We joined the 4CU while we were still living in the East, & have enjoyed it immensely. I did not personally know one other person with an Airstream, but this group seemed to me to be an interesting, quite diverse group. We plan to 'do' rallies with other groups as well. I hear Alumalina is fun, we love the Balloon Fiesta and have made friends with all kinds of folks from all over the country. I hear the WDCU is a good unit as well. And whether you join nationally or a unit, check rally schedules, and plug yourself in to some, I know we'd love to have you at a 4CU event. travel safe, Craig
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Old 01-06-2016, 12:07 PM   #7
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Young folks are good!
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Old 01-06-2016, 12:36 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by paulsingh View Post
OK, so I'm a first time Airstream owner (and full-timing). I currently call the DC Metro area home and have a couple cross-country trips planned for the rest of 2016.

That being said, I want those fancy red numbers and, given that I don't know anyone else in my network with an Airstream, I also want to make some new friends in the community.

At the risk of sounding... terrible... I have to admit that I feel kind of strange joining my local chapter because I feel like I'd be the youngest aged member in the group -- probably by a few decades (at least judging by the photos on the site). In other words, I'm not sure I'd even fit in.

Do I just bite the bullet and jump into the local chapter or do I "cop-out" and just join the national one instead?
My wife and I are older now, but because we were young once and working, we didn't join WBCCI until I was about to retire. We now consider that a mistake since we have come to know what it is all about. We are a vintage owner having an older Airstream which to us is a "family heirloom". By joining WBCCI we (you) are plugged into the largest organization of Airstream owners in existence. The largest intra club of WBCCI is the Vintage group. We could have used their collective experience and avoided some of the mistakes we made in our early days of "'streamin'". My wife is rather shy and to my astonishment, has made more friends in the club than ever before in her life. We also find the club members we have met to be younger than their age and I think that is keeping us younger as we age. By coincidence, when we joined WBCCI we didn't know there was a local "unit" and we were assigned by headquarters to the DC unit but we quickly found our way to the Palmetto State Unit #022 and have thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie here.
You can't lose by joining but you can't gain the advantages unless you do. Of course, you gain a lot by signing on to Air Forums too. By the way, the best way to meet other Airstreamers is to go to rallies. Our unit is sponsoring one of the most popular Airstream rallies called Alumalina Spring 2016 Gathering which starts March 31. It is to be held at a large well maintained RV Park called Palmetto Cove in Cleveland, SC nestled in a picturesque setting at the foot of Caesar's Head Mountain. You can find a thread on Air Forums for info and signing up if you would like to come.
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Old 01-06-2016, 12:53 PM   #9
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Protagonist said it all!! Join a local unit and then be on their mailing list. You get to go to rallies with people you know and that is a lot more fun than being a stranger. Having said that, we did attend one other unit's rally in Thunder Bay, and we ended up knowing several of their members quite well and even met and worked with them at the next national rally. ...and you can opt out later if you wish.
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:12 PM   #10
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We also live in Loudoun County and chose to join the DC unit. We have only been to a couple of rallies but we feel that we fit right in. The group has members of all ages and more important, trailers of all ages, which is one of the reasons we joined DC. Yes there are "older" people but only based on the year they were born and not how they attack life. At our last rally several members went zip lining.
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:19 PM   #11
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how do you join?
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Old 01-06-2016, 01:22 PM   #12
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Look up WBCCI online.
Fill out application.
Give them folks some money.
That's all there is to it.
Easy.
Than they'll send your big red numbers, member directory, and the Blue Beret magazine.
Blue Berets aren't mandatory...


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Old 01-06-2016, 01:30 PM   #13
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Go visit and camp with various units

We both still work and joined the closest unit in which the most active are older retired couples and have made some great friends and gone on some great rallies. We also joined two other nearby units as affiliates at minimal cost and now get email newsletter from 3 units with typically 2 or 3 rallies a month to pick from and each is completely different in what they like to do. Go visit some units and go camping with them. Visitors are always welcome whether you are one of their members or not. Most also have a monthly lunch meeting.

After you join WBCCI consider going to the International Rally which will be in West VA. this summer so not far form you. Many of the organized activities will be geared toward WBCCI business or older retirees, but, there is usually very good entertainment, useful seminars, information on interesting sightseeing side trips and most important you meet people from all over the country. You can connect with units from places you plan to visit and have them send you their rally info. This year I met Protagonist while hanging out in the "VAC" tent (Vintage Airstream Club).
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Old 01-06-2016, 03:17 PM   #14
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and the group is getting less and less tied to the "way we used to do it". If you travel around, there are lots of local events (Lunches, weekend campouts etc) and by looking at some of the unit newsletters you can see if something is going on where you plan to be, or within an easy detour. The folks are like all folks, with the exception of being a little bit "Nuts" about their Airstream passions. The movement towards on line info is in full swing, so it is getting easier and easier to see what any unit is doing. Join, have fun, most members want that first and foremost regardless of age.
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