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Old 01-25-2009, 08:09 AM   #127
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Boatdoc.
I also contacted you a few times to make sure everything was okay . You told me not to get in the middle of it and to not pass on the word to those that deal with membership. Out of respect I did as you asked. I wish now I had gotten in the middle. I enjoyed my day at Howe Caverns with you and your wife. I thought it was wonderful that I got to know two total strangers, by going off on a day trip. Thank you again for lunch and keeping me company all day. I had the impression that you felt like the WDCU was a good fit for you. I hope you will try again and join us in the future even if it is as a guest. Sorry it did not work out smoothly.
To all who attended 2008 WDCU Rally in North Norwich NY,

Perhaps by being disappointed that it takes the club secretary five months to answer two E-mail requests, I did not make myself very clear. Therefore I need to bring the truth to light. Both of us, my wife Margaret Kay and I truly enjoyed the rally. Everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. We were amazed over comradely within the club. Perhaps if one of you were the secretary of the club, we would have been already a member for few months. All of you have accepted some share of responsibility within the club, and we were amazed with your willingness to happily fulfill them. Many of you jumped in in the past with a offer to help with this issue. I believe that some of you sent messages to Margaret [the secretary] as well. However, none of you hold a title of the club's secretary. I have no axe to grind with any of you, because all of you are wonderful people. Common understanding is, that when you accept the nomination for a position within the club, you are expected to fulfill your duty. If you cannot, you should have declined to accept such position or resign when you are no longer able to fulfill your duties . For many years I serve on educational advisory board. The acceptance of that post was voluntary. No one has twisted my arms to accept it. Yes, the meetings very often fall on very inconvenient date, but I do change my schedule of obligations to my business, in order to fulfill my duties. Without my recommendations, the State Government would not appropriate funds where needed. I understand my obligations and I fulfill them because I have willingly accepted them. The day that I am unable to do so, I will resign with a prior six months notice so that someone else can be found to take over. I apologize to all of you if I did not make myself clear in reference to my complaints. But I believe that WDCU needs a secretary because it does not have one. Thanks, "Boatdoc"
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Old 01-25-2009, 10:03 AM   #128
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I answered 65GT's comments within his in bold to make my response easier to underrstand.

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I think you might find that a majority of members get attracted to the club either through pride of ownership, or pride of ownership in combination with a history that goes all the way back to the mid-50's.

65GT, I have no doubt the history is very important. I used to teach history a long time ago. History can be important without one being a member of the historical group if the group does not fit their needs.

The club has evolved into many different things, and now suits a whole bunch of different needs for different people. The club still runs numerous, volunteer run, extended caravans every year. The club still serves its original purpose, to bring local Airstream owners together to have fun. As a member you can roam all across North America and find courtesy parking at members homes, local, regional, and international activities. It's an in-person social network with plenty to take advantage of.

Agreed, it can be all those things and those are good things for the people that want to be a member. However, the Forum is also supplying all those needs in parallel.

If you are the type of person, that simply can't just go out and have fun, that you need to be aware of, and stay on top of everything that goes on 1 level and on up, then you may be right -- it might not be worth the hassle to you.

I realize a lot of WBCCI members pay no attention to the goings on above them in a hierarchical structure, but I just don't want to pay for that or otherwise support it. The internet has eroded hierarchical structures to some extent and that's part of its popularity.

But with membership, there's always the possibility of picking up, nearly last minute, going camping, and having some real fun.

Same can be said of the Forum.

To each their own.

Exactly.

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There's a parallel thread about the same topic:

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f286...ogy-46423.html

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Old 01-25-2009, 11:00 AM   #129
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I think Gene makes some very good points. As a city administrator, I have dealt with not only HOAs, but a wide range of residents keenly interested in local laws (for one reason or another). I been a member of organizations, served on boards of directors and someday hope to live in a distant land where no one has ever heard of Robert's Rules of Order.

I think "organization" and "structure" are often necessary, but there is a tendency (perhaps close to universal in the modern, bureaucratic world) for humans to create organization where the "product" is lost in the "process." In other words, we create organizations where how we do something becomes more important than what we do, or why. As a odd-duck "anti-bureaucrat" working in government, I see one of my jobs as constantly fighting the natural evolution towards needless structure. Do we need every blank on this form? Do we need this form? How can we make this simpler, easier and less painful for our customers? What is the point? Can we eliminate a step, or a process, or a "hoop" folks have to jump through.

People (including more than a few elected officials) see "rules" and "laws" as having an almost mystical power. As I trust Gene (as a former attorney might agree), the law is little more than what a given judge says it is on a given day. C'mon, folks, the modern American tax code consists of something like 66,000 pages of laws, rules, regulations and crap few mortals could ever hope to read. As a society, we have a rule-making fetish no more rational than pagan sun worship.

There are folks who believe in order, structure and rules. Inevitably, these folks find their way into organizations like HOAs and in position of power like HOA Boards. There are people who really think keeping the grass mowed at a height of 1.37 inches is important; that a failure to paint shutter Sherwin Williams colonial yellow semi-gloss #33 will lead to a death spiral in property failures and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse riding roughshod over the common open space.

I think every organization has to fight the human tendency towards bureaucratic calcification. I'm a member of a wildlife conservation organization that was founded in 1984. It is a volunteer organization (with its own problems) but a much more loose, decentralized and flexible structure. In about a quarter century, the organization has grown to over 150,000 members. The local woman's club that recently folded as over 100,000 members nationally.

As predicted in another thread, the WBCCI will probably continue for decades... but unless the organization adapts to an entirely different world, I don't think it will grow. According to the June 24, 2008, report from Bill Schrader to Jerry Collins, WBCCI membership has declined 30 percent from 1998 to 2008, (10,276 members to 7,281 members). Schrader also observes that "Structured formality and exclusive practices are less relevant to today's members. These were once a major part of the club's culture,m but now turn off the newer/younger members."

Here's the problem. The WBCCI--like many social organizations--is caught between maintaining the membership of an old guard that understands and supports the old "nametag and flag" culture... and attracting new members who find the old culture not relevant. The Airforums is the new organization. It's open, flexible, decentralized, informal, fluid, spontaneous, etc. If I were asked (which I very much doubt I will), I would tell the WBCCI to make one simple, dramatic move. Dissolve the WBCCI forums and make AirForums the de facto Internet communication network. Make the move towards a user-driven, bottom-up organization and start dismantling the old centralized, top-down model.

I found the Airforums before we bought our Airstream. Before we even owned a coach, I was crawling underneath a broken truck caught in a storage Catch-22 in the Port of Baltimore as a favor to an Airforums member from the Netherlands. I don't even speak Netherlandian! (Yes, I know the official langauges are Dutch and Frisian, but I thought a joke might lighten the mood). It was spontaneous. It was self-selected. It was self-organizing. I've already decided I should buy Gene Crawford a beverage when I pass through his neck of the woods (Surprise, Gene!) It's not because Gene is a member or has a number painted on his trailer. It's because this open social networking model has allowed me to gain information that he might be a congenial beverage consuming person.

And just think, it wasn't long ago we thought "Pong" was cool.
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Old 01-25-2009, 12:54 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
As predicted in another thread, the WBCCI will probably continue for decades... but unless the organization adapts to an entirely different world, I don't think it will grow. According to the June 24, 2008, report from Bill Schrader to Jerry Collins, WBCCI membership has declined 30 percent from 1998 to 2008, (10,276 members to 7,281 members). Schrader also observes that "Structured formality and exclusive practices are less relevant to today's members. These were once a major part of the club's culture, but now turn off the newer/younger members."

Here's the problem. The WBCCI--like many social organizations--is caught between maintaining the membership of an old guard that understands and supports the old "nametag and flag" culture... and attracting new members who find the old culture not relevant. The Airforums is the new organization. It's open, flexible, decentralized, informal, fluid, spontaneous, etc. If I were asked (which I very much doubt I will), I would tell the WBCCI to make one simple, dramatic move. Dissolve the WBCCI forums and make AirForums the de facto Internet communication network. Make the move towards a user-driven, bottom-up organization and start dismantling the old centralized, top-down model.
Hampstead38 is on target with his remarks. Societal restructuring is the large 2-8-4 Berkshire type locomotive steaming down the railroad tracks, while the WBCCI Executive Committee, with their bobby hats and billy clubs, are weaving alongside on the dirt road in their model T, trying to keep up. Will they make it to the RR crossing in time to successfully cross over to the other side? Will they be a trifle late and meet the locomotive head on, getting creamed? Or will they be too slow to change gears and be left idling in the dust as the train speeds on? Stay tuned folks to see how it all turns out.

But Leo also makes a very important point that sometimes seems to get lost on this board. His invitation is, IN THE MEANTIME, while this uncertain race is underway, COME JOIN US UNIT TYPES in the Lounge Car for some fun, food and drinks. Hey, we know we're all on the train being pulled by that powerful locomotive, and the WBCCI is not the engineer. Instead, the Executive Committee is in its own driver's seat, guiding their own destiny, hoping against hope to have us in the Lounge Car follow them. We often glance out at the Executive Committee driving along on their parallel journey. We're cheering for them and yelling helpful hints at them, sometimes heard and sometimes not. Like you, we're not sure they will make it either.

But, IN THE MEANTIME, we are enjoying each others' company in the Wally Byam Lounge Car. Yea, she's an old coach whose stainless steel sides could use some polishing, whose whipcord seats are worn and whose mahogany may have lost some luster. But she's still a great party rig where, rules be damned, we can meet and enjoy each other on our common journey as we are all pulled along by the steaming locomotive. So get out of your sleeper cars with their separate compartments and tootle on down to the Lounge Car. Since we're all heading in the same direction, we'd love to have you join us for the journey.
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Old 01-25-2009, 01:02 PM   #131
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Originally Posted by hampstead38 View Post
I think Gene makes some very good points. As a city administrator, I have dealt with not only HOAs, but a wide range of residents keenly interested in local laws (for one reason or another). I been a member of organizations, served on boards of directors and someday hope to live in a distant land where no one has ever heard of Robert's Rules of Order.

I think "organization" and "structure" are often necessary, but there is a tendency (perhaps close to universal in the modern, bureaucratic world) for humans to create organization where the "product" is lost in the "process."
I've been in a somewhat analogous situation, though at a larger university, where a very similar pattern appears. One thing that we instituted was just careful thinking: Is the new rule (or program or institution) that we're creating one that will be needed or useful or problematic several years down the road? If the answer was "yes" or even "maybe," then the new rule (program, institution) was created on a sunset basis: It automatically disappears without specific further action.

I wish those who created all the rules in the Blue Book had done the same ...


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Old 01-25-2009, 01:17 PM   #132
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WBCCI shrinks 18%

We may not have to wait all that long to find out what happens to WBCCI. I believe it was not too many years ago the organization had well over 10,000 members. It has been documented on the Forum how many members have been lost. In recent years it has run around 6% per year. That is pretty brutal. Surprisingly, this has not caused change. No matter how many positive experiences members have, a lot are finding the WBCCI unimportant in their lives.

In 2008, there were 7,036 members. Renewals for 2009 are down 18%.

That's triple recent years' losses. It's 1,276 committed Airstream owners who have decided this organization is no longer relevant. This leaves the organization at less than half what it was not too many years ago. The Forum has 32,114 members, five and one half times more than the WBCCI has right now when you subtract nonrenewals from 2008 membership.

No doubt some more renewals will come in and final membership will be higher than the 5,760 who have renewed for 2009*, but these numbers can only say one thing: the WBCCI is dying. Is it mortally wounded? Since it has not received even palliative care, the prognosis is dire. It may not die for many years, it may be in a coma and survive as such for a decade. It will be a struggle even if the organization is soon taken over by totally new people dedicated to change.

I have read the dues have been raised substantially and one reason was to drive out people who didn't like what was going on. Apparently it worked better than the leadership anticipated because the non-renewals exceed the number of total malcontents by two times. Thus, former, many, many rank and file members who are not classed "malcontents" just don't want to be part of the WBCCI anymore.

I think this is sad. I compared in another post the drop in members to the drop in newspaper revenues and circulation, and strangely, the drop in newspaper revenue is similar. I don't think the WBCCI is as essential to the nation as newspapers, but I regret the loss of any important institution. Both have been hit and hit hard by the internet and the economy. Even if WBCCI leadership was beloved by all, I expect membership would have dropped, but resisting change, circling the wagons and purposely driving people out, and then doing it when the economy is in bad shape, is self destructive.

I'm not heavily invested in the survival of the WBCCI. I think it would be a good thing if it survives, but I don't think it can survive as presently constituted regardless of how much fun local groups have. Those groups may survive in some other form in the future. I am invested in an organization that educates and provides community. For me, so far, the Forum does it. It is not in the nature of disorganized groups like the Forum for its members to organize things like rallies, but as the WBCCI shrinks, the need for rallies will not and there will be more and more Forum rallies.

I have no doubt local groups like the FCU are vibrant and are attracting members. Nonetheless, nonrenewals across all regions are much in excess of any new memberships. The groups most spontaneous and relaxed are doing much better than the national organization just because they are not like the national organization.

Gene

*I have certain numbers such as membership, non-renewals overall, some regions stats. My source, who I will call "Deep Goat", did not give me new memberships or complete numbers for all regions or local groups. Non-renewals indicate the feelings of people who have some experience with the organization. A certain amount of new members are people who just bought Airstreams and want to be part of the club. It's almost a spiritual decision. We wanted to at first, but changed our minds once we learned more. Some regions are doing much worse than others—for ex., regions 11 and 12 taken together have a 22% non-renewal, but region 4 is at 12%. Others have these numbers and it would be useful to post them for all categories. Analysis of the numbers according to which groups are least like the national leadership and which are would be further useful. It would also be interesting to see what age groups are not renewing and how long the non-renewals have been members.
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Old 01-25-2009, 02:47 PM   #133
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Gene - Thanks for the kind words about the Four Corners Unit. We are fine and doing well with another year of great camping adventures ahead. I was recently talking with another member of the unit and we are trying to come up with a summer rally in Southern Colorado, somewhere in the Durango area. I would love for you to join us at that rally. I will update you when I have more information.

I can not argue with your numbers, they are right out of the President's December newsletter, but they are incomplete numbers still. This years numbers could be a greater increase in non renewals, but there could be other factors. With the economy in the shape it's in, many members are faced with tough choices. Combine that with the fuel prices we recently had and many older members may have given up on the Airstream life style.

The question of a dues increase was brought to the floor at the Winter IBT meeting. The treasurer who brought up the motion barely escaped with his life. There will be no dues increase in the near future.

Forums rallies are great, but when was the last one in your area? Your home state of Colorado is populated by WBCCI members from several different units. You have Denver, Colorado West and the Four Corners Unit. Between the three there are WBCCI rallies all the time. If you want to rally with a group of Airstreamers, the WBCCI is still your best choice.

Change is coming to the WBCCI, maybe not as fast as some would like, but it is coming. I choose to be a part of that change.

See ya round the campfire...
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Old 01-25-2009, 04:21 PM   #134
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common folks you are over thinking it all. Can't we all just get along and go camping?
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:05 PM   #135
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WBCCI versus Forum membership

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In 2008, there were 7,036 members. Renewals for 2009 are down 18%.

That's triple recent years' losses. It's 1,276 committed Airstream owners who have decided this organization is no longer relevant. This leaves the organization at less than half what it was not too many years ago. The Forum has 32,114 members, five and one half times more than the WBCCI has right now when you subtract nonrenewals from 2008 membership.
Gene,

You are certainly correct that this year's WBCCI membership loss is higher than recent years. You didn't mention that the biggest reason for this year's decline was the IBTs decision to raise Member at Large dues, resulting in 40% of MALs not renewing.

But having said that, comparing WBCCI membership with Forum membership is so disingenuous as to border on an outright lie.

The 6,000 or so members of the WBCCI (which is actually more like 12,000 people, since membership is per trailer, not per person) paid Unit and International dues within the last few months, and the majority of them particpate in some kind of WBCCI activities. (The older ones that don't go to rallies still participate in luncheons and parties.)

Meanwhile, if you sort the Airforums membership list by posts, you will see that only 3,250 of the 32,000 or so Forum members have ever posted more than 10 posts. And talk is cheap--free, in fact! Moreover if you skim through some pages of the 90% of the members with fewer than 10 posts you will also see that most have them have not visited the forums for some time--many, some years.

So the figure of "32,000 Forum members" is ridiculous. The vast majority of those "members" are people who once signed up--for free--and later lost interest. Comparing them to dues-paying WBCCI members is nonsense.
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Old 01-25-2009, 05:20 PM   #136
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Gene,

Comparing them to dues-paying WBCCI members is nonsense.
Well said!
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:31 PM   #137
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A deathly comparison . . .

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The Forum has 32,114 members, five and one half times more than the WBCCI has right now when you subtract nonrenewals from 2008 membership.
Hi Gene:

Nuvite-F is correct. You are comparing a watermelon to a grape. The apples-to-apples comparable number for the WBCCI to the 32,114 people who, at one time or another since this Forum was founded, have signed up to participate here, is the number of people who have been, at one time or another since the club was founded in 1955, a member of a WBCC or WBCCI dues-paying family. You'll need a very large bushel for that number.

How many of the 32,114 AirForums members have actively participated here during the past 12 months by posting something? That number would only begin to approach a comparable active membership number for the WBCCI.

The WBCCI resets to zero and recounts its active membership anew each year. Not so here. In fact, the Airforums membership rooster might be fertile grounds for Illinois politicians to dig up some favorable votes.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:42 PM   #138
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Let's not get into an Airforums versus WBCCI squabble. There is plenty of crossover membership between the two organizations. What's important here are the trendlines. The WBCCI lost 30 percent of its membership between 1998 and 2008. The level of activity on Airforums has steadily increased. Rather than an oppositional position, I would think WBCCI members concerned about the long-term viability of the organization would look at the Airforums and ask, "What can we learn from their success"

Added:

With all due respect folks, if you ignore the demographics and greater cultural shifts, you are whistling past the graveyard. If the goal of the WBCCI is to have 5,000 very satisfied members, great. Then you don't have to worry about anything for another ten or twenty years. Eventually, however, there won't be enough younger, replacement members to sustain even a 5,000 number. The Boy Scouts are down about 50 percent from a peak membership in 1972. Any number of fraternal, social and civic organizations are down anywhere from 25 to 50 percent. I attend a fair number of meetings of fraternal, social or civic organizations. Some of the members get it. They know it's just a matter of time... either they find a way to recruit a new generation of members or they're going to have to fold their tent. Maybe the WBCCI isn't there yet, but as I read the long-term planning committee memo, it felt like at least some members recognize the problem.
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Old 01-25-2009, 06:47 PM   #139
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Gene,

You didn't mention that the biggest reason for this year's decline was the IBTs decision to raise Member at Large dues, resulting in 40% of MALs not renewing.

But having said that, comparing WBCCI membership with Forum membership is so disingenuous as to border on an outright lie.

Meanwhile, if you sort the Airforums membership list by posts, you will see that only 3,250 of the 32,000 or so Forum members have ever posted more than 10 posts. And talk is cheap--free, in fact! Moreover if you skim through some pages of the 90% of the members with fewer than 10 posts you will also see that most have them have not visited the forums for some time--many, some years.

So the figure of "32,000 Forum members" is ridiculous. The vast majority of those "members" are people who once signed up--for free--and later lost interest. Comparing them to dues-paying WBCCI members is nonsense.
Nuvite,

247 of "MALs" did not renew. That leaves 1,029 others who did not renew. I don't know why some people choose not to be a part of a local or regional group and I don't know why the WBCCI leaders don't seem to want them in the organization. Now there are 401 MALs left and maybe the leadership can get them to leave too—then there will be 5,359 members. This whole MAL thing is bizarre to me, but maybe you can explain why you have in your organization a group that is basically asked to leave and last year comprised 9.2% of the members? It seems that is a way to turn MALs into malcontents.

I should have gone through the Forum member lists. I'm wrong on the inference that all 32,122 (8 more than a few hours ago) are active Forum members. I won't stand on a technicality and I apologize for the inference. I have no idea how many are active—maybe those numbers are somewhere on this website, but I haven't looked. Any organization has inactive members of course, and I'm sure many WBCCI members aren't active or are only minimally active. Membership in the Forum is free, but many choose to pay to support it in that fashion. It appears a very large group of people never join, but follow the threads. I think everyone has noticed there's a list at the bottom of each thread of each member and how many nonmembers are looking at each thread. There seems to be approximately an equal number of nonmembers who follow these threads. They may not join, but they are influenced by the Forum. I could have gone through all these permutations of active, inactive, semi-active, etc., members of both organizations, but didn't want to distract from the points I was making, but I did get sloppy on that one factoid, and that ended up distracting from the main point.

A more important question is why are so many WBCCI members leaving? And, also important, why doesn't an organization that has so much going for it in terms of tradition and history not have 20,000 or 30,000 members? There are more Airstreams on the road all the time; why not more and more WBCCI members? It's not the economy, because the drop in members has been going on for years and years.

Richard, thanks for the invitation. I don't think it's fair for someone to attend a WBCCI rally who has no intention of joining, at least in the foreseeable future. The WBCCI page is unclear on dues, but it seems to be at least $75 and in this time of seeing dividends cut and my investments shrinking, paying that much to an organization I have doubts about doesn't make sense. We have cut back on memberships and donations recently. I'm sure someone would want me to join if I attended and I would feel I was there under false pretenses. I admire your choice to stick it out and make it better. Sooner or later we will meet and compare Tundras and growing up several miles apart.

Gene
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Old 01-25-2009, 07:07 PM   #140
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I have sent 3 request to join the WBCCI, and 2 requests to Jodi directly explaining I havent gotten the forms and would like to join..... here first response was did "I send in the forms" ??? and the second was "had I paid yet" ?????

It is no wonder folks are dropping off this forum, I for one have now given up on joining, so I will take my airstream and go where I want.

I wonder how many other folks have ran into the same roadblock?

Kevin
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