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Old 10-04-2012, 11:22 AM   #15
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No criticism of BigC but I did giggle when his first paragraph said he wanted to show his kids Americana the way it use to be and the next he said he wasn't sure about joining the WBCCI because the website was outdated. Yes the WBCCI is outdated in some respects and moving forward in others, that's the fun of it. Help with the change but enjoy the past. I love my wool blue beret and wear it all the time even if it looks dorky.
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:41 AM   #16
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I love my wool blue beret and wear it all the time even if it looks dorky.
Thought about buying a wool blue beret, but can't seem to find any for sale with the WBCCI logo on them. I believe I would wear a size 7¼ (Large), but it's been so long since I wore anything but an adjustable baseball cap (or a hardhat at work) that I don't really remember my hat size. I do know from the advanced state of baldness that my head is bigger than my hair!

I did find a nice blue polo shirt with the embroidered WBCCI logo, though.

PS— Berets are not dorky. Ask any soldier who wears his with pride. What makes a beret look dorky would be dorky people like me wearing one.
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Old 10-04-2012, 12:33 PM   #17
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Contact WBCCI Headquarters they have both styles of berets in all sizes. Yes we need a online store because unless you attend International you don't get to buy many of the items in the WBCCI store. But it's not high on the priority list.

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Old 10-04-2012, 12:49 PM   #18
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Along those lines I see no reason why the web site could not publish rallies as soon as they are scheduled by a unit or at least 3 months in advance. Yes this would produce a lot of information on the site. But it is not impacted by the historical refusal of the Leadership that it would increase publication cost as there is no cost to the web once up and running.

If links were included with the listings I can only see attendance at rallies going up. Currently the Air Forums rally list gives that information and I use it while planning my travels.

The AIR rally calendar includes many WBCCI rallies and I wish there were more listed. It's a great way for WBCCI units to touch new folks and increase rally attendance - best of all it's FREE and fast. Even a last minute event can be added as there's no intermediary.

While I don't have any empirical data, it seems that units who are regularly using the rally calendar and posting rally discussion threads are seeing membership increases and lots of busy rallies. That certainly has been the case in my own unit where AIR and the WBCCI unit have been an extremely powerful partnership to drive participation at the Oregon Unit.

The next generation of WBCCI members are internet users - first. They read printed publications but they want to be able google for info. My own personal opinion about the Blue Beret is that it has value and should be retained - but not as an event calendar. In depth articles about all things airstream are more useful to me in a printed publication. I can read at my leisure and keep for reference. The rally and caravan info rapidly becomes irrelevant. Sadly the deeper content that I'd prefer to read isn't really there - yet. But I'm hopeful....
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Old 10-04-2012, 01:08 PM   #19
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Contact WBCCI Headquarters they have both styles of berets in all sizes. Yes we need a online store because unless you attend International you don't get to buy many of the items in the WBCCI store. But it's not high on the priority list.

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Much appreciated. Taking this off-line since it's tangential to the main discussion.
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Old 10-04-2012, 06:21 PM   #20
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I couldn't agree with you more Jim, there needs to be some one social media and not several made up for one area. For us here we are in need of something NOW ourselves and are wanting to bring in new members as well as owners of Airstreams.

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Old 10-04-2012, 09:20 PM   #21
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I'm a new owner and becoming involved in the Oklahoma City unit. I feel having a Face Book page for the units that are updated can help in the regions.
Big ditto!!!
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Old 10-04-2012, 11:27 PM   #22
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I want to apologize for my comment on the blue beret. It looks very smart on our military men & women. The heritage of our blue beret is such that I love to wear it!
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Old 10-05-2012, 06:12 AM   #23
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I want to apologize for my comment on the blue beret. It looks very smart on our military men & women. The heritage of our blue beret is such that I love to wear it!
Huh? I know you're only poking fun at me by misinterpreting my comment, but for the benefit of other readers, let's set the record straight…

When I commented about berets not looking dorky on our troops, I didn't mean WBCCI blue berets, just berets in general. The dress uniforms for US Army include berets, in either green (Special Forces), maroon (Airborne), tan (Rangers), or black (all other Army).

In the US Air Force, berets are maroon (Pararescue), scarlet (Combat Controllers), pewter gray (Combat Weathermen), royal blue (Security Forces), pewter green (SERE Specialists), or black (Air Liaison Officers).

US Air Force Auxiliary (Civil Air Patrol) wears navy blue berets if they have attended an event called the "National Blue Beret" in Oshkosh, WI during the EAA AirVentures Airshow. If they attend Hawk Mountain Ranger School and achieve the level of Advanced Ranger they are authorized to wear black berets.

I try not to joke about or men and women in uniform; I have too much respect for them. They can joke about themselves all they want; they've earned the right, but people like me who haven't served haven't earned the right.
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Old 10-06-2012, 12:15 AM   #24
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I'm not poking fun at anyone,and I also respect our military, just trying to get out of whatever I got into with the dorky beret statement. And I still love wearing my Beret.
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:49 PM   #25
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I'm not poking fun at anyone.
Pity. I don't mind people poking fun at me, as long as I get to laugh along with you.
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Old 10-06-2012, 09:21 PM   #26
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No criticism of BigC but I did giggle when his first paragraph said he wanted to show his kids Americana the way it use to be and the next he said he wasn't sure about joining the WBCCI because the website was outdated. Yes the WBCCI is outdated in some respects and moving forward in others, that's the fun of it. Help with the change but enjoy the past. I love my wool blue beret and wear it all the time even if it looks dorky.
I felt odd posting my comment that way, but its like buying a "vintage" home then bringing the wiring, plumbing, etc up to code...
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Old 10-07-2012, 08:06 AM   #27
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…its like buying a "vintage" home then bringing the wiring, plumbing, etc up to code...
If you intent to live in a vintage home, it should be brought up to code. Many, if not most, Victorian homes didn't have indoor plumbing or electricity. Adding plumbing or electricity for modern use doesn't make it any less Victorian in style.

So it is with WBCCI. You can add modern bits behind the walls without making it any less classic, or any less of an homage to Wally Byam. The man was forward-thinking in his day. If we intend to honor him, shouldn't we be equally forward-thinking?
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Old 10-07-2012, 09:54 AM   #28
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I'm responding to the discussion above how how to target younger members.

Basically we're a young family with 10 year old twins. At this age (kids around 5th grade) many of our friends at our elementary school are starting to experiment with RV trips with their families, which could easily be a gateway to owning an Airstream. We all remember being thrown in the back of the station wagon for family road trips when we were kids.

I think the key thing to understand is that I'm trying to create amazing memories for my family - that's the number one reason I bought my Airstream - it's a little different than the message about "living life on the road" that I assume is directed at retired folks that I see all over the website.

I think the whole discussion above about a better on-line presence - whether through a website for through facebook - and better email communication is a good one. This stuff is absolutely mandatory for people my age - we don't care about membership cards, we don't want paper. Just make it easy to sign up on line, learn about what's going on, and get your events into my google calendar and I'm super happy.

A couple of additional thoughts.

The very first thing anyone my age looking into becoming part of the airstream community is going to do is to google "Airstream." Try doing this.

The first search result is the Airstream company.

The second search result is for the Wikepedia article on Airstreams. WBCCI is briefly mentioned in this article, but there is no link to either of your websites. Anyone can edit wikipedia entries - so someone should go do this - make sure the wikipedia entry on WBCCI is correct, and add a link to your new website.

Air Forums comes up as the fourth search result - so anyone looking at becoming part of the airstream community is going to find this website. I've found it to be an incredible resource.

Neither WBCCI.net or WBCCI.org come up anywhere in the first four pages of Google search results for Airstream - which basically means that Google does not know you exist. And as such, folks from my generation are not going to find you easily. So I would advise a search engine optimization project for your websites.

Other thoughts:

I became aware of WBCCI through this forum and by meeting members on the road this summer who sought us out in campgrounds. Almost everyone we met were retired couples and they were super nice and helpful. But if you want to recruit more young members, the first thing I would want to know is whether the organization thinks about people like me, and our needs - or are you really more for retired folks living on the road.

Our schedule is super busy, and we have to plan far in advance. We aren't retired, so I only have weekends, plus a max of three weeks per year of vacation, to use our Airstream. So having early notices of events is really mandatory - and week long caravans are impossible to do more than one or two a year of. Really cool, special weekend trips that the kids would love would be awesome - this is the kind of stuff I'm now planning on my own.

Also, given we have such short windows for vacation, we care a lot more about having a great experience than pinching the very last penny. I don't want to waste money, but vacation time is even more precious. The messaging on the website about caravans seems to focus on cost savings - I can understand why it's there, I'm just saying it misses the mark with my needs.

I would also want to understand what events are kid friendly and whether the organization in general is family friendly - I can imagine my kids and dog really pissing off retired couples who are trying to get away from grandkids, noise and chaos. I found just one page on one of the websites about streaming with kids - it's pretty thin - and it talks about grandchilden. How about lots of pictures of happy young families, or some indicator of kid friends events on the schedule pages?

I hope this helps - I'm not exactly generation X - but we do have lots of friends that are intrigued by our Airstream and I hope this is helpful feedback about how to get them more interested in joining.
What an eye-opener this is! Great input - we are in "pre-retirement stage" already, but thinking about our friends and family, these are exactly the points that they would make, were they giving serious consideration to WBCCI. If our wonderful club is going to thrive, we have to change our focus a little.
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