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Old 12-11-2013, 07:42 AM   #43
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It is not the case with our unit The Southeastern Camping Unit, nor was it the case for the Georgia Unit.
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:52 AM   #44
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For Bob: We did the Aleyska caravan in 2008. The cost for 65 day caravan was about $4700. We put up a bit more in the kitty but got back a $800 refund at the end of the trip. Cost included all campgrounds, entertainment, train trips, plane trips, and some meals. The only overhead on a caravan is a very small fee to WBCCI headquarters and the kitty covers the leaders actual expenses. The leaders get all the discounts they can for the caravan and many leaders say they more than pay back for their expenses that way. And frankly, if the caravans do cost more that solo traveling they are well worth the difference for me.

A Good Sam caravan is typically 2 or 3 times the cost of a WBCCI. When you get WBCCI caravan leaders to work like dogs for no pay it works out to be a good deal.

I have not seen WBCCI as a "rich mans" club. Certainly I could not participate in it if that were the case. I think the caravans are actually as low in cost or lower than doing the same thing on my own. But then I do not stay at Walmart or Flying J or rest areas on my own either.

The "rich people" are parked on both sides of the caravan in the half million dollar motor homes wondering why they have to put up with a whole bunch of folks in cheap, crappy silver trailers. (One gentleman was shocked when he found that Airstreams do not have power awnings). We did have one disgruntled "gentleman" refer to us as a "bunch of swells" when he found out that the caravan had the site he wanted to just pull into reserved ahead of time.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:03 AM   #45
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No big fundraiser going on in my unit either. Our rally fee is $3.00 a head. That money goes to whatever is needed to put the rally on. Yes, there is a positive balance in our treasury but that is used for things like support of our members for varying reasons, regular donations to charitable organizations and to cover costs above and beyond what the 3 bucks doesn't cover. No one takes it out of my pocket, it's voted on. I'm not one of the RICH Airstreamers in my crowd but if I can't afford that then I better leave the trailer sitting in the yard.

BTW: It was also nice to get a refund from a rally earlier this year that covered about half of my yearly club dues. Guess no one wants to talk about that stuff .....

OK, off my soapbox. It's like anything else, you either want to be a part of the club or you don't. Doesn't mean I won't camp with you if you're not.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night....................
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:08 AM   #46
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The issue boils down to it's essence as interaction between people. A group, size is immaterial, gets together typically because of a common interest. Around here the common thread is the ownership, care, customization and fixing of Airstream branded products that can be new or 80 some years old.

Since Airstream is cranking the new units out at over 2,000 per year now, there would be a good percentage of that number that are owners of new units as well as the first time buyer of mature units.

What if the local unit were to put up some flyers at the dealership with contact information that included a few tips "to the new owner" and links to their website with activities schedule. There could also be commentary to the prospective buyer that they would be willing to share their experiences in deciding on the unit to purchase.

These flyers would be seen by those looking at both new and used units. They would become aware there is a local group of kindred spirits who are available for support.

This flyer is in addition to the "Join WBCCI" packet in the new unit owner's documentation package(s).

Since this could be a local initiative, there would be no additional overhead for the WBCCI staff.
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Old 12-11-2013, 08:46 AM   #47
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In the "other thread", someone made mention of working with dealers to gain membership. I was on the BoD of TREAD LIGHTLY! and we made deals with Jeep, Range Rover and M-B to include member packets in the glove box as well as a one year membership that was paid for by the factory. Sounds good on paper, however, the actual member retention for the second year was so bad that the program was dropped.

I think that there is an elephant in the room syndrome here. Not everyone buying an AS wants to socialize with other AS owners. As I mentioned before, we have friends with SOB's as well as Airstreams and I have no problems being seen in the company of owners of SOB's!

This is not a plea to include SOB's in the WBCCI, but my thoughts on why some AS owners find that WBBCI membership is not necessary to have a good time.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:21 AM   #48
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I agree with you, Denis. This is essentially what I was thinking when considering people's motivations for potential membership. For some folks, it's enough to offer the friendship of Airstream owners as a reason for joining. (That's why we belong, for example.) But for others, and especially when attempting to expand our membership, I think we need to consider adding something more and/or different, but it financial benefits/discounts or workshops/classes on stuff or whathaveyou.

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In the "other thread", someone made mention of working with dealers to gain membership. I was on the BoD of TREAD LIGHTLY! and we made deals with Jeep, Range Rover and M-B to include member packets in the glove box as well as a one year membership that was paid for by the factory. Sounds good on paper, however, the actual member retention for the second year was so bad that the program was dropped.

I think that there is an elephant in the room syndrome here. Not everyone buying an AS wants to socialize with other AS owners. As I mentioned before, we have friends with SOB's as well as Airstreams and I have no problems being seen in the company of owners of SOB's!

This is not a plea to include SOB's in the WBCCI, but my thoughts on why some AS owners find that WBBCI membership is not necessary to have a good time.
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Old 12-11-2013, 09:35 AM   #49
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I should add that drawing a distinction between folks who want camaraderie and those who want something different is a nice way to see things, but it's not a black-or-white thing. More of a black-and-white vs. white-and-black thing. For some, it's absolutely super to take part in WBCCI rallies/caravans; any additional benefits are just icing on the cake. For others, it's absolutely wonderful to get WBCCI benefits, and those rallies/caravans are neat, too.

If this way of viewing things is right, what are benefits (beyond friendship), and how can we include them. And do so without spending big money.

Allow me to expand on this even more. It's easy to imagine benefit versus camaraderie: The first is a discount of some kind; the second is the rally/caravan scene. One might come to the conclusion that for some it's just the benefit, and benefit means money; for others, it's just the camaraderie, and benefit (money) is just icing. But that way of viewing things is also flawed. To see this, consider just 4CU rallies:

1. Vintage Restoration Rally
2. Balloon Fiesta Rally
3. Thanksgiving Rally
4. New Years Rally

The first two are wildly successful, drawing people from all over North America. The latter two are smaller and more intimate, drawing people primarily from Region 11.

Now just do a little think work with two terms: Benefit and camaraderie. Place the two in the order of their importance behind each rally above. Here's the result of my mind experiment:

1. Vintage Restoration Rally: Benefit, camaraderie
2. Balloon Fiesta Rally: Benefit, camaraderie
3. Thanksgiving Rally: Camaraderie, benefit
4. New Years Rally: Camaraderie, benefit

What all this means in the end is that we must view benefits as important. And that benefits might mean money. But to view benefit as only a monetary thing is way off base.


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Old 12-11-2013, 10:41 AM   #50
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Originally Posted by Denis4x4 View Post
I think that there is an elephant in the room syndrome here. Not everyone buying an AS wants to socialize with other AS owners. As I mentioned before, we have friends with SOB's as well as Airstreams and I have no problems being seen in the company of owners of SOB's!
The problem— as I see it— is that WBCCI is not about the shared experience of Airstream ownership. It's about the shared experiences of rallies and caravans. You just have to own an Airstream (and join the club) to be allowed to play in their sandbox; belonging to the club won't make your Airstream any better, and it won't make you a better owner.

I tend to agree with Denis4x4. I've attended WBCCI rallies that left me feeling tired and iritable after to much "us" time attending preplanned activities, and not enough "me" time just relaxing. Those particular rallies felt like work even though I had nothing to do with organizing them. Conversely, I've attended informal non-WBCCI get-togethers that left me relaxed and refreshed, because there was no attempt to adhere to any kind of schedule other than "see you this weekend."

It's a sad state of affairs when I usually have more fun camping solo, or in an informal group, than I do when camping with fellow WBCCI members. They're great people, don't get me wrong. And I'm glad to know each and every one of them. But their idea of a fun time doesn't always match my idea of a fun time.

However, I'm not quite ready to bail out from WBCCI just yet, despite growing disillusionment. If all goes well, I've only got another year of working for a living and then I can retire. After a full year of retirement, where I don't have to balance a WBCCI schedule with a work schedule, we'll see if attending WBCCI activities still feels like work. If it does, then I'll bail out with no regrets.
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:01 AM   #51
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I just goy my old 73 tradewind in Aug 2010. I went on a caravan in 11, I belive, and loved it. I also attended smaller rallies with another group (Watchung) in 12 and 13. I just joined the WBCCI- Watchung unit. I'm 46, make ok money, love to camp, 4-5 days max at any one place like to move and see a lot. I like the friends I have made in Airstreaming. I don't plan on going to every thing my unit offers. I like state parks the most, hiking is my favorite activity while camping. I have not looked into/ care about what goes on at HQ WBCCI, sorry. That's me in a nutshell, one of the "new" members. So far I like everything. I'm just sharing this so the info can be used to help the WBCCI grow. John
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Old 12-11-2013, 11:19 AM   #52
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I, for one, think the information you provided is very good and very appropriate, and I thank you for sharing!

Lynn

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I just goy my old 73 tradewind in Aug 2010. I went on a caravan in 11, I belive, and loved it. I also attended smaller rallies with another group (Watchung) in 12 and 13. I just joined the WBCCI- Watchung unit. I'm 46, make ok money, love to camp, 4-5 days max at any one place like to move and see a lot. I like the friends I have made in Airstreaming. I don't plan on going to every thing my unit offers. I like state parks the most, hiking is my favorite activity while camping. I have not looked into/ care about what goes on at HQ WBCCI, sorry. That's me in a nutshell, one of the "new" members. So far I like everything. I'm just sharing this so the info can be used to help the WBCCI grow. John
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Old 12-11-2013, 12:31 PM   #53
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thanks

Thanks, just thought you would like to know why I joined. John
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Old 12-11-2013, 03:49 PM   #54
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One of the problems the WBCCI and probably other clubs have to deal with is the ability of like minded people to get together thru the internet and socialize without all the structure associated with a large organization.
For many years we attended the international. When the price increased by $200. in 2010 we started looking for alternate Airstream Activities.
Since that time we have done 2 non sanctioned Airstream Caravans, One the one Mopar John refers to. Both were excellent
We attended the Pocono Rally ( The one that would have been a special events rally if the planner had not been kicked out of the WBCCI)
We have attended the Birthday Bash 4 times and have signed up for 2014.
All these were "Airstream" events outside of the club structure without paying dues to anyone. There is also the option of Airforum Rallies, which we have not done yet..

40 years ago, if you wanted to do "Airstream stuff" you had to join the club. Today this is no longer true.
The WBCCI needs to be aware of this and try to make their events, less costly in some cases, less structured, and more appealing to those with limited time.
It will be a tough challenge
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Old 12-11-2013, 06:00 PM   #55
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I recently bought an airstream and within a few weeks got a polite letter asking me to join the local unit and to look online at the activity list. Looked online and it all seems nice enough, but sort of in a different parallel universe kind of way. Most everyone in the photo's probably have adult grandkids. My kids are in college. I'm still fairly active while the group looks pretty sedentary. It doesn't seem a good match right now.

Also, recently finally left boy scouting behind. Parent leader for years, loved the camping and hiking with the boys. But some of the adults and their petty bickering and righteousness left me happy to see it end when my youngest turned 18. I see the Airstream club and wonder about similarities.

Right now we're still camping solo or with a few long term friends. Its the way we've done for years when we had a popup. Maybe someday as we wind down.
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Old 12-11-2013, 07:10 PM   #56
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I enquired with the Local unit several years back, the monthly meeting was mid week for lunch. Not something that anyone who works could hope to attend, must something that retired folks can enjoy ;0)

The 3-4 outings a year they did just didn't sound like fun, we were already camping 12+ weekends a year.

In visiting some WBCCI outings, I found that the 'command structure' wasn't exactly appealing.

Lastly, I'm not big on conforming. Pot lucks? Nah, I'd rather campfire hop and chat.

Give me a local unit that has an evening meeting where I can grab a bite off the menu, a beer and the business stuff is over in :15 because the kids are hungry and the food arrived. Rotate the leadership thru the members on an annual basis. Anyone should be able to pIck a weekend and a campground that should be all that's required for a Rally. Pranks shouldn't be tolerated, they should be Scored. The mid summer meeting should involve a swimming pool, flowery shirts and coconut bra's.

Just a few suggestions...I can think up some more if you want.
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