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Old 05-15-2005, 08:33 PM   #43
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Great Post, SierraBreeze

Is your group the Sieera Zephyrs? Am I right that your unit invites any Airstreamers to its rallies, WBCCI members or not? I was under the impression that WBCCI discourages rallies open to non-WBCCI Airstreamers (except for the occasional buddy rally).

Sounds like just the way to build a unit, though. Have all rallies open to all so people can see how much fun they are. Then after awhile the people will naturally want to become dues paying members of the unit. People will want to pay dues to a unit that is exactly what they want in a unit, mainly informal weekend rallies. Then you have a healthy unit doing what it's members want. It's something I could do with the NorCal Rally group but I thought it wouldn't fly with all those ridiculous WBCCI by-laws. The rules governing the local units should go. Let them be run the way the unit members want. I will never want to have to follow those stupid laws so it will probably never happen. At least while the current mind-set that likes all those rules are in charge.

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Old 05-15-2005, 08:44 PM   #44
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Talking to an older member of our unit this weekend, she mentioned that "Everything that can go wrong at a rally has gone wrong at sometime, and they have made rules to avoid those problems happening again." It's true, fifty years of rallying has lead to the rules they have in place today. So it's hard to argue against them. But then again I think some rules have led to the bad feelings some have about the WBCCI. People still clearly remember the days when Argosys were not allowed, and there's an air of snobbiness about the WBCCI because of things like that, which I think is part of why the WBCCI is in decline today.


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Old 05-15-2005, 08:59 PM   #45
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Is, Was, Could be?

I sit here and I think, "What can be done to help the WBCCI? How could it change to better serve a more diverse group of people? How was it in the days of Wally?" So it came down to a thing of "Is, Was, Could be?". "Is", a group of people with a common love of a brand of trailer. A group of "more than 60 years young(on average)" that love to trailer from place to place. A group of people that have rallies. Whenever a "young" person shows up at a rally with kids it's "10 grandparents" just add water time. All of the rallies I've been too, "they" the older group within the WBCCI just eat my daughter up and don't mind her crying and child like ways. I think there is always room for making something better, it's not to bad the way it is, but we can make it better. We are removed from Airstream/Thor more so now than in the past. They show up and help some, but "Airstream" is not selling the WBCCI the way they did back in the 60's, 70's. Some would say that's why the WBCCI numbers have drop over the years. Then I think of "Was". All the pictures I see of Wally are with a "bullhorn" in hand. I think, "Would I want to go to a rally with a guy talking into a bullhorn telling me to "Hurry, Hurry"" Then sit in a chair and listen to him talk about "whatever". Also, who did the WBCCI serve back in the day? Wally Byam! Who owned Airstream? Wally Byam! What did the WBCCI help sell? Airstreams! I think we sometimes think/wish of the WBCCI as in the "good old days". Wally gave the WBCCI "romance". That "romance" lasted until the mid/late 70s in terms of sales of Airstream trailers and is still is here today in the hearts and minds of Airstream owners. Now to, "Could be". The WBCCI could be a bunch of things. A laid back bunch of people with no real idea of what or who they are and where they want to go? Maybe, a down to earth group of travelers with Airstreams, meeting whenever, however? No real leadership, Just a bunch of people "spanning the globe". We could go back to the days of Wally, helping to sell a product of which none of us will ever get a dime from the sale, pulling and beating the sh*t out of our trailers and tow cars just to show you can take an "Airstream" from Capetown to Cairo. I don't know about you, but I don't want to trash my trailer and tow truck. What I what from the WBCCI is the history(of which we have) of Airstream, the romance of Wally(of which we have), to feel my child is safe(which I do) and to feel that I'm part of something a little different. I think ballcaps with the Wally patch would be O.K., instead of the Blue Beret. I think a more laid back feel would be good. And maybe even an "Oldtimers/Newtimers" group would be cool. But i know this must all come from me, working from the inside out. I hope those would step up to the plate and host rallies do it with flare. If you are part of the WBCCI it is yours to make it what you wish. We have come a long ways in 50 years, no other RV group can say the same. I hope we are here for another 50 years. It is what you make it. For me, I'll be the one with a 1968 International Travelall pulling a 1966 Airstream, with a wonderful wife and 3 1/2 year daughter feeling at home with the WBCCI'ers. I'll have a "Yuengling" beer in one hand and a cigar in the other, putting my pink flamingos out, taking it easy and just having fun with the young and the old of the WBCCI. I figure, if I'm lucky, the membership book will have the members listed by state in 5 years. We will have moved from the Blue Beret to the ballcaps in 7 years. And all rallies will have a campfire and happy hour everynight. In life, somethings are just worth waiting for.

Paul Waddell
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Old 05-15-2005, 09:03 PM   #46
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Originally Posted by rideair
....... the membership book will have the members listed by state in 5 years. We will have moved from the Blue Beret to the ballcaps in 7 years. And all rallies will have a campfire and happy hour everynight. In life, somethings are just worth waiting for.

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Old 05-15-2005, 09:15 PM   #47
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Paul, silly, look again at the directory!

Consult with the home braintrust--Marykim and Virginia both know that we're only a little ways away down route 66.

It's tough fiddling with a Yuengling, cigar and the directory all at once; it can make one overlook the D's...

Of course, it means coming closer to sin city.

Oh and there are others out nearer to you, too...

Our Airstream adventure continues!
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Old 05-15-2005, 09:41 PM   #48
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The Blue Beret is a quick read, 15-20 minutes. The information could be distributed electronically for those who prefer.

It does provide information that is valuable to me. Being retired, I have time to take advantage of the rallys etc.

Looking forward to the Galax, Virginia Fiddler's Convention in August and the International in Springfield in June.
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Old 05-16-2005, 07:03 AM   #49
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I always enjoy the WBCCI threads, they are always very passionate and full of great info on what is, what was and what should be.

In the end, there are never any dull moments on the threads that have to do with WBCCI.

A shame the folks at WBCCI either don't read these or don't take note.
Computers manufactured by companies such as IBM, Compaq and millions of others are by far the most popular with about 70 million machines in use worldwide. Macintosh fans note that cockroaches are far more numerous than humans and that numbers alone do not denote a higher life form. -NY Times 11/91
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Old 05-16-2005, 08:54 AM   #50
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A Couple of things

Leipper makes some great points. You have to ask questions and really listen to the answers to discover what the problems are. Then you can go about fixing them. If you can't clearly understand and/or won't accept what the problems really are then you are not going to be very successful trying to solve them. WBCCI has made some good attempts, for instance the membership survey, but I don't think they quite understand the root of the problem - yet.

I agree with SilverTwinkie and others that a strong national charter can provide good foundation and a lot of benefits that small groups on their own would have a hard time replicating. Then there is identity and name/brand recognition. But if the national entity is not all that it should be then do what you can on the local level and make the most of what you have.

As to what Big Dee says about rallies. I am no expert in WBCCI bylaws or policies but what I read in the bylaws under Unit rallies is ".. Planned and conducted by a Unit for the benefit and enjoyment of Unit members and guests ..." The key is that they are Airstream/Argosy owners or potential owners. For us, our aim, like you said, is to show people what we are all about and get them enthused. We have had two recent examples. A long time brand X owner who has camped near us (not official rally participant) has now bought an Airstream. At the last rally, we had some guests who were just beginning to consider an RV and not necessarily an Airstream. They spent several hours with us and by the time they left they were heading home past an Airstream for sale that one of our members told them about.

Speaking of NorCal, we always try to encourage our members to visit other unit rallies and functions as well as regional and national. We feel it is part of being a good neighbor as well as a way to see how other Units do things. It is not only a good way to meet new friends, it gets you thinking about your own unit, what works, what you like, and gives you some ideas that might make your unit even better.

Waddell had some great points about the history of WBCCI. As a 3rd generation WBCCI member, I have a strong desire to ensure that the history and traditions of the association are not forgotten. On the other hand, I firmly believe there are ways to respect the history and traditions that are more appropriate for the times we live in. That is one area were creativity and flexibility can make a difference. Even though our Unit may appear a little untraditional in some respects, the guiding principles behind most of what we do come from the history of WBCCI. Much of our philosophy follows the statements of Wally Byam's Creed. It's nothing we tout or even discuss as a plan or goal. It is just is the way we think and what we enjoy doing. By the way, we don't wear Blue Berets - base ball caps, maybe. I have a great picture of my grandparents on a WBCCI Caravan to Mexico in 1957. Everyone is standing, waiting for a train to go on a tour. Everyone has on their Blue Berets. The big red numbers came about during the second trip (the first somewhat official caravan) to Mexico and were used to identify trailers so they could be checked in at each stop. The benefits of being able to spot other members of your group easily and ensuring that everyone made it safely to your next camping site were pretty important in those days.

Stephanie, If you would like to see our bylaws (approved by WBCCI) go to:
Click on bylaws.
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Old 05-18-2005, 11:09 AM   #51
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I just had to share the email I got this morning. These people were the visitors I mentioned in an earlier post. The rally they visited was one of our less than optimal rally sites and the weather was not the greatest. Never the less, not only do we now have a new Airstream owner in our area, we have a probable new and active member to our Unit. The comments in this email are indicative of what I said in my orignal post about attitudes and behaviors. This is a win-win for everyone - The local dealer got a sale, our Unit and WBCCI probably have a new member, and most important, we have another Airstream enthusiast.

" We want to express how much we enjoyed meeting and talking with everyone at last month's meeting at Lake Lahonton. Your gracious hospitality was greatly appreciated.

You alleviated our concerns about buying an Airstream, so we bought one. It is a new 25' Safari LS. We decided that we needed a more serious towing truck for it, so we bought one of those also.

By the time of your next month's meeting, we should have the first 500 miles on the truck and the Airstream will be fully ready to go. So we really look forward to seeing you all again next month.In the mean time, I'm really having fun "playing" with my Airstream in our driveway. I am so impressed with how well it is built compared to my old SOB Komfort."
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Old 08-20-2005, 01:21 AM   #52
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Great post Rideair. My sentiments exactly. I am currently "thinking" about joining. Just haven't stepped up to the plate yet. I am going to a WBCCI sponsored event in October. Then I will make up my mind.
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Old 08-20-2005, 05:49 AM   #53
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$.02 from a New Member

I joined WBCCI in February after a years wait. I'd wish I had joined sooner.
I went to my first Rally last week and loved it. The people are what makes WBCCI so special. They were great and made me, my wife and two daughters feel like family. I even got to meet Jim and Dixie Franklin, the new International President and First Lady (see August 2005 cover of Blue Beret). Super nice people.
The Blue Beret newsletter is just that, a newsletter, and it serves me well.
I hope to participate in other WBCCI events in the future.
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Old 08-20-2005, 08:59 AM   #54
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To each his/her own

Originally Posted by rseagle
I joined WBCCI in February after a years wait. I'd wish I had joined sooner.
I went to my first Rally last week and loved it. The people are what makes WBCCI so special. They were great and made me, my wife and two daughters feel like family. I even got to meet Jim and Dixie Franklin, the new International President and First Lady (see August 2005 cover of Blue Beret). Super nice people.
The Blue Beret newsletter is just that, a newsletter, and it serves me well.
I hope to participate in other WBCCI events in the future.

Glad to hear you feel you have made the right choice.The people ARE what makes WBCCI so special.I have been a member for 10 years and don't regret a minute of it.
I feel you need to put something into any club to get something out of it.I try to do what I can to contribute.Everyone is different.My wife and I both work full time jobs and have a 2 year old son.We cannot go to many functions at this time but plan to in the future.
I have met such interesting people at past Int'l Rallies and developed friendships that will last a lifetime.Priceless.
The club is now in a transformation phase.I believe membership numbers have finally stabalized this year.Change comes slow but I believe it is coming.Some units have the right idea and are growing.I believe WBCCI should gather information from these units and develop some form of action plan to assist the units that are in decline.When a struggling unit ,down in membership,is told by WBCCI that the only 2 things they can do is merge or disband I truely believe it is a missed opportunity.
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Old 08-20-2005, 09:33 AM   #55
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The latest Blue Beret lists a net gain of 19 members over the last 12 months. A very small turnaround, but some indication that the membershipo drain may be ending.

As the Region Webmaster, I have had the sad duty over the last year to remove three dead units (of 16) from the web pages and a fourth unit is in peril at the moment. However, the remaining units are prospering fairly well. Our own unit has a membership of between 50 and 60 units including the past International President and the current International 3rd VP. We stand to gain members from the failing unit.

We plan 6 formal rallies and at least one informal rally next year, including a Vintage rally. We have some older members who have sold their Airstreams, but stay in cabins or nearby motels to remain part of the group. We do lay off in January and during the hottest months here in Austin. One rally each year is to a more distant location; in 2006 it will be to Port Aransas on the coast.

We have a high attendance at the Region 9 rally and the International rally. We always caravan to the region rally.

We have an announced luncheon each month plus each week that there is no other activity, we meet at a different Austin restaurant (picked by a different person each week) for an informal luncheon. These informal luncheons draw anywhere from 8 to 30 folks depending on the location and who is on the road. I think these informal luncheons are a testament to the deep friendship that exists in this group. Often there are guests or relatives attending. We have several widows and a widower who are regulars at the informal luncheons; they value the events to keep in touch with long-time friends.

Look for the notice of our weekend vintage rally in February. It will be an open rally at McKinney Falls State Park in Austin; open to all Airstreamers, WBCCI or not, vintage or not. There is a dining hall that will seat 75 for our pot-luck. Everyone will make their own reservations and a small rally fee will be charged to cover the hall and other expenses. Very much like a forum rally.
John W. Irwin
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Old 08-20-2005, 10:23 AM   #56
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"Am I right that your unit invites any Airstreamers to its rallies, WBCCI members or not? I was under the impression that WBCCI discourages rallies open to non-WBCCI Airstreamers (except for the occasional buddy rally)."

This is a point well worth due consideration. One big benefit of WBCCI affiliation is its insurance. Adherance to policy conditions and caveats is necessary. It would help if these conditions and caveats were easier to find and understand.

On the other hand, if you hold rallies in public places there is no way you can prevent others from using non-rally campsites. And you really can't do much to prevent them from dropping by your camp and saying 'hi!'

In other words, visitation by neighbors in the campground versus rally participation has a gray area. People tend to notice when a bunch of Airstreams get together and often will come by to find out what is going on. What are you going to do? Put up "no trespassing" signs and hire guards? No, the Wally Byam idea as I understand it is to be a good neighbor in camp and a good friend.

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