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Old 02-25-2007, 10:31 PM   #1
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Letter to Don Shafer & IBT

Hearing word back from Sarasota and the rally there, we are hearing of discussions on the MOHO issue. Don Shafer apparently has made a presentation on the issue. By accounts people are listening respectfully but the general mood is one of opposition.

I have the feeling that perhaps Don and IBT either do not know what the membership feels about this issue or is just turning a deaf ear. To that end I wrote a letter to Don and the IBT which outlines my feelings and references these forums and the survey WBCCI took a few years back. It is safe to say that people are generally against this proposal. They have been for several years. I just had to take a stand and send a letter to let them know that I for one am not happy about it. I encourage other members and prospective members to also express their feelings. Maybe they just don’t know….

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To Don Schafer and the WBCCI International Board of Trustees,



My name is Timothy Kendziorski, WBCCI #17330 & 11281, WDCU. I am also one of the founders of SaveWally.org.

I am writing to ask that you reconsider the actions that you and the IBT are taking to allow re-branded Four Winds motorhomes into the club. The position and directions you are collectively taking is spelling danger and potential dissolution for the club, as we know it. I think that in your zeal to protect a lifestyle of travel that you are comfortable and accustomed to, you are forgetting the remaining 80+ percent of the membership and the wishes and desires of those members. The actions you are taking will only serve a limited portion of the membership. The benefits you seek do not outweigh the needs of the club as a whole.

As one of the founders of SaveWally.org I am aware of many members, unit officers and regional representatives who are against this proposition. We have members and prospective members who contact us on a daily basis to say that these actions are pure folly on behalf of the leadership. Many are equally concerned that if this proposition goes through it will result in an immediate and unrecoverable reduction in the number of members in the club. Indeed so many are offended at this proposition that there is talk of forming a new club, and that is not coming from the SaveWally camp.

I know that you asked Renee Ettline to act as Communications Liaison between the membership and the IBT but I believe that you and the IBT may not be hearing what she is saying or at least selectively listening to her. It is for this reason that I am writing. And I am not only sending this letter to you and the IBT but the members and prospective members of WBCCI as represented by those who participate on AirstreamForums.com as well as WBCCI’s own forums. It is these members who have expressed so many opinions against this proposition. And perhaps you may be so blissfully unaware of this fact that you believe there is little opposition to your proposal.

On the AirstreamForums.com I posted a poll. Not scientific by any means but perhaps of greater value than the research you and the IBT studied on the motorhome topic. The poll simply questioned if members and perspective members were for or against allowing non-Airstream brands (SOB’s) into the club. By an overwhelming majority, roughly 87% of the respondents, the answer was no. Besides that poll, respondents were given the opportunity to comment. Of course the majority stated many reasons for being against this proposition. The bulk of that being fear that the club would be overrun by a sea of non-Airstream products and that for a large number, this would be the end of their membership if this went through. Nobody responded that they would actually join WBCCI if this passed.

I do not believe that 87% “NO” vote is a fluke or represents a demographic who is so very different than the actual makeup of the WBCCI as it stands today. Remember, it was but a few short years ago that WBCCI itself initiated a survey to the membership and in that survey asked a very similar question. The results of that survey are published on our web site. The question simply stated, “The WBCCI membership base should be broadened to include any RV brand made by Thor Industries, parent company of Airstream”. There were 1058 respondents and better than 77% either disagreed or strongly disagreed to this proposal with the bulk of all respondents (57.17% to be exact) strongly disagreeing. Those are hard numbers to ignore. Still the IBT, under your leadership, are pushing this issue right down the collective throat of the membership.

I have listened to the recordings of the IBT meeting in Perry and heard the discussions of bringing in not only Four Winds, but also other THOR models and classes. It begs the question – where will it all end? There is history to be made aware of here, that of the The Avion Travelcade Club which formed in 1961. It was a brand specific club and operated that way for many years until 1988 when, under pressure from a declining membership, the board of directors decided to allow members to stay in the Club under limited conditions when they bought Fleetwood manufactured motorhomes. This eventually morphed into allowing anyone that owned an RV manufactured by Fleetwood, except those with folding sides and tops. Today, the club is called FLEETWOOD TRAVELCADE CLUB and membership requirements are simple – Any product made by Fleetwood. Sound familiar? I fear that history is repeating itself here in WBCCI. Rest assured that if this passes, lawsuits would follow. Imagine lifetime members who just became disenfranchised because they cannot afford a Class “A” and can’t physically tow a trailer anymore? What are they to do? They will want their rights. This guarantees eventual dissolution of the single brand identity. And it does mean the end of the WBCCI as we know it.

This is not the history I would like to see happen for us, and indeed if this motion passes I will not see. For, if this proposition does pass, I like many others will be taking my beautiful red numbers and joining the growing numbers of disenfranchised members in forming a new club which continues to Honor Wally Byam, the product he has made and the club he helped create to enjoy them.

I imagine that if the IBT has spent as much time devising real ways to boosting the membership in this single brand club as it does trying to sell it down THOR rapids, AND if leadership took a progressive attitude of member recruitment and program development, then this club might not only survive but prosper as well. AirstreamForums.com has over 18,000 members and is growing every day. These members are holding a record number of “forums rallies” every momth. Airstream products are selling like hotcakes yet the membership in the WBCCI is declining progressively. In fact, it may be the only progressive activity the WBCCI leadership is actually promoting.

I beg you to take a real leadership position and end this proposal to allow re-branded Four Winds motorhomes into the club. Have the courage and audacity to direct energy and attention to developing real membership recruitment programs, tap into the growing numbers of actual “Airstream product” ownerships. Keep this club a single brand - Airstream. There are already enough fish in this sea, Go get them.
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Old 02-26-2007, 05:50 AM   #2
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Excellent Post!

Thanks Tim,

I couldn't have said it better myself!
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Old 02-26-2007, 05:58 AM   #3
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Did you just send the letter? It wasn't dated?
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:15 AM   #4
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I am going to send it as soon as I format it and print it out. I intend to mail it out.
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Old 02-26-2007, 06:36 AM   #5
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Rick Bell told me that it's not upto him he just moderates the meeting and vote.

It's upto your local unit to vote for/against.

Sounds like it's done like the electoral vote.

So you may need to get with your local chapter to vote on it in Perry????
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Old 02-26-2007, 07:01 AM   #6
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The motion can be withdrawn with no further action at any time - even before Perry. Don could right now pull that motion and it would all be over. It is a slim chance that would happen but he could pull it.
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Old 02-26-2007, 10:35 AM   #7
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Tim,
Well put! I for one appreciate your efforts in defending what is right and good for the WBCCI membership. Keep up the good work.
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Old 02-26-2007, 01:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LI Pets
It's upto your local unit to vote for/against.

Sounds like it's done like the electoral vote.

So you may need to get with your local chapter to vote on it in Perry????
Yes that is exactly what we have to do with the motion. We have to go to our local units vote NO and tell them not to let our delgates make any deals on the spot but bring home any further amendments for the members to decide upon. That is if you want to keep the club Airstream only.

Tim that letter really says it so well. Great work, I hope they really consider your words. I too think they are out of touch with the body of membership. Would be nice to actually hear from them as to what they are thinking. But there is always quiet from the top. Why is that?
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Old 02-26-2007, 02:48 PM   #9
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Well, we have kind of been hearing from them as they sell the MOHO's to crowds at large rallies like Florida. We know that we will be voting on this at Perry.
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:00 PM   #10
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Hi There Mrs B. I like your avatar! But you know what I mean, even on the WBCCI forums , the members post but not the officers very much, nor here. Why do we have only a communications liason committee to rely on for getting through, and why can't we just talk? Perhaps there would be less of a chasm is they didn't "hire out" for keeping in touch with the membership. We need mediators, the top is that far UP?
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:09 PM   #11
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Atta boy!

Great letter, Tim! Thanks for sharing it. I'm looking forward to a time when the IBT will stop taking giant steps backward and start bringing welcome change to the club, the kind that members and prospective members are looking for.

With people like you and others speaking up, maybe we can get this to happen sooner rather than too late to do any good.

-J
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:21 PM   #12
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Excellent post Tim. I hope to see an answer posted on this site.

If need be, what will be the name of a new club?
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Old 02-26-2007, 03:50 PM   #13
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Thumbs up

Tim-

BRAVO, BRAVO, BRAVO!


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Old 02-26-2007, 04:34 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie M
Excellent post Tim. I hope to see an answer posted on this site.

If need be, what will be the name of a new club?
Tim Here (Buttercup - I am using my wife's computer and helping boost her post count;-))
I guess I would no t want to speculate on that right now. I know there is (serious) talk about it but my focus is on just saving what we have.
As a matter of qualification I can say that I presided for 3 years over our local astronomy club. When I started membership was low and dropping. A group of concerned members banded together to turn the club around and that was a success.
WBCCI can do the same without dissolving the whole club identity. From a marketing standpoint the leadership seem to me to be hell bent on throwing away that identity, I genuinely believe that they are ashamed about who we are and what we celebrate. To completely ignore the poll they took to push this issue through is mind boggling.
Based on my research, clubs that take surveys (ones which are not designed to return a desired result) and then take to heart the responses are the groups which show longevity and growth.
I am not ashamed, I proudly display my numbers on my trailer for all to see (not that you are evil if you don't). I welcome the questions of what they mean.
My philosophy is to "Just Vote NO" - no for the MOHO issue, no to the current group of leaders, no to anything which has the potential to dissolve this club and its history. If we all voted no for the next batch of leaders it would send a message. Yes, we know they will all get elected anyway but it might just show them that we do care and we are still here and members of the club. Don't ignore our desires on issues like these to further your own agenda.
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