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Old 02-27-2009, 08:22 PM   #15
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When we joined the Forums, many welcomed us.

When we joined WBCCI as MALs, not only did no one welcome us, we were not even listed in the Blue Beret as new members. Not a big deal, we're not really interested in associating with the likes of these people.

Brian
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Old 02-27-2009, 08:43 PM   #16
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Tami & I joined as MAL's. We are fulltimers who sold the houses & cars to travel the countryside. We've seen the country from the sest of a truck rolling down the interstate. Now we want to see it from off the side of a side road. Would it be right to join a local unit, then not go to meetings or offer any support?

We enjoy reaping the benefits of Airstream parks without dealing with old people in berets. Folks at the parks are fine. The "officialness" associated with rallies is what we don't like. We went to a small rally of 12 rigs where there was no proper dress cerimonies. Had a great time.

We're looking to settle down soon. Maybe then we'll join a local unit (if they still want us after the 1st sentence of paragraph 2). Right now Cleveland,TN is our home. The employment opportunities will decide if we stay or move on.

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Old 02-27-2009, 11:49 PM   #17
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In about 6 years on this forum, I wish I had a buck for each WBCCI thread. I could buy another new Airstream.
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Old 02-28-2009, 04:41 AM   #18
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I think Ricky and Tami are typical of the group we need in the club. Sales of new A/S trailers has shifted to folks who want to travel. If you think about the whole idea of a caravan, folks from different parts of the country get together to travel. That's exactly why our unit has seen steady business for the Top Of GA, though membership is down a little.

Leo is on the mark. The folks in Jackson Center should give your information to the nearest unit. The units need to make contact and get you involved. There is bound to be someone in the unit with similar interests who can help you get acquainted with the club and its "customs".

I also think the club needs to focus on those who travel. Our A/S park has attracted several new members and MALs. During rallies, we often pick up a few new volunteers who aren't (or weren't) previously members of the unit. Courtesy Parking is also a great way to meet members of the club. When you get to know most of the "old folks in berets", you find they are fascinating people. The more members you meet, the more you find to do at rallies...including State, Region, and International Rallies!

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Old 02-28-2009, 09:24 AM   #19
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I'm curious about some of the things that show up on the gazillion WBCCI threads. Since they are only mentioned in passing, it might be good to clear up some of this stuff for those of us who don't understand these things.

Some posts make it sound like the WBCCI is like a secret society such as the Masons, but does it without the secrecy. I think these threads have fostered a lot of myths or truths about the WBCCI. There may be a lot of false impressions.

In the interest of promoting clarity,

If a member, do you have to wear a beret or own one? In the '50's, berets were associated with the Beat Generation, poets, jazz, "reefers", and Frenchmen. Did Wally have a connection with any of those things?

I've seen something about vests. Do people have to wear them? Is there a dress code?

I understand there's something about flags on trailers. What's that about?

There's a lot of talk about units with ceremonies and units that are informal. What are these ceremonies?

The International sounds like the most formal of all rallies. Is that true?

What happens if you break a rule?

So, what is a WBCCI rally like?—I know it's an opportunity to make friends and talk Airstream—but sometimes it sounds like there's a bunch of guys in vests and berets making sure you've followed a few thousand rules. The officers in their flagged trailers probably get the best spaces. There will be very formal ceremonies with tuxedos and maybe the ladies will wear evening gowns and maybe there's the Wally Worship hour. Since everyone is ancient, an ambulance with a full crew of EMT's will be standing by. Everyone must be asleep by 8:30 and up at 4:30 am. Afternoon naps will be enforced. Any opposition will result in expulsion.

You may think I'm being silly, but I really don't know what's going on and I'm trying to illustrate a point. Some people make the WBCCI sound awful and others think it's great. Maybe there'll never be agreement but it'd be easier to to make some sense out of all these threads if I understood some sort of objective reality.

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Old 02-28-2009, 09:57 AM   #20
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Myths?

Each Unit has its own level of formality. Some are VERY informal, some are more "traditional". Usually it depends on the preference of the Unit members.

Beret -
Our unit makes certain the officers and spouses have a BB for the installation ceremony. Otherwise, the only time I see them is at the International in July. Even then, they are only "required" for those on stage. There is already plenty of information posted by PeeWee on
Blue Berets, symbolism representing the spirit of Wally Byam

Vests - I haven't seen them in our unit.

Dress Code - Not normally. Our unit does have a dress code for the Installation Ceremony, but only for the officers and their significant other. The International includes an Installation Ceremony and Dance. The officers DO have a dress code for that night.

The International is a informal as you make it. We spend most of the time in shorts and tee shirts, sitting outside, talking with friends and eating good food. There are dinners you can attend. The attire for those is usually consistent with the location. The scheduled events for at the International are more formal than I would prefer, but I'm younger (48) than most folks there.

Breaking Rules?
There are customs, rules, and ethics. I'll leave that to others to discuss on the International level. In our unit, there are sometimes differences of opinion. Those are generally addressed on an individual level.

Rallies?
They differ greatly. Look at the posts and pictures from folks who attend them. The bottom line - folks in each unit decide how they want to get together with friends. I will also say that the active members are generally "young for their age". They are active, interested, and involved.

Most of the issues you see discussed with great emotion are related only to a few folks who "manage" the club. As with any large organization, this one has a significant budget, assets, and employees. When you attend rallies or go on caravans - you won't see many of these disagreements.

Hope this helps.

Matt
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:01 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
Some posts make it sound like the WBCCI is like a secret society such as the Masons, but does it without the secrecy.
Gene
Not sure the secrecy is missing.

It appears that several members of WBCCI that have voiced open concern at the National Rally have been dropped from this years membership. Not by the members choice.

I had a conversation with our units membership chairman after I got word that our unit had seen a sizable drop in member ship listing in this years Book. Our unit, WDCU, is not the most mainstream of followers. She assured me that they that had paid and that the information had been transmitted to Jackson. During the conversation we realized that some of those that had been left out were those that had openly contested things in the past.

My question now is when does a member accrue his or her voting rights? Is voting limited to those members listed in the annual membership publication or by some other date. Has the WDCU lost some of it's influence not by it's own choosing?

Another bit of secret society dealings is it appears that the rules have been changed so preclude nominations from the floor.
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Old 02-28-2009, 10:05 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
I'm curious about some of the things that show up on the gazillion WBCCI threads. ...

If a member, do you have to wear a beret or own one? In the '50's, berets were associated with the Beat Generation, poets, jazz, "reefers", and Frenchmen. Did Wally have a connection with any of those things?
Nope, no requirement to wear a beret. Most members I know don't own one. Apparently, Wally came to like the beret from experience in France. Like most things Wally, the WBCCI subsequently turned his preference into creedo.
Quote:
I've seen something about vests. Do people have to wear them? Is there a dress code?
Apparently, the upper ranks have some kind of thing, or so I've heard. Precious little trickle-down economics here.
Quote:
I understand there's something about flags on trailers. What's that about?
Flags are sort of neat, I think, but nothing required. The WBCCI seems to have reams of rules about how to handle flags if you have them.
Quote:
There's a lot of talk about units with ceremonies and units that are informal. What are these ceremonies?
I guess it's installation of new officers. Presumably some kind of ceremonial stuff, but it varies a lot from unit to unit.
Quote:
The International sounds like the most formal of all rallies. Is that true?
That'd be my guess, too.
Quote:
What happens if you break a rule?
It depends on where and when. If you break a rule with your friends in a unit, people will get disappointed, but not break your neck. Try that in front of the high horses, though, and you may have a neck brace. They seem to take their rules very seriously.
Quote:
So, what is a WBCCI rally like?—I know it's an opportunity to make friends and talk Airstream—but sometimes it sounds like there's a bunch of guys in vests and berets making sure you've followed a few thousand rules. The officers in their flagged trailers probably get the best spaces. There will be very formal ceremonies with tuxedos and maybe the ladies will wear evening gowns and maybe there's the Wally Worship hour. Since everyone is ancient, an ambulance with a full crew of EMT's will be standing by. Everyone must be asleep by 8:30 and up at 4:30 am. Afternoon naps will be enforced. Any opposition will result in expulsion.
My feeling is that this is primarily generational/attitudinal. The "greatest generation" was, in the view of some, successful at least in part because of their regimented Lebensanschauung (something like "life view"). Believing that there was no alternative, they encoded this Lebensanschauung into the rules of the WBCCI road. And we get to deal with this legacy.


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Old 02-28-2009, 11:27 AM   #23
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Thanks to Matt and Lynn. As Silvertwinkie indicated in #18, there's no end to this debate. There's two threads going on right now. There were two a month ago, one about the membership drop. It can get hot. Sometimes I think there are two sides to this that will never agree and the only way to settle it would be to have an annual tug of war in the parking lot at JC—WBCCI officers one one side and those that post the most on the Forum on the other (each side dressed in their own ways). The mythology dictates the Forum posters would be younger and always win. OK, I'm getting silly again, but this debate needs some humor.

I'm interested in more personal observations (without flames) about my questions. For example, people who joined, checked out some rallies and stayed or quit, those trying to reform and those not.

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Old 02-28-2009, 01:07 PM   #24
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CrawfordGene writes: "In the interest of promoting clarity,

Q: If a member, do you have to wear a beret or own one? In the '50's, berets were associated with the Beat Generation, poets, jazz, "reefers", and Frenchmen. Did Wally have a connection with any of those things? [/]

MY TAKE: Unit officers might be expected to own a beret and wear one at their swearing in ceremony, but not otherwise. Unit members are not required to own berets, but some of us hippies and weirdos prefer the vintage wool berets to the newer polyester ones cause we like da funk their wooliness radiates. Wally liked berets as practical headgear and wore one, hence the connection.

Q: I've seen something about vests. Do people have to wear them? Is there a dress code?

MY TAKE: There is no requirement to own or wear a vest, but some people like vests and patches so wear them as a personal preference. It's not my style so I go vestless, but it does not greatly upset me that others enjoy wearing vests and patches. I'll even be seen next to them on occasion. The informal or occasional WBCCI dress code is far less stringent than that for lawyers who appear in court. The main exception is for club business meetings at International, where national officers dress up but regular club members are not required to dress up for, attend or even suffer through such meetings. Since most club members are adults, they are free to do as they please at International, subject to civility and common sense.

Q: I understand there's something about flags on trailers. What's that about?

PRIDE.

Q: There's a lot of talk about units with ceremonies and units that are informal. What are these ceremonies?

MY TAKE: I can't speak for other Units, but the Denver Unit has an initiation ceremony once a year for new officers and at some meetings we quickly and painlessly swear in new Unit members. I cannot discuss the secret initiation rituals involving hot oil, chains and whips.

Q: The International sounds like the most formal of all rallies. Is that true?

MY TAKE: Yes, but regular members can ignore all that at their pleasure and hang with the VAC or their friends. Like much of life, it is what you make it.

Q: What happens if you break a rule?

MY TAKE: Well, during the Bush administration the penalty was extraordinary rendition to a foreign intelligence agency's secret torture chamber in a North African country that shall remain nameless. But with the Obama new administration, it will probably be 24 nonstop hours of forced discussions about economic recovery alternatives with Ivy League policy wonks.

Q: So, what is a WBCCI rally like?—I know it's an opportunity to make friends and talk Airstream—but sometimes it sounds like there's a bunch of guys in vests and berets making sure you've followed a few thousand rules.

MY TAKE: This is soooo far offbase it's laughable . . . and truly sad if you actually believe it.

. . . The officers in their flagged trailers probably get the best spaces.

MT TAKE: Only in their opinion inter se . . . some of us think the best spaces are on the fringe.

. . . There will be very formal ceremonies with tuxedos and maybe the ladies will wear evening gowns and maybe there's the Wally Worship hour.

MY TAKE: There might be one such installation ceremony at International limited to national officers, but as a new or regular member you do not have to drink that Koolaid.

. . . Since everyone is ancient, an ambulance with a full crew of EMT's will be standing by. Everyone must be asleep by 8:30 and up at 4:30 am. Afternoon naps will be enforced. Any opposition will result in expulsion.

MY TAKE: By the time you finish your factual investigation of the WBCCI, you will be at the age where all the above will actually be true for you, and every expulsion will result in welcome intestinal relief.

. . . You may think I'm being silly, but I really don't know what's going on and I'm trying to illustrate a point. Some people make the WBCCI sound awful and others think it's great. Maybe there'll never be agreement but it'd be easier to to make some sense out of all these threads if I understood some sort of objective reality. [signed] Gene.

MY TAKE: I think you are clueless about what occurs at the Unit level, and what you illustrate is a horribly skewed Internet-based negative viewpoint of the WBCCI. Different people have different opinions about the WBCCI, so there never will be any overwhelming agreement, only differing views. But objective reality can be found only at WBCCI functions to which you have been invited many times but which you have (with one enjoyable exeception) refuse to attend. You will not find objective reality on Internet threads, only opinions, and many of those opinions are mere parrotings of others opinions based wholly on third-party experience, not on direct personal experience.

"Objective reality" is personal, and your "objective reality" exists only in your brain, no where else. The WBCCI exists among its members, not virtually on the Internet. In my opinion, you will never be able to really make sense of the WBCCI until you attend a few functions and experience the club personally, for yourself, good or bad. It took me a few years to realize this very lesson I'm trying to impart to, so I very well know the difference between impressions gleaned from the Internet or ignorance and those obtained from personal experience and direct involvement. Night and day.

Many members have talked themselves blue in the face trying to get you and other new Airstream owners to attend a few local functions, to no avail. I'm not going to try to convince you to show up and have a good time because your absence is not my loss, it is your loss. But I will confirm to you that you will not be able to really understand the WBCCI until you show up in person to experience it directly. So I'll leave it at this: if you are happy with a shallow understanding of the WBCCI, stick to your keyboard. But if you want a deeper understanding of the WBCCI, one that truly satisfies your quest for relevant and material knowledge, arrange to attend a few WBCCI events, the more local the better. For until you do that, you will remain objectively uninformed.
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Old 02-28-2009, 01:34 PM   #25
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I recognize there are many viewpoints expressed about the WBCCI and some of them, on either side, may be silly. So I decided to figure out a way to find out what's true and what's not and try to focus the discussion. If that's being "shallow", so be it. My belief that I don't go to WBCCI rallies because I don't feel it's right to go under false pretenses may or may not be poor reasoning or morals or whatever, but I prefer to be honest about it, even if wrong. Actually I don't have all that much interest in rallies as we like to travel on our own most of the time, but I think they can be a small part of the Airstream experience. I am interested in how communities function, live and die, and so WBCCI discussions fascinate me. I'll stick with my keyboard and try to gain clarity. I asked people who had been at rallies, who had joined, who had quit, what they thought. Seemed like a good approach to me.

A lot of people are introduced to the WBCCI through this Forum. They may get stuff from the dealer about it if they bought from a dealer, but there is so much stuff, WBCCI literature gets lost.

I think I gave people the opportunity to quash myths about the WBCCI and I appreciate the answers. It's obvious some posts picture the WBCCI as a organization run by crazed senile fascists and I think specific questions can help dispel that picture. I knew I took the chance of getting flamed.

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Old 02-28-2009, 02:22 PM   #26
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I think you and Fred make an interesting team. Did Fred send you the questions?

As for making the club better, improving the club, or making of it what you will...If we had a few hundred more active members from this Forum...don't you think that would change someone's objective reality?

And Fred is right about keeping the best sites on the fringe. We joined the VAC last summer in Bozeman. Our 06 Safari was a little out of place, but nobody there cared a bit. We picked up a 69 Overlander this winter. Not to fit in, but hoping to enjoy our vintage as much as the folks around us.

Make the club what you want it to be. Get involved. Have Fun. Invite friends.

Matt
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:15 PM   #27
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I think if you stay tuned here you will find that Mid-Ohio Forums members are very friendly and welcoming. We also found stand-offish WBCCI members last year when we visited a rally in Fremont. You have to remember its the the OLD GUARD and they are very resistant to NEWBIES and Young people. For that reason we have chosen NOT to become members of WBCCI.For the most part WBCCI members that are real campers and are not in WBCCI just because of the politics, are very friendly ,giving people,and a joy to be with.
So why not plan to hang with us,no dues, no rally fee's we will not hold against U that U belong to W---- and you can even vote for what we have for supper. WHAT DAYA THINK.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:57 PM   #28
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Oregon Unit WBCCI Rally Pics

Hi,

I just posted some pictures taken last weekend at our Cannon Beach, OR rally. We had 12 trailers show up. Not too many vests or berets evident. Though it's not in the pictures, there was one, maybe two, trailer(s) with a flag (The one I remember was a pirate flag).

The 10 pictures are at (It's possibly still the last post to that thread):
http://www.airforums.com/forums/f289...n-47153-2.html

The bottom 2 pictures include 4 of our 5 elected unit board of directors and our membership committee chairman. The one drawing from the wire cage is our president.

At lease at the unit level, things can be quite unregimented.

Walt
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