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Old 04-07-2007, 08:05 PM   #43
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Originally Posted by gyandell
Who said," I would not join any club that would have me as a member"?
Groucho Marx?

And thanks to rideair and wnew for their eloquent messages. You have done a great job in summarizing the general feelings of most of this group and I applaud your efforts and agree with you 100%!

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Old 04-07-2007, 09:43 PM   #44
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Stuck at a kink in the road...

Originally Posted by Here is a copy of "Jim Elmlinger" response.

"Maybe its time for those doing all of the complaining to take on more
of the leadership roles, such as Region and International Officers,
Rally chairmanships and get better informed and more involved."
Originally Posted by wheel interested
Can we really do this? How many positions are open? I think we can find volunteers. Can we campaign? That would be cool. Or does he mean volunteers from certain people that are in an "approved" status and brought in by the nominating committee?
Carol, girlfriend, I got your back. Let's get Paul to run for Int'l Prez. Yeah, that's it. I'll run for, oh... I don't know... say... Int'l 2nd VP if you go for 1st VP. Can we get this on the ballot for Perry. I'll have a Website up tomorrow for us. (Yes, it can happen that quickly -- it is afterall the 21 Century!)

I don't know about anyone else but I have a lot of time to contribute and am ready willing and able. How about if I start by re-vamping the Blue Beret and get the club communications online by, oh... say... next month?

The IBT apprears to have NO idea who is in the club is or who the club is becomming. I say, it's the blind leading us all down the wrong road. And now we're all stuck at a weird corner and our trailers won't budge.

Originally Posted by "Jim Elmlinger" response
"If we tried "Grandfathering" Airstream would not be happy to the tune of a 6 figure monetary subsidy being withdrawn. That would be a very devastating financial blow to our Club. Like it or not we have ties to not only Airstream, Inc., but to Thor Industries, Airstream, Inc. owner."
If I don't like something I work to change it. Quips like 'like it or not' are a challenge. We can change it. First thing to go would be dollars spent on travel expenses, 1,500 bucks for one IBT member, for just one event, times however many IBT is a waste of money. Second thing to go is the wasted monies on excessively printed materials, of which 3/4's of could be put online. (Not a 'blog' space. A Website!).

(It has been explained over and over how Airstream and Thor don't mess in club business or effect club operation or vote. The '6 figure' statement is a direct contradiction, or should I say 'oxymoron' to what we have been led to believe.)

The ax would keep swinging from there.

Break the ties that bind, baby! Re-vamp the rules.

VOTE NO on the entire International slate when it comes to your unit in April (THIS MONTH). They're going to win anyway -- might as well make them sit through a 45 minute roll call and let them hear YOUR voice. Especially if you won't be in Perry! If they get in through another club-wide unanimous YES election they're just going to fumble around and find another disaster for '08. When is enough, enough?

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Old 04-08-2007, 12:44 AM   #45
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WOW! we are really getting somewhere now. I have served 14 years as a school board member in the capacity of president,vice president,secretary and treasurer. 4years township trustee and am presently a union negotiator for the fire dept and will accept any position WALLY 54 wants to give me.
As a class "A" owner, who the hell said driving a 39' MH with a toad attached is easier on your health than pulling a trailer hasn't drove through N.Mex in the crosswinds.
It appears this issue is one of politics and as such, we try to clutter the issue with BS. If 20% of the WBCCI is in the market for a class "A" motorhome can I find a partner to pick up a four winds francise?
It is not all that complicated. All the WHAT IF'S do not change the fact that you have to have a Airstream manufactured product to belong to WBCCI period, just as Monaco,Mandalay,Country Coach,Prevost etc. require to belong to their travel/camping club. The IBT could all remain friends if they all belonged to the FMCA. We would welcome them with open arms as we put on some of the largest rallies in the world.
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:04 AM   #46
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Originally Posted by rideair
Trailer owners would be forced to step up and start doing the work, like they did in the past. These “new” volunteers could push and change the club from the old red jackets; ties and Blue Berets and military style system, to one where the meetings have people that are dressed in polo shirts, shorts and possibly ball-caps.
Where do I sign up?

BTW: Since I'm new to this, I contacted the leadership of my unit and was told we would be voting against the ammendment if it comes to a vote.

Randy and Pat Godfrey
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Old 04-10-2007, 04:36 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by 65GT
...and what if they had told you they would be voting for it?
Well...good question. Since I'm new to this and trying to come up to speed on the issues, I would have started asking questions based on everything I'm reading here, which has been very helpful.

Hey! I'm on your side here. If you have any advice, please share it.

Reconnection is not the problem. I'm new here. I'm trying to get connected. I haven't actually met any of my unit's officers yet except by email and phone, but I know other people in the unit and we are all of like mind. When I finally get connected, you can be sure I'll be a voice for change in the club.

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Old 04-10-2007, 07:24 PM   #48
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Jim's reply to my email

April 9, 2007


I have read your responses, which appears to mainly address issues other than those
revolving around the Class-A motorhome problem that WBCCI faces today. Also, you have
completely misinterpreted and mischaracterized what I wrote and how others and I feel
about volunteering. I absolutely was not complaining, nor am I aware that there are any
“hard feelings” about the effort that I or others, for that matter, who happen to own
Class-A motorhomes, put into WBCCI (I still do not know how you were able to get so
turned around with what I wrote, since volunteers are not paid, if they don’t like it
they just don’t do it any more, they don’t complein). It is just to point out the
obvious that those that appear to be very heavily involved (volunteering) just happen to
own Class-A motorhomes and to use your quote; “Don’t throw the baby (the Class-A owners)
out with the bathwater,” i.e. don’t force them out of the Club and don’t turn them into
second class members. Human nature being what it is, lackeys will not volunteer (most
likely not at all) the same as “real” members will. Also, I somehow don’t see the
connection between volunteering and your “if asked.” Pleas are continuously being put
out there asking for help in all kinds of areas from Unit and Region Officers to Rally
chairmen (a good example is page 49 in the April issue of the Blue Beret). Most of us
that volunteer, just show up and say, “what does anyone need help with?” That is how
members get involved!

You also use the phrase “over time” a number of times in your reply. Unfortunately, time
appears to be the one thing that we do not have, if we want to save the Club. Your idea
of splitting the Club will only doom both parts to failure.

I do not believe that WBCCI can be singled out from every other organization in the U.S.
also having falling membership problems, as having a completely different reason for
their falling membership, as you suggest. That is just not realistic. I also find it
hard to believe that out of all the hundreds of people that became first time owners of a
new Airstream in 2006, over 90% of them said that, I would like to join WBCCI, but, lets
see, IF I get involved and happen to become a Unit President, then attend an
International Rally and the Unit President’s Appreciation dinner, where I would have to
wear a coat and tie, NO I don’t think I will join WBCCI. Somehow I have a hard time with
such scenario, I think it is more likely people are not joining because they do not want
to make a commitment, which seems to be one of the themes of our societies current

You want to get rid of the suits, ties blue beret, red coats or whatever. GO FOR IT!
All YOU have to do is start writing motion(s) to go before the IBT to get them to change.
I personally have no problem with that, as they did not specify “no shorts please” until
I became a Region Officer. Do you think this will pass the first try, probably not, but
what about the second or third? The down side to this is it relates back to the time
issue, which I still feel is maybe our worst enemy. I will also add that being in Region
XII lets you know that I most probably live in California (which I do) where the “relaxed
dress code” originated, and believe it or not, there are still plenty of business
meetings where a coat and tie is mandatory (obliviously not if you are Steve Jobs). We
do not need to split the Club or diminish it in any way to change the dress code. The
mechanism has been in place for years. SO ALL YOU NEED TO DO IS DO IT!

If I were on the Board of Airstream Inc., and I saw that the Club that we subsidized was
loosing membership at an accelerating rate and whose overall numbers dropped to the point
that instead of contributing to about 18% of product sales (current WBCCI members + buyer
joining WBCCI) to somewhere between the 5% to 10% range I would have to seriously
question the monetary commitment. It may not be eliminated, but would have to be scaled
back drastically. I don’t think a down sized organization is in anyone’s best interest

Yes, Airstream had a record sales year in 2006, but it was approximately -17% less that
the figure you are using

In all that you wrote I see very little mention of the real issue, members, and how to
treat them equitably and how to retain what we already have. You remind me of my
previous employer that when I reached age 50 fired me (just so you don’t misunderstand
again, this not a complaint, only a statement), along with a number of others. Although
the company was small it was the 4th largest in the U.S. for what it did at the time I
was fire. Today it is still in business, but it is not on anyone’s radar for anything.
You sounds like him with your advocating that you would just as soon dump the “old farts”
and have them bugger off. This also sounds a lot like what can best be characterized by
the buzz euphemism “ethnic cleansing,” which to my way of thinking is not how we, the
“old farts” would like to be treated by our fellow members. The bottom line, in my
opinion thee scenarios are abusive and can never be justified.

You spent a lot of time writing, but you do not seem to understand that this Club is
about members (THE PEOPLE) not the things we may have to wear, the type of RV we travel
in or our age. Why not spend your time writing and thinking about the people
(membership) instead of product and other “things?”

You say that YOU are “trying to take the WBCCI into the future and you (me) are trying to
keep it in the past.” This is a very interesting statement that you make. First off I
do not see myself as any kind of a messiah, but only as Region Officer elected by the
membership of my Region. My “job” in this case is keeping them informed about what is
going on and to provide them with the best information that I can and look out for their
best interests. I was a member of the motorhome study committee and I have personally
spoken with the parties that had the facts and information that I need to do my “job.” I
am one of a team of elected Officers, most of whom recognize and take very seriously the
problem that WBCCI now faces, that are putting forth the effort to try and avoid a
catastrophe involving the membership. It appears you are saying that you and only you
have the correct information not only the Class-A motorhome issue, but on what the
overall philosophy the Club needs to adopt. You do not appear to give much credence to
the ideas and knowledge that the elected IBT members, plus all of the other Region
Officers, bring to the table on this issue, even though we have been actively involved
with putting together a positive solution and have a very considerable amount of history
regarding this issue. Is the solution perfect? No, we do not live in a perfect
universe. As I previously wrote, if we “fiddled while Rome burned,” the hue and cry
would be even greater in the next 3 to 5 years.

Again, I am not sure what you mean when you write “ I am trying to take the WBCCI into
the future?” My understanding is that you are currently a Unit Officer. Does this mean
that you are attempting to build some form of constituency, both inside and outside your
Region, because you intend to run for the Region 2nd VP spot in 2009 or is it something
more than that? This issue should not revolve one person or a select group of persons
and their personal wants, likes or dislikes. This is about those members that own a
motorized product that they can no longer replace with a like kind RV and will therefore
be forced out of the WBCCI.

You then go on to write about nothing but the past that you want to return the Club to
and I quote: “If we as an “Airstream” only club use the romance of travel that the WBCCI
instilled in so many people during the 50’s 60’s and 70’s with the needs of
“baby-boomers” wanting to relive that same romance but this time driving the car instead
of sitting in the back seat, this club will once again be the club that it once was in
the past. I just hope in the end that you and others do not take away from us the very
club that you have enjoyed for 52+ years.” So, is this really trying to take the Club
forward or is it a step back in time to try and return Club to its past glory years?
And where do you get from what I previously wrote that I advocated holding on to the
past? Holding onto the past is NOT expanding our horizons by not waking up to the fact
that if the CLUB does not pass this innovative motion to allow another Thor product (Four
Winds) into our Club, we will exacerbate our membership losses to the point that they
will destroy the Club, as we know it! You appear to be the one advocating trying to hold
on for dear life to the “impossible dream” of the return of Airstream’s glory days. It
is time to move forward with innovative ways to increase WBCCI membership, not retreat
into nostalgia. I have written this before, but here it is again: it is about the

Those that vote against allowing Class-A motorhome owners to remain full members will be
responsible for destroying the Club, as we know it today and that appears to be your
intent as your quote wants to turn the clock backward to the glory years. Some who get
older sadly end up living in the past, as a result of a mini stroke or Alzheimer’s. I do
not recommend that the Club go there. You are correct to call attention to the new
models that Airstream has been producing. They are sleek and ultra modern, they are
looking to the future with change, which is what WBCCI also needs to do, not moon about
the past glory years, but to expand our thinking and tolerance and become a vibrant Club
again with lots and lots of members of all ages.

Yes, Paul, I do want to see this Club grow and prosper and I do deeply care a great deal
about the people that make up the membership of WBCCI. They are what is very important
to me. Sorry, I was really determined to try and keep this short, but it is too
important an issue to short change. Denial will neither make this issue go away, nor
will it alter the fact that it does really exist. The only way to solve the issue is to
face it in a positive manner, by taking care of the membership that we already have, in a
positive way, so that they can help recruit additional members. Also, if there is anyone
else out there that has something positive to say about the passage of the Class-A
motorhome membership issue please feel free to share your thoughts. I am more that
willing to share the wealth.

PS: Art & Carol, I have read your response and have decided that your comments say more
than I ever could on why the Class-A motorhome motion needs to be approved by the
membership. I stand by initial comments forwarded to you. If you are serious about
finding out where my facts and figures come from then go to one of the sources that you
cite, which is the April issue of the Blue Beret and read the article entitled “It’s All
About Members, Our Friends!”

This may be posted anywhere you like, as long as it is posted in total and unedited.

Jim Elmlinger, wbcci #3296
Region XII President '05-'07

Moderator note: I have removed personal contact (phone, address etc.) info from this message.
Paul Waddell
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Old 04-10-2007, 08:57 PM   #49
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This Elmlinger guy is really talking me out of ever joining WBCCI.

If I had a Corvette and then sold it and bought a Ferrari, I wouldn't complain that I could no longer be in the Corvette club. I'd join the Ferrari club.

I'm 37. Not a spring chicken, but not super old. As to why younger people aren't has nothing to do with commitment fear. I do all kinds of stuff for my EAA chapter and I'm probably 25 years younger than the average age. I echo the sentiments of many others on these boards: I want to have fun. Fun to me is not wearing a monkey suit with a goofy hat and being told what to eat, what to drink, what flags to fly while marching in some parade. Camping is supposed to be fun. Young members are turned off by the formality. It is the antithesis of relaxation. It is not that Gen-X has the attention span of a circus monkey, it's that we're told what to do; we don't want that on the weekends.

My grand dad was in WWII. He's disenchanted with WBCCI and he's been a member for decades. He says its no fun. So, I don't think this is a "greatest generation" vs. "generation x" thing at all.

To me it's simple: If Airstream built it, it's in the club. If Airstream didn't build it, it's not.
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Old 04-10-2007, 09:13 PM   #50
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Thumbs down Not Good

Jim Emlinger's letter has come as a grave disappointment. When you see someone like Paul try to get communication flowing and extend his hand (and man do they NEED help) it is discouraging to see officers continue to think of themselves and only defend their own position rather than work towards understanding and truly responding on behalf of the club and it's members and crafting compomises and good faith actions.

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Old 04-10-2007, 09:17 PM   #51
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It's not the coat and berets.....

Quote from Jim Elmlinger latest post:

I think it is more likely people are not joining because they do not want
to make a commitment, which seems to be one of the themes of our societies current philosophy.

End quote.

I respectfully disagree. The New England Unit of the WBCCI is attracting young Airstream owners because we are all about "Fun, Fellowship and Adventure". We love Airstreams and having fun! The NEU's active membership is at about 60%, 85% which are young(er) members. By active we mean the member attends two or more events a year. We currently have over 100 regular members in our unit.

Don't want to make a commitment? Owning an Airstream IS a commitment. If you purchase vintage you must restore and improve. If new you must pay $$$$ to purchase and maintain. Making a commitment isn't the problem, it's what folks perceive about our club (and which is reality in IBT and some Regions) that is the problem.

None of our newbies (that I know of) are concerned that our older members enjoy the coats and berets, maybe it's because many of our long term members are forward thinking and not so set on enforcing the "rules".

The Four Winds MH proposal if passed will be the death of our club as we know it. It would be a real shame for those of us who are just beginning to enjoy the WBCCI.

Michelle Plunkett
WBCCI # 7032
New England Unit - Membership Chairperson
Michelle & Leon
New England Unit

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Old 04-11-2007, 04:46 AM   #52
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Again Jim Emlinger stated that the Class A will save the club membership.


If he can give me a real good motivate answer to that I may change my mind.
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Old 04-11-2007, 10:56 AM   #53
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With all the controversy this has caused, failing or passing, this motion has and will be detrimental to club membership.
My parents, formerly WBCCI #11697 were in the club. Much to my father's objection, my mom wanted to join the club. We had Airstreams when I was a kid even before my parents joined the Club. Dad didn't want to be part of a "politicking organization" When I bought my first Airstream and joined the Club in 1982, he acquiesced.
Over the weekend, I talked with my Mother, and told her of this bally-hoo about constitutional changes wanting to be made for Four Wind Coach inclusion in the WBCCI. As a person in her 80's, she said this is "dumb." The primary reason she wanted to join WBCCI during their trailering years, because it was for AIRSTREAMS ONLY. Reviewing a recent "Blue Beret" she said it needs updating. She said it looked like an AARP magazine.
She pulled out an old Blue Beret from August 1985, that had a cover photo of the Lake Placid International, "Olympic Village Adventure", 3,965 Airstream attending. Wow. Wish we had that attendence now.
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Old 04-14-2007, 09:54 AM   #54
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"This motion came out of a special committee created by the
International President to meet an emergency situation brought on by

Corporate Airstream’s announcement of their getting out of the Class-
A motorhome business. We, the WBCCI membership, had no warning that
Airstream Corp. was going to cease production of the Class-A

I'd really be interested to know what this special committee did other than go on a shopping trip? Could Mr. Emlinger elighten us on any research, surveys of members, etc. that this SPECIAL COMMITTEE did?

Was Airstream's decision so unexpected? What was the basis of the 2004 membership survey. Did someone have an inkling this was going to occur? Someone was apparently talking to someone (no one wants to own up to who approached who first) about badging SOB Thor products as "Airstream Editions" before the general membership was made aware in any official manner. Rumor has it though that IP Don Shafer made some references to this sort of thing to some gathering at one of the Regions.

"Today the Club is built
really by word of mouth and disenfranchising 20% of the membership

will not help our main form of gaining new members."

Why is this? Why aren't we spending some of our wealth on recruiting new members? Instead we are spending it on subsidizing a lot of travel for the privileged few.
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Old 04-14-2007, 10:42 AM   #55
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I'd really be interested to know what this special committee did ... Was Airstream's decision so unexpected? What was the basis of the 2004 membership survey. Did someone have an inkling this was going to occur? ... Why is this? Why aren't we spending some of our wealth on recruiting new members?
It seems that someone spending more than $100k for a motorhome could get a BaseCamp for a toad to maintain membership qualifications in the WBCCI as is ... ;-)

But the questions here hit deeper issues.

1) when people get surprised, either by an "emergency" or by finding out something late, it is an indication of a lack of preparedness and communication. These are good measures of leadership and management (or the lack thereof).

2) not having a solid provenance for measures, such as a membership survey, readily available to all is fuel for the fires of cynicism and conspiracy theorists. Those two phenomena destroy associations.

3) questions about budget planning also indicate a need for better communications about values and priorities and methods. - I think quite a bit has been spend on recruitment gimmicks, but that is another discussion.

These are reflected in those who think it is OK to personnally attack those who do not share their views, the suspicions about corruption and conspiracy, those who cannot separate opinions and ideas from the people who express them, - and that kind of behavior is another issue that needs to be addressed IMHO as they are also cancers in an organization.

I mean, the choice is not appealing.

As has demonstrated, winning one argument is just not enough for some folks. It seems they live for arguing. Win an argument means finding another, loosing an argument means fanning the flames. This is politicing - not "outdoor fraternization."

One the other hand, we have an organization where many members and leaders have a concept of identity that seems odd to me. They represent the contrast to the activists in that they go for the appeasement and the 'go along to get along' meme that seems just as far off center in the other direction.

Neither of these extremes has a good history of solving problems. Rather, the history of activisism and its opposite tend to aggravate problems. They are conflict generating and not conflict resolving.

The MoHo issue was first decided upon back in the fifties. Its re-appearance is only a reminder that all of us must maintain vigilance to maintain and manage what we value. It is an illustration of how letting things slide for years will eventually catch up to the association and create one big mess that might have been easier handled as several smaller ones.

The MoHo issue will get its vote. But we now have an informal 'committee' that will not accept the vote and probably remain as acerbic as they have demonstrated already about not getting their way. That creates the dilemma of what is more important for immediate attention. What is going to do more harm to the club? Tolerating non Airstream brand RV's or tolerating acerbic and intolerant behavior? - the sad part is that this decision obfuscates the very real need for improving management and leadership, cleaning up the membership and voting ambiguities, finding focus and identity, and improving communications. Those kinds of improvements will not be made with the kind of rhetoric and manner of 'debate' that have become the hallmark of this particular venue.
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Old 04-14-2007, 12:00 PM   #56
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Fog bank...

The best way to navigate through the fog and mis-information is to get the facts. The correct facts as they pertain to this moho motion by the IBT, both pro and con, are at

(my suspicion that the IBT's MO (method of operation) is that, if the membership is confused enough about things, they're more inclined to go/vote with the flow.)


WDCU Unit: Unanimous NO VOTE on moho motion in a show of hands at the April business meeting. Thoughts are to instruct Delegate to VOTE NO to the current motion and to VOTE NO on any motion or ammendment from the floor at the Delegates meeting in Perry at the International. (reported on

12.49% membership of moho owners has been represented by IBT as "20%-" and "1/3 of the membership."

Airstream announced in 2005 that they were discontinuing moho production, the IBT waits until Dec. 2006 to act on the problem. (but in 2004 survey the question was asked about Four Winds moho's.)

No prospectus has been issued with regards to how many of WBCCI's existing members will buy new or convert to 'new' moho status within the next 5 years.

"Younger people aren't interested in becoming members or volunteering for anything in the WBCCI." (this info is based on what, exactly?)

Growing memberships in progressive units are fluffed off as anomolies and discounted by those thoughts of "younger people are not interested in volunteering."

New ideas are being brought to the table of ideas to increase membership in the WBCCI. They are squelched and disregarded and not given serious consideration by the IBT.


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