Just read this thread with interest in the approach, suggestions and of course the Region 11 response.
Not that I have any weight - other than blubber whatsoever - but just wanted to pass on that both Peter and I totally understand your frustration in attempts to develop a "unit" that will better suit your personal needs and expectations of what "camping with your airstream" should be all about for you, your children, pets and friends.
While our membership has not lapsed quite yet - we have decided to leave our Ontario Unit. For many of the same reasons that have been stated through way too many threads that I have read over the past 3 years.
A few things that I have noticed that seem to spin the need for change:
The size of the unit - over 50 tends to lean towards the easiest methods to please it's membership - large rooms, cards, typical attraction style organization (which is needed to maintain order and fairness - i.e. Disney Land) So how can you possibly get that intimate close group feeling - Impossible. However if you looked closely at those big units you will see the group dynamics - and several cliques within the large group.
Second is the average age of the members within the unit. If it is an older unit that has evolved from the late forties with its members now in their 60'-80's then you can bet - any change that you would like to see will most definately take its time.
Why change does not happen fast in these larger units - simply it is the officers and the terms they are faced with. Although many get involved to make a difference - by the time they get in, learn the ropes, learn the rules and keep up with the LARGE units logistical demands there is no more time to "actually" listen to the members and their changing needs.
Ocassionally a member (rebel) will come along and try and stir up the pot - but the pot is just too big and too hot that the member is forced to make a decision - join or stay with a unit that does not do anything that interests them or leave and find what they are looking for somewhere else.
An alternative might be to search for like members within the Large Unit and start running satelite gatherings - but for any of us who have tried that you know what the UNIT Officer response is (if it is not our way it is the hyway).
A second alternative is as this thread is suggesting to start your own unit. And although there are valid points on both sides - the answer to the above is not proactive.
A regions mandate should be at all times to encourage membership - not to discourage it. If an area is TOO big to handle all the needs of the members in the "geographical" area than there should not be any objection to a new Unit.
However on the other hand - in order to call your unit WBCCI endorsed -there are rules and procedures to be followed - how they are followed should be up to the unit - whether they are in person or by mail, phone, fax, or internet. If the charter is meeting it's obligations to the WBCCI then that is all the Region should be concerned with.
Competing for members - IMHO is such a lame excuse. What does the region care - as the most of the fee goes to HQ. If the Unit is worried about fees dropping then possibly more effort should be made to encourage programs within the Unit that are smaller and for diversified members.
Not all members attend all the Rallies and events. And why is it so harmfull for members to have a choice to go to various rallies within their own area. If there be a kiddie rally, a Kayaking rally, a real camping rally (that one just blows my mind really as we all seem to drag a mini house around to say we are camping
) or how about on the opposite spectrum, the quilting rally, the Domino Rally, the Country Music Rally - why is it so difficult for Units to get around that they can organize 10 small events just as easily as they can organizing one large event for 100+ Airstreamers.
Someone please tell me WHY the powers to be get all bent out of shape to losen the reigns a bit and let some smaller breakout groups do their own thing without having to be full of red tape and procedures.
I found in Ontario's Unit that the majority of the 70 average out of their 128+ members who attend - were quite happy with the same routine that they have had since we joined. And that many of them are not interested in the more outdoorsy type activities - and those that are seem to have their "other groups" that they belong to outside of Airstreaming to get those fixes.
Adjust your reasons for the unit that will fall a bit more in line with the obigations of a Unit and then have fun. Appeal the decision to the Region on your new grounds - or aske specifically the grounds for refusal - based on the criteria of the by-laws. If the refusal is reasonable then as mentioned adjust them to better suit and re-submit your appeal to the next level.
But on another note - have you tried working within the unit and recruiting members to attending a breakout event and do you have the units support for that approach - if not - stay the course above and start a new Unit.
Just my two thousand cents.....