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Old 11-01-2009, 11:22 PM   #1
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Wbcci - a charter member's opinion

I wish to present a few credentials. I do so not out of vanity, but out of the knowledge that the WBCCI is a sound organization. Like any organization that is international and made up of units or chapters, there will always be some differences from one to another. It is also true that each of us are individuals and seek the associations that best suit us.

1 Born into the Byam and Schwamborn family
2 1st Caravanner, 1951-52 Mexico and Central America
3 1st Caravan to Eastern Canada 1955
4 Charter Member of the Wally Byam Caravan Club
5 WBCCI Headquarters 5 Years in the Schwamborn Family Home
6 1st Caravan to Europe 1956
7 2nd Eastern Canadian Caravan 1957
8 Wally Byam Caravan to Africa 1959-1960; African Scout
9 Numerous rallies, local and International
10 US. Army 1962 to 1968 (2 Active, 2 Inactive, 2 Reserve)
11 Airstream Employee 1964 to 1969
12 1965 Lynda Bird Johnsonís Tour of the West (see National Geographic)
13 Owner of the Byam Gold Trailer 1969 to 1977
14 During the 11 points of interest I knew 100ís of Caravannerís, Club Members, and Airstream employees.

However it is cowardly, rude and destructive to express oneself with the goal to disrupt, destroy or demean any organization. I was taught at a very young age; if you have nothing good to say about something, then donít say it all.

Iím a fuddy duddy. Well, if I am to believe what the antagonists are saying, Iím almost 71 and donít fit in with what they are looking for in Club associates.

Upon my Motherís death in 2004 I have returned to the WBCCI and Airstream World. I find that nothing has changed in over 50 years, with the exception of too many pessimists and unwilling Airstream owners that should be working for the best in the Club, and not deferring their energies to idle, negative talk and deeds.

1 I worked closely with Russ Banham, author of Wanderlust Airstream at 75 years
2 2005 attended the 50th Anniversary International Rally in Springfield, MO
3 2005 Kentville, NS, Canada the dedication of monuments to the 50th Anniversary of the founding of the Wally Byam Caravan Club
4 2006 Began work with the Sierra Nevada Unit on a concise and comprehensive history website.
5 2007 Rocky Mountain Vintage Rally, Breckenridge, CO
6 2007 Fred Coldwell and I worked on sorting out pictures and documents
7 2008 Dead Horse Rally, Four Corners Unit
8 Denver, CO PBS History Detectives
9 2008 Bozeman International Rally
10 2008 Labor Day Rally Williams, AZ Four Corners Unit
11 2008 Arizona State University, African Caravan Project with their Engineering Department
12 Two VAP Podcasts
13 2009 Vintage Airstream Rally, San Antonio, TX
14 2009 Dead Horse Rally, Four Corners Unit
15 2009 Arizona State University, African Caravan Project with their Engineering Department
16 2009 Caravan from Great Falls; VA Washington D.C. Mall; Mt. Vernon, VA to Upper Marlboro, MD
17 2009 Cherry Blossom Rally, Washington D.C. Unit
18 2009 Airstream Dealer Homecoming, Missoula, MT
19 2009 Pittsburgh, PA to Madison Caravan with WDC Unit and VAC members
20 2009 International Rally Madison, WI
21 2009 Cape to Cairo Caravan Missouri to Illinois
22 2009 Cape to Cairo Rally Missouri
23 2009 the Wilds Rally Ohio
24 2009 Airstream Jackson Center, OH 7 days data gathering
25 2009 I spent many hours working with pictures and text posted with the Sierra Nevada Unit, and Airforums.

My travels this year began January 31, 2009 and ended September 26, 2009. I spend 64 days away from home. I traveled 19,738 miles. I spent time with nine different families, slept in 22 separate beds (8 different Airstreams), 13 different air flights, and an excess of 15 hours in speaking engagements. This does not include hundreds of personal minutes talking with Caravannerís.

Since 2004 I have made hundreds of new friends, not just acquaintances but friends for life. I have shared potlucks, campfires and happy hours. No, the best is yet to come. But to sustain the Club all Airstream owners and Club members need to work together to make it a better Club for all members.

Too often people bring Wally into the picture. Wally would be pleased to know that he is remembered. But thatís where it stops. There are too many Airstreamers that has suppositions what Wally might do, say or feel. I guess you had to know him, to be able talk about him.

I have taken three sections from Wallyís Ten Commandments written for the first African Caravan mailing. I think it tells us that he would not be pleased with negative voices, those that canít use their talents to constructively make the Wally Byam Caravan Club a better organization.

(1) THOU SHALT LOVE THY FELLOW CARAVANNERS AS THYSELF AND DO ALL IN THEY POWER TO AID AND ASSIST THEM

Since this Caravan is going into a rough country on an adventurous journey, we must all realize that each must rely on his neighbor. We all must be ready, willing and anxious to help each other in every way possible

(2) THOU SHALT CONDUCT THYSELF FOR THE GOOD OF THE CARAVAN AND NOT FOR THY SELFISH INTEREST.

This is a one for all and all for one Caravan. The whole of the Caravan is more important than any one individual; privileges should be available for all.

(9) THOU SHALT ALWAYS ABIDE BY THE MAJORITY VOTE

Democracy is a distinguishing factor of America. We realize that the members of the Caravan are all rugged individualists, but where it is necessary for the good of the Caravan individualism must be subordinated to majority rule.

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Old 11-02-2009, 12:16 AM   #2
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AMEN...........!

I was at my last WBCCI Launch-in and being the youngest member there (35 years) I was in the middle of three different conversations during lunch. All, from my point, were negative conversations about the different outings and doings of the club, not about the unit! I, being one of the youngest members of the unit and dare I say the future of both the club and the unit felt like you do Pee Wee. I will never do what you have done in the WBCCI! But, I would like to think that I will also do things that you will never do! No, I am not saying that I will "out do" you or any member of the club but rather be apart of the new WBCCI! "New" I use new because the club will not ever be like the past, nor should it! Nor will the present be like the future! The club like this country is ever changing! If you desire change get more into what you dislike and less into what you like! I myself will not throw rocks in Aluminum trailers! It's about time we all start to follow Wally's rules.... YOUNG and OLD!
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:22 AM   #3
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I sure agree with #9 majority rules. I had hoped that we would see 1 member 1 vote have broader appeal and spread across all the units and be applied for MALs as well, long before now.

Hope I didn't hijack a thread meant for charter members only. That's a fine list of credentials Pee Wee!

However novice 1st generation WBCCI members opinion (and VOTE) weigh just as heavily as one from the old order. That's where it gets all sticky with entitlement and who knows best in the WBCCI in my opinion. I have run up against that "we are all members but I am more special" attitude, very often in the club. We all want to be special, perhaps we can take turns. Points are best taken by debate rather than resume. I am not saying that that is what you are doing. I am taking the this opportunity to point out that is how many of the leadership speak and act towards the members, even to those who would like to step up and volunteer. If experience is the criteria then the vast majority of members will always have to defer to our predecessors, which I suspect is one of the underlying issues and matters of contention currently about change.
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Old 11-02-2009, 08:58 AM   #4
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeWee View Post
(9) THOU SHALT ALWAYS ABIDE BY THE MAJORITY VOTE

Democracy is a distinguishing factor of America. We realize that the members of the Caravan are all rugged individualists, but where it is necessary for the good of the Caravan individualism must be subordinated to majority rule.
In the context that was written and enforced - in the middle of a difficult multiweek trip trip that required advance scouting and public relations with local foreign governments - that rule makes sense.

But pulling out that rule as an illustration for a bunch of people getting together in a group for a weekend seems, well, it chafes somewhat. That's probably why folks here are individualists in determining what WBCCI means to them rather that subordinating to something they don't desire.

Tom
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:35 AM   #6
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WBCCI -YAPO (Yet Anonther Persons Opinion)...

I find all of the posts from the WBCCI "true believers" to be very interesting.

What is most interesting to me, based on all of the WBCCI threads/posts/discussions that I have read on this forum and other forums is simply this:

Not one thing have I read said anything negative about the ORGANIZATION.

What I have read is that many members are beyond frustrated with the LEADERSHIP being a select few who have "earned" their right to do as they damn well please, that the leadership is ignoring the input of the membership and that the attitude of the leadership is alienating a goodly number of people, be they old/new members or prospective members.

It would appear that the "true believers" in the WBCCI take offense with anyone who is willing to express their frustration with the way the WBCCI is being run. I have never seen a social organization where the leadership is able to operate with complete and total autonomy as they are in the WBCCI. The members have very little opportunity to influence what goes on at the top due to the cumbersome structure of the organization. Come on folks, 79 page of By-laws; multi-billion dollar corporations operate with 10 to 15 pages of by-laws.

And yes, Wheel Interested has written a very nice response expressing frustration with the ATTITUDE encountered based on experience. This same ATTITUDE has been remarked on by many in other threads/posts on this and other forums.

In all of these discussions I read about frustration from the "ranks" and have yet to see anything but defensive dribble from the responders who are NOT the "leaders". Where is the leadership?

What is the difference between involvement and commitment? To me, involvement and commitment are very much like ham and eggs. With ham and eggs, the chicken is involved. The pig is committed!

With forums such as this being a great way to better foster communication it seems to me that the WBCCI leadership should at least be involved, to say nothing of committed, to the discussions on every one of the forums associated with Airstream's where the WBCCI is discussed.

The rich tradition that IS the WBCCI is being flushed down the drain by a few people who are unwilling to understand that the status quo is just not static. Change is inevitable. Yes, change is a way of life. It is just about the only thing that can be guaranteed in our lives; other than the death that we ALL will face one day.

A pity really. Given the way the WBCCI leaders are running the club it won't be long before there are insufficient funds to continue operations. The leadership continues to alienate existing members, new members and prospective members such that membership is and has been declining for YEARS. What this tells me is that change is NOT something that the WBCCI leadership understands OR is willing to embrace.

What really amazes me is that the general membership is not up in arms about the way the WBCCI leadership is frivolously wasting money which will lead to the demise of the club. I will never understand why so many responses on this and other forums from the WBCCI "true believers" can be paraphrased:

"Smile, be happy!"

And they then go on to say that the local unit is perfect and that they just ignore all the "stuff" that goes on at the "top". Do they not understand that without the "top", there will be no unit?

Cudos to those who work hard to try to prolong the life of the WBCCI and FIGHT "the good fight" for the survival of the WBCCI.

I find it to be a shame that these people are ostracized by the WBCCI leadership and are pointed at as being people who want to destroy the WBCCI.

Seems to me that the LEADERS of the WBCCI are involved and doing everything they can to discredit anyone who disagrees with ANYTHING that they say and/or do.

And, it appears to me that the people who are involved at the top of the WBCCI are really the problem within the organization because they systematically employ unsound fiscal methods and display attitudes that alienate members, new members and prospective members.

The people who are committed to fighting for change are the ones who deserve all the credit for trying to save the WBCCI from a leadership that is systematically destroying the club..
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:18 AM   #7
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I expect this thread will be like all the others—same people saying the same things. Let's make it simple—

My opinion:

1. Those who like the WBCCI, stay in. The club has a long and special history.

2. Those who want to change the WBCCI from within, keep at it. It's always hard to change an institution, so be prepared for a long and frustrating time.

3. Those who want to go it alone, do so. You'll meet other Airsteamers at CG's or via the Forum and may make friends.

4. Those who want another organization, there are choices— (a) get together with your buddies, publicize through the Forum if you want to, or PM's, or e-mail, or even the phone, and have an informal club, or (b) if you don't know another Airstreamer, start a thread looking for like minded people in your area, region or state, and create an informal club. Andy, why not a subForum for that?

Good luck to everyone. For ourselves, 4(b) sounds best.

Gene
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Old 11-02-2009, 04:00 PM   #8
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Nice thoughts, Pee Wee.

Perhaps you can think of a nice way to encourage the leadership to grow the club's bank account - or at least stop draining it in the current fashion.

For me, that is what is keeping me from sending dues. If the club was awash in money, then I suspect you would not hear so much from members (past and present) about how the money is being spent. However when the club is run so that large deficits are realized year after year then perhaps it is understandable that some of the membership complains. After all - their treasured local units get very little of their dues. But then they can get slapped with an ethics complaint - which is especially maddening when the offense has nothing truly to do with ethics at all but is a device used to control criticism.

So - let's just say you were troubled by club management for argument's sake: How would you express your concerns?

Thanks - Pat
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:11 PM   #9
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Spider Web

It is amazing the Airstream owners and Club Members that have issues with the Club that have contacted me.

I receive letters, e-mails, private messages, telephone calls, and personal contact at rallies and Club functions.

You won't see them hanging their dirty laundry out for the world to read. You don't see them trying stir the pot up with words that have no solution.

I posted this thread with tongue in cheek. But the results are exactly what I had hoped to see. It separates the men from the boys. When you can continue to replay your broken message again, and again; no one listens. When you have no constructive direction, no one listens.

The damage you are doing is where the real damage is being done to the Club and the Airstream World. I am aware of all of the issues facing the club. So I am not naive to what is on the minds of Airstream owners and Club members.

First of all this crap that is spread all over the forums doesn't reach anyone that can do anything for you. In fact the venomous tone only digs a deeper trench and doesn't provide a bridge to find solutions.

Again I have discussed these issues with concerned Airstreamers and Club members. Their concerns are not different than those on the forums. They just have civility, direction and constructive ways of going about what needs to be done.

By the way, each of your comments has interest. However, you have missed the point of this thread. It is directed to those that have problems finding a unit to join. It had absolutely nothing to due with the health of the club. It had to deal with finding the right unit to join and TO HAVE FUN!

For this, the spider web. Apparently it is necessary for some to be heard about the health of Club at every turn. Gentlemen and ladies you are something else.

P.S.

The intent of this forum is to share trailer information, travel tips, fun, activities and the good things in life. It appears that too many people are using it for political purposes. Thank goodness the 1st Amendment gives you that right.

Since the International Rally in Madison I have mulled over leaving all forums, bogs, and such. I don't believe I need to spend my time-sharing history and tradition any more. I will soon be leaving.
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:27 PM   #10
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PeeWee,

It would indeed be sad, when people like you will start leaving the Forums, for the reasons you stated.

This Forums, is supposed to be to exchange ideas and thought.

To rant and rave, slam and otherwise be over the line, I understand, can be very disturbing.

Having fun,is nice, but not at someone's expense.

Posting in jibberish, in itself, is, I think, uncomfortable to many. Like, "what in the heck are you talking about?"

How about hanging around until the first of the year, before you make your final decision.

More nice folks, are in demand on this Forums.

Hopefully, time will take care of the unnecessary problems, that are disturbing to you, and others as well.

Andy
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Old 11-02-2009, 05:35 PM   #11
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Pee Wee,

I actively support the club at every turn including here at AirForums. At the Unit level, where the camping actually happens, none of the big picture IBT issues ever come into play. Indeed, interesting camping spots is a reason for me to be part of it, but ultimately it has always been about the wonderful people I've met.

One of my highlights of 2009 was for Jane and I to sit and have dinner with you and your wife at Cherry Blossom last spring. As an airstream history buff, I can say that breaking bread with you and listening to your amazing adventure stories was the best. If I had not been in the club I would not have been able to hear you share your first hand caravan/Airstream experiences.

Chatting it up with you at happy hour is worth the small price of admission into the club, let alone the hundreds of people i have met and camped with via the WBCCI and who I enjoy calling good friends.

Speaking of small price - when you compare the $70 the club costs me for a years worth of enjoyment (not including my affliate dues to two other Units).

2 tickets to one NY Giants game - $300+ - not including food and drink
2 tickets to a Yankee game - $300+ -
2 tickets to a decent concert - $200+
2 tickets to a NY Ranges game - $300+

All of these events last 3-4 hours and bring me nowhere near the fun that a years worth of WBCCI rallies do. I really don't understand the $$ griping.

Thanks Pee Wee!!!!

--Dave
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:17 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeeWee View Post
I posted this thread with tongue in cheek. But the results are exactly what I had hoped to see. It separates the men from the boys. When you can continue to replay your broken message again, and again; no one listens. When you have no constructive direction, no one listens.


PeeWee, I've never had the pleasure of meeting you in person, but I've heard your tales on the VAP and listened to them here. Frankly, you've had experiences that many of us, including me, could never match. It is very obvious how important WBCCI is to you - it's literally in your blood. Your statement that the best is yet to come is laudable.

But I'll be honest - listing a resume of credentials (and it's an impressive one) is probably not the way to start a thread where you want an open dialogue, if that is indeed what you wanted. (You said you didn't want people hiding behind PM and phone calls.) I'm not sure that a reader could really take the rest of the message as being tongue in cheek; I sure didn't. Nor did I get the message about helping newbies like me find a local unit to join.

The irony is, I joined WBCCI a few days ago with a delightful local unit. I'll camp with the club a few times a year, and camp on our own the rest. But if I wind up on the opposite side of "the majority rules," I'll hitch up and move on. My weekends and vacation time are too precious to stress over that. There are other clubs and other brands of trailers.

Quote:
The intent of this forum is to share trailer information, travel tips, fun, activities and the good things in life. It appears that too many people are using it for political purposes. Thank goodness the 1st Amendment gives you that right.
Do you mean politics, as in government, or politics as in complaining about the WBCCI? Discussing the overwhelmingly dominent club for our trailers would indeed seem to fit within the intent of the forum. The other stuff - you're right, I can do without that here.

That said, honestly this is one of the nicest, happiest forums I've ever been on...

Tom
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Old 11-02-2009, 06:43 PM   #13
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I posted this thread with tongue in cheek. But the results are exactly what I had hoped to see. It separates the men from the boys. When you can continue to replay your broken message again, and again; no one listens. When you have no constructive direction, no one listens.
One of the interesting challenges in written correspondence is expressing humor, as the reader can't actually see your face or the myriad of small clues that most of us give via body language. We can only assume that in the absence of smilies or other hints, your post was sincere.

Quote:
The damage you are doing is where the real damage is being done to the Club and the Airstream World. I am aware of all of the issues facing the club. So I am not naive to what is on the minds of Airstream owners and Club members.
I actually joined the WBCCI as a result of posts on this board. I find it heartening that there are concerned members who care enough about their club to discuss, brainstorm, carp and mull over issues. A membership organization truly dies when the members stop caring.

Quote:
First of all this crap that is spread all over the forums doesn't reach anyone that can do anything for you. In fact the venomous tone only digs a deeper trench and doesn't provide a bridge to find solutions.
Problem solving occurs in many ways and at many levels. Embracing it in it's many forms, rather then maligning fellow club members would seem to be a more positive way to move forward.

Peace.
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Old 11-02-2009, 07:47 PM   #14
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I will soon be leaving.
Whew; that's a post and a half!
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