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Old 10-28-2003, 12:07 PM   #155
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Welcome to the New England Unit!

Chuck -- I heard thru the "silver grapevine" that you not only renewed your WBCCI membership but, lucky us, you left the ranks of "member at large" to join the New England Unit! Let me be one of the first to formally welcome you to our group!

We have some great rally's planned for next year -- coincidentally those rally's are being hosted by me and Pam!
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Old 10-28-2003, 12:17 PM   #156
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Might as well throw another $0.02 into the pool...

I have attended a couple of rallies this year, just to try it out. My personal conclusion is that *everybody* who has posted on this thread has a legitimate point. The WBCCI is just too big and diverse across units to completely praise or condemn.

We've met with members from four different New England units. Some emphasized the diversity of their membership, while others frankly admitted that their unit was in danger of dying out.

Realistically, we have little in common with the folks in our local unit, many of whom are old enough to be our parents. They don't want to do the sorts of things we want to do on our vacation time, and they don't want to stay in the types of places we like to stay.

But it doesn't matter. We joined the local unit anyway. We'll probably never rally with them again, but we'll read the newsletters of all the units in our region and pick out the nearby rallies and events that interest us, regardless of which unit is holding them. Sort of members-at-large but with a unit affiliation just to be supportive. That's all we have time to do.

Now the question is, "Will the local units hold enough events of interest to us -- a working family -- for us to renew next year?" That's a tougher challenge, and it is at the core of WBCCI's declining membership and poor first-year renewal rate.

Here's a few suggestions, based just on our three experiences with WBCCI rallies.

1) Stop holding rallies at boring locations when it's not strictly necessary. I see the need for using a dusty fairground for the International Rally, but when you're expecting just 30 attendees, how about a more inspiring location? And while private campgrounds are nice sometimes, they look like pretty much every other campground in existence. Let's visit more of the many great state and national parks -- where there's actually something unique to see and do. (Actually, I suspect I know why WBCCI rallies resist those parks. Most require boondocking for a weekend. And that means you can't watch TV every night!)

2) Recognize that us weekenders with kids have trouble traveling 200+ miles on a Friday night after work. Try to structure a few weekend events close to the unit's geographic center. It's actually quite easy, even if you think you've seen it all in your area. When I was a tour leader for a social club in Boston, I was surprised to discover how much people don't know about the things in their very backyards!

3) Organize more optional activities. I don't mean adding a Happy Hour. The Wash DC Unit and the Vintage Club are better at this than most others. At Acadia National Park, one of the big daily events for us was the diverse ranger talks (with slides) every night. Those events that are just chat'n'chew will NOT draw us again.

4) Streamline the bureaucracy. To join, I filled out a form on the website. Then, I got a package in the mail advising me I'd be contacted by the local unit. Then came the local unit's package in the mail. I filled out another form and sent in my check (finally!) Now I'm waiting for the unit treasurer to deposit my check, pass on my form and dues to HQ, after which HQ will send me my membership materials. Elapsed time: about 3-4 weeks.

Hello? I'm used to the Internet -- fill out the online form with credit card data and get an instant response. Joining the WBCCI is only slightly less convoluted than buying a house. (I can't wait to find out what's involved in getting a rally on the official calendar!)

5) Related to the point above, WBCCI needs to get with the program and build a good website. People in the working crowd use the Internet to streamline their lives, but the current WBCCI website doesn't allow that. It's just brochure-ware, and not even very convincing in that role.

For example, I cringed when I read the FAQ answer to the question, "Just what will I do at Club Rallies?"

Quote:
You name it . . . we do it . . . fashion, pet and hobby shows . . . games and contests of every sort . . . square, round and ballroom dancing . . .
Wow, pet shows and square dancing! What was I thinking, spending my time hiking, swimming, diving, and bicycling? The brochure the WBCCI uses to recruit members speaks only to the current members -- it doesn't address the needs of the very people the club claims it wants!

Now, will any of these suggestions be acted upon in the next year? Frankly, I'm pessimistic. There are a lot of thin-skinned members who immediately get defensive at legitimate criticism. For every person who says, "Come join the club and change it from within," I have found a person who says, "If you don't like the WBCCI [the way it is], don't join it." That sort of reaction precludes meaningful change. So before you fire off a defense "in support of WBCCI", recall three things:

1) I am also a member. Thoughtful criticism and suggestions are my way of supporting MY club.
2) Change by definition upsets the status quo.
3) The only wrong path is to continue without self-examination.

-- RL
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Old 10-28-2003, 12:34 PM   #157
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Yes, I have been assimilated. Resistance was futile.....

I haven't seen a rally schedule for next year. where are these rallies you're hosting? should I bring my square-dancing shoes?

Oh, and Rich: you missed a fun weekend on the coast of ME in September...only about a dozen attendees (space was limited). It was hosted by the folks that you parked next to when you first pulled in in greenfield. No hookups...and no square-dancing, either.
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Old 10-28-2003, 12:42 PM   #158
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Thumbs up Well said!

Quote:
Originally posted by rluhr
Might as well throw another $0.02 into the pool...

I have attended a couple of rallies this year, just to try it out. My personal conclusion is that *everybody* who has posted on this thread has a legitimate point. The WBCCI is just too big and diverse across units to completely praise or condemn.

Wow, pet shows and square dancing! What was I thinking, spending my time hiking, swimming, diving, and bicycling? The brochure the WBCCI uses to recruit members speaks only to the current members -- it doesn't address the needs of the very people the club claims it wants!

So before you fire off a defense "in support of WBCCI", recall three things:

1) I am also a member. Thoughtful criticism and suggestions are my way of supporting MY club.
2) Change by definition upsets the status quo.
3) The only wrong path is to continue without self-examination.

-- RL
RL... Well said!

Roger
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Old 10-28-2003, 12:46 PM   #159
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Point very well taken and concurred

It may not seem so but your concerns and criticism is not the first that the WBCCI has heard or considered.

There is a very strong movement which was underground for a long time but now it is very openly talked about within the WBCCI.

If you are a member, then you receive the Blue Beret. Over the last six months, there has been an ongoing article that speaks to exactly the same concerns that you have conveyed and what the WBCCI intends to do about it.

The WBCCI is aggressively pursuing the improvement and attraction to the WCG or Working Class Group. I can already see a difference locally and keeping my ear to the rail, I know that the Regional officers and International Officers are currently organizing a team to take on the challenge. The WBCCI has formally established a committee that is sampling the Airstream community and massaging the WBCCI into a contemporary and exciting enviroment for all ages and classifications of its members and potential members.

It is imperative that you and others convey these opinions not only in these open forums but directly to the WBCCI. They have a email addresses, Toll free phone numbers, slow mail addresses and people who are happy to receive your contacts and opinions.

Thanks for the objective view you have presented. I will personally forward your views to the committee and challenge the WBCCI to monitor this thread.

respectfully,
Ken Smillie
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Old 10-28-2003, 12:52 PM   #160
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RL,

Could not (and did not) say it any better....I could not agree more....

Now, to address the info about the international rally vs a local one....if that's the case, I suppose I will never be a part of WBCCI then. Locally, it's a club of retired folks (which there is nothing wrong with that) that can:

1) Afford to spend large sums of $$ on rallys.

2) Have the time to go to these places.

I'm not interested in hunting down a club or joining one that is even further away to be able to do group things, etc... and the local unit is a total joke.

So am I back to square one? Looks that way.....just camping with others form this forum, with friends, family and the great outdoors.

Eric
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Old 10-28-2003, 01:04 PM   #161
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I understand

I can identify with your reasons not to participate and it is unfortunate that you are geographically challenged at being a member of a more exciting group.

But on the bright side, I have literally had two members of this forum in the last two days PM me in reference to joining the SCCU. Both of them live in a different state and they both have conveyed that they will be part timing on rallies.

THAT IS PERFECTLY COOL WITH US!!!!!!!!!!!!!

COME ONE COME ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!

Smily
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Old 10-28-2003, 01:22 PM   #162
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Ken,

Thank you for listening. I am very encouraged by your remarks. People like you are the future of the WBCCI.

- RL
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Old 10-28-2003, 02:36 PM   #163
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Quote:
Originally posted by chuck
I haven't seen a rally schedule for next year. where are these rallies you're hosting?
The rally schedule won't be finalized until next month. The rally hosts need to publish their schedule's to the unit president by Nov 1 for publication in WBCCI publications in Dec/Jan.

Pam and I are hosting the first Spring NEU rally at Recompence Shore, the Fall business meeting at Danforth Bay, and I'm co-hosting a rally with the Vintage club and WDCU in September near Springfield MA during the Big "E" fair.
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Old 10-28-2003, 02:45 PM   #164
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Numbers on AS

As for the Plexiglass board, I am using suction cups to hold my plexiglass number board onto the Aluminum skin. It works Great.
No screws, adhesives, or anything that may leave an unwanted mark.

I think that I posted the process and pictures somewhere on this site.

here is the link:

http://www.airforums.com/forum...iglass+numbers

It is easy and cheap to do.

I know that I am not on my last AS so it is convenient to move from unit to unit.
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Old 10-28-2003, 07:38 PM   #165
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63 wind,

In reply to your original question;

The recent SE region rally in Chattanooga had 10-15% of the trailers without numbers attached. Alabama is in this region so I would assume you can do what you want without any type of coersion.
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Old 10-28-2003, 08:39 PM   #166
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Re: Point very well taken and concurred

Quote:
Originally posted by smily
It is imperative that you and others convey these opinions not only in these open forums but directly to the WBCCI. They have a email addresses, Toll free phone numbers, slow mail addresses and people who are happy to receive your contacts and opinions.
I agree. I see room for improvement in our local unit, but I also see that what is already there is worth participating in. I am writing a letter to our new unit president with my suggestions and ideas for what may make things more appealing to us, as well as more accessable.

For example, I had planned on going to the Pendleton Round-up (Rodeo) Rally in '04, but now I see they have planned a vintage rally for the weekend before. Being a working stiff, there's no way I can attend both, so I guess I'll just do the Vintage rally.

Likewise, after the Pendleton Round-up, which is a whole week, they are planning a trip to Yellowstone, but only for the members who attended the round-up. Now frankly, I would find a trip to Yellowstone far more interesting than going to a Rodeo. I don't understand why they are linking them together like that. I also wish they hadn't crammed all these events together in September. It's great for people who are retired, they can go to one thing after another, but those of us who still work are far more limited. Something closer to home would be nice too - like how about touring Crater Lake instead of Yellowstone? But I guess they figure everyone has already seen Crater Lake. For the retirees, this is their chance to get out and explore. They've been sticking close to home all those years they were working!

So there's room for improvement, but there's some stuff we can participate in also. Hopefully by sticking with the group they will aim to find things for us young'uns to do as well.

One funny thing in our Unit newsletter - it says they are planning a Mystery Caravan for the children in the unit. So they want to know who has children or grandchildren who would like to participate during spring break. It says 'if no children can be located it will still happen but not on spring break'. For some reason this just cracked us up! How many other clubs have to worry about if they can locate children among their members?
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Old 11-03-2003, 12:01 PM   #167
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The word is out

Well as promised, I have managed to get the word up to the WBCCI about this thread and all of the input that has gone into it.

I cannot guarantee that there will be overnight results but at least we have managed to get the ear of some prominent individuals within the WBCCI.

Included in the list of contacts are two officers of Region 3, two officers of the International WBCCI, and two staff members at WBCCI HQ including the membership chairman.

I hope that they will visit this thread and get a feel for those folks that are wondering what the WBCCI is like or comments and opinions of folks that have tried the WBCCI and have valid concerns of the activities of the WBCCI and most of all, suggestions that could make the WBCCI an attractive club to all walks of the Airstream community.

Keep you comments, opinions and suggestions coming and if you prefer, send them directly to the WBCCI for a guaranteed timeslot on the soapbox

Smily
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Old 11-03-2003, 08:50 PM   #168
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I definitely think that one way to increase the retention of "1 year members" is by overhauling The Blue Beret.

I used to be a member of the Porsche Club of America (alas, real Porsches don't tow Airstreams very well). Many members joined the club - and renewed their memberships - simply to receive the club's excellent publication. Over time, these members began to slowly become more active in the club but it was the publication that kept them in the club long enough to realize the true benefits of membership.

I would suggest that The Blue Beret focus on articles about new Airstream products, interviews with Airstream managers and personalities like Christopher C. Deam, stories about vintage products, etc. Additionally, a move from newspaper material to a more standard glossy format would be appropriate.

One only has to look to the VAC and their outstanding publication - The Vinatge Advantage - to see what a world class airstream mag. can be. I own a 2002 AS but maintain my associate membership in the VAC solely for The Advantage. Bottom Line - it can be done at a reasonable cost.
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