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Old 07-27-2011, 08:58 PM   #15
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I've figured out most of the abbreviations, I think. EC = Executive Committee; VAC = Vintage Airstream Club; IBT = International Board of Trustees. What does MAL stand for?

Structure seems to be a top-down one (one must belong to WBCCI first, then a Unit (regional/state group?), then a local club?

My reason for asking about the club is that even in the short time we've owned our mpg, belonging to the Heartland Owners' Club has been a great blessing, and if we end up buying an Airstream for our full-timing rig, we will expect to join WBCCI as well. I'm not sure what we would do about any other levels, though, since our plan is to travel the country for several years.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:10 PM   #16
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MAL = Member at Large. MAL's don't belong to a unit. In addition to the $65 fee to headquarters they also pay an additional $20. MAL's do not get a vote.

Upon joining the club you select the unit you are joining OR become a MAL. You pay the $65 plus whatever the unit dues are (varying from $1 to $20) depending upon the unit. Units are grouped by 12 regions.
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Old 07-27-2011, 09:35 PM   #17
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Thanks for explaining it.
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Old 07-28-2011, 10:03 AM   #18
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My reason for asking about the club is that even in the short time we've owned our mpg, belonging to the Heartland Owners' Club has been a great blessing, and if we end up buying an Airstream for our full-timing rig, we will expect to join WBCCI as well. I'm not sure what we would do about any other levels, though, since our plan is to travel the country for several years.
If you do decide to join WBCCI, I would suggest joining a unit if for no other reason than to save money; as Bluebird pointed out some units have dues as low as $1 and WBCCI membership at large would cost you an additional $20 a year.

Units vary enormously in style, some tend to be very authoritarian while others are laid back. The thing to be aware of is that as a WBCCI member, either a member of any unit or as a MAL, you can attend any activity of any unit, which gives you a chance to visit different units to see for yourself what they are like.

WBCCI regions and units are listed here: http://www.wbcci.org/index.cfm?pageSRC=Regions

There are several units in your area that might be of interest. You can be a member of any unit you want; units have no exclusive geographical territories. Some of the $1 a year "virtual units" that come to mind are Washington DC Unit (WDCU), Four Corners Unit (FCU or 4CU), and Northern Ohio Virtual Airstreamers (NOVA).
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Old 07-28-2011, 12:18 PM   #19
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Even if the WBCCI was run perfectly (many will disagree what that means) it would have declined, though probably not so much. Many traditional clubs are losing members and the internet is part of the reason. This Forum and other loosely organized groups have grown while older type organizations have declined.

Culture is part of that, but so are other values. While much change has occurred in the past 50 years, not everyone has. There are frequent references to Lawrence Welk. Besides the music, Welk was an authoritarian. That type of leadership no longer is effective. Some people embraced rock 'n' roll, others stuck with the past. Some people like to wear ties, some don't. Some supported the Vietnam war, some did not. The WBCCI appears to have many ceremonies (flags, ties, processions, etc.) that no longer reflect what many people want. There appear to be former career military in leadership positions who have not realized they are now civilians and act as if they are generals.

On a more general level, the anser to your question is ego (on all sides), power or lack of it, and resistance to change.

Some WBCCI units are run informally and ignore the WBCCI for the most part. Others do not. A lot of WBCCI members are loyal to the unit, but not to the national organization. Reformers have tried to become leaders on a national level, but have been blocked by the leadership. The governing rules of the organizational make it difficult to rise up though a system without support from the national leaders. It also appears that efforts to reform the organization are stymied by the national leadership with parliamentary interpretations that are questionable legally and/or morally.

The WBCCI has an annual membership fee and units have various additional fees. One I would join if it were not part of the WBCCI has a $1 annual fee (if they left the WBCCI it would have to go up to cover insurance). Almost all the fees go to support the national organization and my thought is why support them? The WBCCI has a substantial endowment—the figure $1,000,000 is often mentioned though I don't know if that is correct. If units start leaving they may lose their share and that could be a difficult legal fight—like when a church schism occurs.

Even if the WBCCI is totally reformed, it will never grow to the size it was. It is a different time. They may stop the bleeding, and may even increase membership a bit, but that is it.

When we bought our Airstream we had never heard of the WBCCI. I started reading about it later and did not like what I saw. We have created friendships through the Forum and have attended a few gatherings. We do a lot of traveling and are very busy retirees so we haven't gone to many rallies of any sort—WBCCI, Forum or informal. The WBCCI does not represent retirees, only some retirees. There are many opportunities to attend rallies—many are created by Forum members, WBCCI units have buddy rallies that do not require membership in the WBCCI, or you can arrange to meet people through the Forum or independent, loosely organized groups like TAC. We have camped with friends who do not have Airstreams. Everyone has many options. When the WBCCI was created and for years afterward, there really weren't a lot of options, now there are.

The WBCCI had a good reputation and may have lead the way decades ago, but now the reputation is tainted and they are not leaders at all. You can buy and Airstream and still have fun.

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Old 07-28-2011, 05:11 PM   #20
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David - it's important when considering all this to remember that most RV owners Clubs are actually administered in part or in full by the RV manufacturer. I checked out the Heartland Owners Club and this seems to be the case as well. These clubs are usually set up in part to support owners and offer some community but also as a way of continued marketing.

There was a time when the WBCCI was probably in this role as well, but at present it is not affiliated with Airstream Inc (Thor). The role of the WBCCI when compared to most other owners clubs is somewhat unique in this respect.

Finding other Airstreamers and interacting with them is the primary reason folks join the WBCCI. They also join AIRForums for the same reason. Many do both. You might try visiting a local unit event or two and try it on for size. You could also attend an Air Forums rally or two for the same reason. See what fits your needs (or not) and then decide.
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Old 07-28-2011, 05:18 PM   #21
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Janet's right. You don't have to have an Airstream to go to a rally. People will be glad to answer your questions and show their trailers to you. Everyone has asked the same questions you are asking.

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Old 07-28-2011, 07:07 PM   #22
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My suggestion is to attend a WBCCI buddy rally or attend as a guest...and try it on for size... Each unit is very different in demeanor and focus, so you might try different ones. We love our unit...the Four Corners Unit of New Mexico, and we have made lots of great friends through it. While we are personally not pleased with a lot of what goes on at higher levels in the organization, we do appreciate the heritage and history of the club, and we are hopeful for change, as slowly as that might happen. In the meantime, we continue to enjoy our friends and our unit, camping with its members (who are from all over the country and Canada with the highest concentration of members in the four corners states)...as often as humanly possible. It's a blast. I might add that a member of any WBCCI unit can attend any other unit's events ... so you have a nation-wide network to enjoy if you wish to. Remember, too, that you can join more than one club... WBCCI, Escapees, TAC, etc etc....they are not mutually exclusive...
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Old 07-28-2011, 07:39 PM   #23
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If you have the time and an interest in doing a lot of club sponsored caravans with a lot of friendly people and being directed to interesting places you would not easily find yourself, WBCCI is your kind of organization and will be well worth the dues money spent. If you enjoy going to rallies and sitting with old people and a few young ones around a campfire, some Units of WBCCI may be worth looking into. If you are young and like to travel 500 miles a day by yourself to far flung places and boondocking in the state parks or BLM woods alone, you do not need WBCCI.
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Old 07-28-2011, 09:13 PM   #24
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If you enjoy going to rallies and sitting with old people and a few young ones around a campfire, some Units of WBCCI may be worth looking into. If you are young and like to travel 500 miles a day by yourself to far flung places and boondocking in the state parks or BLM woods alone, you do not need WBCCI.
Old people travel 500 miles a day too, and young ones may be old at heart. There are problems with all generalizations. I do think it's as much a culture thing as an age thing. I'm old and I did change. Lawrence Welk is not for me; Lady Gaga is hot.

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Old 07-28-2011, 10:35 PM   #25
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....>snip<... If you enjoy going to rallies and sitting with old people and a few young ones around a campfire, some Units of WBCCI may be worth looking into. If you are young and like to travel 500 miles a day by yourself to far flung places and boondocking in the state parks or BLM woods alone, you do not need WBCCI.
I think that's a bit of an over-generalization and certainly not the case with all Units. The 4CU is a quite lively bunch of very fun people ranging from young folks with kids to older folks with grand- and great-grand kids ... who are all admirably young at heart. Age doesn't seems to be much of a concern for any of us. And I dare say that no one has a boring time. Most of our rallies are either boondocking or at least dry camping in state parks or national forest campgrounds. In the last several 3 or 4 years of membership I can think of only 1 rally where we had any hookups at all. We do like sitting around a campfire with our friends, but what's not good about that? In addition to rallies, virtually everyone in our unit does a good deal of traveling on their own to destinations, criss-crossing the country to whatever far-flung destination they desire ... sprinkled with smaller gatherings of whomever cares to go along.
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:19 PM   #26
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In my opinion, you get far more benefits and bang for your buck by belonging to the Good Samaritan Club rather than the WBCCI, AND memberhsip in teh Good Sam Club costs LESS!
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Old 07-31-2011, 11:21 PM   #27
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Oh Yeah, the magazine you get with you Good Sam Club membership, Highways, is infinitly more interesting than the Blue Berret, talk about BORING!
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Old 08-01-2011, 01:08 AM   #28
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If you have an Airstream, you instantly become a "club" if there is another Airstream where you park. I was at Zion NP in May, when I pulled into the campground there were 5 Airstreams there. I thought I had bumped into a Unit GTG. They were from 4 different states and had a fun time visiting. Yesterday I was at my local store and an Airstream pulled in so of course I had to stop and say "Hi" They were from Houston and we had a great visit comparing summer travels. Airstreamers are special. However, as a solo traveler, I do have to say I am very close to 3 other solo travel clubs and their GTG's.
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