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Old 04-09-2013, 01:19 PM   #15
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I've been a member of WBCCI for about a year and a half, having joined right after I bought my Airstream. However, most of my camping trips have been solo jaunts, to State Parks or Corps of Engineers campgrounds. I'll be attending my first WBCCI rally the weekend after next, and I'm eagerly anticipating it. It definitely won't be my last. Well, I say it's my first; I have stopped in to visit the annual Mardi Gras rally, two years in a row, but wasn't actually an attendee since I couldn't get off work to camp with the others. So the Angola Prison Rodeo Rally will be the first one where I'll be there for the whole rally.

As a working stiff, I find that a lot of the WBCCI events are planned by retirees, for retirees, and it's hard to fit the events into my work schedule. Events that start mid-week and end mid-week don't work for me as well as ones that start one weekend and end the next, so I can get the maximum camping time for the minimum vacation days. Especially holiday weeks, where I could get up to nine straight days of camping for just four days off from work.

Even though most of my contacts with my fellow WBCCI members have been luncheons and planning meetings so far, they're a great bunch of folks, and well worth getting to know. Although there's inevitably one fellow who has yet to learn that character should be what you have and not what you are, but even that guy is good for some comic relief.

At the stratospheric levels of the club hierarchy, it becomes more about the business of running a registered nonprofit organization and less about the fun. But for those without the ambition to run the club, it really is all about fun and fellowship, and that's all to the good.

I've got the Big Red NumbersŪ on my Interstate, but I find that most people don't even notice them. Partly because they've got a white Sprinter van under them, and not a shiny aluminum trailer. So anyone who says the numbers are the attention getters is fooling himself; the numbers may raise the most questions, but the trailers themselves are the real attention-getter. Without the aluminum, the numbers might as well be invisible.
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:27 PM   #16
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But for those without the ambition to run the club, it really is all about fun and fellowship, and that's all to the good.
Well, in my opinion (or observation), those who aren't interested in the leadership track will quickly find themselves on the fringes. This may take some time to appreciate to new members, but you will see it eventually. The past and present leadership (e.g. Past Presidents) forms the elite corps. Again, this is just an opinion of the organization based on what I have seen so far. It is not an insult to anyone, or a personal judgment on anyone. The club is in many ways all about the leadership and the massive set of charters and rules supporting that.

A huge amount of energy that could be spent planning adventure, is spent debating obscure and arcane rules and bylaws. This is part of what I refer to as the archaic tradition, which weighs a ton and a half. OTOH TAC has zero rules and bylaws from what I can tell so far.It almost defines the two possible extremes!
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Old 04-09-2013, 03:52 PM   #17
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The best thing = our wonderful local Unit friends. The weirdest thing = that funny Blue Beret, both the one they wear and the one they publish. We'll keep our membership. We'll go to things or not as they suit us. It's up the individual to make membership in any organization be useful by participating.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:19 PM   #18
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Well, in my opinion (or observation), those who aren't interested in the leadership track will quickly find themselves on the fringes.
You make it sound like a bad thing. Being on the fringes is not a bad thing in itself. Three hundred-some million people are Americans, and for most of them the limit of their participation in government is to vote and serve jury duty. At least with the WBCCI, there's no jury duty, just the occasional voting. We don't all have to aspire to be president, of the USA or of the WBCCI.

I'll take the fringes any day.
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Old 04-09-2013, 04:55 PM   #19
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We have been WBCCI members for the last 8 years. We are retired and go on the caravans. If you can utilize that feature of WBCCI it is absolutely great. We have been to Alaska, the west coast, down the east coast, the southwest, and are headed to Newfoundland this summer on a caravan. We are on a waiting list for a caravan in 2014. These caravans are still pretty well filled. The problem with a caravan club is that pretty much only retired people or people wealthy enough to take 3 months off can participate in the main events. But it is a great experience for people who do go. We also go to the monthly events of the local chapter when we are in town. I really have not seen a downside to being in WBCCI. We have only attended one international meeting. We found out that we do not need to do that regularly. It was usefull to us because we were new owners of an old Airstream headed to Alaska and a lot of people helped us get ready and helped us a lot getting ready for the upcoming trip. If you can not go on the caravans then the WBCCI probably has less interest for you.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:28 PM   #20
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A few more thoughts...

There are great differences between local club "Units" and types of units, from small aging 100% retired gangs that head for local (cheap..) fairgrounds on Thursdays <i.e. everyone is retired...> to large 'digitally-enhanced' Units like the 4 Corners unit in Rockies area or Washington DC Unit. You really need to ask around, and try a couple before making generalizations about the WBCCI

That said, the Caravan program is great for the 15 or 20 very retired attendees who sign up a year or two in advance for 3 month tours, but offers little for working folks or families looking for a 2 or 3 week adventure.. The Club is aware of that and looking at ways to address possibly less formally organized travel.

The Forum rallies (there are now 10 or 15 regional Forums groups who plan informal get-togethers several times each year) are great opportunities to meet as many as 50 other Airstreamers at a time, and potentially develop friendships and small group travel partners for future outings.. (The Northern Calif group is getting together along the Russian River this coming weekend, and in Sierra Foothills in Jackson CA in October..). These gatherings feature maximum informality, with agendas focused primarily around setting a date and time for Happy Hour or Pot-Luck meals.

Within the past couple of years, the Rich Luhr (Airstream Life publisher) Aluma-Events like Alumapalooza at the factory or AlumaFandango in Oregon this summer are a great way to see a region and meet between 75 and 100 Airstreamers, again with the opportunity to identify highly compatible travel partners.. They will be returning to Tucson next February, with capacity for 100 Airstreams for 5 day gathering.

Finally, just traveling solo to places you like to go might result in seeing other Airstreams in the park.. Since it appears nearly impossible to avoid starting a conversation with a fellow Airstream owner, a few solo trips might well yield links to new friend or friends that are compatible travel partners for future trips.. Groups have formed around Quartzite AZ winter boondocking, and Nevada's "Burning Man" event, for example...
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:35 PM   #21
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You make it sound like a bad thing. Being on the fringes is not a bad thing in itself. Three hundred-some million people are Americans, and for most of them the limit of their participation in government is to vote and serve jury duty. At least with the WBCCI, there's no jury duty, just the occasional voting. We don't all have to aspire to be president, of the USA or of the WBCCI.

I'll take the fringes any day.
It might be perfectly suitable to you. I was a bit put off by the "two class" nature of it. I am more of an egalitarian, I suppose.

When I imagine the ideal situation, I think of inclusivity as more virtuous than exclusivity.

I do think clubs need some structure, but not so much it becomes an end in itself. I can't imagine a trailer club really needing more than a two page bylaws.
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Old 04-09-2013, 05:40 PM   #22
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I do think clubs need some structure, but not so much it becomes an end in itself. I can't imagine a trailer club really needing more than a two page bylaws.
Therein lies one of the issues with WBCCI... The majority of the Leadership are owners of large boxy Airstream Motorhomes.. That has led to several of the emotionally draining political battles over the past few years... I admit I find it difficult to believe a trailer club needs a Parliamentarian, but clearly one has been necessary recently...
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:04 PM   #23
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It might be perfectly suitable to you. I was a bit put off by the "two class" nature of it. I am more of an egalitarian, I suppose.

When I imagine the ideal situation, I think of inclusivity as more virtuous than exclusivity.

I do think clubs need some structure, but not so much it becomes an end in itself. I can't imagine a trailer club really needing more than a two page bylaws.
No argument there. The club's constitution and bylaws are rather Byzantine, reading as if they're written by attorneys. Which they probably were, since WBCCI is an incorporated non-profit organization and not just a club. The IRS requires a constitution and bylaws be published for NPOs every five years, and further, also dictates to some extent what the constitution and bylaws must cover.

But a discussion of the WBCCI constitution and bylaws, as it affect potential members, is not exactly productive. For potential new members, you could probably do just fine without ever downloading a copy of the constitution and bylaws, unless you plan to become a club officer someday, or you want to attend the International Rally and take part in the pomp and circumstance. Most of the code of conduct is common sense.

And you don't have to buy a Wally beret, either, unless you really want one. Unless you're at the International Rally, you may never see anyone wearing one.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:25 PM   #24
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A funny thing happened last year. A couple in a state park in Ohio asked if the big red numbers were rental unit numbers and that got us talking about the club. Here's one to think about. Have you heard of the N.O.V.A. unit, It is a web based unit mostly in northan Ohio, but has members across the country. I was told by the unit president that the average age of the members was between 50 & 55. The dues are $1.00 a year if you mail it to them and more if you chose a credit card.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:43 PM   #25
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For potential new members, you could probably do just fine without ever downloading a copy of the constitution and bylaws, unless you plan to become a club officer someday, or you want to attend the International Rally and take part in the pomp and circumstance. Most of the code of conduct is common sense.
And not to sound argumentative here, but there's a bit more to it than that as far as new members go. Again, this is simply one man's opinion, but those who come in and think they will ignore all the business and bylaws issues and ignore all these leadership issues will find themselves largely ignored socially. More of an appendage than a real part of the club. This is because all that "administrative stuff" defines the club, to a very large degree. It's the stuff the oldtimers who run the club obsess about.

Condo---
You mentioned the problem of the very long (months long) caravan and I agree. I'd love to see trips in the 2 to 3 week range emerge. There are some, but not many. Not enough.

Not to be misunderstood, I like a good tight organization and a few common sense rules to keep things on track. But I think they should only be service rails, not goals that keep people busy for hours and weeks on end in debate. Size of the flag to be given to ex-presidents? Really? :-)

I know there was a "Bylaws Committee" that worked for maybe a year to reduce it down from it's massive size and they met a LOT of resistance. I admit, I don't know the current state of that effort though. I am not even sure there is a reason to be a 501 C(3). I think this all came about because the Airstream Corporation used to own the club and had to separate it out from their business. Not sure on that, but I think that's the reason. I belong to other "clubs" and they work fine, are not 501's and they have two page charters - for example.

There is also a very odd (to me) military or marshal vibe in the WBCCI. I see no reason for it.
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Old 04-09-2013, 06:50 PM   #26
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From what I can gather TAC appears to be very informal and there aren't all that many rallies or group activities through the year.
Host a rally or organize a caravan and then there will be yet one more. Very close to you too
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:03 PM   #27
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The best thing = our wonderful local Unit friends. The weirdest thing = that funny Blue Beret, both the one they wear and the one they publish. We'll keep our membership. We'll go to things or not as they suit us. It's up the individual to make membership in any organization be useful by participating.
Participation is the key. The more you put in, the more fun you get out.
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Old 04-09-2013, 07:13 PM   #28
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Host a rally or organize a caravan and then there will be yet one more. Very close to you too
I'd love to. And I have considered doing just that. Although we are now moving (sorry!), and will wait to we get to the new digs in SoCal around July.

I think even 5 to 10 rigs makes a great little 3 to 5 day camp-out. It doesn't have to be huge to have fun. I'd love to find some ranch or meadow that could hold a "circle the wagons" style camp-out. That would be a hoot. I've also thought a "beach crawl" would be fun for 5 days with a small number of rigs.
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