At the 2008 midwinter IBT meeting, Past International President Don Shafer offered a brief soliloquy on “The International Club”, that being the term he used for 250 or so past and present International officers who, for practical purposes, were no longer affiliated with the units whence they came. (I won’t reproduce his comments here, but a transcript can be seen at MetroNY Copes
As I read this, I was further reminded of Past International President Jim Franklin’s exhortations “But people that are continually tearing down the club and being destructive, and they're unhappy. I think we need to be selective in our memberships and start looking at a way of terminating their membership. . . “
(You can read Mr. Franklin’s words at WBCCI Adopting a new membership policy?*-*Savewally.org
In considering these pronouncements by past International Presidents, it suddenly occurred to me that there really are
two WBCCIs, the Unit level club that most of us belong to and love, and the International Club referred to by Don Shafer.
And for as long as I’ve been a member, the two clubs don’t get along.
Many of the problems facing the WBCCI, and more especially the present disciplinary actions against Bob Thompson and Leo Garvey, fundamentally devolve from this conflict.
In view of the seemingly irreconcilable differences between the two clubs, maybe the best solution for everybody would be to divorce them
. Given the advantages to both parties, I see no reason that the divorce could not be amicable.
The property settlement could be straightforward on account of the widely divergent goals of the two clubs. First let’s consider the club, typified by the Units, whose goal is fun, fellowship, and adventure. We could call it the Wally Byam Caravan Club, WBCC. We might even want to consider changing the name to the unpretentious Wally Byam Camping Club.
The goal of the International Club is prestige
. So the prestige of the magic word, international
, would be ceded to the International Club, which could retain the name Wally Byam Caravan Club, International. In view of the club’s objectives, they might want to think about keeping the initials WBCCI but changing the actual name to Wally Byam Country Club, International.
Regarding both clubs retaining the name of Wally Byam, Mr. Byam’s name is not encumbered by trademark or copyright considerations since he is a historical figure who has been deceased for some time. Likewise his signature blue beret--the hat, not the magazine--is not protected by trademark or copyright.
The International Club could have all things International, including the International Board of Trustees, the International Officers, the International Executive Committee, and of course, the crown jewel, the International Rally. Along with this they may freely have all red blazers, blue blazers, white tuxedoes, the Blue Beret (magazine) and the Blue Book.
In contrast, the Wally Byam Camping Club will have to come up with a new constitution and bylaws. My guess is that a couple of pages will do it. In view of the events leading up to the split, I would suggest that the Wally Byam Camping Club constitution include a Bill of Rights, beginning, “The Club shall make no rules abridging the freedom of speech. . .” It might also be appropriate if the WBCC constitution declared that “No club uniform or badge of rank shall be worn at any club function, beyond a name badge identifying the Member, Unit Affiliation, and Office held, if any.”
Now as to the question of membership requirements, I would first of all suggest that all members of the present International Club be grandfathered into the new International Club, with the option of switching their membership to the Camping Club, with the proviso that no one can be a member of both
Beyond present members, I would expect that the International Club would want to establish strict membership requirements including membership by invitation only, scrutiny by a new member investigating committee to ensure that only the Right Sort are allowed into the club, and possibly production of a certified financial statement. New members of the International Club would of course be required to outfit themselves with a full set of blazers, formal dresses, white tuxedoes, etc., etc. Ownership of a suitably expensive motor home (any brand) or a new Airstream trailer 30 feet or more in length would of course be required. And, needless to say, new members would be required to swear an oath of undying loyalty and obedience to whoever the International leader might be.
Membership requirements for the Wally Byam Camping Club would be much simpler. Ownership of any RV designed or manufactured by Wally Byam or Airstream, Inc. would suffice.
As to the matter of dues, the dues for the Wally Byam Camping Club could be approximately equal to current Unit dues plus a few dollars more to cover essential functions, such as insurance, presently provided by the International Club. Without the extensive overhead of the International organization the total dues could be substantially less than present Unit plus International dues.
Since the membership of the International Club would be much lower, say, 300 members in all, the dues would have to be much higher, say, $1,000 a year per member, to cover the fixed costs of the International organization. But I would argue that high dues are actually an advantage
to a club whose goal is prestige
. Likewise the rally fee for the International Rally would have to be much higher, say, another $1,000 to cover the costs with much lower attendance. On the other hand, an International Rally with an attendance of, say, 200 units could be economically held at any number of full-hookup campgrounds, eliminating the need for the extensive WBCCI-supplied infrastructure presently needed at Internationals. So the costs might be substantially lower.
Nor is there necessarily any reason that members of the Camping Club could not attend International rallies and caravans, providing they are willing to pay the fees and conduct themselves with proper decorum (including compliance with dress codes) at International Club events. Likewise, members of the International Club could be welcome to attend the Camping Club’s rallies and caravans, provided that they observe the latter’s prohibition on uniforms and badges of rank and recognize that as guests, they have no say-so whatsoever in the Camping Club’s conduct of its affairs.
So there it is, folks. Let’s make the split, so the International types can have what they want, the laid back camping types can have what they want, and we can all stop wasting energy fighting each other and spend it enjoying life.