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Old 12-15-2013, 05:09 AM   #101
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Some campgrounds, fairgrounds etc do not allow alcohol except at your campsite. Could that have been true at the FSR? Jim
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Old 12-15-2013, 06:14 AM   #102
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FSR was held at the Sarasota county Fairgrounds. Most county fairgrounds do not allow open consumption of alcohol. Most State Park campgrounds have the same rule. Most rules are poorly enforced, but are there so the rangers, or people in charge, have something in place so they can throw people out who become unruly.

Most of the dinner activities at Sarasota rally are off site and so there was no problem. Pictures of Wally's early caravans show hard liquor on most of the tables.

There is a small religious minority within the current WBCCI, who are non-drinkers. Some drinkers have been known to have too much happy hour before coming to business meetings. A few, who have over consumed, become aggressive and have disturbed a few business meetings in the past.
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Old 12-15-2013, 07:38 AM   #103
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Any suggestions on activities or events or benefits that might attract a new generation of Airstream owners?

Lynn
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:43 AM   #104
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RV clubs are similar to the service clubs like Rotary where folks no longer have the time to blow 30 minutes each way in travel time for an hour meeting one day of every week when they are mid-management or lower. They are expected to work through the lunch hour with a sandwich or find another job.

Thus the older business folks have the time to be in Rotary and thus run the organization. Seems like the same scenario for WBCCI.

There have been lots of posts from folks whose personal free time is extremely constrained. Twenty years ago, if one had a new Airstream, they were probably retired and had the time for long caravans and the like.

The younger folks today that have the income to support this expensive hobby (even with Vintage units) seem to be more self centered on their world rather than looking for more responsibilities in a hobby leadership position.

The expenses incurred traveling to all the WBCCI upper management meetings and Rallies require a reserve of descretionary funds and the wear and tear on the TV and TT are not reimbursable expenses. So these folks do provide a charitible service to the club of their time as well.

In the overall costs incurred during the year of operation of an Airstream, the $65 WBCCI annual fee is really insignificant when compared to fuel, propane, insurance, storage, camping fees and maintenance expenses.

I suggest looking at the local units with growing memberships and see what they are doing as compared to the units with declining memberships.

Doing the same old thing over and over again expecting different results is nuts. These newer units are thinking outside the corporate box and being successful.

YMMV
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Old 12-15-2013, 09:57 AM   #105
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It would need some work to adapt to Airstreams, but a pre-recession study (link below) indicated that the average RV owner is 49 years old, suggesting that younger and younger people are joining the ownership ranks.

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Old 12-15-2013, 10:18 AM   #106
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While it may not bring in new members I think International attendance would improve if there was a less costly parking option than full hookups.
It does not have to be a return to 3 amp, Just a "generator" or boondocking section would suffice as most any venue will have a dump station and water faucet somewhere..
We stopped attending because an extra $200 did not meet our standard of perceived value.
I have beat on this poor dead horse until it has decomposed. It falls on deaf ears when talking to International officers.
Am I the only one out here who stopped attending the rally due to the price increase in 2010?
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:38 AM   #107
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Any suggestions on activities or events or benefits that might attract a new generation of Airstream owners?

Lynn
Activites:
Let's see. WBCCI already does rallies at every level, International down to Unit. It already does caravans at different levels as well.
The timing might not be so great for working stiffs who need the most bang for the least number of days off, or for parents who don't want to take their kids out of school. But WBCCI does the rallies and caravans, so that's not anything new.
It would be nice if WBCCI could get corporate sponsorship for a caravan, specifically with a corporate sponsor who would film the entire thing for broadcast on a major network. Cousteau Society picked up lots of members from folks who watched Jacques Cousteau on television; WBCCI could try the same. The filmed caravan(s?) would have to be someplace scenic and/or historic, because the video production would have to be more about the trip than the people and trailers making the trip. People would tune in for the Canadian/Alaskan scenery (for example), and the chance to imagine themselves making the trip, but would come to associate Airstreams and WBCCI with the scenery. People who already own Airstreams would tune in just to see the pretty trailers. But either way, the video production company would get a great video, and WBCCI would get a high-quality but low-key infomercial at the same time.

Benefits:
It's difficult to come up with benefits that WBCCI could provide that they don't already. With a relatively small membership base, there are limits to the discounts that one could negotiate with campgrounds, insurance companies, store chains, etc. While there are many possible benefits that WBCCI doesn't provide, most of those benefits require a large membership base, large enough to allow the corporate partner to gain extra market share that they don't already get. For example, Good Sam membership gets one a discount at Camping World. KOA membership gets one a discount at Parts66. Neither Camping World nor Parts66 has any reason to negotiate discounts with WBCCI as well, and smaller parts/supply chains wouldn't see enough of an increase from partnering with WBCCI to make up the money they lose on the discount.

But there are still possibilities…
While Camping World and Parts66 already have RV club partners, there are still store chains that sell outdoor gear that lack such partners. Such as Cabela's, to use one example.
The negotiated benefit doesn't have to be a discount every time you shop there. That would be best for WBCCI members, but not necessarily so good for the stores due to our smallish membership base. So as an alternative to a discount every time you shop— which by the way would require showing a handy credit-card-sized membership card with scan strip that WBCCI doesn't have— the partnering benefit could take the form of a free gift certificate with membership renewal. And since the gift certificate deal needn't be exclusive to one store chain, one could negotiate with several companies, such that the total amount of all gift certificates exceeds the cost of membership, for a net WBCCI membership cost of absolutely nothing.
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:53 AM   #108
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Doyle, I'll bring up some previous gurgitation on the notion of "benefit."

There is, of course, financial benefit. And you're right: A small group like the WBCCI might find it tough to negotiate a financial advantage for its members. Hence my suggestion of a cooperative arrangement with other RV clubs.

But benefit can also be understood in another way. Think of our rallies. If a given rally takes place at a location/event that a person would want to visit/attend even if the rally were not held there, then that rally might be considered a "beneficial rally." A great example is our balloon fiesta rally: People want to go no matter what, and holding a rally there is just icing on the cake. More generally, then, the trick is to hold as many of our rallies (local or otherwise) as we can at locations or events that make them hyperattractive.


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Old 12-15-2013, 11:12 AM   #109
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But benefit can also be understood in another way. Think of our rallies. If a given rally takes place at a location/event that a person would want to visit/attend even if the rally were not held there, then that rally might be considered a "beneficial rally." A great example is our balloon fiesta rally: People want to go no matter what, and holding a rally there is just icing on the cake. More generally, then, the trick is to hold as many of our rallies (local or otherwise) as we can at locations or events that make them hyperattractive.
No argument there. But I thought the question was "benefits that could be offered." Not just "places we could go that we don't already go." And gift certificates at stores that WBCCI members are likely to shop at ARE a benefit that could be provided, more easily than discounts every time one shops there.

I haven't been around WBCCI, or Airstreaming, or even RVing enough to really know all the places WBCCI goes, or even to have a preference on where I want to go. Every single camping trip I've made to date, with WBCCI or not, has been to a place I've never camped before, and I've barely scratched the surface of all the places I could go. In fact, the only reasons I would ever have for camping in the same place twice are (1) to attend a rally with people I want to see again; or (2) I'm limited in time or distance for some reason, and I therefore lack the ability to travel someplace I've never been. After all, while I have my favorites of the places I've been, who's to say the next place won't be even better?

Of all the camping I do in a given year, I travel solo at least five times as often as I do for WBCCI events. I like the camaraderie sometimes, but there's something to be said for getting away, too.

So if you're specifically looking for advice on untapped must-see territory where WBCCI could hold rallies or caravans, I can't really help with that. Sorry.
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Old 12-15-2013, 11:44 AM   #110
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I have been mostly off this here forum for some years but do look back in on occasion for the entertainment value provided by the WBCCI faithful who continue to sell the organization as something that is relevant in the 21st Century.

Lots of good posts in this thread and the vast majority do provide ideas that would help the process of resurrecting an organization that has lost the plot for some years.

But, sadly, the WBCCI is its own worst enemy and the most important part of what creates the problems is the incredible overhead that exists in the form of the constitution/by-laws/blue book and ALL of the other documents that dictate (sorry, but there really is no other operable word) how the members will act and how the u-nits will operate.

I disagree with the premise that the problem lies elsewhere because other RV clubs are loosing members as well. The only thing that premis supports is the fact that the vast majority of RV clubs are not providing the experience that people want and/or the politics of top heavy organizations are not something people are interested in dealing with.

The vast majority of the large, nation wide RV clubs/organizations were created/established buy the World War II generation; and, they are to be commended for creating organizations that met the needs of their generation.

Unfortunately for all of these organizations people today are not interested in belonging to organizations that are structured the way these organizations are structured. This here forum is living proof of that. People want to experience something on a much less structured/formal basis than that which these RV clubs operate.

I belong to a club that is local in nature. There are more than 125 such clubs as ours throughout the US of A. They are all completely and totally independent entities that are established as non profit organizations within the states where the majority of their members reside.

There is a national organization that was established to provide a mechanism where all of the clubs could participate and be able to meet/greet like mined souls around the US. One of the great activities this provides is a way for local clubs to advertise their events on a national level which also allows others to see where events other than there own are located; you know, when/where/how/etc./etc.

The clubs pay a nominal fee to help support the national organization ($10 annually) and people who want to have the option of joining the national organization in addition to belonging top their local club can do so by paying a membership fee of $35 to the national organization in addition to that which they pay their local organization. Hopefully the utility of this is readily apparent.

The national organization hosts an annual event that all members can attend.

This structure has been very successful for both the local clubs and the national organization. While membership is always an issue for any social organization the national organization has had no problem recruiting new members because they provide what is perceived as benefits (monthly color glossy magazine that puts the Blue Beret to shame), a book that offers information about fellow members who will help others on the road with repairs, overnight camping, etc., etc., the opportunity to attend the national event, discounts from vendors, etc., etc.

The key to me in all this is not the benefits that are offered, although they are key items people mention when asked why they like the organization.

What is key is the structure of the organizations at the local and the national level. They are completely independent of one another in all ways. As a result, each independent organization is responsible for its own survival. This works extremely well.

Local clubs/organizations are free to do whatever they please based on that which they choose. By belonging to the national organization they have the opportunity to have access to insurance for local events are significantly reduced rates.

On the national level they must be able to provide the type of experience that works for people nation wide. Not everyone can attend the annual national event because, as has been pointed out so many times on this here forum, people have lives that do not allow them to go gallivanting about the US of A. But, in spite of this they find the organization provides value for them by other means. And, the national event is moved each year which allows people in differing regions to attend rather than try to be centrally located with a one size fits all philosophy.

So, from my perspective until such time as the WBCCI makes structural changes in not only the way it operates (rules and regulations) but financially operating in a manner that will cause them to provide an experience that people are willing to pay for rather than being able to collect guaranteed income from the u-nits the organization will continue its downward spiral, just like all the other RV clubs that are operating in the same top heavy, rigidly structured environment.

With the structure as it is now with u-nits, regions, etc., etc., the organization is so top heavy and so rigid in the way it operates people who join have virtually no chance in having any input to anything that goes on because the structure is built to be top heavy with the top dictating everything that goes on.

I do not know any millennials who, even if they could afford an Airstream, would be interested in participation is such an organization. Until the WBCCI structure/financing changes membership will continue to decline because the structure is what is not acceptable to potential members.

So, Lynn, you are to be commended for you work on trying to get people interested in working to save the organization. But, it is, I fear, a task that is doomed to failure until the organization can be structured in a manner that gives people at the local level the opportunity to provide direction for the organization.

The u-nits that are garnering new members, and more importantly maintaining these members, are the ones who are offering an experience to their membership that does not follow the lock step dictates of the national organization. The people who join and stay in these u-nits are obviously receiving what they perceive to be a positive experience in spite of the fact that the vast majority of the money they pay for their membership fees goes to the national organization and cannot be used locally.

Jim

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Old 12-15-2013, 11:51 AM   #111
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With a million and a quarter in the bank account, why hasn't anyone come up with the idea of using professional marketing consultants to address the problem of declining membership? The ideas thrown out here are worth exactly what the WBCCI is paying for them!

Somehow, when a company or an individual pays a consultant, that information that is provided is more credible.

There is always one caveate when using a consultant; the client has to really want to solve the problem and is ready to act on the ideas put forth.

I can't help but remember a client I was pitching on a rebranding issue. The logo was key to the rebanding effort. However, the client's sister in law designed it and it was off the table. The company later went under.
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Old 12-15-2013, 12:04 PM   #112
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Ok my suggestion for an improvement to the club. Let people passing through the area use the big lot, (with the dump station in place) at the office for overnight stays, while they are at the office with their ideas for helping the club grow.
Yes.

This would be friendly and welcoming behavior to Airstreamers.....who might then become members...... as rumors of longstanding rigidity, elitism and entitlement behaviors among the upper echelon might otherwise be dispelled.


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Old 12-15-2013, 12:16 PM   #113
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Dan, the matter that Gene was thinking about involves the nominating committee, which he believes will skew future elections. Quite apart from the fact that the IBT is mostly populated by region presidents, over whom members have a lot of say, he also ignores the "other side of the coin," namely, that the nominating committee is tasked with begging for people to step forward to leadership positions, much as is seen at the unit level as well. All fine and good, but irrelevant to the present discussion.

The fact is that doing things like belonging to RV clubs (and very likely more) is just no longer attractive to as many people. This applies across the board to the WBCCI and to the other major RV clubs. The purpose of this thread is to address this situation with suggestions for ways in which we can accommodate newer or different interests. Get real with new ways to get new people interested in joining our club.


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First, I am aware that finding capable people is the plight of nominating committees for nonprofits everywhere. However, if the people with all the good ideas on this thread don't run for office, nothing changes. Then the nominating committee might have some choices.

I applaud Lynn's effort to generate positive ideas, and I agree with Smartstream that if the reformers are not running things, things don't change. I hope some of the people posting in this thread decide to run, communicate with each other through PM's, develop a strategy, challenge the leadership at every chance, make these and other ideas their campaign ideas, take over and make the club something that I would want to join. One of the ideas not mentioned is finding a way to change the process by which people advance through the leadership—it appears to take too much time and by the time someone gets to the top (if they stick it out), they may have been co-opted. A small group working together with simple messages can make a difference—but, as I said before, it is more work than many want to do (me included).

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Old 12-15-2013, 02:19 PM   #114
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The reformers, as you put it, Gene, are running things, as far as I can tell. But that does not mean that they couldn't use some more ideas on what things might be added to the club in order to attract new members. And that's what this thread is all about.


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Old 12-15-2013, 02:39 PM   #115
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Adding new things is good, and I am all for it However I know a lot of people who did join but never came back for year 2. It is possible at least part of the reason is things we are already doing.
I know I would like to see less formality, no suits and ties or other uniforms, no flag ceremonies and No religion before eating . Saying the pledge of allegiance at meetings reminds me of grade school ( besides it is an international club).
As any organization ages it develops a lot of baggage. We have pages and pages of how to fly the flag, How to wear your badge, how to display your numbers etc and one encounter with the "badge police" will turn off any new member.
A few years ago an attempt was made to upgrade the constitution and bylaws but it was not successful. Part of the problem stems from International officers not being in power long enough to make changes. If the next prez does not share the same agenda it is all over
Probably the way to change these things is one item at a time and it will be slow and then take a while for the benefits to show.

I am not looking for new benefits as much as I would like to see a lot of the old stuff go away.
Now that I have stepped on toes I will end my rant.
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Old 12-15-2013, 03:09 PM   #116
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I agree, Rick. Part of this is just poor advanced planning, much as we see in a lot of the state constitutions around the country. (Did you know that it's illegal for you to carry wire cutters around in your truck in Texas? Baggage from the state constitution.)

Meanwhile, as in many states, we ignore this stuff until we've got time to fiddle with it and work on improvements to attract new members. Hence this thread.


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Old 12-15-2013, 04:46 PM   #117
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A few years ago an attempt was made to upgrade the constitution and bylaws but it was not successful. Part of the problem stems from International officers not being in power long enough to make changes. If the next prez does not share the same agenda it is all over
Probably the way to change these things is one item at a time and it will be slow and then take a while for the benefits to show.
Maybe what the organization needs is a Working Group. Let me use Corps of Engineers as an example. Safety is a hot-button issue at Corps of Engineers, and every single fatality is rightly seen as a failure of the system. But the problem is, any Chief of Engineers holds the position for about three years, and then is replaced by the next general officer. Not a lot of continuity among leadership; each leader has his own priorities. Which are not helped by Congressional shenanigans that cut budgets just when we need to pay for improvements, but let's not dwell on what can't be fixed. Being responsive to the needs of the organization is a problem that CAN be fixed, with the right approach.

In response to the safety problem, CoE formulated Working Groups to address specific safety issues. I'm on the Fall Protection working group. We don't address folks tripping over loose carpet and such; it's about falls from heights where you might actually have time to say "Oh, my God!" twice before you go 'splat' and get to meet him in person. There are about half a dozen other working groups that each address very specific safety issues.

The relevant thing about the working group is its composition. Exactly one member is at Headquarters level, and that person is on the group specifically to do two things: (1) provide direction to make sure the group stays focused on the problem at hand; (2) make sure the solutions developed by the group actually get implemented throughout the organization. All the rest of the members are volunteers (surprisingly few of which were "voluntold") at the lowest possible level, those actually doing the dangerous work that could get them killed. And scattered over the entirely of the Corps of Engineers. In most cases, there aren't even two members on the working group from the same District. On my Working Group, we've got people from Portland, Rock Island, New Orleans, Tulsa, and others, all over the country. We meet just once a year for three days, and the rest of the time we communicate by phone and e-mail. And in the two years we've been doing this, we've been very productive and successful.

How is that relevant to WBCCI? If you've got a task that needs to be done, like completely overhauling the Constitution and Bylaws, upper management is exactly the wrong group to go about it.

WBCCI has a diverse membership. Many are retired, of course, but before they retired, they collectively did a lot of different jobs. I'm an engineer. For a large portion of my career, I wrote technical specifications for maintenance, repair, and improvements to navigation and flood control structures. There are other WBCCI members, who may not be club officers at ANY level, who specialized in Contract Law before they retired, or managed corporate accounts, or even administered NPOs. Or any of a thousand other jobs, many of which involved dealing with legal systems, bureaucracy, and organizations.

But the point is, the expertise to rewrite an NPO's constitution and bylaws effectively is out there, and already within the existing organization. Rather than getting club officers to do the task, get the in-house experts to do the task, in their own Working Group. Ask for volunteers. Evaluate the volunteers on their expertise, not on their relationship with existing club officers. Select the ones best suited to the task. Give them clear direction, and a reasonable due date, then step back and let them produce a product, without nudging their elbows at every turn.

And just to ensure that leadership's direction doesn't change before the end product is produced, get the Second or Third Veep to select the working group membership, with the end product due by the time that person becomes President, so that the new Constitution can be voted on during his presidential term. Then dissolve the working group until you need a different group to tackle a different task.

If it were me, the clear direction given would be, "Write the bare-bones minimum Constitution necessary for WBCCI to be legal, efficient, and responsive to the needs of the membership, in plain English rather than legalese." With zero emphasis on dress codes, badges, secret handshakes, or anything else that is mere elitist window-dressing.

First draft would ideally be to merely strike-through anything in the existing Constitution and Bylaws that does not directly contribute to the legality, efficiency, or responsiveness of the organization, without changing anything else just yet. They may find out that pruning away the deadwood is all that's needed. But if that's not enough, then they can move to second-draft phase, where they start changing the remaining text to meet the stated requirements.
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Old 12-16-2013, 06:02 PM   #118
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Interesting.
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Old 12-16-2013, 07:07 PM   #119
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Tell you what: If you'd like to start a new thread about revising the constitution and by-laws as opposed to coming up with activities that attract new, younger members to the club, I can even help you out if you need it. We can start a brand-new thread called, say, "Toward Revising the WBCCI Constitution and By-Laws."

Otherwise, please focus your attention on adding activities or events or offerings that we might consider to attract those many (new) buyers of (new) Airstreams who are not joining the club!


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Old 12-16-2013, 07:35 PM   #120
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...snip...
please focus your attention on adding activities or events or offerings that we might consider to attract those many (new) buyers of (new) Airstreams who are not joining the club!


Lynn
Your premise (which I'm glad to work with) assumes (I think) that different events/offerings than those currently offered are required to draw those not joining. I admire where you're going with this - and - I think the reason you've needed to intervene so often on your question is possibly due to the myriad of non-events/offerings reasons members here assume have kept people from joining.

Having said that - here are some events/offerings that may (or may not) increase membership:

- weekend community service rallies (Fri night dinner/orientation, Saturday work day, Sunday breakfast, debrief, depart). Could be cleaning up parks, removing graffiti, visiting kids/elderly in hospitals, feeding the homeless, etc.

- mini caravans for charity; sort of like those walks for the cure, only you raise pledges by the mile driven in the caravan. Would likely be 1000 miles or less over a weekend (might be hard to do mutli-week caravans for the aspiring retirees :-) ).

- WBCCI JamFests - musicians have at it with some sessions recorded and made available to WBCCI members to download for free.

- WBCCI "Chopped" competitions. Regional winners compete for national slots. Recipes gathered annually for WBCCI member cookbooks (iPad, kindle, or paper at member's choice)

- Camping Training: everything you thought you knew but were afraid to admit you didn't. Or, "what you don't know actually CAN hurt you"

- regional rallies with Airstream technicians who do maintenance inspections and minor repairs for free, moderate repairs at a discount and service discounts of 20% at Jackson Center

- quarterly conference calls with Airstream executives. Here's what we like, here's what we don't. Fun new features to consider. Historical insights, etc.

- trailer maneuvering competition - prizes include upgrades installed at your local dealer.

- discounted ownership opportunities at Airstream parks.

Just a few thoughts....
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