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Old 12-17-2013, 06:54 PM   #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by doug&maggie View Post
Excellent point, and likely very, very true.

Another thing to remember is that many younger people who have a trailer may still have to make daily decisions about how to allocate limited resource $$'s.

International and local dues are expensive, and no tangible benefit compared to mortgages, shoes, dental/medical bills, etc.

Maggie
These young folks live in a different world. They are just not interested in rallys. They want to go with their friends to the mountains or the beach in small groups. They take off on Friday evening and return home Sunday night. They don't want anything structured. That's what they deal with all week.

If the membership of WBCCI is to grow, we have to look at those who have just retired or are about to do so. Wanting to travel and RV is one thing, being able to do so (time and money) is quite something else. It would be nice if when folks sign up to start getting their social security checks, when they are finished, they would be sent to the WBCCI web site. LOL

As far as discounts or things of that nature, I don't think that will do any good. Folks already get those things with their AAA card, AARP card, or by just using a particular credit card that gives money back at the end of the year. Not worth the effort which may yield nothing in the end.

Just my thoughts and observations.
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Old 12-17-2013, 08:10 PM   #162
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I'm not sure that that's the way to view it, Jim!

Younger folks may not want anything structured, but that evaluation depends entirely on our aging/aged definition of structured, not theirs.


Lynn

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These young folks live in a different world. They are just not interested in rallys. They want to go with their friends to the mountains or the beach in small groups. They take off on Friday evening and return home Sunday night. They don't want anything structured. That's what they deal with all week.

If the membership of WBCCI is to grow, we have to look at those who have just retired or are about to do so. Wanting to travel and RV is one thing, being able to do so (time and money) is quite something else. It would be nice if when folks sign up to start getting their social security checks, when they are finished, they would be sent to the WBCCI web site. LOL

As far as discounts or things of that nature, I don't think that will do any good. Folks already get those things with their AAA card, AARP card, or by just using a particular credit card that gives money back at the end of the year. Not worth the effort which may yield nothing in the end.

Just my thoughts and observations.
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Old 12-17-2013, 10:40 PM   #163
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I'm not sure that that's the way to view it, Jim!

Younger folks may not want anything structured, but that evaluation depends entirely on our aging/aged definition of structured, not theirs.


Lynn
I'm sure you will get this all worked out.
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Old 12-18-2013, 12:43 AM   #164
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I have to agree with Jim that young under 40 Airstream owners are not what we should bet our membership on. I would say 80 percent of the 27 new members of the Oregon unit this year are between 50-65 years of age and all of them act like they are 39. Active adults wanting fun, new friends and adventure. I think fly fishing seminars at International and Kayak caravans are what the club needs to attract new members and keep members active.
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:21 AM   #165
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Young folks want the same things we want.
They want to travel, see new places, and gather with their social friends.

We have three grown children. Only one wants, and has, a travel trailer. He and his wife have their own circle of friends with whom they go on outings. They do not need, or want, to join any group, pay any dues, or get any magazine. They communicate with their friends and go "camping" without any of that.

This is not to say that WBCCI should not try to get younger members, it is only to say that there is a big difference between now and many years ago when "camping clubs" were in vogue.

This may be the biggest battle, and one that is hard to overcome.

This statement, in my opinion, identifies the reason for the WBCCI declining enrollment.

Think of where the WBCCI organization would be right now if they would have had the foresight to start the "Airstream Forums" on the World Wide Web instead of permitting an independent to establish the premier Airstream Information Forum. I know that the present leaders of the WBCCI are of a different mindset now as opposed to the military, police, and government contractor backgrounds of leaders of the recent past. Unfortunately, the damage has been done, and it may be impossible to rectify the demise of the organization.

To be sure, there will be pockets of holdouts all over the nation, the 4CU, many Vintage Enclaves, the various WBCCI retirement communities to name a few. But even the WBCCI only campgrounds are having to change the old rules and allow SOB's to maintain a full membership.

I live in such a community, Texas Airstream Harbor on the banks of the largest lake totally within Texas, Lake Sam Rayburn. I love it, we are a self contained volunteer community, with members sharing all duties of maintenance on the roads, the water and sewerage systems, the grounds, and the community buildings. Is this lifestyle for everyone? Absolutely not, but it works for the residents that live here.

I really wish a had a magic bullet with which the WBCCI could shoot itself in the foot.

In order to attract most "younger" people I think the first thing to do would be to eliminate all of the costly business meetings and conduct all financial and corporate discussions in a transparent online venue. The BB would also only be on line. These two changes could possibly allow the dues to be cut in half and still keep the WBCCI business organization in Jackson Center intact.

I propose some very radical changes and to accomplish these changes I believe that the change must originate at the unit level.

Will it happen? I doubt it, but I also believe that the WBCCI will be around in some form for a number of years, but never anywhere near the strength and numbers of the 70's.

The sooner the WBCCI management comes to realize the inevitable outcome, the more of the organization that could be salvaged.
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Old 12-18-2013, 07:46 AM   #166
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I have no problem relying on a younger demographic to deal with our smaller size. Remember that we're not exactly talking about teenagers who are running around, buying brand-new Airstreams, and not joining the club.

But I also think that Teresa put her finger on one of the keys to dealing with the membership problem, even if she didn't know it. I'll reiterate one of the two "benefit" ideas from an earlier post:

  • Benefit qua fulfillment. This kind of benefit involves looking at essentially every event we currently put on and asking a simple question: Would people want to attend this event even if there were no WBCCI -- and, perhaps, even if there were no RVs involved at all? If the answer is yes, then we're probably doing the right thing.
Ah, yes, fishing seminars and kayak caravans? Note that these might be successful even if there were no WBCCI: Fishing and kayaking are both fulfilling activities, independently of the WBCCI. Combining them with the WBCCI is exactly what I meant by benefit qua fulfillment.

And would it really matter if a participant in the fishing or kayaking adventure is 35 or 55 or my age? Nope.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blue Pearl View Post
I have to agree with Jim that young under 40 Airstream owners are not what we should bet our membership on. I would say 80 percent of the 27 new members of the Oregon unit this year are between 50-65 years of age and all of them act like they are 39. Active adults wanting fun, new friends and adventure. I think fly fishing seminars at International and Kayak caravans are what the club needs to attract new members and keep members active.
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Old 12-18-2013, 08:58 AM   #167
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I think you need to target all Airstream owners, and not specific age groups. IMO, you are likely to get older, more financially secure and established people than the younger set.

Members need to get something from the hefty WBCCI dues that they can't get elsewhere.

WBCCI needs to do what other organizations do when money is tight, and cut costs, not expect to find hundreds of new members willing to raise the standard to that to which some have become accustomed.


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Old 12-18-2013, 09:35 AM   #168
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I agree, Maggie, though it's also true that some things appeal more to some age groups than to others. And that's ok: I think we need to appeal to everybody, including both younger and older.

And not just to younger and older, but also to folks who do have an interest in constitutional issues and to those who think constitutional issues are a major turn-off.

Returning to the "benefit" notion, I think that the idea of benefit qua fulfillment is one we should pursue. It's a nice way not just to reexamine things, but also to offer activities that may appeal across the ages. Naturally, the IBT can't force this way of viewing activities/events onto units, but it can inform, train as needed, cajole (lightly), and otherwise just be as supportive as possible.


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Old 12-18-2013, 10:52 AM   #169
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Personal opinion from past member. If all club members were out of the club at 65 , the club would disappear in a few years. Younger members do not like rules and will not follow them. There would be anarchy at club activities, such as there is now at TAC agents. TAC events appear to appeal to those who quote, want to do their own thing. WBCCI hopefully will never succumb to this state of mind. WBCCI needs to change, but trashing all the traditional things will kill the club and turn it into something else. Jim
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:05 AM   #170
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Oh, come on, Jim. You and I were both young at one time, too. And it wasn't anarchy. Nor do I think that today's younger generation (not youth) is in any way into anarchy, either. Sure, one's perspective changes with age, and everybody (younger and older) needs to understand that. But understanding and appreciating different perspectives sure won't hurt the club!

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Old 12-18-2013, 11:06 AM   #171
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Hi there. I hope this is helpful to WBCCI folk who are wondering...brand new Airstream owner here, not retired yet, though the kid has grown and moved out on his own. We had great memories of our parents having an Airstream (30+ foot Excella, I think, followed by a Land Yacht motor home) before they moved on to a B+ motor home. We inherited that very nice B+ (Phoenix Cruiser) MH earlier this year, and took it camping several times throughout the summer. We loved the RV camping lifestyle...fabulous glamping experiences compared to our previous tent camping efforts, which had been fun in a different way. However, along the way we came to realize that we weren't particularly happy with the floor plan and the idea of a MH in general...we like to sight-see after we get into the campground, and that wasn't convenient without a toad. OTOH, we hated the idea of a 2nd drive train. So, we decided we needed a trailer. Our memories pushed us to look at Airstream. Once we started looking, the huge windows fore and aft along with with wonderful interior designs by CCD in the International series captured our imagination. Best way to sell an Airstream: Sit your customers in the dinette area of a new 27' International and get them talking while they soak in the idea of that amazing space being their living room while camping. Incredibly effective.

So, we bought the 27FB International Signature - best overall interior for us with a floor that's easy to clean after a camping trip. Serenity's faux-bamboo floor looked likely to build up crud in the 3D pattern. We LOVED the colors in the Sterling, but we didn't want to deal with cleaning even that carpet. We actually liked the concept behind the Eddie Bauer, btw, but we couldn't stand the old-school straight galley design, practical though it may be. We loved CCD's curves in the galley area, which we saw as a continuation of the external curves of the trailer, creating a more comfortable and organic space.

So, that's how we got into an Airstream. Now, onto the whole WBCCI thing. We've not joined and at this point, I'm not sure we would find value there. However, let me be clear on this issue: It's *not* the dues. If you can afford a new AS, you can afford the dues. We don't have much free time yet...we're still extreme weekend campers, showing up ridiculously late on Friday or early on Saturday, and back at work on Monday. That said, when we're not at work, we abhor anything that looks like a command structure. We're pretty much anarchists when it comes to our free time. No berets, no commanders, nobody telling us what to do or when to do it, and most definitely no "business" meetings. Gack!

We'll gladly camp with anybody we find interesting, regardless of what kind of rig they pull or drive or pack into the trunk of their car. It's about the people, not about their things. Sure, it would be a blast to hang with a bunch of silver twinkies all together once in a while for the novelty of it and to explore our common interests, but it's not something we need to have before we can enjoy camping and hanging with our friends, old and new. If we went to a "rally" it would be because it's being held someplace we want to go anyway. During the day we'd be out visiting local sights, hiking, biking, and doing whatever captures our fancy. In the evening, we'd hang around the campground, meeting and socializing with folks. A pot-luck dinner or 'campfire' talk might be fun now and then, though we generally prefer more casual arrangements.

As another poster has observed of our age group, we're totally wired. Like many others, I've been working with computers for several decades now. I find most of the information I need online or in person at the campground and on the hiking / biking trails where we meet and hang out with whomever happens to be nearby...or not, as it suits us. Our AS is new enough that we're not actively shopping for improvements or widgets that have busted post-warranty, so we don't need the vendors. OTOH, show us a camp site with a good festival (e.g. kites!) or amazing sights and experiences nearby, and we'll try to get there.

So, I'm not sure we're yet a target demographic for WBCCI. Perhaps we'll eventually mature into folks who would make perfect members, but I'm afraid we're not there just yet. Maybe when we finally retire and have enough free time for a caravan that takes a month, we'll sign up, but as of now if that time window opened up we'd be just as likely to go for it on our own and see who/what we meet along the way. We've already done that once, though we compressed it into a single week. We had a blast!
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Old 12-18-2013, 11:14 AM   #172
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Good post, Bill! A great deal of what you write aligns almost perfectly what with I've called benefit qua fulfillment.

You really should look into what's available. There is tons of variation across units. And I can tell you right now, if you showed up at one of our unit's rallies and found a bunch of berets, commanders, people giving orders, and formal business meetings, well, that would be the day that the unit would dissolve itself on the spot. And I don't even think that our unit is particularly unique in that regard!


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Old 12-18-2013, 01:03 PM   #173
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Good post, Bill! A great deal of what you write aligns almost perfectly what with I've called benefit qua fulfillment.

You really should look into what's available. There is tons of variation across units. And I can tell you right now, if you showed up at one of our unit's rallies and found a bunch of berets, commanders, people giving orders, and formal business meetings, well, that would be the day that the unit would dissolve itself on the spot. And I don't even think that our unit is particularly unique in that regard!


Lynn
Lynn I think you found mine and many others (maybe) problem. If berets, commanders and formality would dissolve a unit on the spot then why would anyone join a club that is run that way? A particular unit might be inviting but it is under and subject to the rule of the national. When you join a unit you are given books with all the rules and regulations. If you start reading everything you start wondering what you got yourself into. As Silvery Moon stated that is not something they need to enjoy their Airstream.

Cost of dues and or camp ground discounts or return on investments are not the real issues. I am not exactly a youngster, I'm retired and on Medicare but I don't find berets, commanders, or formality listed anywhere in my definition of recreation.
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Old 12-18-2013, 01:42 PM   #174
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Berets, commanders and formality are there only for those who like it, and there are precious few of those folks around any more. That was stuff from the Greatest Generation, and while they did some wonderful things, they brought a whole bunch of unwanted baggage, too.

As for joining a unit and receiving instruction, that's just plain news to me. Nope, no handbooks of legal conduct (or of illegal conduct), no instruction on proper comportment vis--vis one's superiors, nothing of the sort. Not in any unit I've been involved with.

Well, unless being handed a margarita or a frosty beer would count? And being instructed on where to find more?


Lynn

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Lynn I think you found mine and many others (maybe) problem. If berets, commanders and formality would dissolve a unit on the spot then why would anyone join a club that is run that way? A particular unit might be inviting but it is under and subject to the rule of the national. When you join a unit you are given books with all the rules and regulations. If you start reading everything you start wondering what you got yourself into. As Silvery Moon stated that is not something they need to enjoy their Airstream.

Cost of dues and or camp ground discounts or return on investments are not the real issues. I am not exactly a youngster, I'm retired and on Medicare but I don't find berets, commanders, or formality listed anywhere in my definition of recreation.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:04 PM   #175
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[QUOTE=Smartstream;1393485]

Cost of dues and or camp ground discounts or return on investments are not the real issues. .[ /QUOTE]

I think this can be an issue, when International dues must be paid, plus local dues, in order to belong to a local unit and participate in their rallies.

You may like your local unit, but be deterred by the costs, when you can have fun group activities without any dues involved.....much less when the vast preponderance of those dues do not go to the local unit.

And why the dues?? Simply for the privilege of belonging to the WBCCI? Who thinks that way?! Do you think this doesn't put at least some potential members off?

It was mentioned earlier that if one can afford a new Airstream, they can afford the dues. Please!

Everyone doesn't buy a new trailer, nor does everyone pay little to no attention to where their $$ go. This may be difficult for some to understand. Is the increased membership interest only in those who can afford new trailers?

This is simplistic and narrow thinking, IMO.

Maggie
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:09 PM   #176
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I have been reading this post w/interest as we will be making a "join, don' t join or don't join yet" decision soon. For now 2 questions:
1. After 18 pages and 174 posts is there any consensus yet on possible improvements.
2. If some consensus or collection of good ideas is reached what happens next w/those ideas.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:12 PM   #177
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Berets, commanders and formality are there only for those who like it, and there are precious few of those folks around any more. That was stuff from the Greatest Generation, and while they did some wonderful things, they brought a whole bunch of unwanted baggage, too.

As for joining a unit and receiving instruction, that's just plain news to me. Nope, no handbooks of legal conduct (or of illegal conduct), no instruction on proper comportment vis--vis one's superiors, nothing of the sort. Not in any unit I've been involved with.
Lynn
I would say the word has not spread throughout the WBCCI, Lynn.

We dropped our membership 2 years ago. We had been formally sworn in as members, had to pledge allegiance to the WBCCI and this included all manner of agreements as to conduct. This was not a unit pledge or requirement, but the WBCCI.

We were sent a written copy of the handbook with rules and requirements, and were expected to follow them.

When were all of these requirements removed from the WBCCI?


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Old 12-18-2013, 02:31 PM   #178
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I have to agree with Maggie that dues cost is an issue.
It is simply a question of perceived value. One I ask my self at each renewal , even after 40 years.
It is not a can you afford it question. It is an "is it worth it question"
If it is perceived as worth it I can pick up enough aluminum cans off the side of the road to pay for it.
My cost approaches $100. per year after international, unit and 2 intra clubs.
It is really only because of the intra clubs I still pay it.
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Old 12-18-2013, 02:37 PM   #179
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I am remembering why I had stopped reading these threads.



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Old 12-18-2013, 03:00 PM   #180
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...Your citation of old-school people is just plain irrelevant. These people are no longer around in positions of authority -- except in the minds of people like yourself, evidently.

Times change, Gene. Catch a wave or drown.


Lynn
Lynn:

I must be living in a parallel universe. In my universe the IBT hasn't changed that much from the IBT of three to five years ago. In my universe the IBT again pushed for a vote on the motorhome issue this past June for the umpteenth time. I'm not sure that the attitude of quality over quantity has changed (as a past IP desired). I don't believe that physical age is the issue; it is mental age - thinking old and "this is how it has always been done". It's also a generational issue; until the WWII generation no longer holds the reigns of power - there will be little change.

Change is coming because as stated "catch a wave". Let's hope it is not a tsunami but a great surfing wave with duration.

I do agree that the IBT will change over time due to necessity. In my region (5) we have a President but no first or second vice president. This will require changes to get people to volunteer.

To improve anything you first need to know what's not working so it can be improved. Do we know what's not working to attract and retain members? I'm not sure that we know the answer.

Airstreaming for me is all about having fun with friends. Other than the local unit, the WBCCI doesn't provide much benefit. I must admit that the last several Blue Beret Magazines seem to be much better than any I have read since 2005. The articles were interesting; something other than advertising for the next International rally.

I've attended one International rally in 2009; my first and my last. I had fun with friends but not because we were at the International Rally.Twenty years ago when the rally was held in fairgrounds and fields, there was a need for early workers to setup the electric and water facilities. Today with full hookup sites there is no need for early workers earlier than one week. If the Escapees can do it in one week for 1,000 RVs then the WBCCI should be able to do it. However it has always been done that way and it will change at the speed of a glacier. It irks me to pay a high International fee to subsidize a large number of early workers who are not really needed. (It really doesn't irk me because I've decided not to attend the International rally so I don't subsidize it.) Also now with about only 350 attendees; almost all of the attendees are early workers. So they are subsidizing themselves as there are very few non early workers attending.

Now back to suggestions. Make the International Rally a fun rally; adding bingo is not my idea of fun. As an example, if it was held as part of the balloon festival in New Mexico I would be very interested in attending. (We do have plans in the future to attend the Airstream balloon festival in the future.) Your idea of having fun activities at rallies is a great one.

Providing discounts won't be a benefit for me as I already get them through other organizations as others have stated.

IMHO most Airstreamers own Airstreams to relax, rejuvenate, and have fun. Once the WBCCI becomes focused on providing these to its members, it will grow. When we come back from a WBCCI event we want to say "What a great time we had".

We camp with several Airstream friends and usually have a great time regardless of venue. We could camp in a parking lot together and we would have a great time because we have fun.

In the end, an organization is either growing or dying. It's direction is significantly impacted by its leadership. That is why corporations change CEO's to effect a successful turnaround.

You are on the right track trying to determine what will work. There is probably no single silver bullet. The WBCCI needs cultural change and that is very difficult and time consuming to do. It will take many small changes over a long period of time to achieve.

I applaud your efforts!
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