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Old 08-04-2015, 09:57 AM   #121
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Pro, maybe you'll want to run for higher office after a year as a unit official, and will in several years be a board member or officer. You never know what the future will be.
I'm not planning on it. I'm only a unit officer now because I was tricked into it when I was still too new to both Airstreaming and WBCCI to know any better. But having been tricked into it, I'll honor the commitment I made because that's the right thing to do.

I'm giving serious consideration to changing my Unit membership once my stint as president is over. The Greater New Orleans Unit has 26 members (fifty-some people) but there are only maybe eight "active" members; all the rest are members on paper but we never see them. With only eight to choose from, some of whom are Region and International officers who can't hold a Unit office at the same time, that only leaves just barely enough to fill the unit officer positions. If I stay in the unit I may very likely find myself recycled back to 2nd VP as soon as my year as Prez is over, and I don't want that. Being a perpetual officer may thrill some people, but not me.

I don't need to belong to a bigger unit, just one with more active members and fewer paper members, so there's a larger pool of potential officers to choose from and everybody gets to take a break from being an officer and do their own thing for a while.

I do plan to contact all of the paper members in my Unit and find out why they don't participate, as one of the first orders of business as unit president. If it's because of something we're doing wrong, I want to know.

It may be heresy to say this, but it's more important to me that we have the right number of members who actually see some benefit from the club than a larger number of members who don't reap the club benefits. Membership can't just be a matter of numbers— more isn't always better in this case. Nearly every prospective new member wants to know, "What do I get out of it?" Every present member who can honestly say, "Nothing," just makes it harder to recruit the ones who would get something out of it.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:59 AM   #122
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I do plan to contact all of the paper members in my Unit and find out why they don't participate, as one of the first orders of business as unit president. If it's because of something we're doing wrong, I want to know.
Good idea.

It is not quite funny to discover once you are in office and want to change things that it takes more than a year or two to change things, so you run for another office and then another. Happened to me in other organizations, happens to many. Change is usually incremental and takes time as humans do not like change. Not trying to convince you of anything, but that once there, it can be difficult to not follow through and best to be aware that can happen. The reluctant office holder may be the best office holder.

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Old 08-04-2015, 11:09 AM   #123
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It is not quite funny to discover once you are in office and want to change things that it takes more than a year or two to change things, so you run for another office and then another.
One thing I learned from working for the Federal Government is that no one is irreplaceable.

Once I find out why we have so many "paper" members in our unit, if I can't fix it in a year, I prepare a report for my successor and to pass up the line to the Region and International levels, and let them take over the task— or not, if that's what they decide.

One of the worst people to have in office is the megalomaniac who genuinely believes that, "Only I can lead this organization to greatness!" I don't want to be— or become— that person.
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Old 08-04-2015, 11:23 AM   #124
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One of the worst people to have in office is the megalomaniac who genuinely believes that, "Only I can lead this organization to greatness!" I don't want to be— or become— that person.
Good thinking. I'll check back next year to see if you have become a megalomaniac, or just someone who wants to help a little longer, or what.

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Old 08-04-2015, 02:49 PM   #125
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The Greater New Orleans Unit has 26 members (fifty-some people) but there are only maybe eight "active" members; all the rest are members on paper but we never see them. With only eight to choose from, some of whom are Region and International officers who can't hold a Unit office at the same time, that only leaves just barely enough to fill the unit officer positions. If I stay in the unit I may very likely find myself recycled back to 2nd VP as soon as my year as Prez is over, and I don't want that. Being a perpetual officer may thrill some people, but not me.

I do plan to contact all of the paper members in my Unit and find out why they don't participate, as one of the first orders of business as unit president. If it's because of something we're doing wrong, I want to know.
Protag,

I suspect that your unit has demographics similar to one of the units that I belong to (as an associate member).

WBCCI membership peaked in 1978 at about 27,000 members. (That's families, not individuals.) A lot of folks who were members then are still members now, but, being in their 80s and 90s, no longer travel and are no longer very active in the club, but maintain their memberships in order to attend unit luncheons, parties, etc. with their old friends.

I was talking with the membership chairman of this unit once at a rally and was shocked to hear him comment that 2/3 of the members no longer traveled in their trailers but maintained their membership in what had become, to them, strictly a social club.

This does have an effect on the vitality of the club--as you say, not very many people to serve as unit officers--but I can't say that it's a bad thing, either. Such loyalty is commendable. After all, sooner or later we are all going to be old, unless we die first. The key to maintaining unit vitality is to continually bring in new, younger members. (Which some units, like my primary unit (Wisconsin) are doing very well.)

I have attended many luncheons and parties with these octogenarians and nonagenarians, and they have great stories to tell. They were Airstreaming in the days before GPS, cell phones, and all the modern stuff we take for granted. There was a lot more "adventure" back then--and they created the legend that we aspire to today.
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Old 08-04-2015, 03:07 PM   #126
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A lot of folks who were members then are still members now, but, being in their 80s and 90s, no longer travel and are no longer very active in the club, but maintain their memberships in order to attend unit luncheons, parties, etc. with their old friends.
That would be fine if they at least attended the luncheons, but in my unit the paper members don't even do that.
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Old 08-04-2015, 03:41 PM   #127
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I've been a "paper" member of several organizations. Its kind of like you go into it with great expectations, then realize you don't have time to do things like you thought. So you maybe renew another year, then eventually let it go.

I joined a barbecue society, attended one function, then they wanted me to attend monthly board meetings...for a BBQ group...ya, that didn't last, I was just looking to smoke meat.
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Old 08-04-2015, 10:09 PM   #128
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Once I find out why we have so many "paper" members in our unit, if I can't fix it in a year, I prepare a report for my successor and to pass up the line to the Region and International levels, and let them take over the task— or not, if that's what they decide.


Sorry, why do you have to "fix" paper membership? I'm a "paper" member x2. I pay fees, read the newsletters, honk and wave at other ASers, visit with fellow WBCCI members I meet on the road, and just enjoy being a part of Wally's club. Does this behavior somehow negatively impact my units in a way I don't understand?
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Old 08-05-2015, 02:22 AM   #129
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Sorry, why do you have to "fix" paper membership? I'm a "paper" member x2. I pay fees, read the newsletters, honk and wave at other ASers, visit with fellow WBCCI members I meet on the road, and just enjoy being a part of Wally's club. Does this behavior somehow negatively impact my units in a way I don't understand?
If they're happy being paper members there's nothing to fix. If they're not happy, I want to know and do something to make it better. Since I've never seen them, spoken to them, or corresponded with them so far, how else can I know which is which until I get in touch with them to find out?
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:18 AM   #130
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If they're happy being paper members there's nothing to fix. If they're not happy, I want to know and do something to make it better. Since I've never seen them, spoken to them, or corresponded with them so far, how else can I know which is which until I get in touch with them to find out?

Makes sense. I would certainly explain to the Michigan unit my level of participation, if asked. There are some great survey tools out there to use...
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Old 08-05-2015, 06:25 AM   #131
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When we were members we were paper members. Always enjoyed the correspondence. I worked every weekend for fifteen years and my wife worked every other one, so weekend club activities were non existent. Two weeks vacation was spent visiting relatives in Ohio. We always felt welcome when an opportunity did come up to visit some members, they understood. I think we were slightly younger than many members, but the fact that we were from the same area gave us all something other than AS in common. One of our greater regrets is not being able to participate in the club the way we wanted to. Both the Florida unit and the Springs unit went out of theirway to be friendly to us even though we could not attend functions. That's why even though I own an Avion now I have good feelings about the Wally club. if I ever get another AS, the first thing I would do is join the club and make up for lost time. Have attended a few forums events and really enjoyed them, but it's just not the same as a Wally club thing. Hard for me to explain. Thanks
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Old 08-05-2015, 08:55 AM   #132
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If they're happy being paper members there's nothing to fix. If they're not happy, I want to know and do something to make it better. Since I've never seen them, spoken to them, or corresponded with them so far, how else can I know which is which until I get in touch with them to find out?
Very commendable thought process! I'm sure your efforts will be well rewarded. Many times people just need to be asked what they think and you would be surprised at the input you get......

Good Luck
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Old 08-05-2015, 09:48 AM   #133
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May I suggest?

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If they're happy being paper members there's nothing to fix. If they're not happy, I want to know and do something to make it better. Since I've never seen them, spoken to them, or corresponded with them so far, how else can I know which is which until I get in touch with them to find out?
I wonder how many people on THIS forum also live in or near Louisiana? Or just go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras on a regular basis? Surely you should consider starting a thread here to invite potential new members to come and take a look see.

Perhaps even partner with a nearby Airstream dealer or two to give lookers and buyers a formal invite to attend an "Open" rally.

Paula
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Old 08-05-2015, 10:32 AM   #134
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I wonder how many people on THIS forum also live in or near Louisiana? Or just go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras on a regular basis? Surely you should consider starting a thread here to invite potential new members to come and take a look see.

Perhaps even partner with a nearby Airstream dealer or two to give lookers and buyers a formal invite to attend an "Open" rally.
That's a good thought, but the very nature of the Mardi Gras and Jazz Fest seasons makes it impractical.

I had a long explanation all written, ready to hit "Send," but for once didn't want to bore everybody more than I usually do, and erased it all. So just imagine this… "Hi! Come to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, and while you're here, check out the GNO Unit. We don't have a place for you to stay while you're here, and you need to make reservations a year in advance to even have a ghost of a chance of finding a spot on your own, but come anyway!" Don't think that will fly.
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Old 08-05-2015, 03:48 PM   #135
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But Protagonist - what if I as a member of the New England Unit love to visit NOLA enough that I'd like to be an affiliate (paper) member of your unit? This way, I could get all the info/newsletters your unit creates, stay in touch, and when possible, visit all y'all when I'm finally able to drive down there with my rig??
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:51 PM   #136
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Protagonist, you sound like you know what to do. With the relatively small number of paper members you have, it shouldn't be too hard to contact them and find out why you never see them. I suspect that some are live Steve, and just want to get your newsletter, etc. Some may have paid dues for several years in advance and no longer are interested or able to participate. Others may have other commitments that prevent them from attending activities. One or two may actually have issues that you may or may not be able to help.

With such small membership numbers, I'm wondering why you have to recycle officers. A leader (president), membership person, and an activities person ought to be enough.
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Old 08-05-2015, 04:55 PM   #137
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But Protagonist - what if I as a member of the New England Unit love to visit NOLA enough that I'd like to be an affiliate (paper) member of your unit? This way, I could get all the info/newsletters your unit creates, stay in touch, and when possible, visit all y'all when I'm finally able to drive down there with my rig??
You're more than welcome to join as a paper member, if that's your reason.

My whole beef about paper members is, I don't know if they feel like they're getting value in exchange for the unit membership fee. If they do feel they are getting value for their money, it's not a problem. If they don't feel like they're getting a fair trade for their membership fee, then it's up to the club officers to find out, and find a way to fix it.

The alternative is that not only will we end up losing those members, but they'll tell their friends it's a waste of money as well, making it harder to recruit more members.

For example, it could be that some of our paper members still work for a living, and can't attend our rallies due to scheduling conflicts. If that's the case, it's not that big of a deal to hold a rally closer to where they live, and make sure the rally includes a weekend, preferably a long holiday weekend. Within limits, of course. Holding a GNO Unit rally in Massachusetts (for example) to satisfy a member who lives there isn't going to happen.

It could be that their Airstream is in no shape to travel because it's in the middle of a shell-off restoration. In such a case, it would be no big deal to schedule a weekend luncheon nearby, with interested parties stopping by to view the work-in-progress after the meal and share their accumulated expertise.

It could be that they are in no shape to travel due to a medical problem. We could prearrange a time to call them when the rest of the group is together, so they can at least converse with us from their sickbed or wherever. Many of us have cell phones with a speakerphone option and unlimited calling plans, so it would be no big deal to spend a half hour or so on speakerphone to include the ones who can't be there in person.

It could be exactly like you suggested, that they're priming the pump— so to speak— for a future visit. If so, then we can find out when they plan to be here, and hopefully schedule a rally for that time. And do some basic information gathering on their behalf beforehand to help them plan the trip.

The point is, those of us who are active members of our units need to be more pro-active in getting the inactive members involved— to the extent that they want to be involved. Starting with finding out to what extent that they want to be involved, instead of just assuming that they don't want to be involved. And, if they really don't want to be involved, at least we'll know for sure, and leave them to their own devices thereafter.
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:22 PM   #138
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Whatever the 4 ladies in Jackson Center cost they are well worth it. The caravans are extremely well thought out and well run. You can be a member at large if you do not want to be a unit member. But the units would like to have you. The Airsteam only parks are usually nice. I do not own a blue beret. Our caravan is in Halifax tonight. Going to Cape Brenton next. For 6 months of the year I guess we are paper members of our local unit.
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Old 08-05-2015, 05:50 PM   #139
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Protagonist - I should know this so don't quote me but I think we have over 100 NEU members of which about 20-40 show up at given rallies (I think we probably out on about 8-10 a year). Almost all of them show up at the holiday party (and what a blast that is!!) - some caravan and I never see them, some are paper members I've never met, including affiliate members (though some of those have shown up at NEU rallies before too). No doubt, they wouldn't make the payment if they found no value whatsoever.

I love that you want to talk with all the members and find out what they think. Growth for its own sake is just silly. Grow with those who are passionate and it you only have a group of 2 it will still be fun.

Happy camping!

And hope to see you in NOLA sometime!
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Old 08-09-2015, 07:01 AM   #140
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Some of them dismantled their trailers, and are taking a long time putting them back together.
not naming names.

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