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Old 05-12-2010, 10:06 PM   #441
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Originally Posted by CrawfordGene View Post
I think the following excerpt from the above quote—"We need to evolve from a retired persons’ club to a family oriented club."—is curious. It seems a lot of retired people have left that club or never joined.

Gene
And/or the IBT has figured out that Airstreamers are younger and will spend their money to go streaming and the future of the club depends on them.
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:03 AM   #442
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And/or the IBT has figured out that Airstreamers are younger and will spend their money to go streaming and the future of the club depends on them.
That was my interpretation.

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Old 05-13-2010, 05:36 AM   #443
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Last I looked this thread was about the WBCCI Board Lawsuit. Please keep the thread on topic.
Lee I guess you don't know what the lawsuit issues are.
Everything is on topic.
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Old 05-13-2010, 05:57 AM   #444
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I think the following excerpt from the above quote—"We need to evolve from a retired persons’ club to a family oriented club."—is curious. It seems a lot of retired people have left that club or never joined.

Gene
Not being a member how can you make that assumption?
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:13 AM   #445
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It's called logic, Bob, and math. The membership of of the WBCCI has declined from over 25,000 to around 7,000. You can quibble with the numbers, but mine will serve for the purpose of discussion. Historically, the majority of the WBCCI membership has been retired persons. I don't have a citation, but would welcome anyone who could provide demographic information on the WBCCI.

If the two propositions (underlined) are correct, then Gene's suggestion must be true. Put another way, if the WBCCI is comprised mostly of retired people and over two-thirds have left, well, "a lot of retired people have left that club."

As for "never joined," I'm sure someone here can give us production numbers. With a little math, I think we could come up with a rough estimate of how many Airstream owners exist. I think it's safe to say only a small percentage of owners are members of the WBCCI. Again, if only a small percentage of Airstream owners join the WBCCI, then it is perfectly reasonable to conclude some of those people are retired... thus confirming Gene's statement.

Does anyone think pending litigation is going to boost membership numbers? Let's say this case goes to court and survives the dance of motions for summary dismissal. It will take time to go to trial. And if both sides have been motivated enough to fight this thing out in federal court, there is a good chance of an appeal. I understand the theory that litigation is going to "cure" the club of all that ails it... but that theory assumes 1) the plaintiffs will win the litigation; 2) the club they acquire via court order is sustainable; 3) that the "new" club will attract enough members to achieve solvency. "Congratulations on buying your new Airstream. Would you like to pay $75 to join a club named for a guy you've never heard of and that is embroiled in internal litigation? Oh, but you do get the nifty red numbers for your trailer and a blue hat."

No matter what happens in the litigation, some people will leave. Some of the old guard will leave if they are booted out. Some of the new guard will leave if the lawsuit fails. I don't see how losing members helps the club. And I don't think there are untold millions waiting to join pending the outcome of the litigation. I'm not a member. If Bob is representative of the post-litigation-victory-lap "new era" WBCII... no disrespect to anyone, but it won't be my cup of tea.

The crux of the WBCCI problem is the 50s/60s military management by objective, blue-jacke-red-tie-white-shirt write a better rule book approach. As far as I can tell, the lawsuit basically seeks to change the rule book so new people can write new better rules... which is supposed to fix everything. To borrow a phrase from hip-hop, Don't hate the player, hate the game. In my opinion, the lawsuit may change the players, but not the game.
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:13 AM   #446
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Many have asked privately and publicly where Norm B's statement came from. That letter was sent to all Region Presidents for dissemination to their units.
This unit President has not received it. We just had our last unit rally before fall, so there will be no opportunity to discuss it at a unit business meeting before October. If I do receive it, I will email it to my unit. I expect some interesting responses from the unit!
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:30 AM   #447
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Not being a member how can you make that assumption?
Bob, what is with your need to dismiss any comment from a non-WBCCI member? For someone who so repeatedly bashes the wbcci forums for censorship, you seem to want to perpetrate your own version of that here.

Let people speak, for pete's sake.

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Old 05-13-2010, 07:34 AM   #448
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Lee I guess you don't know what the lawsuit issues are.
Everything is on topic.

Bob, There is no need to be condescending. I'm clear on what the issues are and who the players are.

Much like law what is "on topic" is all about interpretation.

Please stay clear of naming individuals and applying colorful names to them.
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Old 05-13-2010, 07:39 AM   #449
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I came to my belief that retired persons have left or never joined from reading scores of posts here and elsewhere about retired persons who were members and quit or refuse to join. It's a suspect sample and perhaps only anecdotal, but Hampstead's analysis (similar thoughts were probably somewhere in my head) conforms what I believe.

I agree with Hamp's statements that lawsuits can be very destructive to an organization, but am unsure whether the outcome for the WBCCI will be negative. If a lawsuit is commenced (who really knows until papers are served?), the WBCCI may quickly settle to avoid litigation. That may cause or not cause change. Maybe the lawsuit will move to a quick trial (when has there ever been a quick trial except in small claims court?) and resounding victory for the plaintiffs. Maybe there will be a big change. Maybe, as Hamp' suggests it will be more of the same with better rules, fewer ties and flags, but really pretty much the same club. Lawsuits are war and war is risky and has many casualties.

So, Bob, I don't think you have to be a member to make a pretty good guess that a lot of retired people aren't members and have made a conscious decision not to be.

The point is being lost—how can the WBCCI attract younger members if they can't even hold on to their natural constituency? The posted quote identifies a problem and suggest it must be solved, but the how is left out. And the bigger question for nonprofits is how can they attract younger members when their base is an older generation which does not have a clue how to appeal to younger people?

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Old 05-13-2010, 08:14 AM   #450
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And the bigger question for nonprofits is how can they attract younger members when their base is an older generation which does not have a clue how to appeal to younger people?
It can be done. At the windup of our rally last week, an unattached male commented (paraphrased) "Here I am, 39 and single sitting here with a bunch of older folks while they auction off surplus food from the rally. And I'm having a ball!"

The point is, we have fun at our rallies and we do value and include the younger folks. Our oldest member is 92, a Battle of the Bulge veteran, still pulling a 34', and still is fun to be around.

Much as I would like to strike out at the madness above unit level, I try to pick my fights so that the unit does not become a battle zone.
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Old 05-13-2010, 09:02 AM   #451
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Gene hamp, don't read more into not having first hand knowledge by not being a member than that

In our unit about two thirds are working if not more, so each unit has a different mix I suppose.

As to what the lawsuit will accomplish can only be positive IMO.

Some claims will have a great chance of winning some 50/50.

But that's pretty much any litagation.

When the suit is filed and served they will answer the complaint and/or call our law firm to settle, we just don't know.

If they hire a NY firm to represent them that looks for billable hours or one that will look to the WBCCI best interest.


Time will tell.
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Old 05-13-2010, 10:20 AM   #452
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The drop in membership is not unique to the WBCCI. There is a well documented decline in the membership of many longstanding social, civic and fraternal organizations.

"Fraternal organizations have also witnessed a substantial drop in membership during the 1980s and 1990s. Membership is down significantly in such groups as the Lions (off 12 percent since 1983), the Elks (off 18 percent since 1979), the Shriners (off 27 percent since 1979), the Jaycees (off 44 percent since 1979), and the Masons (down 39 percent since 1959). In sum, after expanding steadily throughout most of this century, many major civic organizations have experienced a sudden, substantial, and nearly simultaneous decline in membership over the last decade or two." Robert Putnam, "Bowling Alone."

Admittedly, the decline in the WBCCI is much greater, but some of that is likely due to Airstream itself--as a product and a brand.

In my work, I routinely interact with civic organizations. Over the past decade, some have folded due to lack of membership. Those remaining inevitably have membership that is much older--on average--than the community.

I think Gene hits the nail on the head. The WBCCI is not only failing to recruit enough younger members; it isn't retaining enough of the older ones. And what I don't understand is how the litigation--if successful--suddenly changes the fortunes of the WBCCI? If the pomp-and-ceremony goes away, why would the old guard stay? Why would current Airstream owners suddenly flock to the club?

Some civic organizations are growing. I think the key is in understanding why some clubs are attracting members. What are they doing right? I have my notions, but this is really a thread about the litigation... and I still keep coming back to the same point. How does winning (or losing) a lawsuit change the culture of the club?
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:56 AM   #453
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Hamp I don't dispute what your saying about memberships dropping of but when you quote an obscure dated article tell folks its from 1997?
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:13 PM   #454
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If the pomp-and-ceremony goes away, why would the old guard stay?
The sparse attendance at the opening ceremonies is an indication that the "old guard" has pretty much tired of the rituals, too. I find more and more that go only to "support" their flag bearer and dive for the exits afterward.
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:22 PM   #455
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So $5240 got us a few ads, twitter and links..........great value that should have been maybe $1000 but hey it ain't Freds money its ours. Another bad deal, moreover, they will ask for another $15,000 in June I heard. That will pay for what facebook?
I may be mistaken in my thoughts here but didn't some of that money go towards the "BlueBeretOnline.com" domain as well. I believe, unless I am mistaken, that Fred's son now runs his old advertising firm, and that is who put together that domain for reading the newsletter online. And, doesn't Fred run the marketing committee or isn't he involved in it? If all of the above is true then marketing money went from a committee member to a family member - for what???? Last I checked, Twitter is free so I hope we didn't pay for that. And getting links.... to what??? For what?
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:24 PM   #456
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C'mon, Bob. Is the best counter you have to my post is a quibble about the date of a citation? What... has there been some dramatic turnaround in social engagement in the past decade you think I'm hiding? Have the Kiwanis, the Rotary, the JayCees, the Lion's Clubs, the Woman's Clubs, the Soroptimists and the Shriners all surged in membership and I just didn't get the memo?

As for "Bowling Alone," I could have quoted from the book (2001) or the website or the follow up book (2004). Maybe you were referring to Putnam describing himself as obsure:

"Few people outside certain scholarly circles had heard the name Robert D. Putnam before 1995. But then this self-described "obscure academic" hit a nerve with a journal article called "Bowling Alone." Suddenly he found himself invited to Camp David, his picture in People magazine, and his thesis at the center of a raging debate." (emphasis mine)

But, seriously, Bob, the folks on Airforums are smart enough to see that 1) any more needling by me would be gratuitous ; 2) you have not addressed the fundamental point of my post, and Gene's. How does winning the lawsuit (if you do) change the culture of the WBCCI? There are all sorts of nifty follow up questions, but I'd like to see if we can get one direct answer before we try for a second.
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Old 05-13-2010, 01:48 PM   #457
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I may be mistaken in my thoughts here but didn't some of that money go towards the "BlueBeretOnline.com" domain as well. I believe, unless I am mistaken, that Fred's son now runs his old advertising firm, and that is who put together that domain for reading the newsletter online. And, doesn't Fred run the marketing committee or isn't he involved in it? If all of the above is true then marketing money went from a committee member to a family member - for what???? Last I checked, Twitter is free so I hope we didn't pay for that. And getting links.... to what??? For what?
We may have paid for the design of the twitter page???

How much was that?

That's the way the closed (no) bidding works ie: Halliburton


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Old 05-13-2010, 01:54 PM   #458
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How about this? Membership does continue to drop regardless of litagation or no litigation and regardless of outcome. I think that is a realistic assessment. You have already mentioned the various reasons. But how about serving it's own customers better, the ones that do stay and the ones that do join? With fair and open elections and fiscal responsibility, member representation and communication, and an end to discrimatory dirty tricks; many frustrated members would be happy campers. Do not forget that multiple grievances and their committees and the "members" forum does not allow redress, expression or defense. A third party was availed to help the present stonewalling and bottleneck of leadership empowered to protect their own agenda at high cost to proactive individuals in judicial sanctions and the general membership in the area of membership value and dues increases.

If you cannot vote the leadership out, if you cannot be heard and represented, if you try to work from within the system and they keep changing the rules on the fly to obstruct members from succeeding, there is definite disfunction and imbalance.

I think it was wrong to call for "quality members" rather than "quantity" and that they readily accepted the projection of losses from the current membership numbers while visions of dollars danced in their heads in calculating new revenue while issuing in dues hikes and higher event costs, and admittedly a small one to then become part of a succession of increases to soon follow. Their duty is first and foremost to the current membership... those same members that they consider expendable by both pricing some out and also those cut out of the herd to be expelled for vocalizing their criticism. These are the very same people that they have been selected to work for. The elite must be shaken out of the high places or behaviors retrained to conform to the constitution and bylaws and allow for amendments by membership majority to pass by the current IBT. It is a volunteer position of service and not one of special privileges and rank over others.

I get that a number of you disagree with the action and think we can only fail but as with Job's good buddies, we will just have to tune your reasoning out to curse the club and quit and have some faith to see us through the turbulent times.
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:22 PM   #459
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I may be mistaken in my thoughts here but didn't some of that money go towards the "BlueBeretOnline.com" domain as well. I believe, unless I am mistaken, that Fred's son now runs his old advertising firm, and that is who put together that domain for reading the newsletter online. And, doesn't Fred run the marketing committee or isn't he involved in it? If all of the above is true then marketing money went from a committee member to a family member - for what???? Last I checked, Twitter is free so I hope we didn't pay for that. And getting links.... to what??? For what?
Per the Norm B memo posted recently by Leo here, the proposal is to create a full time WBCCI position for membership and marketing, currently handled by Fred Richardson, (whose son, via formerly Fred's marketing firm, has the contracted monies for this fiscal year).

What are members getting now and what would they get with a full time and presumably paid position?
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Old 05-13-2010, 02:25 PM   #460
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I think it was wrong to call for "quality members" rather than "quantity" and that they readily accepted the projection of losses from the current membership numbers while visions of dollars danced in their heads in calculating new revenue while issuing in dues hikes and higher event costs, and admittedly a small one to then become part of a succession of increases to soon follow. Their duty is first and foremost to the current membership... those same members that they consider expendable by both pricing some out and also those cut out of the herd to be expelled for vocalizing their criticism. These are the very same people that they have been selected to work for. The elite must be shaken out of the high places or behaviors retrained to conform to the constitution and bylaws and allow for amendments by membership majority to pass by the current IBT. It is a volunteer position of service and not one of special privileges and rank over others.
Absolutely.

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