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Old 07-21-2008, 08:47 PM   #101
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The use of the internet to communicate, conduct business, vote, plan, schedule, etc. provides those who use it with a tremendous advantage in conducting CAMPING events. The reason Units are regionally based, is to allow the members to meet in person and camp (or caravan). With the price of fuel, many folks are looking closer to home for most weekend travel.

Lucius is right. Conducting all communication and business electronically should make management of a unit much less time consuming...since you won't have to travel to meetings or clutter unit events with meetings.

As for obstacles within the club? People overcome obstacles through persistence and patience.

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Old 07-21-2008, 09:50 PM   #102
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The fact is that Richard has it right and 2air notes an example of the canards often used in these discussions to conflate custom with policy with bylaw with rules - seemingly to generate a foil.

The I'net is just one method of communication. It is a tool, or rather a set of tools.

If communication is the goal, the I'net is just one venue and a successful organization will use it as well as all other tools at its disposal in an appropriate manner.

What I see here appears to be diktat - see the problem my way, the solution I want, and allow nothing else. Condemn those who see it any other way.

Your Airstream is a rather heavy mobile object with a fairly limited set of uses. There is nothing virtual about using it for its intended purpose.

Communication serves an organization, not vice versa.

Virtual communication becomes an oxymoron if communication is deemed to be a process of transmitting a specific message.

Any form of communication must be aware of the limitations of the media if it is to provide known qualities of reliability and quality. To talk about one tool as being clearly superior to any other without a proper consideration for these factors indicates a discussion that is not after understanding but rather something else.

The obstacles for the club, as I see it, are those placed on it by those who'd rather talk about obstacles rather than solutions. As Richard notes, you don't have to look very far to see that those obstacles are created from whole cloth and not a part of reality.

Then there is the fact that anyone can start a club of any sort any time they want. Trying to foist communications limitations on the WBCCI, trying to change its mission and purpose, and suggesting that it should bend to your particular desires and wishes indicates that something more than just a virtual club or cyber unit is motivating the discussion. Why can't this 'something' be put on the table and discussed honestly? What is it that is actually bothering some enough to start threads like this and keep at the same ideology for so many pages?
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Old 07-21-2008, 09:52 PM   #103
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There is lots of kidding going on here but I think we tend to poke fun in light of frustration and seemingly unsurmountable difficulties. A little comic relief breaks tension, or would that be wind? Oops.

At unit or international levels and for the purposes of expediency, cost and central databases internet business proceedings would be ideal for as many as could benefit from it and moving ahead now is timely. Those without capabilities can still rely on human interface and a hand-up from others to enter their votes much more reliably than hoping someone will get to an International and record every members' vote that was cast. (Like 12 Eastern units could not this International.)

Rallies should be fun events and business should be just that business and each should not become a choice between attending to business or having fun. Both suffers as a consequence. Let's face it, we don't have all the time and money in the world to get things done. Why not allieviate this pressure and get it done with proven efficiency and maximize today's options. If not now, when?

Alright Rog, I am back to earth in Lapeer, Michigan, coming to you live through cyberspace. I adore you and Mariannne and plenty of other Metro Detroit area Airstreamers and then there are other WBCCI Metro Detroiters that I just no longer care to affiliate myself with. My choice is to become a Mal and still remain a member and attend any WBCCI event, and not limit myself to a geographical location. Albeit most of my difficulties began because my traveling and not attending unit functions. I was called out for not being a real Airstreamer because I don't attend luncheons and the local Detroit rallies. Membership materials were held hostage to force attendance. Excuse me I'll take a pass. Make mine global and don't make me feign a unit I don't attend or belong to or in. That is costing me my vote but not my conscience.

Let's make global affiliation legit, save our members some money and employ better voting practices! Long live local units but there is room in this hemisphere for all to dwell in unity.
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:13 PM   #104
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Hear, here to Wheel Interested!
I would be willing to join WBCCI right now
Again put my name on your list
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Old 07-21-2008, 11:42 PM   #105
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Having been a member of 2 distinctly different units, one rather traditional - DelMarVa, and the other bordering on virtual (and slightly global, in a sense) - WDCU, we much prefer the virtual approach. Both are great units, and we're still affiliate members of our old unit, and still camp with them. The WDCU just fits our style better - no scheduled luncheons/banquets, no one gets bent out of shape if you don't attend a rally, and much of the communication issues are taken care of via the internet. There's usually a business component at each gathering, but it's remarkably brief and very entertaining. We especially like the fact that when we rally, it's attended by people of all ages from all over the U.S. and Canada, and several members of other units.

In our 3 years in the WBCCI we've attended an International, and two Regionals. All were interesting and educational but, unless they're being held in our back yard, we're not likely to experience the club at those levels anytime soon. With an organization of this size, I suppose there's something for everyone. The WDCU is all about camping and having fun with other Airstreamers, and is just virtual enough for us.
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:15 AM   #106
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A) What a virtual unit would be? (I envision campers all by themselves in the middle of the woods tending to their own fires with a laptop and a webcam off in the distance showing their grand view. Yet the laptop and webcam are so far away, they can't see anybody else's grand view).
This was already explained well by 2Air and Nvestysly. What you envision is just humor, right?

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B) How the experience would be any different than belonging to any existing unit that currently uses the Internet to conduct all of their business and all unit communications? (newsletters, group mailing lists, forums, voting, correspondence).

How a virtual unit would be ANY different than belonging to any of the ~137 currently existing WBCCI units, and still being able to log on here (and elsewhere) and communicate with your long distance friends that are MALs or members of other units.
Does any unit now conduct all of their business and communications by internet and none at rallies or gatherings? Including unit officer elections and discussion of local unit issues that everyone would like to hear about? Installation of officers? Do these existing units discuss and plan future rallies for widespread locations outside their regions, or do they mainly hold rallies within a region, attended occasionally by members from further away who can make the trip or happen to be in the area? Are they designed and focused to reach out to a large International membership, or are they focused on a smaller group that lives within the region with friendly openness to members outside the region for the purpose of having a vote, etc.?

What if I like the idea of being in WBCCI, displaying the numbers, getting the directory and magazine, the VAC newsletter, and supporting the movement of the club into the 21st century, but I just don't get anything out of that whole rally scene?

I don't think anyone wants to rain on the parade of those who are enjoying their experience with their unit, just trying to open the club up to more of the people who don't fit into that structure.

The idea of a unit for MALs that would make them feel like full-fledged members, with the ability to help organize and administer the unit over the internet seems like a good idea to me and one that the WBCCI should support. Can someone explain to me how this idea threatens the WBCCI? I don't understand the negative response whenever this idea is brought up?
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Old 07-22-2008, 04:00 PM   #107
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Vitrual Unit?

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<BIG SNIPPY>

A virtual unit is nothing more than a private, paid membership forum. I still haven't seen anybody tackle the simple and basic questions from post#100 above. I think that silence speaks volumes...

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Uh, I don't mean to be antagonistic but I think there have been several posts that detail what is meant by "Vitrual Unit".

Right up front, I would like to state that we are new Airstream owners; since November of last year. As a result, for good or bad, we do not have a lot of preconceived notions about what an Airstream Club should "look like".

Every conversation we have had with people about the WBCCI, be it on line or face to face, leaves us with the same feeling/impression which is that the club is not meeting a tremendous number of peoples needs and that the politics around this issue is driving people away from the club.

While we would love to meet more Airstreamers, we have absolutely no desire to be involved with anything that is as politically charged as the WBCCI is these days.

What amazes me is that people continue to give money to the WBCCI in the form of dues when the leadership seems determined to steadfastly maintain the status quo. History is wonderful but at what price?

The idea of a club that meets in cyberspace to conduct all of its business is very attractive to us. We can participate wherever we may be. And it sure allows everyone to participate and geography is a non issue. Seems like a "no brainer" to me. This means that the face to face gatherings can be dominated by things other than club business.

It seems to me that the WBCCI has strangled itself with all of the different levels of bureaucracy that has. How many years does it take someone to reach a level of leadership at the highest level? It's no wonder to me that the people at the top do not want change after what they went through to get there.

All in all, I think the WBCCI as currently structured, is a dying entity; it is choking on its own bureaucracy. The only question in my mind is how long it will take and how many people will be alienated in the process?

Another thing I really find interesting is that so many WBCCI members are talking about all the WBCCI "issues" on this forum. When I go to WBCCI.org there is hardly anything in the forum there. Seems to me that all of these discussions should be held there.

In fact, when we first got our Airstream WBCCI.org is the first web site I visited. I was amazed; not about what I found there but what I did NOT find there. I was really surprised when I stumbled upon this forum. I would have thought what is going on here is what I would have found there. That, in and of itself, speaks volumes.

Of course this is just my opinion it is is not any better or worse than anyone eases.

Jim
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Old 07-22-2008, 05:57 PM   #108
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Uh, I don't mean to be antagonistic but I think there have been several posts that detail what is meant by "Vitrual Unit".

...

Of course this is just my opinion it is is not any better or worse than anyone eases.

Jim
Jim,

I don't know where you are located, but if you are ever in So Cal, please let me know and I will invite you to an El Camino Real Unit and South Coast Unit rally.

Bill
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Old 07-22-2008, 07:07 PM   #109
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So Cal???

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Jim,

I don't know where you are located, but if you are ever in So Cal, please let me know and I will invite you to an El Camino Real Unit and South Coast Unit rally.

Bill
Hi Bill,

At the minute we are in Oregon, visiting my wife's parents. We've been traveling full time since 2000. Full time with the Airstream since last November.

We may be in the So Cal area next spring. Next month we will be headed east and will spend the winter in the south east/west. We woudl love to attend. To date, the only Airstream event we have attened was the Can Opener Rally in Florida last December; I believe that is NOT a WBCCI event, however. We wanted to attend a 4CU event last February but were unable to do so given other commitments. Perhaps next year.

I am sure you are well intended and I am sure that the vast majority of people who belong to the WBCCI are great people. The ones we have met to date certainly are.

Our concerns are NOT with the people in the "Units" of the WBCCI. Our concern is becoming part of an organization over which we have absolutely no input/control. The idea of contributing money to an organization that wants to operate in a manner that I don't approve and/or have input to about operations makes no sense to me. Frankly I cannot see many people joining such an organization. I suspect that I am NOT alone in this regard given the declining membership of the WBCCI.

Perhaps I have been misinformed, but it is my understanding that the vast majority of the money that is collected in dues by the units does not remain int the units; it is automatically transferred "higher up the food chain". Am I wrong?

Jim
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Old 07-22-2008, 08:26 PM   #110
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Another thing I really find interesting is that so many WBCCI members are talking about all the WBCCI "issues" on this forum. When I go to WBCCI.org there is hardly anything in the forum there. Seems to me that all of these discussions should be held there.

In fact, when we first got our Airstream WBCCI.org is the first web site I visited. I was amazed; not about what I found there but what I did NOT find there. I was really surprised when I stumbled upon this forum. I would have thought what is going on here is what I would have found there. That, in and of itself, speaks volumes.

Jim
Jim: I have had the same feeling about the lack of postings on WBCCI forum although it's improving. Is someone from the 2020 committee picking up on this thread?
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:09 PM   #111
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This forum is evidence that a "global/cyber" group can operate with actual rallies and face-to-face encounters. We require no set organization, yet we can create a rally whenever and however we wish simply by putting out the word. No one takes offense that a rally is planned across the country from where one lives; everyone knows that if you choose to drive the distance, you are welcome. If you are in the area, stop by. The campfire is always lit and the welcome mat is always out. A virtual unit, or such a unit by any other name..., should operate the same way. All the talk, business, planning, whatever, would be done like we are doing here. Rallies would fit interest and regions. So...why not? Is it possible this forum could form the nucleus of such a group, those members who are so inclined? ~G
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Old 07-22-2008, 09:21 PM   #112
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Hi Bill,

At the minute we are in Oregon, visiting my wife's parents. We've been traveling full time since 2000. Full time with the Airstream since last November.

We may be in the So Cal area next spring. Next month we will be headed east and will spend the winter in the south east/west. We woudl love to attend. To date, the only Airstream event we have attened was the Can Opener Rally in Florida last December; I believe that is NOT a WBCCI event, however. We wanted to attend a 4CU event last February but were unable to do so given other commitments. Perhaps next year.

I am sure you are well intended and I am sure that the vast majority of people who belong to the WBCCI are great people. The ones we have met to date certainly are.

Our concerns are NOT with the people in the "Units" of the WBCCI. Our concern is becoming part of an organization over which we have absolutely no input/control. The idea of contributing money to an organization that wants to operate in a manner that I don't approve and/or have input to about operations makes no sense to me. Frankly I cannot see many people joining such an organization. I suspect that I am NOT alone in this regard given the declining membership of the WBCCI.

Perhaps I have been misinformed, but it is my understanding that the vast majority of the money that is collected in dues by the units does not remain int the units; it is automatically transferred "higher up the food chain". Am I wrong?

Jim
Jim,

You are correct on the dues allocation. $55 goes to national and ECR dues are $22. I consider the national dues a small price to pay when I consider all of the friends which we have met over the past six years. We would have not met them if it were not for WBCCI. The Airstream world does not revolve around AirForums, only a very few of our fellow unit members belong to this forum. I spend more than $55 a month at the local coffee house.

Bill
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Old 07-22-2008, 10:45 PM   #113
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nucleus of such a group??

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This forum is evidence that a "global/cyber" group can operate with actual rallies and face-to-face encounters. We require no set organization, yet we can create a rally whenever and however we wish simply by putting out the word. No one takes offense that a rally is planned across the country from where one lives; everyone knows that if you choose to drive the distance, you are welcome. If you are in the area, stop by. The campfire is always lit and the welcome mat is always out. A virtual unit, or such a unit by any other name..., should operate the same way. All the talk, business, planning, whatever, would be done like we are doing here. Rallies would fit interest and regions. So...why not? Is it possible this forum could form the nucleus of such a group, those members who are so inclined? ~G
I am inclined to agree with your hypothesis about a "global/cyber" group. I think my wife and I are a bit of an anomaly in that we are not in any one geographic location for any great length of time. I think this is what appeals to us about being part of a group that is more oriented to a larger geographic region than the "normal" WBCCI units tend to be.

The history of the WBCCI is interesting and apealing as well. It is somewhat difficult for us to deal with the volume of WBCCI units that are out there. This is why we had such high hopes when we found the WBCCI web site. We were hoping that all of the information exchange about the trailers themselves as well as the social events would be available on the web site. It seems to me that that would be a piece part of membership that would be attractive and would definately be something that would be worth part of the price of admission into the club.

Given that all of this can be had here, for free, there is really not a lot of incentive for new Airstream owners like we are to get involved with the WBCCI. We have been really caught off guard by the WBCCI not utilizing the internet more than it does.

My inlaws are 75 and 82. The internet is a huge part of their lives; email especially. Neither of them worked in a job where the internet and/or computers were a huge influence; with the exception of word processing. Not all of their friends are on the internet but more than 95% are, as are the vast majority of the social groups they belong to and the people they do business with.

In reading about the WBCCI and the age issues being given as the reason the internet is not a bigger part of the WBCCI infastructure I find myself somewhat amazed. This does not give those of us who are new to Airsteam life a lot of warm fuzzy feelings. It seems to me a social club that has memebers spread over a geographic area as large as North America (to say nothing of the rest of the world) would be a prime candidate to take advatage of electronic communication. It comes as no surprise to me that the WBCCI is losing members, hence my comments earlier in this thread about the current structure of the club being part of the problem.

Any rate, it seems that there is a huge opportunity for some like minded folks to establish a new club that does not have all the "baggage" that the WBCCI brings with it. I cannot help but wonder what the folks at Airstream HQ think about all the political "stuff" that is going in the WBCCI; it certainly does not do anything to help them.

Jim
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Old 07-22-2008, 11:40 PM   #114
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You can't change the WBCCI if you are not a member. I believe that MAL's deserve the right to vote and should be on equal footing to those who belong to a location based unit, and eventually we know that will happen. Not as quickly as any one would want, but it will happen.

Originally I was quite surprised by the issues around the IBT. A year and a bit later I realize that for a buck and some change every week I get to belong to an organization that has incredible history behind it. I happened to luck into a unit that is based half a continent away (and for that matter in another country than I am at the moment) but because they are very much focused on use of the internet to communicate I am as up to date if not more so than if I lived in the same area. Communication is quick, newsy but good, and questions are answered quickly and completely. The folks I've met on line here who are members of WBCCI constantly reinforce that it isn't about the IBT or who gets to vote, it is all about the opportunity to meet people with very similar interests to mine when it comes to camping and in what kind of trailer. But yes, there are many issues with how the WBCCI is currently being guided, but as long as that is not getting in the way of my camping I'll let it slide. It won't take long before the right people with more current ideas are in place to facilitate the changes needed.

I'm typically not one to sit back and wait for change to happen through attrition but in this case I suspect that this is what is going to have to happen before the club changes. It is going to take a lot more "hurt" to the club and membership before this happens, but I want to be part of the solution when the time comes. That is the fun part. But again, you can't help create change if you are not a member, you are instead a spectator. Join WBCCI, forgo a coffee once a week, and with enough voices raising the issues on the WBCCI forums (and also praising the fun stuff that is happening) we could possibly make this happen much sooner than I think.

You folks are right, it needs to change, but that is only part of the equation. WBCCI events are still a wonderful way to meet great people, learn about our trailers, and go to places we typically wouldn't even have thought about going. Bolstered by the AirForums the two are, in my mind, inseparable and this forum is far more a part of Airstreaming than the WBCCI Forums just because Andy and friends saw what was needed and being very proactive he created an outstanding global network of e-campers.

Over the past I've probably commented on things that having later learned more about WBCCI I have come to realize that I was a bit over zealous in my responses. I know I've owed folks (like 2air and many many others) an apology for some of my responses and they have been kind enough to let me off the hook more than once. That just shows that we all understand the frustration on both sides and we all are shooting for the same end result, just some of us are young enough that we can ride this out till a younger crowd runs the IBT. Oops, was that my inner voice coming out? But this very forum proves that an internet based unit would not only be a success but also quickly help WBCCI rebound in membership.

The important thing is to hash out, probably here so people who are currently non WBCCI members can put in their two cents worth, what the virtual unit would look like and how it would be managed and from that create a model to present to the IBT of the future.

Rob - one comment on 2nd Life. I'm very leary of it. I have several friends who audit software and employees use of work systems for personal internet access during working hours and they say that many folks border on what could be considered addiction. When faced with having to refocus their attention on the work they are being paid to do versus living in their virtual world for some it is a very hard choice to make. So I've stayed clear of it. Maybe I have the wrong information and I certainly do NOT want to create a debate about the pros and cons of 2nd life or any equivalents - I'm just noting my own concerns.

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Old 07-23-2008, 07:45 AM   #115
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Maybe my thinking is too simplistic, but it seems to me that the AirForums already serves as a virtual Airstream club. It draws together WBCCI MAL's, Unit members and non-members to share information, plan rallies, etc. It could be considered a global unit, if you will. All that is needed is a section for WBCCI business/news/discussion and voting.
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Old 07-23-2008, 01:34 PM   #116
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I think a WBCCI 'World Unit' would be great and a big big plus for WBCCI... Who ever feels like an Airstreamer without any regional connection could be a member of this unit and we European Airstreamer could also be members of this world unit... Ralleys? No Problem, just say when and where. Unit Meetings - sure just say when and where (e.g. Skype Conferences or by Webcam) Meeting in person - sure if you are on this side of the big pond our house is open to you and a beer for you is always cold! I think a World Unit is something thats acts local, but thinks global! Way cool!!

BTW it is a very small world today... Just an example, I came to work this morning, here in Braunschweig, Germany and my boss told me that he bought some new alpine skis yesterday, which reminded me that I wanted to buy a new pair of skis as well... (Yes I know it is summer but winter will come fur sure!!) so, I went to the internet and googled for these skis and guess what - yes, I found them in... SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH!! It was 10 a.m. here and 1 a.m in Salt Lake and as I had some questions I used the chat button and talk to a very nice guy who helped me out with some answers. This little example should just show how smal this planet is and you can stay in contact without any problem and you can meet at any time, at any place you can emagine. I am very confidend that a 'world unit' would very well work!

Greets,

Bjoern
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Old 11-12-2008, 04:09 PM   #117
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Any news on the idea of a cyber unit?? Still in need of a founding member?? Count me in...

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Old 11-12-2008, 08:37 PM   #118
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Hi Bjoern, gonna bump this post up.

Germany...Yes a cyber unit for you would definitely be nice to gather into. Probably nice for a lot of us to gather into.

Waiting to see the responses you get. One thought I had in leu of a cyber unit creation...or until it's built, why not choose one of the units that is highly visible on AirForums. 4 CU comes to mind. Also I think some units have their own closed forums here you might be able to join???
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Old 11-13-2008, 07:42 PM   #119
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Im all for a cyber-unit...I cant see HOW it would conflict with anything...Its not like my wife and I cant become members of an already existing unit...A cyber unit would allow us to communicate DAILYwith other members about anything and everything...something Im sure doesnt go on in most 'regular' units...(except what those others already do on the internet).... just my 2cents worth...
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Old 11-14-2008, 08:16 AM   #120
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You know, I keep on thinking about this. Maybe there's something that can be done. Here's the deal:

Most current units are named in two-part style, one part involving [geography] and the other the term "unit." So we get New Mexico Unit (that is [New Mexico] "Unit"), Four Corners Unit, Denver Unit, and so forth. And this is pretty much solid in the WBCCI constitution: "Unit" has to be combined with [geography].

Now, up until now I've continually tried to come up with some way to define [geography] in a different way while still combining it with "unit" (for example, [cyber] "unit"). And came up dry every time: Everything I could think of was almost certainly unacceptable for the WBCCI definition.

Maybe it's time to rethink. So rather than trying to come up with some combination with "unit," maybe it's time to stop thinking about "unit" at all.

The trick, I think, is to consider what other associations the WBCCI allows and what terminology is involved. What does seem clear is that the WBCCI allows [interest] "club" like [Amateur Radio] "Club" and [Classic Airstream] "Club" and [Vintage Airstream] "Club."

Ok, so how about [European Internet] "Club" or [North American Internet] "Club."

Of course, the WBCCI does impose a string on clubs: You have to belong to a Unit in order to belong to a Club. But there are several very low-cost clubs about that one could belong to.


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