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Old 07-23-2003, 03:35 PM   #1
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WBCCI Free Membership Over?

I just got an email from one of our unit members that the free WBCCI membership for first time owners of new or used Airstream's has been withdrawn. Can anyone confirm this??


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Old 07-23-2003, 04:11 PM   #2
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free membership

I sure hope not...at the local units suggestion I applied after, rather than before July one as I would have gotten just a couple of months free membership.....jem
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Old 07-23-2003, 05:10 PM   #3
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I hope that is not the case.

With AS sales soaring and club membership plummeting ... you would think they could see this a long term benefit.
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Old 07-24-2003, 05:01 AM   #4
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When we picked up our 2003 Safari 25 SS we were told that the WBCCI free offer ended at the end of June. Our free membership was valid only to the end of December. (6 months, not a year). Don't understand the rationale behind the decision to drop the offer, it couldn't have cost that much to run! Maybe the renewal rate after the free period wasn't high enough to warrant continuation of the program.
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Old 07-24-2003, 07:08 AM   #5
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I called in June when we got our Overlander and was told they are no longer offering free memberships; however if I join anytime this year my membership would be good for the remainder of 2003 and all of 2004.
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Old 07-24-2003, 03:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by 71Overlander
however if I join anytime this year my membership would be good for the remainder of 2003 and all of 2004.
That's pretty much standard fare. Once you get into July and beyond and join, you are carried through the following year also.

I'm checking with other officers in our unit as to why the free membership offer was dropped. If the reason was non renewal, then WBCCI and the local units are apparently missing the boat in keeping these new folks in. Personally I would think they would work on fixing that side rather than drop the free offer.

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Old 07-24-2003, 04:57 PM   #7
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I got my reply and was told that the program was dropped because of the high drop out rate of the first year free members. Obviously the organization is going to continue its membership decline. My feeling is that the only bright spot on the horizon will be the vintage group. I would guess that their numbers are probably growing. Maybe a few of them will end up in an International leadership role and we can see some positive changes.

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Old 08-22-2003, 01:44 AM   #8
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Membership Idea

Why not organize a mass posting, and/or mailing to Airstream,
giving support to the group memberships, but also standardizing
a billable, low cost membership. Not everyone likes giving credit cards over the internet, and they dont offer a Bill Me option like AARP, AAA, and other organizations. $45 is a lot of money, AARP is only $12.00, and your bill gets sent out. I know they are a lot bigger, but they not only get bigger by popularity, but for low cost, easy to become a members, and a nice magazine. Airstream has an opportunity to promote future loyalty, more sales, and a communication vehicle that is a marketers dream. Why waste it on cumbersome fees, and internet insistence?
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Old 08-22-2003, 10:57 AM   #9
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I understand that the free membership program was discontinued for a number of reasons. One is that many people were joining the club for free but never attending club functions. Another is non-renewal as previously stated. Additionally, there is a significant printing and mailing cost associated with the Blue Beret magazine and the annual membership book.

I was told that the old free membership program was cancelled because it wasn't achieving the original goals. I believe there are plans in the works to devise a modified membership plan in the hopes it will be more effective.

If you contacted a local unit and were advised to wait until the new year to take advantage of the free membership, you should contact them again now. See if they can work with International and get the free membership for you since it was their advice to wait.
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Old 08-22-2003, 12:03 PM   #10
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I wish I had been advised to wiat until July, because I signed up in May, and so was almost immediately hit up for 2004 dues, which I haven't paid BTW. Kind of left a bad impression.

But the real question I have is why does it cost so darn much? What am I getting for that $70 ($45 international, $25 local)? I could understand if it made the unit rallys free to attend, but even members have to pay to attend rallys. So where does all that money go?

Surely it's not just to print that little magazine, most of which is filled with the same info every month detailing the national caravans (which you also have to pay to attend). When I belonged to the Miata Club of America I know it wasn't more than $45/yr, and every month or two we got a thick, slick, full color mag full of tips and tricks, installs and product reviews. A newsstand-quality mag. At least those were worth keeping.

It sounds like all the action is with the Vintage club, but that's another $20. Now we're up to $90 for an annual membership in the WBCCI/local group/VAC. Doesn't that seem kind of steep? It's no wonder people aren't re-upping after the free period. People want to get something of value in return for spending close to $100.

I believe there's probably a lot more value to people who are retired and free to travel the country all summer and attend rallys, but to those of us who are still working and can only attend weekend rallys, the value is far more limited. Plus, judging from the retirees I know, getting them to part with that kind of money isn't an easy thing either.

I don't know what the WBCCI needs to do to turn this around, all I know is that I don't particularly FEEL like I'm a member of anything, I've only found two rallys to attend this year before my free membership period runs out, and I don't think I'll be missing much by not re-upping, except for holding onto enough of my own money to go camp for a couple weekends at the beach this fall. I really enjoyed the people I met, but not enough to spend nearly $100 a year to spend a few weekends with them.
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Old 08-22-2003, 01:00 PM   #11
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WBCCI purpose

Hi Stephanie:

It took me a long time to realize this, but the WBCCI is a trailer travel club, not a marque club like the Miata club. The Blue Beret has all the allure and excitement of train schedule because it is a train schedule, of departing trailer caravans. The Vintage Airstream Club is closer to a marque club and it's Vintage Advantage magazine is closer to an automobile club magazine because the focus also includes the trailers themselves as well as trailer travel, which for working VACers is mostly to Rallys instead of on Caravans. The Blue Beret admirably serves it's purpose in the WBCCI once you recognize what it's primary purpose is: trailer travel schedule. I think new WBCCI members get frustrated because they do not recognize the primary mission and purpose of the WBCCI.

The answer to where the WBCCI dues goes is in their annual budget, which I have not reviewed, but I imagine a large expense is insurance coverage for their many events. The money collected for Rallies and Caravans, I imagine, mostly goes to the campground site for RV spaces and facilities, expenses you would likewise incur by yourself if you went to the same campground on your own. Some money may also go for small common expenses, like breakfast, coffee, meals, etc.
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Old 08-22-2003, 02:09 PM   #12
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Good point. Unfortunately you have to join the travel club to get to the vintage club.

Insurance is an ugly reality for all clubs these days. It was a constant problem for our Miata club (as we didn't have any), and some in the club were constantly worried about the club getting sued, inspite of disclaimers and waivers for participation.
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Old 08-22-2003, 06:04 PM   #13
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I Joined for the Numbers

I am a new first time owner this month and I just joined WBCCI in order to join VAC _and_ I thought those big red numbers was a prererquisite for owning an Airstream. I think I would feel naked without them.

Since I joined just this month I didn't know there was a free membership offer. I emailed WBCCI and nothing was mentioned, so I paid the dues through my Minnesota unit. The Minnesota unit has a rally in early September but I don't think I will be ready to tow my AS by then.
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Old 08-23-2003, 12:00 AM   #14
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The first trip we took with our AS was to a rally, and it was lots of fun. It was great to meet all the other 'streamers, and they were full of encouragement and help for us beginners. We really were thinking the month between when we bought it and the rally wasn't enough time, but we managed to buy a tow vehicle, learn to hook up, and learn to tow good enough to get to the rally. It was worth the rush.

As for those numbers, I'm still trying to get the old ones off the trailer! If I don't re-up, then it's just as well I haven't gotten the new ones stuck on yet.
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Old 08-23-2003, 07:55 AM   #15
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Not to rehash this old wound too much, but I too have NO intetention of renewing my membership after the free one runs out.......

I mean the newsletters practically have people with oxygen masks throughout the newsletters I receive. Plus I am with Steph...the clubs are not designed for the average working folks out there. Add to the fact the high costs of these trips (and inconv dates), make it a dead club in my book.

I too love the tight knit Airstream Community like the next person, however, the group as I see it is mostly there for retired folks who have the time to do these things and that is wonderful for them. However, there are a good number of we 30 somethings (can't believe I'm actually a 30 something... ) that can afford to be into Airstreaming, but have no real group connections to be able to go on rallies or care to pay the cash for the memberships and then these fairly high sums of money to go camping. Speaking for myself in particular, the informal stuff that has been done here is really a hit for me because the group here is in touch with each other and has a good connection with the realities of non-retired life.

I too belong to a car club and I have to say because it's membership is diverse, it is able to meet everyone's needs at some point with the multiple offerings it has. Costs are low as are flexible dates and times that are in tune with both the retirees and the working folks.

BTW, the comment about the oxygen masks was a bit of an exaggeration....if I were in my 80s, I'd think it was attractive...

(Jumping off my soapbox now).

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Old 08-23-2003, 08:37 AM   #16
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Well, as WeeWind mentioned, it is a travel club for Airstreams. Retirees just happen to have the time to participate in travels and rallies and such. Working families won't have the time or energy to go on week long rallies. It's pretty clear who is going to enjoy WBCCI membership the most. It's also clear why so many don't renew or stay on. The moneys are being used for all activitites, and people doing lots of rallies will benefit from it.
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Old 08-23-2003, 09:45 AM   #17
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I got an email yesterday from our unit's treasurer. He said he ran across an Airstream in his travels in the western U.S. In place of the WBCCI numbers there were red letters instead, spelling out the word "Unlisted".

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Old 08-23-2003, 10:03 AM   #18
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They say that the number of younger buyers are increasing, and even AS seems to confirm that with theur CCD interiors. I guess the WBCCI just can't meet the needs of those owners. Not that the WBCCI is bad, it just doesn't meet my needs, and it is very expensive - for something that, for the most part, I cannot participate in.

All I really want is a group of people I can meet/communicate with who can help me maintain and get the most out of my Airstream. Basically the same reason I have joined car clubs in the past. Obviously this applies to new unit owners as well as vintage, look at all the questions the forum gets from people with newer units trying to figure stuff out or modify them to their liking. Seems to me like the forum fills this need just fine.
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Old 08-23-2003, 10:13 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by Silvertwinkie
I mean the newsletters practically have people with oxygen masks throughout the newsletters I receive.
Eric, you are a cruel, cruel man Personally I find the In Memoriam column more depressing (but necessary, I know).

I must admit the age difference does offer some challenges. I brought my telescope hoping to share the wonders of the night sky with my neighbors at the last rally I went to, but they all went to bed as soon as it started to get dark. Then they were up at what we young'uns consider the crack of dawn (7am on a Saturday!) standing around outside the trailers chatting loudly until we had to give up trying to sleep and join them.

Up at 7am, dinner at 4pm, it's like a whole different culture...
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Old 08-23-2003, 07:54 PM   #20
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I have to put my 2 cents in here I guess. I have delayed joining the WBCCI group, have read their postings, have visited the local chapter web site, and frankly just don't see anything relevant. I do want to be actively involved in the vintage Airstream movement, so if I've got to first join the national group, so bit it. Just seems a rip off. I think a total revamp is in order. Even in the days of Wally Byam, how many people could take off 3-6 months to caravan? I work, my travel is going to be always short trips. A big event would be a 2-3 week trip in the Airstream. I want to socialise, interact with physically active members of any age. Vintage Airstream groups interest me most, but any Airstream owner would have a common appeal. However, even though it's been years since I've partied all night, I can still dance, party and make a fool of myself till at least midnight. From what I've seen, its the vintage group that seems to have the most fun. Count me in! Mike ps I'm 52 soon to be 53 and have no idea how I got this old! It wasnt by living clean I can tell ya!
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