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Old 09-16-2003, 07:57 PM   #1
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WBCCI Membership

I have read a few of the letters from people that joined the WBCCI under the free membership and then quit. To join and then quit without even going to a Unit function was wasting our money and your time. If you feel that the Unit you are thinking of joining is too old, then look around. Times have changed. Look at other Units that offer weekend rallies. Attend some of those functions without joining, You will eventually find a Unit that suits you. By not joining you are missing a golden opportunity for learning about your Airstream. Things you would never dream of, and of course, the expense of joining. If you join in July, that breaks down to $3.20 a month for the first year. I have been in the WBCCI for 34 years and I am still learning. I have worked in Mexico and Canada for 5 years on Airstream Company Caravans and I am still learning. I feel sorry for those of you that feel you cannot get anything out of the WBCCI. Do you have anything to give?
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:11 PM   #2
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Frank

Welcome to the Forum.

This will probably start the pro/con debate over the WBCCI again - I happen to agree with you although there are a number of younger folks who get fustrated with the retirement group. I am one of those who recently got brushed off by my local group. Seems like there should be more units like the Washington DC unit. I'm in the process of looking for a new younger oriented (I'm 50) group.

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Old 09-16-2003, 08:26 PM   #3
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If you feel that the Unit you are thinking of joining is too old, then look around. Times have changed. Look at other Units that offer weekend rallies.
To expand on this idea, if no younger people will join a Unit how will a Unit have younger members?

We joined the Florida Springs Unit and have been actively involved in Unit activities. Our Unit members respect us for the work we do and have been very willing to consider changes to rally schedules to accommodate more working members.

If you aren't a member, you don't have a say in changing what doesn't work for you.
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:31 PM   #4
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Ken ~

I know it's a trek over the hill...but you'd be welcomed with open arms in the Denver Unit! Our "older trailer/younger owner" contingent is growing and we have been well received by the folks that "have been at it a while".

Shari
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Old 09-16-2003, 08:50 PM   #5
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WBCCI is conflicted and has some institutional problems as well as some difficulty with mission and focus.

One example of conflict is in the WDCU and the ancient airstreams - this confuses a BOF interest with a locale focus. It gets into the whole idea of what a Unit is all about.

Although lip service is given to the younger set, there is still quite a bit of discrimination. Part of this is due to the fundamental nature of a caravan club needing time committments that are a bit much for working stiffs.

Our Unit had severe fossilization due to lack of recruitment and other factors. We are in the process of getting things back into line. It won't be easy as we are finding that reputations are hard to change and most of our neighboring units have members that skipped us when they encountered what was.

I think that regional and national should have measures to detect unit problems early and levels of intervention to help early - I suggested some ideas in this line but the response was not very constructive. (I need a marketing department myself as I tend to irritate people)

Another idea, which started on the WBCCI Unit servey, was to 'profile' our unit. We feel that WBCCI should encourage all units to use an effective profile to help market unit participation.

We have also started working on matters of WBCCI caravan and rally archival accessibility to help promote and facilitate future events and their planning and execution.

But I continually run across folks who have had bad experiences, especially at the larger events. The WBCCI international was one of the few association events in my experience where a ham radio net was irritated by visitors or where volunteer effort was rejected out of hand.

There are things to fix. But there is a lot of opportunity to motivate a lot of good people to get them fixed.

maybe.
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:13 AM   #6
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Kind of like religion

This discussion reminds me the politics of religion. WBCCI historically has been SO grounded in tradition that it came to believe that those traditions were absolute truth. The units were (and in many cases still are) dominated by very conservative, older, retired, tradition-bound individuals. Unfortunately, tradition-bound institutions resist change, regardless of logic or cost. The existing WBCCI may well have to dwindle to death as the older, more tradition-bound members expire but the resulting vacuum will allow the younger A/S community to create a new, more appropriate club. From what I have observed, the Vintage Airstream Community mentality may well be future of the WBCCI. The VAC is younger, far less rigid, focused on preserving the past thru not thru tradition, but thru maintaining the older trailers, and finally a focus on individual rather than group mentality (no surprise given that we are the "me" generation). Belonging to a social club should be about having a good time, respecting EVERYONE, and creating an environment conducive to attacting new members. Given that the current WBCCI mentality turns away more than it attracts, it must evolve or fade away. With all the passion and respect that these icons of Americana represent, I am a firm believer that change WILL occur. It may be a new organization, it may be a changed WBCCI, but the common element of Airstream admiration will remain and that alone will draw owners together.

Now will everyone stand....(ie sermon has ended)
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:49 AM   #7
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WBCCI

David & Bret,

I totally agree with your perception of the WBCCI today. The unit we belong to seems to be of another era.

It is hard to intergrate the different generations. We respect their values and vast experiences, so we keep going and try to make small changes that hopefully will keep everyone happy.


Gloria
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Old 09-17-2003, 08:36 AM   #8
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Gosh I'm really pleased to see the way this discussion is going. Other similar discussions have tended to turn into WBCCI bashing sessions - for my two cents lets not do that in this thread and stay on a track of how we can resolve this current state of affairs.

As I see it the orginal WBCCI back in the 50's was a good fun loving group who liked to get together and travel and camp. As things progressed it seems to have become more of an exclusive club - with the above comments, I beginning to see the change that is needed to bring it back to a club that all ages can really enjoy.

Sometimes we forget the reason were all doing this is for fun.

Ken J.
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:24 AM   #9
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The WBCCI _is_ an exclusive club because not everyone owns an Airstream!

The idea is to get out and have fun with your RV - with friends who share common interests.

But some folks get excluded for reasons other than not having an Airstream. and this needs attention.

I agree that there is sometimes too much bashing - Lord knows that bashing is much easier than creating new ideas for growth and change (just look at the current political dialog!).

For those who want to criticize, I ask that each criticism be matched by a constructive suggestion with a willingness to implement. That is what we are doing here in our unit

In our unit, we have:

reduced lunches at Denny's and scheduled more rallies.

scheduled rallies for weekends and close enough to encourage working stiffs with families to attend.

coordinated with neighboring units to promote differing experiences and opportunities for our members.

reduced formal activities on shorter rallies yet started providing information and resources for those who want to pursue activities while at the rally site.

started to rebuild the information archive a previous generation threw out to help plan future rallies and events and market current efforts.

Encouraged members to get out and meet and greet - If you expose an Airstream in our neighborhood you are a target for a friendly "hello, how are you doing?" and an invitation.

Publicize events and activities with PSA distribution.

Send Unit newsletters to prospective members for at least a year after we get a name and address.

Discussed what makes us what we are and how we can use that to encourage participation so everyone can have fun

Restructred the organization to better reflect the size and style of the group.

Visited neighboring units to get to know them better and work for better cooperation and synergy.

Put together a web site for the unit with other materials for people interested in the area, the unit, airstream and RV history, or related hobbies and activites. ( http://SierraNevadaAirstreams.org/ )

Tried to have patience as change takes time. How much patience is a question as is whether or not these efforts will be successful but we will give it a good shot. We didn't realize how much of a bad reputation we had to overcome but hope that we can convince others to join us and help us enjoy our Airstream experience.

We can all have more fun together, I think. And perhaps some of these efforts might catch on and help the WBCCI gain vitality and energy. Who knows?

Join the revolution. It all starts at the bottom between you and your local unit. Make it work for you.
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Old 09-17-2003, 09:34 AM   #10
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While we have not really done anything rally wise with our Cleveland unit, we have gone to several winter luncheons and had a great time with the folks. We are going to renew our WBCCI membership and will plan on doing more with our unit in the future.

We also had the opportunity to visit with a Pennsylvania unit at the Pennwood Airstream Park in PA, during one of thier rallys. While we did not participate in any official activities, we did feel very welcome at their park and will be returning. They made us feel very welcome. We felt safer, more welcome and more at home than in any other campground or RV park we have ever stayed in.

Like others have said, if your present unit does not suit you, than join another!
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Old 09-17-2003, 12:32 PM   #11
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Bryan Leipper,
I checked out your unit's website...WOW, you guys do some really cool things! Going to a rally and hiking, fishing, relaxing. Sitting around a campfire at night. You have convinced me. I want to join your unit!
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Old 09-17-2003, 01:12 PM   #12
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Unhappy

Hi there,

we're brand new AS owners, now members at large and have tried joinig a local unit for the past 2 months.

We called different people from different units and have tried to get a feel of their programs. Most of them were not at all catered to us. We're a married couple in our late 20's, still working hard and with only 10-15 days vacation a year...sometimes we don't even get to match both our vacation times. Most of our AS use is weekends with some longer we added here and there but generally it will be Friday after 6pm to Sunday night.

Oh, sure many units say they have "we" rallies... they're held at at least a good 8 hour drive from your starting point and usually start on a Thursday! We cannot participate and that amount of driving is out of the question for such a short time.
We finish work, have to drive home, meet and then go pick up our AS (zoning laws). I'm sure we're not alone with this sort of problem and wish there was a unit near us which was more realistic of a younger working life situation.

When we expalined our situation to them the general advise was to park the AS at the AS park and go there on we! This is not why we bought an AS! We've been camping and hiking almost every good we for many years. The AS gives us a chance to keep on doing so just more comfortably and also in bad weather.

Other than this logistic problem all the unit members we met are great! They encouraged us to get involved with their luncheons, events, games etc. and even invited us for drinks in their AS and chatted with us until late hours. We joyfully toured at least other 12 AS, vintage, B Vans, 5wheel and MH. Beautiful experience, a live AS Museum with friendly host, coffee and yes homemade cookies! Everyone was extraordinary helpful and had neverending wonderful AS adventures to tell us. We appreciate all their valuable advise and support and truly wish they could find a way to accomodate us better.

Sure there were a few that did not look to happy of such young new members and ran to us as soon as we stepped out of the car to inform us that loud music was not allowed! We didn't even have the music on or had any intention of jamming. Although my husband is also a musician and sure enjoys playing his guitar. Maybe they'd enjoy some good jazz.

Anyway we'll keep on meeting up with the different units every time we can and we'll join the one that better matches our lifestyle.

Hope changes arrive soon... before we'll want a WBCCI as it is now...

To Region3:
"Do you have anything to give?"
YES!! We'd be happy to share our time, experience and friendship with other WBCCI members, no matter what age!
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Old 09-17-2003, 03:49 PM   #13
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Try the WDCU Unit

Kimili:

Have you looked into joining the Washington DC Unit (WDCU) of the WBCCI as your home unit? They tend to be younger folks who hold events up and down the East coast and communicate by the Internet. Of course, I cannot find a link to their website right now, but someone will chime it with that link. Joining the WDCU should be more rewarding than being a WBCCI Member-At-Large.
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Old 09-17-2003, 04:00 PM   #14
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I am sure the folks in my local unit are very nice. As has been said many times over, change comes slowly.

I have a hard time getting into the club since frankly it is so out of date and out of touch with reality. The costs (for trips) are HUGE and the dates totally inflex to a working person. If it works for some, great...however for me, I don't like riding on others coat tails, I like to do some of the work too, but frankly, I don't have the kind of time to commit to helping change something like this....barely have enough time to go out in the Airstream as it is now.....

I love the informal meets that happen on this forum.

Eric
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Old 09-17-2003, 04:24 PM   #15
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Jerry Sullivan

don't forget ghost towns, geologic field trips, museums, dinosaur digs, navel gazing, cards, trailer repairing and repair planning, horse shoes, pot lucks, meetings, happy hour, scenery, photography, amateur radio event participation, indian artifact searches, Donner trail experiences, birdwatching, botany experiences, stargazing, civil war re-enactments at Fort Churchill, walking the dogs and cats, hiking, bicycling, air races, tow vehicle and rv related debates, cold weather camping,

or just a weekend doing something not like work!
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Old 09-17-2003, 06:19 PM   #16
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Join the New England Unit!

Another fun unit, with a good mixture of young and old is the New England Unit We aren't as centrally located as the WDCU is but we travel all over New England and into Pennsylvania and New York.
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Old 09-17-2003, 10:58 PM   #17
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Activity overload

Everyone so far has focused on group and social activities, but if these type of activities become the WBCCI's main focus (which is what I think has happened) then how is the WBCCI any different from other RV communities? For example The Good Sam Club has all the same type activities except they don't discriminate over the make of RV.

I think the focus has to return to the product, the Airstream trailer, because that is what all WBCCI members have in common yet sets them apart from other RV clubs. Many people turn away from joining the WBCCI because there is no or little focus on the product - just group activities or activities with no direct relationship to AS trailers. This Airstreamforum group is an example in point. None of us would likely be active on this forum if its focus was on getting together. We're here and are brought together because of our interest in the product. The "old folks" in the local units are estranged from the "younger" set because they are almost totally focused on socializing. Prospective members often want to know more about how to use their trailer, how to take care of it and where to take it camping. When they perceive that the unit is mostly about socializing they conclude (perhaps incorrectly) that it is "cliquish" and so drop out.

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Old 09-17-2003, 11:23 PM   #18
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I disagree and agree with Forrestors comments.

I for one, am investigating whether or not to join as a member of a local unit, member at large, or just do what I have always done. This is my second AS, and at my age (34) I am not looking for a club whose interest is strictly talking AS talk all the time, nor necessarily social events that cater to how my grandparents might enjoy spending their days, but I personally am looking for an organization that I can look forward to going - enjoy the comradre that should envelop a group with such a rich tradition. Passing down the torch so to say - we want to experience hands on how people lived in their young ages of owning Airstreams - just not reminense constantly.

For example, I talked to a Unit and the first thing I hear are "poker, cribbage.... those are all activities we plan" and well that is not really appealing to someone like myself. (Although with a good enough partner I'll play hearts or spades until the sun comes up - well in my military days to pass time I did"... And that is my point - for some of us who look forward to the outtings in our AS - we are not looking to just do something idly to pass the time. We spend 80+ hours a week and kinda want to have if we join a club - that there is a portion of it that is catered to us. We want ACTIVITIES - and SOCIAL events that tie us together. Face it - a majority of us will find time to do things with friends. Being single - I rarely take myself anywhere becuase if I can do nothing somewhere else - may as well do it at home.

I correlate this to my off-road and "Its a Jeep thing - you wouldn't understand". When I go out with fellow Jeepers, we are going out for activity. Those of that are loyal and avid to our kinds of vehicles (Such as Jeeps) we do not often just go hang out with a bunch of fellow Jeepers becuase they put bigger tires on their Jeep (for the cool factor) and they have yet to even be on a pot hole ridden stretch of highway or a grass lawn. No - we co-ordinate a weekend a month - we do the camping, we tell tale tales, we the cook-outs, we socialize, and we have the days full of our off-road runs. We break something and everyone is their pitching in, if there is a newbie in the group - its not about the RULES its about why it is Safety first - and that will make your ride fun - in other words - to educate them so they pass the torch.

So how to translate this over. Us Airstream afficindao's - didn't buy an AS because it was just another SOB. A small minority of us here own 1990 to present AS, and a vast majority of folks own Vintage Airstreams - that required quite a bit of technical skill and sheer love to get them into the conditions to be used on any regular basis. That is why alot of us come here to this forum - is becuase its like a Jeep Tech forum - we are here to share tips, and when we do meet them out on the road / trail / campground - we have established a relationship. Personally with my '79 - I learned so much here online before I ever even bought an AS. And that is why social events are SO VERY IMPORTANT - to keeping the fabric of a club together - and building / maintaining those relationships. None of us are writing each other saying "Everyone Bring your AS to this PARK and we will have a big fix-it party" or to get wrapped up in the product (its the PRODUCT that already has given US the common bond) - its is about the socializing, sharing the work and effort put in, and most of all building new experiences... to relax from either the work we placed into our AS just to make it there or our daily life.


We could learn alot from the hospitality industry. There they have a wide range of folks who vary in age and culture. They go out of their way to make sure they have activities that cross the spectrum and even pull the spectrum together. A good CLUB should be just like that. They collect dues, they know the ages beforehand and the dates when these events are planned - and if the numbers of attendees are dropping - then that says - do a little market research - and changing just a little can net great rewards.

That is what I want from a club - it should be a escape from this routine I at least call daily life - and be amongst friends new, old, and those not yet made...

<off - soapbox>
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Old 09-18-2003, 05:58 AM   #19
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I have to say, having been here since Feb of this year, I have seen these WBCCI posts and they are all the same. You have a bunch of folks that have great local units and some who's units have far much to be desired.

In the end, the folks with the great units or the one's with a fair number of folks trying to change their local units seem to have good exp. The ones that have the folks on oxygen and seem to be stuck in the past have a very poor influx of new folks. Case in point, I seem to recall a local unit simply closing shop about 5-6 months ago.

Most folks know how I feel about WBCCI since I've posted at least 12 times on the subject among all the threads that have appeared in the 7 months I've been here.

Here is something to think about. When you bought a new trailer, you automatically got a free year to WBCCI. They nixed it. Why? The reason from what I recall was simply that the folks that got the free year, mostly blew it off and never renewed it..... that speaks volumes to me.

For those that have a great time at in these, and you have a great local unit that meets or exceeds your needs, I am very happy for you. For those that don't, I can see why in most cases and it's not always as conv to simply join another unit, sometimes distances, etc come into play.

Bottom line is simply that if the even half the posts on these WBCCI threads are not bright and cheery, that is a pretty good cross section of data that could indicate a very HUGE problem as time moves on.

Change or be gone....and don't think it couldn't happen because it already has in a few places....

Eric
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Old 09-18-2003, 06:20 AM   #20
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WBCCI

Here's my story and I'm sticking to it.
A year and a half ago, we bought a 32 year old Airstream. About the same time, WBCCI was offering a year's free membership. So, we joined in order to learn about Airstreams and how to fix and maintain them. After a year, we renewed and plan to every year.
Not only did we learn a lot about these trailers, we have met life long friends in the local unit. At least, they seem like people we have know forever.
Lots of knowledge and experience has been shared that has helped us.
We have attended several luncheons and rallies and have enjoyed them all.
WBCCI isn't perfect. But, what is.
Bottom line. You get out what you put in.
I think that the people who complain about the organization the most are also the ones who would complain about any one they belonged to.
Have fun, be happy.
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