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Old 10-16-2009, 04:42 PM   #161
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Soooooooo, this thread definately sparked a positive action: it reminded me to support this forum and get my AIR sticker!!!

Laura
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Old 10-16-2009, 05:03 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by PeeWee View Post
During the week I was in Jackson Center, last month, I met Sue Dooley. Great marketing manager, great person, and given the task to keep the icon alive. So all and all, if you haven't met her and haven't talked with her, don't second guess the future.
Good for you, PeeWee! I didn't have the pleasure of meeting her, but I did meet the person she replaced. He, also, was a pleasant conversationalist, and I'm optimistic that he was just as qualified, but he didn't have any prior experience with Airstreams either. By the way, my comment was made somewhat in jest. I offer my sincere apologies if you couldn't wrap your beret around that.


"Great marketing manager"...??

A bit premature? Based solely on her involvement in, and its the value (to me), of the Victorinox Swiss Army Airstream, I'd say she doesn't have much to offer to date. I would much prefer Airstream try to find someone who lives and breathes the product (like some of their current employees I have met, or you), rather than someone who has an impressive resume in brand name marketing.

While I have a tremendous respect for your relation and dedication to Wally Byam, his club, and Airstream, I actually own a vintage trailer, and paid good money for a new one. Until Airstream, at least, attempts to seriously address what I consider to be an SOB quality trailer masquerading in a beautiful aluminum skin, I feel qualified to give an opinion. And, with all due respect to your encouragement to do otherwise, I will continue to speak freely about the product.

To date, I've been as objective, constructive, and as tactful as possible when addressing my issues with Airstream (the corporation). Perhaps it's time to tell people what I really think.


Not to worry, I still remain a devotee of the icon, and member of WBCCI, and am always on the lookout for another vintage trailer. I also look forward to meeting you again at another rally where you can continue to regale us with your tales of Africa, and the history of Airstream.
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Old 10-16-2009, 08:27 PM   #163
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Chief;
We decided the same thing, and are going to be going solo. I'm a retired USAF Chaplain, and it is likely the chapters are a lot like some church groups. Each has a unique personality--some are super, some are sorry. Guess it depends a lot on what you run into out there.

Thanks for serving our country, Chief! Here's to a better experience somewhere down the line--we'd be lucky to know you!

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Old 10-17-2009, 05:36 AM   #164
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I am A WBCCI MEMBER .I agree there is change that needs to be done. People need to step up and take the bull by the horns and make change happpen. I m 46 and i have gotten involved with our chapter and i m hoping other younger pepole will too. It so easy to put the blamd on others but we should be looking to see what we can do to make it change. THIS IS OUR AIRSTREAM CLUB AND EVENTS . Dont let the old stick in the mud ways ruin our club . It just like a vintage trailer it time to retsore a gem in the ruff and make this club a gem again

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Old 10-17-2009, 07:38 AM   #165
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Originally Posted by dodgeair View Post
I am A WBCCI MEMBER .I agree there is change that needs to be done. People need to step up and take the bull by the horns and make change happpen. I m 46 and i have gotten involved with our chapter and i m hoping other younger pepole will too. It so easy to put the blamd on others but we should be looking to see what we can do to make it change. THIS IS OUR AIRSTREAM CLUB AND EVENTS . Dont let the old stick in the mud ways ruin our club . It just like a vintage trailer it time to retsore a gem in the ruff and make this club a gem again

Tye Mott
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Tye,

Welcome aboard, nice first post, Keep tha poz' tude.

Stream Safe...

Bob
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:22 AM   #166
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A "great marketing manager" for a company with QC problems is like a great set of hubcaps on a car that doesn't run.
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Old 10-17-2009, 08:35 AM   #167
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Originally Posted by dodgeair View Post
I am A WBCCI MEMBER .I agree there is change that needs to be done. People need to step up and take the bull by the horns and make change happpen. I m 46 and i have gotten involved with our chapter and i m hoping other younger pepole will too. It so easy to put the blamd on others but we should be looking to see what we can do to make it change. THIS IS OUR AIRSTREAM CLUB AND EVENTS . Dont let the old stick in the mud ways ruin our club . It just like a vintage trailer it time to retsore a gem in the ruff and make this club a gem again

Tye Mott
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Good attitude, just watch those horns...
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:17 AM   #168
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Good attitude, just watch those horns...
There is no doubt that Tye is responsible and understands the WBCCI. He sees the good, understands the problems, and wants to work to make a difference.

This is our kind of family!
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:27 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by PeeWee View Post
There is no doubt that Tye is responsible and understands the WBCCI. He sees the good, understands the problems, and wants to work to make a difference.

This is our kind of family!
Dale,

Most of us want to work to make a difference... but many of us have realized that there is very little common ground between those in charge and a large part of the general membership.

...as they say, when you can't get blood from a turnip it's time to go find some beets.
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Old 10-17-2009, 11:18 AM   #170
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...as they say, when you can't get blood from a turnip it's time to go find some beets.
I don't like beets. In fact, it's my least favorite vegetable. This is only meant to say no one club or vegetable is going to meet the needs of everyone. Back when the WBCCI was founded, this was much more a monocultural nation. It was not, however, truly a monocultural nation, we just pretended it still was the 19th century WASP country that was long gone. It was already multicultural then and the battles over that continue.

The WBCCI represents only a segment of today's culture and it appears to be an ever smaller segment. If those who want to change the WBCCI take over, they will possibly disenfranchise the old guard and the old guard will be complaining: where are the ties, berets and accordions?

There are things we all agree on—Airstreams are cool, travel is great, draining and flushing the black tank is a drag. But we disagree on what interiors we like or sometimes whether diversity of opinion is a good thing.

It's time to accept there is room for more than one club and one type of club structure. We have several now within the WBCCI—the old guard international and some units, the less formal units, and the vintage club. There's the AirForum. And there may be more in the future. Maybe we'll see blue numbers, red numbers, green numbers, polka dot numbers. There's no way to stop it and let's celebrate it—all the clubs agree Airstreams are good, after all.

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Old 10-17-2009, 01:20 PM   #171
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This debate could go on endlessly IMO. To me it's very simple, birds of a feather flock together. Older folks don't want younger folks with different views to change their club. Younger folks who want change try their hardest and finally fall by the wayside when they realize their input is not welcome. It's a sad vicious circle of misaligned energy.

Has anyone ever read the book "Who Moved My Cheese". Here is the link to the overview on Wikipedia.
  1. Change Happens
  2. Anticipate Change
  3. Monitor Change
  4. Adapt To Change Quickly
  5. Change
  6. Enjoy Change!
  7. Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again & Again
Unless the organization structure can relinquish some control and allow for some flexibility (so they can change), it will become a nostalgic memory.
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Old 10-17-2009, 01:37 PM   #172
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Has anyone ever read the book "Who Moved My Cheese". Here is the link to the overview on Wikipedia.
Andy,

Could it be that the population of Wisconsin doubled when this book was published?? .....just kidding

Thanks for the link.....had not seen this before.

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Old 10-17-2009, 03:36 PM   #173
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Promoting, What?

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Originally Posted by Andy R View Post
This debate could go on endlessly IMO. To me it's very simple, birds of a feather flock together. Older folks don't want younger folks with different views to change their club. Younger folks who want change try their hardest and finally fall by the wayside when they realize their input is not welcome. It's a sad vicious circle of misaligned energy.

Has anyone ever read the book "Who Moved My Cheese". Here is the link to the overview on Wikipedia.
  1. Change Happens
  2. Anticipate Change
  3. Monitor Change
  4. Adapt To Change Quickly
  5. Change
  6. Enjoy Change!
  7. Be Ready To Change Quickly And Enjoy It Again & Again
Unless the organization structure can relinquish some control and allow for some flexibility (so they can change), it will become a nostalgic memory.
Andy,

We have never had private messages. What are you promoting?
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Old 10-17-2009, 04:01 PM   #174
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What are you promoting?
I am not promoting anything, simply stating my opinion. There is no shortage of feedback or ideas on how to evolve, the question is, will anyone listen?

I think some members of the club (probably older ones who don't understand social media) looks upon these forums as a threat and/or nuisance. This could not be further from the truth. They hear about critical feedback and calls for change, it's unsettling to them. IMO what they should be doing is listening to the feedback and finding solutions. Some progressive members are using the forums with great success to expand their chapters.

The Airstream community exists in many places; on weekends with a couple friends camping, at WBCCI events, even off the beaten path reunions at Burning Man and on the internet. The community does not belong to one person, one club, or one website. It's ours collectively.

Rather then competing and fractionalizing the community we should be working together to make it stronger. Unfortunately, recently, the WBCCI is burning bridges rather then building them.
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Old 10-17-2009, 05:05 PM   #175
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We, like others had troubles at the unit level. We swapped to a new unit and bam – problem solved. If a unit isn't working for you, just look for one that fits your needs. It really is that simple.

Get involved? You bet! It isn't possible for everybody to attend every rally and nobody should be chided as not participating enough to have an opinion. So we do our part for the VAC. Lately, it's a full time job. But it is out contribution to helping the overall club survive.


I agree as other have said that leadership may be turning a deaf ear to suggestions of change. Polls are taken and majority opinions are ignored in favor of changing the club name and allowing SOB's into the club. Complainers are labeled as a vocal minority and told to stand down. But the vocal minority overwhelmingly vote down these drastic changes.


The club takes a step in the right direction in improving electronic communications and a forums is built. But by accounts, very few leaders participate there and countering opinions are moderated away with the poster given warnings. In the end, this medium is so sanitized that the leadership can only see a happy club, its membership all smiles and bright & shiny. It is likely that if this conversation were being held there, it would look drastically different.


The club is not doing well as evidenced simply by the continued decline in membership. If that one fact alone, coupled with the robust sales of Airstreams in this economy, doesn't give one pause for thought, what will?


We were involved with producing a new marketing campaign for the Girls Scouts in our local area. They were suffering reduced membership levels and national market surveys showed the causes were that the impression was of a club that it was a 'Suzie Homeker” organization, not gearreed to modern girls. Girls have changed – they had new needs and desires. If Girl Scouts did not tap into that new demographic and adapt, they were going to continue to decline. So, new ad concepts were created based on new programs and attitudes. The whole international system was revamped. Results was a complete turn around in membership and involvement. Sure they still have some of the older programs but they have revamped it to meet the needs of girls and added to it the stuff girls are now interested in. And they did this all the while still rspecting the history of Girl Scouts.


It is really well put to liken the WBCCI to a vintage trailer – it has vintage programs, ideas and decorations that just aren't reaching the general population of Airstreamers. Time to put in a new floor and polish up the outside. Sure the framework will be the same, but with new plumbing and upholstery, it will be a beautiful and interesting thing. One sure to draw in increased membership.


There are a few of us working to steer this in a new direction, but it is hard – like the rudder is jambed and has only limited movement. Girl Scouts did it in a few years – WBCCI could too. But it will indeed take change – and I think, as it has been stated already, that is hard for some to stomach.
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Old 10-17-2009, 06:17 PM   #176
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This has been said before, but not on this thread. The WBCCI is spending its reserve funds. At some point the organization will be broke. That will bring some change and what will it be? Could be to double membership fees which will probably result in less income or little more. Could be to eliminate leadership perks which could mean some will resign. Could be to eliminate publications which some like and they will quit. None of these changes sound too good, except if it brings real change. It'll probably get ugly regardless.

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Old 10-17-2009, 09:28 PM   #177
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Our unit was a rule based unit until 3 years ago. The old guard couldn't find anyone to take over president and we had a young man step up and volunteer. He didn't have time to read the Blue Book, so we just started camping, He had 1 phone call and a letter to burn his ears, but what were they to do? Our rallies had better attendance then ever, people wanted to get involved. This year I'm president and we're having fun. We still want you to wear your name badge so we can remember your name and you can remember our names (I do forget it 50% of the time, but I'm prez so guess I can't enforce it). So within 1 vote our club changed 180 degrees and so can yours. . .
Pearl,

Thanks for so clearly articulating the demographic phenomenon that is transforming the WBCCI even as the onlookers complain.

The younger generation always wins in the long run, because sooner or later the older generation passes away.

The salvation of the WBCCI lies in younger members who are willing to shrug off the occasional aggravation from "grumpy old men " and take the initiative when the opportunity presents itself, more often than not by default. The WBCCI is already reinventing itself at the unit level as unsuccessful units dwindle while successful units grow.

The international level is much slower to change as the election process is rigged in favor of members who have given many years of service to the club. At the present time the international club is spending the club into the ground even as many individual units are successful. My personal expectation is that the end result will be a WBCCI structure not too unlike the present one, but with a lot less top-heavy management.

Cheers,
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Old 10-17-2009, 10:26 PM   #178
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Gene is right

Whatever we say on this thread pales in comparison to the financial realities of the WBCCI. I suspect--like most organizations--the WBCCI has enjoyed a measure of interest income from its reserves. Drawing down on reserves is a "double hit" to revenues. In fact, if the WBCCI is tapping its reserves, its likely the membership is below the break even point. I'm really not sure what the price elasticity of demand for WBBCI memership is... but I have to suspect doubling the due would result in a very significant decline in memberships.

Perhaps things would be different if a person could join a local unit and pay only local dues. I contribute to the Airforums because I have received invaluable advice, guidance and assistance from the members here. My wife and I have tried to help other members, from time to time and in our own modest way. I don't bear the WBCCI any ill will, but I'm not particularly interested in contributing $75 a year... where not a nickel will really help the organization solve its problems.

I understand that some younger members are waiting for older members to die... not to put to fine a point on it. This really isn't my cup of tea. It feels a bit like watching a march to the elephant graveyard. Besides, a change in the guard does not assure a change in culture. Trust me, I've spent a fair amount of my professional life trying to reshape organizational cultures. It's hard, takes nearly forever and isn't something I want to do on my day off.

Earlier on this thread, a gentlemen referenced "our kind of family." I don't want to make too much out of a casual turn of phrase, but it seems to me that this distinction is at the heart of the WBCCI issue. Perhaps the problem is that there simply isn't enough of the WBCCI's "our kind" to sustain the club? Personally, I'd rather err on the side of tolerance than of conformity.
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Old 10-18-2009, 06:24 AM   #179
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Whose responsibility is it?

disclaimer: I'm not really a "club" person and don't have a dog in the fight. Consider this an observation from someone on the outside looking in.

I find it interesting that when new members voice their concerns or dislikes about the WBCC they are told to "be positive" and "get involved", like they are part of the problem and it is their responsibility to fix it. That is a valid argument for say, politics. As Americans we all have the privilege and responsibility in electing and influencing the decisions of our leaders. Anyone who does not vote or get involved at some level in letting their representatives know their thoughts really doesn't have a right to complain about the direction of the country (though that doesn't stop anyone). Believe me, I am not trying to steer this thread toward politics , only using it as an example.

That logic however, doesn't apply to clubs. A club is a voluntary organization established for a purpose. In the case of the WBCC I would guess that purpose is primarily for like-minded Airstreamers to get together and have a good time (again, I am on the outside looking in so if there is a higher purpose of the WBCC please correct me). If a new or prospective member tries a club event and does not enjoy it, he's probably not going to say to himself "I need to get involved and change this club". More than likely he's simply not going to join. This is especially true if he does voice his concerns and is told to "stop complaining and be positive", which appears to be the official response to those who posted less than positive opinions here.

Obviously the powers that be in the WBCC right now like the club the way it is and don't want to change it (it is, after all, THEIR club). New members who voice their opinions are labeled as complainers and told to get involved. But, like Andy R. said, there are many clubs and communities out there for Airstream lovers to get involved in. Why would someone want to join in a club that's not very fun in the hope of changing it to something that is?

Bottom line, Airstream owners and lovers do not need the WBCC to have fun or enjoy Airstreaming. The WBCC however, does need new members in order to survive. The fact that membership is declining is evidence that the WBCC is not meeting the needs or desires of new or prospective members. It is the responsibility of the CLUB LEADERSHIP to meet those needs, not the new or prospective member. If they don't the club will likely continue to decline until it finally dies. Then, at some point, someone with motivation, vision and a bit of nostangia will resurrect it into the "new" WBCC, a club that conforms to the lifestyles and attitudes of today's Airstreamers. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes an organization needs to die and be reborn under new leadership in order to remain viable. Just look at Chevy (oops, there we go, headed toward politics again).

JMHO. As if there weren't enough opinions posted on this thread already.... jk
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Old 10-18-2009, 07:46 AM   #180
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Whatever we say on this thread pales in comparison to the financial realities of the WBCCI.
And, unfortunately, the fate of the WBCCI pales in comparison to the financial realities of the United States of America, Inc. Last time I looked the dollar had declined about 12% against other major international currencies so far this year.

Oil, to name one commodity, is priced by an international market, and unless the US slows down the money printing press we may very well see $10 - 20 a gallon gasoline/diesel fuel/heating oil within the next few years. I reckon the whole concept of "recreational vehicles" will disappear at that price.

Good luck (to us all)
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