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Air Apparent 12-19-2006 05:38 PM

Can the WBCCI Survive?
Will the WBCCI survive?

Will it re-invent itself or will it fade away as the Lawrence Welk generation passes on?

It seems like the majority of the WBBCI membership is over 60. The beginning wave of the boomer generation just turned 60.

When you look at other organizations (except for monopolies or government organizations) you usually see an alternative. For example: McDonalds & Burber King, Home Depot & Lowes, Hertz & Avis, etc.

Do you see the "Air" (Airstream Forums) movement becoming an alternative organization to the WBCCI?

Personally, I don't see boomers wearing blue berets. I believe that the WBCCI will continue to contract and maybe stabilize at around 3000 members. I believe that it will take 5 to 10 years before the boomers would be in control of the club and that is too long. I don't begrudge the older generation; it's their club and can run it the way they always have. But to think that the next generation will keep it going as it has been may be shortsighted.

It also seems like the "Air" movement is just beginning (fun rallies, blue numbers, few rules, etc.)

Just wondering how others see the future for airstreaming.

Air Apparent

Silvertwinkie 12-19-2006 05:55 PM

I think it has the potential to, particularly in some areas of the country. Here in Illinois, in our area, it's pretty much a write off.

Do a search for WBCCI. I think you'll have a good months worth of reading on this very topic. :)

Pat370 12-19-2006 06:01 PM

Can WBCCI survive
I don't think so.

Here in Region 7 that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and Manatoba there are less than 200 members and dropping fast.


Silvertwinkie 12-19-2006 06:04 PM


Originally Posted by Pat370
I don't think so.

Here in Region 7 that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and Manatoba there are less than 200 members and dropping fast.


No comment. ;)

But I will say that seems to be more the rule than the exception.......

Roscinante 12-19-2006 06:23 PM

It Depends!
If you mean the formal, hierarchy and organizational elements of WBCCI, the "writing on the wall" would make you feel that, like other mainstream fraternal/social organizations, it will evolve, adapt, or die.

If you mean the spirit of Wally, the fellowship of AS owners, the rallies and caravans, the camping and the joy of introducting others to our AS addictions ( :lol: ), then YES. It will.

Mike Lewis 12-19-2006 06:34 PM

Will it survive--personally I don't care. I have a couple weeks left of this years membership which I have no intention of renewing. This forum and it's rallys are more of what I envision an Airstream club should be. ---pieman

wkerfoot 12-19-2006 06:52 PM


Originally Posted by Pat370
I don't think so.

Here in Region 7 that includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, North and South Dakota and Manatoba there are less than 200 members and dropping fast.


That is definately unfortunate, we have almost that many members in The El Camino Real Unit. The picture of the Ukulele band which I posted on the music thread was from this year's International and all members of the band are in ECR.

Being only 60, and the first of the baby boomers, we are among the youngest in our unit. We enjoy everyone, regardless of age and computer literacy. I have no idea what their position on wearing a beret is and I don't really care.

One member stated at our installation rally and luncheon that if WBCCI went away, we would still rally together, we enjoy each other's company.

I know that there are other thriving units, I wish that they all were thriving and growing.

We have never been to a forum rally, our first will be 29 Palms, but we have been to many ECR and one South Coast Unit rally, in the four years we have owned our Safari and been a WBCCI member. Both units hold about 10 rallies a year, usually within 200 miles of our home and some within 50 miles. Other that 29 Palms, the closest forum rally has been about 300 miles away and I think that there have been only 4 or so forum rallies in the almost two years that we have been a member here.

We have attended only one International, this year in Salem, and no special event or region rallies. We will attend another International as our schedule permits, if for no other reason that to meet and visit with the people we know from this forum, the VAC list and the Yahoo Airstream list.

We will continue to be a WBCCI member regardless of the name, because we enjoy the people we have met both within and without ECR.


RoadKingMoe 12-19-2006 07:30 PM

The rate of decline in overall membership has slowed in the last five years compared to the previous five years. The growth in MAL numbers has slowed in the last five years compared to the previous five years. These numbers are pretty close to linear in either five year period and not too far from it over the 10 year period. MSExcel projects 3,000 total members in 24-25 years from now with 1,200 being members at large, based on the last five years linear trends.

Twenty-five years may seem like a long time, but it's not when dealing with an organization as large as WBCCI. Changes take time to be implemented, time to be accepted, and time to have an effect. Not all work and the process has to be gone through for replacements. The time to start addressing the problem is now.

TinShack 12-19-2006 08:05 PM

No doubt the WBCCI will survive. I just wish they could learn to relax. What will be the quality of the club? In my opinion, they are too political and seem to be hanging on to the past, rather than embracing the future like the Air forums is doing. They will survive, but only if they can accept change.

I have an Airstream and work full time for the government. The last thing I want to do during my time off is get political or spend it with people with too many rules and regulations. Give me good friends and cheer, rallies with 90 second organizational meetings, and no rules. I am capable of governing myself, and I love spending time with my Airstream friends.

wheel interested 12-19-2006 08:10 PM

I definitely think it will survive, allowing that the name does not change and it becomes a new club. Even then there would probably be unsanctioned sects carrying the original name. WBCCI has 50 plus years of history, and the origin, members have the experience, new people and current members have the chance to form the future. I see the numbers indictative of several factors as previously stated here. My personal opinion is that it is more important to focus on why members are leaving and why Airstream owners do not join and work to improve what can be improved. The numbers in themselves do not cause me great alarm. I don't think the issue is if the WBCCI continues to experience a smaller membership, or if the numbers grow, but rather the health, energy and morale of the body, which must be shored up and sound, and not be overly concerned with the weight (size) of the club.

rideair 12-19-2006 08:27 PM

I'll be here!
It's my understanding about 1000 members join each year, but about the same number leave for different reasons, to old, die, get tired of the system, etc... Not sure on the numbers of the VAC. One also has to think about the impact of the internet on the WBCCI and the VAC. Over the last 5-7 years the numbers of the WBCCI as we all know, have gone down. But, the use of the internet has gone up. Was "" even around 5-7 years ago? How about Hunters list? As these forums/lists have become more&more of a resource for people who purchased used/vintage/new Airstreams, there's less of a need for them to join the WBCCI and the VAC for info on the trailers of which they own. Were do people go for answers now days, here and Hunters and the VAL. People no longer "need" the WBCCI for info and for the Airstream rallies like they did 5-7+ years ago. The problem is not just the higher up's of the WBCCI. The problem is also us and our "need the info now" time of which we live in. I think one will find the "friends" that are made on the different lists will not be as deep of a friendship that one would make getting together with each other a few times a year, drinking a beer and talking shop, like is done when one is a member of the WBCCI. If you look at the number of rallies, (my guess) there are far fewer list rallies than WBCCI. Less of a chance to meet and become life long friends. I'm glad, I joined the WBCCI. It's been great for my family. We've meet some great people that I'm sure I'll know for a long time. So, I'm here as long as the WBCCI is here.

moosetags 12-19-2006 08:56 PM

I think that WBCCI is on the edge of its turn around. It has hit the ebb, and is now heading in the other direction. The proposed changes within the organization are coming in the nick of time. A new day is dawning; don't give it up so quickly. WBCCI is our history and our future.

Jim & Susan 12-19-2006 08:56 PM

As an outsider, can I ask a question? Thank you. What is "Hunters"? I'm not familiar with that.


wkerfoot 12-19-2006 09:03 PM


Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
As an outsider, can I ask a question? Thank you. What is "Hunters"? I'm not familiar with that.



It is an email list on Yahoo moderated by Hunter Hampton. The group can be found here: AirstreamList : The original Airstream discussion list... you don't need to own one to join.

It is the Yahoo list I mentioned earlier along with the VAC list.


Jim & Susan 12-19-2006 09:06 PM

Thank you. Well, would y'all like a few observations from an outsider (not a WBCCI member)? I promise to be nice.


wkerfoot 12-19-2006 09:09 PM


Originally Posted by Jim & Susan
Thank you. Well, would y'all like a few observations from an outsider (not a WBCCI member)? I promise to be nice.



Sure, I don't think that this is restricted. But be nice, you said you would.


dscluchfc 12-20-2006 01:16 AM


Originally Posted by 65GT
If you don't like what's local get a bunch of AS friends together and start a new unit.

I am gong to try this again, more diplomatically.

So you just do what the people in Southwest have done and try to form a new WBCCI Unit like the proposed Four Corners Unit?

As has been throughly documented by those trying to obtain a Provisional Charter for the Four Corners Unit, this is not "easy", and may be next to impossible.

Members, and some current non-members, tried to start a new unit and have thusfar been denied by the Officers of Region 11. Some of those involved have completely given up on the idea due to the closed mindedness of the written opinions in the denial letter.

This request now awaits appeal at the IBT Meeting in Georgia because the powers in charge of Region 11 voted "no" to the idea of a new unit largely based on their opinion that having a new unit would not be in the best interest of WBCCI.

As I have previously stated in other posts, the WBCCI needs to be more welcoming of those that want Units that serve the needs of people that are slightly different than the "old" WBCCI member, but yet share a passion for Airstreams and camping.

rickandsandi 12-20-2006 04:41 AM

Dear Fellow Airstream Owners- For fifty years the WBCCI has been around providing a rally pole for all us AS owners. There is history here and we have two choices as members; be the problem and quit, be the solution and participate, become involved. Sure it is comfortable to sit here at your keyboard and complain about everything that is wrong but I ask you to do two things, ask yourself what you think the problems are and two, do something about it! Become activly involved in your unit, work up the ranks, throw your hat in the ring for a region office. What I have read is a whole bunch of complaints and no one stepping up to help. We belong to the New England Unit and I will tell you this; there is no greater group of people dedicated to their AS, the way of life we share and the getting together whenever possible. There is not a month for 2007 where there are at least two scheduled activities. Hey, we are even having a WBCCI Wedding Rally where Sandi and I are getting married! You get what you put into something and right now I think the membership at large needs to stop complaining and help with the problem. Yes, there is need for changes, and they will come with the right people stepping up to the place. Hey no one likes change, we need change and we need to do it so that all members are comfortable with the process and it does not divide the club. I love WBCCI and what Wally has done for us. Her was a man who gave us a new way of life, Airstreams and the open road, then brought us all together to share that great exprience together. I believe the organization should not change its name and we need to start at the unit level and grow.

dwightdi 12-20-2006 05:13 AM

WBCCI will survive. It has lots of money in the bank. Low cash outlay and a positive cash flow. The way it is organized and governed however, is not effecient and does not make the necessary changes that need to occur very easy. The "old boy" organization does not reward the old boys for responding to the membership needs. Given the seniority method of sellecting leaders, it is difficult to get the "New younger boy/girl" leaders into positions that can actually implement change.

We need a two party system in the club and a new party (we should call "The Progressive Party") that would formulate a party platform of improvement and run candidates for Region and national office from the floor, rather than depending on the "Nominating Committee" to preselect candidates from the conservative "Old Boy" network. There are some good people in the VAC and the Save Wally organizations that have demostrated an ability to organize and have ideas that are progressive.

LI Pets 12-20-2006 06:07 AM

I just got into Airstreams in August, I was glad to find there was a club let alone one with such a history.

Leo (GT65) introduced himself and in fact stop by to see my restoration work, another member called and invited me to a small get together.

So here on LI I would say the group in very alive and not anywhere near disappearing.:)

I' m an active sailor for the past 35 years or so and I visit different clubs when racing around the area, some of these clubs have been started well over 100 years ago they are still going strong.

With history of this club we can't in fact I don't see how it could fade into the sunset, the reason is these AS's kept on going, they themselves are almost indestructible. ;)

I saw estimates of 60,000 built, a few thousand new ones built every year. When you mention Airstream on another forum, everybody with SOB knows there’s something special about them.

It reminds me of the Harley Davison’s, did you know that is the Harley is the most famous Trademark in the US?

Airstream may be the most famous in RV arena’s.

I think, although not certain one area that needs improvement is lack of a database with all units and all PO and current owners developed in a accessible format online. With that info membership drives can be established to find out why someone didn't renew and try retain their membership.

Also tracing a vintage units history is extremely interesting which a DB could provide.

Their website needs a tuneup also.

Change is good and it is needed in any organization, join and make the changes don't sit on your hands, in this case type you negative BS take that energy and do something constructive.:bb:

“re-invent itself or will it fade away” that’s up to you! not just the other guy!

If as Silvertwinkie said his area’s has a problem why not merge it with another one nearby-do something about it, don’t just shrug it off..:huh:

Do you realize that part of the residual value of your AS is this club; to allow it to fall apart is like not fixing the rust on you frame.

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