IN THIS EDITION:
President’s Message [by Jay Thompson]
Moving WBCCI Forward
Plans for Fall & Winter [by Matt Hackney]
Why are we unable to get leaders? [by Dick Martiny]
Traveling as a Team, with the WBCCI [by Airstream Company]
What causes Improvement & Change? [by Dick Martiny]
Region 3 in Sarasota
A group of active members of our national club have initiated a movement titled “Moving WBCCI Forward” and their statement of purpose is included in this newsletter. This effort is being developed and led by these members, not the IBT or International officers. They are asking for the involvement of all interested members. I suggest that each member carefully review the statement and consider becoming involved with them. A Copy of the “Statement of Purpose” will be added to the region website.
Also included in this newsletter is an article that appeared in the Airstream company’s digital newsletter “Live Riveted”. This is a great, positive article written by folks at Airstream about the advantages of being a member of WBCCI. The newsletter “Live Riveted” is a good newsletter and I recommend that everyone be on their mailing list.
The Galax Rally, sponsored by the region was successful with 45 rigs present, enjoying the music and the area. The rally next year will be sponsored by the region and volunteers will be welcomed to assist.
We are improving how important Unit and Region information is shared and look forward to discussing with Unit Presidents and Membership chairpersons on how their Unit may benefit as well as their role in this development. As each Unit has elections, please let Jim Cocke (firstname.lastname@example.org) know and he will update the Region’s website. He has been updating the Region 3 website and recommend that everyone check it out. Good job, Jim!
We recently sent everyone a copy of the fiscal report for WBCCI and am pleased that many opened and read the report. Feel free to pass these to your friends in other regions.
Plans for the Fall and Winter?
by Matt Hackney
Fall is nearly here and many of our units will be installing new officers in the coming months. Please make sure your unit transition includes plans for caravans and a caravanning chairman. If your unit doesn’t have plans for a caravan or two in the coming year, step up and volunteer to lead one. As I have pointed out in past articles, you can take a caravan anywhere.
Don’t limit yourself to your Installation and Christmas Luncheon, there are some important opportunities you should consider in the fall and winter, but make sure you plan now. There are many Region 3 Units holding Rallies this winter so why not try carvanning south. You also can plan a trip to Sarasota in February. The Region 3 website now includes a Calendar feature. Make sure your Unit contacts the our Webmaster (email@example.com) to post your events. You may be surprised to learn that our Region 3 Units include a wide variety of events and you may enjoy learning about those activities first hand.
Virginia and the Carolinas are each holding State Rallies, you may enjoy.
September 20 – 22, the Commonwealth Installation Rally is in Natural Bridge. The scenery and weather is beautiful in September.
Contact Harold Hamlett 804-769-0812, email: firstname.lastname@example.org/Robert Lee 434-426-0956, email: email@example.com for more information.
October 16 – 20, the Carolinas State Rally will be held at Palmetto Cove (Phone: (864) 836-6221) in Cleveland, SC. Again, the perfect time of year in a beautiful location. Plan to bring a Unit Caravan, or simply visit by yourself and take back ideas for your own Unit.
Finally, please remember that Region 3 will sponsor a variety of events in Sarasota. Groups are already scheduling their luncheon, dinner, or happy hour gathering at Alumaflamingo (February 18 – 23). We will feature presentations that show why WBCCI and our units are special. Contact Ron Allen (firstname.lastname@example.org) to help us bring our story to non-member Airstream owners.
Moving WBCCI Forward
As members of the WBCCI, we take great pride in the fact that our club is the longest running, single-branded RV club in the United States. From its humble beginnings in the home of Helen Byam-Schwamborn in 1955, thousands of members have participated in unit, regional and international activities. Countless caravans have logged millions of miles and life-long friendships have developed based solely on our affection for Airstreams and the lifestyle it offers us.
Membership in the WBCCI hit its peak of approximately 25,000 members in the late 1970s. Since that time, club membership has declined to well under 6,000 members today. There are uncontrollable factors that include the nation’s economy and attrition, but there are also controllable factors that could be addressed and implemented to turn the tide and begin to grow our club.
An effort has begun within the WBCCI to identify, address and resolve issues with an emphasis placed on a member-focused club. If you had the opportunity to attend this year’s International in Huron, South Dakota, you undoubtedly saw our buttons,
“Moving WBCCI Forward”
We, the undersigned, who have taken on various leadership roles in our units and regions, are proponents of this effort to make improvements within our club. We feel addressing and resolving the controllable factors is vital to retain our club’s viability, heritage and standing in the RV community. Ultimately, we would seek club growth in line with the historically high sales of Airstream products that have been outlined over the past few years by Bob Wheeler, President, Airstream Company, Inc. and Justin Humphreys, Vice President of Sales.
“Moving WBCCI Forward”? It is an effort to work within units, regions and our International organization to move forward yet still preserve our heritage and to recreate a member-focused club in which Airstream owners want to participate. It is an all-inclusive effort where club practices and policies serve to unite members, where all members are treated with respect, their views are valued and their voices heard.
What”Moving WBCCI Forward” is not is a set of changes or direction being given by the IBT or the International President.
What will “Moving WBCCI Forward” look like when implemented?
〈A long-term strategy in place with focus on members and membership growth. Member input sought and valued. Members treated like valued customers who in turn step up to lead their club. Club remains fluid, realigning priorities with the interests of members.
〈Communications improved and timely on all levels within units, regions, and International, with a strategic focus on utilizing electronic communication when possible. (Unit and Region websites, International Rally website and app, member surveys).
〈Unit rallies, caravans, Regional and International rallies that focus on fun, friendship and adventure. Less protocol required, positive attitudes, good value received for dues paid.
〈Club leaders, who inspire and represent members’ interests, work to alleviate ‘Them vs. Us’, and conduct club business with efficiency and minimal structure.
〈Efficient use of technology available to process information in the most cost-effective means possible, offering members the option of interacting with and submitting information to WBCCI online.
“Moving WBCCI Forward” Vision Statement
To work proactively within our Units, Regions and International entity to bring about improvements that move the WBCCI forward creating a member-focused club in which all Airstream Owners wish to participate.
“Moving WBCCI Forward” Mission Statement
To share our vision of “Moving WBCCI Forward” with all Airstream owners using various communication tools including the Blue Beret, websites, club newsletters and social media. Select high priority items that will move our club forward. Foster continued and improved communications and work within our units and regions to involve and grow our membership.
In order to continue our effort, we need your assistance. Step up when needed in your unit and your region. Work to bring about a positive change in the WBCCI. Provide guidance to new members. Each and every member has something to offer our club. Join the discussion and ‘Like’ our Facebook page: Moving WBCCI Forward.
Carolyn Beardshear Jim and Lynda Polk
Region 5 Region 12
Matt and Beth Hackney Steve Rosenthal
Region 3 Region 3
Mona and Doug Heath Tom and Hedda Smithson
Region 10 Region 12
Why are we unable to get Leaders?
The nominating committees are busy recruiting and interviewing individuals to lead WBCCI efforts. A quick review of our Membership Directory gives evidence of many parts of our organizations operating without the desired staffing. We are receiving details of the nominations of Units in our Region for next year. Many could not fill their Leadership needs. We are increasing in membership but are often unable to recruit volunteers to lead our efforts.
In recent news broadcast on a National network, the commentator noted that recruiting persons to fill congressional roles is more difficult, getting approval for judicial system candidates is nearly impossible, and having more than half of our citizens get out and vote is without precedent since the last world war. At the same time, more persons are participating in YouTube surveys every year. Last year, our citizens spent 10 times more hours on YouTube than watching television. Television is becoming obsolete. The commentator was reporting a condition most people found “uninteresting”.
What can we do to make “Leading” interesting and rewarding? We continue to simplify the tasks and time requirements expected of leaders. We have increased the use of electronic communication to reduce both effort and cost. We are providing mentors for anyone wanting assistance performing their role. We have increased the frequency of recognitions given to those who share the organizations workload. The newest members are bringing skills not available to many of their predecessors.
Successful organizations report that each member has something they uniquely contribute to the successful outcome. Do we know what each of our members contributes? Can we expect everyone to volunteer to do something? Do we accept “welfare” memberships? If everyone contributed something, the role of the Leader would be orchestrating the efforts to optimize those efforts. Politely ignoring “welfare” memberships will not provide a healthy organization.
Traveling as a team, with the WBCCI
from Airstream Company e-newsletter “Live Riveted”
Airstream since its creation, has always had a focus on community. After all, how many other travel trailer companies can boast something as unique and community-driven as the pink flamingo? Whether you’re new to the experience or a seasoned veteran, travelling in your Airstream is just more fun with others. That’s where the Wally Byam Caravan Club International (WBCCI) comes in.
The WBCCI was officially formed in 1955, but its roots begin even earlier than that. To build interest in Airstreams and to help encourage people to seek fun and adventure in new places, Wally Byam himself invited other Airstream owners to join him on the road. His original caravans spanned the United States, Canada, Mexico, and other countries around the world. They also inspired the formation of the WBCCI.
Today the club has approximately 6,000 official members – but many more participate, as spouse or partner of a member. Members are divided by region, and most join units within those regions, where they can caravan and camp together, in addition to meeting at monthly unit rallies.
The signature of a WBCCI member is the red number on the front and rear of each member’s trailer. This is their membership number, and is a public identification as a member of the WBCCI. “Airstreamers wear them with great pride,” says Fred Richardson, marketing director for the WBCCI – and a member, of course. “They signal new and amazing journeys far and wide, trailering history, and life-long friendships.”
And those journeys create great memories. “My favorite experiences are the caravans where you get to experience the same spirit of adventure that Wally set forth when he led his own adventure caravans,” Richardson says. “I’ve participated in several local unit caravans that lead me to sites and activities across this great country of ours that I perhaps would never have seen on my own.”
And new experiences are just more enjoyable as a group – and easier, too. “There’s always someone that can help if you run into any mechanical issues, and by going as a group the cost is much cheaper than on your own,” says Richardson. “We enjoy the fun, fellowship and adventure as we travel to and visit places we never dreamed possible. We have made lifelong friendships along the way just the way they did when Wally was leading the caravan.”
From the original Wally Byam-led caravans to today, the best way to experience the Airstream lifestyle is together. And since its formation, the Wally Byam Caravan Club International has been the easiest, most enjoyable, and best way to find other Airstreamers and explore the world together.
What causes improvement and change?
WBCCI offers a good package of benefits for owners of Airstream vehicles. Thousands of us agree and continue to renew our membership and volunteer to keep those benefits alive. It is difficult for those that are satisfied to understand the larger number of Airstream vehicle owners that have not made the choice to join us. Our Region has more members this year than we had last year and most every Unit has new members.
Before we conclude that those persons choosing not to join are not correct, we need to listen to what they are telling us about they need. It may not be something we want but does that make it wrong?
Our parents gave us wonderful opportunities. They had opinions of how to achieve a great future for us and their grandchildren. My parents had six children. Each of us developed our lives to fit our needs and desires. The outcomes have been noticeably different. Each reflects our individual priorities and choices. Three chose to be employed by successful corporations. Two started their own businesses. One did what was available when he and his spouse needed money. Given that they all received the same beneficial advice, how could they make such different choices?
Our Airstream vehicle family has significant differences in the current membership and more differences in those that have chosen not to join us. The Airstream Corporation, the WBCCI leadership, and many other creative individuals are seeking ways to satisfy the needs of those that have chosen not to join us. The efforts seem radical but they are extremely successful in several areas of our country. New Units, new programs, and new greetings are accomplishing what decades of doing what we did so well had not achieved.
When asked by a perspective member “what do you do in WBCCI?” Quickly give your answer and ask “what would you like WBCCI to do?” Listen closely without judging their thoughts. We have an opportunity to help more Airstream vehicle owners to join us and share the benefits of WBCCI membership.
Region 3 in Sarasota
Alumaflamingo is being held in Sarasota next February and Region 3 has been graciously provided a building for the event. We will feature a schedule of seminars, caravanning videos, member ideas sharing, and a Region 3 Board Meeting. In addition, Jay Thompson will be sharing information from the Mid-Winter IBT and asking for your thoughts heading into the summer. A schedule, listing our events, will be provided to all attendees. We have a chance to explain how the WBCCI can add Fun, Fellowship, and Adventure to Airstream owners.
Ron Allen has agreed to coordinate the schedule for this space and is looking for your Unit to provide programming. Please help us put together a full schedule of activities by contacting Ron at: email@example.com.
President Jay D. Thompson 850-212-4719 firstname.lastname@example.org
1st V.P. Dick Martiny 478-472-2693 email@example.com
2ndV.P. Matt Hackney 706-830-8039 firstname.lastname@example.org
“Keep your shiny side up, smile, and see you down the road”
Wally Byam’s Four Freedoms
1. Freedom from Arrangements-from reservations, schedules, in short, most of the inconveniences of modern travel.
2. Freedom from the problems of Age-trailer travel provides an antidote to boredom, an economical way to make new friends, visit new places, and share new adventures.
3. Freedom to Know-Trailer travel provides a better opportunity to get to know a country and it’s people and an increased opportunity to discover the world.
4. Freedom for Fun-All of the first three freedoms add up to the fourth. You just plain begin to relax and enjoy life to the fullest.
August 26 2013 | News | Comments Off
Let’s say WBCCI and Airstream Company each unselfishly acted as though their futures were intertwined. Let’s say they could, without any fear of repercussions from inurement, openly and helpfully conduct business to aid one another. The two organizations were, at one time many years ago, just so intertwined and it sure worked to their mutual advantage.
Hmm, there might be a lot of good realized if . . .
Airstream Company AND WBCCI worked together for new buyers and members?
Justin Humphreys, Airstream Company’s Vice-President of Sales, addressed many interested caravaners today at the WBCCI International Rally in Huron SD. His presentation to the auditorium’s standing room only crowd was aimed right at this bunch of Airstream owners / WBCCI members.
Humphreys compared 2012 sales to 2013 ytd, and showed the product lines relative market shares to other major brands of trailers and B-vans. He claimed he is a data-junkie, and proceeded to prove it. Humphreys shared graphs and comments about how 2012 was a record-setting year for Airstream. He went on to mention the Airstream Company had 330 employees as of early 2013, they are up to 390 employees and they are still hiring. Orders are backlogged for Airstream trailers and B-vans through December, a great positive indicator.
Airstream Company surveys purchasers of Airstream trailers and B-vans at 90 days after purchase, and studies the purchasers comments to better understand how to meet market wants and needs. Other data they obtain includes buyers’ ages, career status, household income levels, and awareness of the Airstream owners’ club.
Humphreys told the group, including WBCCI Region Presidents, International President, and officers, the data show several key points of interest to the WBCCI leadership. These key points are as follows:
Keeping between the ditches sometimes isn’t enough!
>Age of owners is pushing downward, evidenced by age of purchasers of new Airstreams.
>1st Time owners are often unaware of WBCCI, the Airstream owners club, or of Wally Byam. This represents an opportunity for marketing outreach not only to new owners but perhaps more greatly to potential owners.
>More than 1/2 of purchasers of new Airstreams are working. They have less time for RVing, are interested in shorter trips and weekend events. Family-oriented rallies and activities are likely to be most appealing to this large group of new purchasers. They are very likely interested in travel with friends. And they are attracted to Airstreams for lifestyle support.
Humphreys’ comments might provide key goals for a WBCCI region and unit’s leadership. And Humphreys seemed to clearly state, “Here is important information for your membership recruitment and retention. Your club would do well to attend to this for its own future growth.”
There is hardly a more avid group of Airstreamers than the WBCCI membership. We travel together, camp together, keep in touch, enjoy our RVs and love the brand. These qualities are infectious — we show others how much fun this is and they “catch it”. Just being infectious doesn’t guarantee spreading this delightful aluminumitis WBCCIers enjoy so much. Members have to work at it and can use great leadership at all levels to help.
Does it seem Airstream Company’s Vice-President of Sales is nudging our club, as if to say, “Move Forward”? Perhaps it would be a good selfishness for Airstream Company to wish WBCCI well in recruitment and retention — what’s good for WBCCI is almost certainly good for Airstream.
And if it is good for WBCCI, shouldn’t our WBCCI leadership (and members) find this a very good nudge? Actionable goals promoted by Club leadership and related to recruitment and retention could unite the Club into forward motion, toward improved member recruitment and retention and success for the Club.
Keep Moving Forward!
June 29 2013 | Airstream Company and Members and Units and WBCCI | Comments Off