Members' Info

president-joe  President's Corner

This past month, I’ve been spending time reading and reviewing the comments in the survey. It brings home to me the diversity of our club.

I remember an article I read a while back in the Escapees magazine. In the article, Kay Peterson relates a story about four young women eating lunch at a park at an Ivy League school in the East. One of the girls felt something on her foot and looked down to see that a snake had crawled across her foot. The snake was a harmless garter snake, but this young woman from New York City threw her lunch in the air and ran screaming “snake, snake, run for your life”. Another of the girls, from Seattle, jumped on the table in fear, a young woman from Tennessee, undisturbed, continued eating, saying it’s only a garter snake. The fourth, a young woman from the bayous of Louisiana, reached down picked up the snake and carried it to some bushes and released it. Based on their backgrounds and their frames of reference, the way these girls saw this incident varied amazingly. Likewise the way we see the world, can be very different.

In the comments I read regarding the International Rally I found: the rallies are too long, the rallies are too short. I read we are just getting too casual, and we are absolutely too formal. I also saw a lot of what are reruns of negative comments from years past; in some cases it’s admittedly secondhand. Whatever one thinks, everything written, is the honest view of at least some of our members, and is therefore not to be taken lightly. While it’s true that there’s likely no way to respond to all comments by making changes in processes; you can often make some adjustments. In some cases, changes do need to be made, in others perhaps the only thing to do is listen and respect the opinion of the member.

Another truth is that when someone sees something in a certain way, to them that’s the way it is. Often it’s only a matter of opinion; much of what divides us is like this. Which is better: Chinese or Mexican food; there is no better, only individual preference.  Sometimes there is truth in one of the opinions; frequently there isn’t. My point is simply this, a lot of what divides us, is simply opinion and a matter of perspective and a lot more is trivia. Still, it can become a major factor that distracts us from some real unifying truth; we are all Airstreamers sharing common goals and purpose.

Some of us are RV travelers of the original school of WBCCI members, where 15% of us attended the International Rally each year (with our suits) and spent many weeks in our RV. Many of the newer and more progressive members view this as a camping club, its T-shirts and shorts for the dress of the day. We want our rallies shorter, weekends when we can escape from the daily routine and enjoy the countryside. We don’t want our events to have too much organization, or to be too formal. Not asked on the survey, but a very frequent comment is that we place too much emphasis on the Protestant Christian religion. Don’t get mad at me, I’m a Christian and mean it, but it’s there and ignoring it doesn’t help.

Until just recently the traditional member was firmly in the majority. This is not true anymore. Over 50% of our members have been members less than 10 years, and 25% less than two. 28% work and 59% are under 70 years of age. Almost half visit online forums and a very substantial percentage read online newsletters and communications.

All this is no problem; it’s possible for us to find common ground. Let’s cut each other a little slack. Sure we’re not the same, we will
never be, nor should we be. We do all share a love for our Airstreams. We all want to attend rallies and social events with other Airstreamers. Some events may not work for all of us; but here’s the thing, there are events that are to your liking, and you can attend and enjoy lots of events. W BCCI exists only to provide Airstreamers with events of all kinds, something for all Airstream owners. Let’s do everything we can to make that gal from New York City and the Bayou gal from Louisiana happy; there is nothing wrong with either.  Let’s listen, love, and respect them without judgment. Let’s stick to our roots, and not follow trivia into division.

I think about our club, who we are, who we were and who we will be. And I think our club probably reflects our society. It’s becoming more and more diverse all the time; not sure why but Iam sure it is. The truth is that for any organization to long exist, thrive and remain relevant it must have two things: a tolerance for diversity and a willingness to conform to the views, opinions, and values of its members. As Airstream owners we have excluded those who own RVs of other brands; this was a conscious decision and we all accept it. At this point, however, we can ill afford to reject those members whose opinions do not conform to ours.

While you may not agree with some of the results of the survey, remember these are the opinions of the members and all members need to “give & take” and work together for the good of the club.