As I look forward to the next year as your International President, I can’t help but spend a few moments reflecting on the past. This is a great club, one of the strongest in the world. After 50 years, it is still the world’s largest single brand club. The club is built upon the base of its units and regions, rather than from the International level. It is by far the most democratic of all the large RV clubs. Its strength comes from the hard work of a lot of different dedicated people throughout the club at all levels. I’m humbled when I think about the contributions of our past leaders. Many have given untold hours of service to the club, and have contributed a large portion of their lives, to making it what it is today. I know there have been some major bumps in the road, there have been times of internal strife and conflict, but through it all under their leadership, we’ve been able to protect our values and standards. We owe them so much! It is my sincere hope that I can carry on with a portion of the skill and energy of these past leaders.
Several of our officers will be changing roles this year; a big thank you to the unit, region and international officers, also standing committee chairmen and other members who have fulfilled their commitment to the club. I also want to extend a thank you to the new leaders who have committed themselves to a year, or more, of service to the club. I feel good about the new officers who are coming on board this year. They are intelligent, energetic and independent thinkers. They will add the checks and balances to the mix that is required for a group like ours to make the best choices possible. We will face some challenges including finding a new Corporate Manager and getting them trained for the job. These problems are only small bumps in the road. An even bigger problem we must face is that we are in a time when the fundamental base of Airstream owners that make up our club and will be the members of the future, have somewhat different needs and expectations than those who been members in the past. Our club has been composed of individuals who were serious RV users; mostly they had time for longer caravans and longer rallies. They liked their events well-planned, and they were greater fans of organization and order. The Airstreamer of tomorrow may well not be retired. They live in a more hectic world; they have less time to devote to their love of Airstreaming; for them rallies and caravans need to be short enough to fit into a hectic life with too short available vacation time.
This shift will not be a major problem for WBCCI, it only means that we have to make changes in the way we plan and organize our rallies and events. How fast will these changes need to be made? Well, faster than most of us realize. Last year about 15% of our membership turned over. And of the new members, a very large percentage fits into this younger member profile. For us to ignore this fact would be extremely damaging to the organization we love.
The WBCCI of tomorrow may not be the same WBCCI as today, but I feel confident that it will continue to be a great club as we go forward. Nothing can stop this, so long as we keep our attention focused on our purpose. Believe me, it’s not about minor differences on some of the issues, this is only trivia. It is about what holds us together. The fact that we share the same vision, the same purpose. Our very reason for existence is to provide high-quality cost-effective caravans, rallies and a social structure to all Airstreamers; whatever their race, religion, creed, or reason for owning an Airstream may be. Nobody! No other RV club anywhere in this country, or anywhere else in the world, can do this as well as we can; we are for all Airstream owners everywhere; the world’s greatest RV club.
You can’t imagine how humbled I am by having been given this year as your president.
I just know we are going to have a great year.
WBCCI Central Office803 E. Pike StreetP.O. Box 612Jackson Center,OH 45334Ph 937-596-5211Fax 937-596-5542
Deb Mann, Interim Corporate Manager/Blue Beret Editor
Tara Hodges, Membership Director
Deb Sailor, Blue Beret Copy Editor
Julie Rethman, Member Services
Please contact Julie Rethman Headquarters to report officer listing changes, website address or activity information or to update personal contact infomation.
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