What Attracts Us to The Wally Byam Airstream Club?
First, a disclaimer: Jim's the President of the Wally Byam Airstream Club International. He was elected July 29 2017 and will serve until replaced next Summer on Jun 29, 2018. We've been active members since 2004 so we've been around, seen a lot already. Certainly not as much as some, but we're not rookies. We love WBCCI, the Wally Byam Airstream Club.
We joined WBCCI over thirteen years ago. We feel lucky to have met members from all fifty states (yep, even Hawaii,) Israel, England, and at least five provinces. The Club has taken us places for at least a couple of weeks every summer we might not have found on our own. Our towing and RVing education started with joining The Airstream Club and continues every time we gather for Club activities.
There probably needs to be an advisory warning on the Club literature -- "This could be habit-forming". We attended our first International Rally in 2007. We learned lots about full-timing, met hundreds of fabulous folks, and enjoyed seeing a thousand Airstreams of all sizes and ages. We had such a great time we decided we were going to try to go to every International Rally.
So far we've missed just one, because we were enjoying crawling across Canada enroute to the storied Alyeska Caravan. Fortunately, we've made nine of the last ten. We plan to do at least as well in the future. Where better to find hundreds of cool-looking trailers and motorhomes, open-house for a large gathering of vintage Airstreams, attend interesting seminars, visit a new and different place, and get to see your friends from all over the USA and Canada? This year's International Rally was in Escanaba MI, and next year's is in Salem OR. Great places to visit, maybe to stay too.
Participating as a volunteer in rallies, as with almost all volunteering anywhere, is one way to learn more about the organization and to meet people. Our local Unit found good leadership jobs for us, and we enjoyed serving. We both did a lot of presentations at work throughout our careers. We know how to organize and present information well. Debbie and I pretty quickly found our niche -- we've presented seminars on a variety of topics every year. This has turned out to be so much fun we are thinking of looking for new topics.
Once we started volunteering in the Club, we were hooked. We have time, we have talents, and we enjoy the opportunities the Club offers. We continue learning and finding things we can do to help. Jim has served as Region, IntraClub, and Unit web master; IntraClub and Unit President; Secretary-Treasurer; and newsletter editor for the IntraClub. Debbie served multiple years as International Rally Awards Chairman; IntraClub Recording Secretary; Unit First Lady; and Secretary-Treasurer. We've have presented at least seventeen seminars at International and Region Rallies. We like the involvement and activity, and we like giving back to the Club that has given us so much.
Several times every year we hear from folks who ask about assistance locating or inspecting an Airstream for sale. You want to get a set of eyes on the trailer's current condition to confirm how it really looks, right? The prospective purchase might be three states away, or in Austin TX, or in the Sacramento CA area. We are able to find someone in the Club who offers to help our friends look at the prospective purchase for them. This is easy because the WBCCI is International, throughout USA, Canada, and with a new chapter in Australia. Pretty cool benefit.
Throughout Canada, Europe and the USA, members offer courtesy parking for visits. These "courtesy parking" arrangements offer members a chance to park their Airstream overnight at another member's location. Often these locations include full hookups or at least electricity and water. The listing of members offering courtesy parking is in the member directory. This is a nice member benefit and one we enjoy greatly.
Find Rallies Anywhere Anytime
No matter where we travel throughout the USA and Canada, and soon in Europe too, we can check the Club's calendars on-line
or through The Blue Beret and see local events we want to attend. We were in Dana Point CA early 2013 and Airstream friends invited us to a beach party at their house with a bunch of their ukulele and Airstream friends.
Weeks later we were in Quartzsite AZ and attended a fun rally organized by a WBCCI local Club. People from Arizona, California, Colorado, North Carolina, Oregon, and Texas attended this well-organized rally. A month later, in Sarasota Fl, we bumped into a couple of these folks at a large rally. And in June at the International Rally in Huron SD we bumped into a few of them again. We could just drift around the country moving from one rally to the next, perpetually. Hmm, we may someday just do that!
Should You Join?
Sure! You can learn all about joining and membership here
. Try it for a couple of years at least. WBCCI is the largest and oldest single-brand RV club in the world. It is an organization that has helped tens of thousands of Airstreamers enjoy the adventure, make new friends, and find support when and where they need it. The essential elements of the Club persist today -- it still aims to help you maximize your fun, enjoy your Airstream, make good friends, support your quest, and help you enjoy the adventure. The Club's new leadership dedicates themselves to these ends for our benefit. The Club keeps on improving as it meets the challenges required by our changing times.