It’s been a great year serving this term as your International President and I look forward to continuing serving during this upcoming second two-year term! As I have looked back on the last twelve months, I have been humbled and pleased by our Club’s progress. We’ve “hit our stride” toward continuing to provide the enjoyment and fulfillment promised to you as members of the oldest and premier single-brand RV Club EVER. How? Some highlights accomplished by the International Board of Trustees working with the innumerable volunteers at the Region, Local, and Intra-Club levels:
Historic Agreement Between Airstream, Inc, and ACI
Bob Wheeler, CEO of Airstream, Inc & Eric McHenry, International President ACI
During our IBT Strategy Session in Jackson Center, Airstream Inc CEO Bob Wheeler and I signed a historic new agreement between Airstream Inc and ACI. While the agreement touches on other significant areas of collaboration, one component is the Airstream Club Explorer Membership. Airstream now offers an Airstream Club Explorer Membership with the purchase of every new Airstream. Additional new areas of collaboration include cooperative “onboarding” of new Airstream owners into ACI, sharing of informational and educational content, the improved linkage between Airstream dealers and ACI Regions, intent to collaborate on events such as “newbie,” “maintenance,” “urban rallies,” etc. Essentially, we’ve aligned their business purpose with our goals to enhance the Airstream experience of our members.
As stated by Ted Davis (CEO of Airstream Adventures) during Rally2023: “You are the embodiment of what it is to be Airstream. The Club is the spirit of Wally, of Airstream, and what it is to be human.”
We’ve just concluded our 66th International Rally in Rock Springs, WY. Not only was it our largest International Rally in 20 years, but most importantly, the “vibe” was terrific: we had smiles and hugs all around, great weather, and an excellent location full of the adventure we seek in our Airstreams. Visit our new Blue Beret Blog (blog.airstreamclub.org) for a great selection of Rally photos. As is often the case, we were joined by several senior executives from Airstream, Inc. One of their comments summed it up nicely:
“It was great to see everyone at the rally, and I had a lot of positive comments after the announcement. The rally was awesome, too, and it was great to see so many positive changes to the format. The best energy I’ve ever seen at an Airstream rally since I’ve been going.”
Kudos to our 400 Rally2023 volunteers, led by the Rally Planning Team of part-time HQ staff plus volunteers. If you couldn’t make it, we hope to see you in Sedalia, MO, in 2024 or York, PA, in 2025.
LaVerne, Pierre Bogros (BRN 2329), and Eric at VAC Tent (Rally2023)
Michael “Mooch” Cofer (BRN 4533) and Eric (Rally2023)
“The Hat Guru” Tommy Green (BRN 5350) and Eric (Rally2023)
VAC Past-President Lynne Talsma (BRN 6098) and LaVerne (Rally2023)
Kandi, Tamara, Drew (Sweetwater Events Complex Management), LaVerne and Eric (Rally2023)
NEW Blue Beret Blog
I’m excited about our new Blue Beret Blog (blog.airstreamclub.org); it had a “soft launch” in June, fulling rolling out this month of August, and has already become an easily accessible, mobile-first way for our members to read articles of interest: Club News, Destinations, Education, Gear, History, Rally/Events and Stories. The Blog already has over 50 articles, with more coming weekly; some articles highlight prior Blue Beret content and important notices, but you’ll also start to see more content on enjoying your Airstream, keeping up to speed on things in the Club, and some great articles from our partners. Equally important is the ability to leverage Blue Beret Blog content through hyperlinks in our social media platforms, Region, and Local Club newsletters – we’ve already started to see this occur and love this new way of keeping our members informed and aware of educational and lifestyle opportunities.
NEW Blue Beret Bulletin
Along with our Blue Beret Blog, we’re pleased to announce a new bite-sized digital-only publication to be delivered monthly to your email address on record. This publication will capture the top “What’s Happening Now” each month, similar in concept to “The Rivet” from Airstream.com and other membership clubs. Often the content will include “READ MORE” linkages back to the Blue Beret Blog for more detailed information to provide timely, relevant information to our membership.
Redesigned Blue Beret Magazine
No, it’s not going away (!!), but it is being updated to highlight historical articles, rally information, member stories, destination articles, and educational and maintenance articles. Think of it as a “coffee table” magazine suitable for sitting down for a long read and, potentially, sharing with fellow Airstream owners such that they can learn more about our Club. It will be printed, but with continuing the option for digital delivery for those who prefer.
Strategic Planning Initiatives
Developed in our three-day Strategic Planning Session in April 2023, our Club priorities and initiatives for the next one-to-three years are as follows. Keep an eye out for more announcements and progress along our priorities.
Top Priorities and Initiatives for 2023/2026
- Internal Communications
- External Communications
- Welcome and Retain Members
- Training at all Levels
Upcoming International Rallies
- Press Release: Rally2024 in Sedalia, MO (October 2024)
- Press Release: Rally2025 in York, PA (August 2025)
Looking forward to seeing you all down the road, and let me know if you have ideas for our Club.
International President / BRN 153 // Amateur Radio callsign AA6EM