I hope the start to 2023 has been uneventful and hopefully full of the joy the new year often brings us. I know from seeing images on social media that many of you have been spending the last few months traveling to warmer climates, hunkering down in front of a fireplace with warm slippers, or braving the elements in search of your next adventure. But I’m also sure many of you have been impacted by the mixture of rain, snow, flooding, and hurricanes that seem to plague us this time of the year – it’s my hope you escaped it relatively unscathed. For LaVerne and me, we safely navigated a 5,300-mile trip from home in Northern California down through the western and southern states, visiting with many of our Airstream friends.
On the Road with our Airstreams
So how many of us have encountered an Airstream at a rest stop, park, or campground and started chatting? Or urgently flashed our headlights at an Airstream going the other way, capturing that connection? I bet most of us have. I can’t count the times for LaVerne and me, and it’s a pleasant interlude we look forward. I’ll share two specifics from our last trip: One was an Airstream traveling west as we were heading east. We flashed our lights, were able to read each other’s Big Red Numbers (BRN), and what do you know! They were our friends Amy & John (BRN #11812) heading to CA from TX as we were heading to TX from CA. What a coincidence! We texted and agreed we were keeping the Airstream density in balance between TX and CA.
Then, heading west from New Orleans a few weeks later, we ended up parking next to an Airstream in a rest area, so of course, we scoped out the BRNs and met in the middle for a nice introduction and conversation. It turns out Dee and Mike (BRN #2420) were heading to a Louisiana Airstream Club rally just down the road. If we had time, we would have made a U-turn and joined, but we needed to be home. What a fun connection, and hopefully, we’ll see them again down the road somewhere! As I told them, being welcomed so far from home is terrific, especially on those long days on the road.
What we learned
The following are some of the common themes from our conversations over the last few months as we’ve traveled the country. All are part of our Club top priorities.
New Member Resources
We know we need to do better to provide timely and helpful information to our new Club members: from essential topics such as “Where (and how) to join in a club activity” to specific questions about Local Clubs, Regions, Intra-Clubs, Interest Groups, National Events, “What’s up with those Big Red Numbers,” you name it. Good news: a new series of “Welcome” emails will soon start going out to all new members to augment the new “Welcome New Members” area on our Club website (airstreamclub.org/newmembers). It’s a beginning, but the welcoming really starts when we can identify opportunities for new members to join at an event.
Thanks to all 3,000 or so respondents to our survey. We were interested in learning more about you and what you were looking for in our Club. More information will be available after further analysis, but here are some highlights:
I’ll stop there – it warrants more analysis on the trending and comments. Look for more information, probably coming to your email inbox in a few months.
The monthly Blue Beret magazine has been our standard for most of our 65 years. Still, there’s a lot of interest in augmenting with more bite-sized, focused communications pushed through email, also integrated through social media. It’s what most other member-based organizations have shifted to, and hopefully, you’ve already noticed the beginning of our use of digital (as with this message from me). Look to see improvements in our communications over the next six months and a refocusing of the Blue Beret on the longer-form topics.
NOTE: We must have each member’s email address on record, so please access your membership profile (airstreamclub.org/members/dashboard) to ensure you continue receiving email-based communications from us. Remember that both Primary and Partner members have individual profiles that might need to be updated.
Solar Eclipse Rallies in 2024
Exciting! Our National Events Rallies team is working to coordinate the variety of total solar eclipses occurring on April 8th, 2024. Learn more about the eclipse from the NASA Solar Eclipse page. Keep an eye out within your Region or Local Club for more information andupcoming announcements from our National Event Rallies team.
Courtesy Parking and Airstream Parks
Our journeys often include overnight stays at members’ properties (our Courtesy Parking program is available to Airstream Club members only) and stays at the various privately-owned Airstream-themed parks. After another excellent cross-country trip, I wanted to remind our members that these unique opportunities, coupled with Harvest Hosts, can enhance a trip. On this trip, we were welcomed with open arms into the North Texas Airstream Community (NTAC), then traveled to Texas Airstream Harbor (TAHI), where we shared a fantastic New Year’s Eve party and fireworks over the lake with the TAHI residents.
New Year’s Eve at Texas Airstream Harbor
Other favorites have been at the PennWood Airstream Park, Washington Land Yacht Harbor, Minnesota Airstream Park, and Virginia Highlands Haven – highly recommended as you plan your trip. Just reach out directly to the facility; we plan to visit the balance of the Airstream Parks as soon as possible.
Our Headquarters Team
I often get asked about our ACI headquarters team, located in Jackson Center just down the road from the Airstream factory. Many of you interact with them, so here’s faces to associate with the names. Our six-person team supports our 19,000 members, answering around 200 phone calls and double that in emails per week. They’re there to help you, so don’t hesitate to contact them if needed (email@example.com)
Left to right: Kristy Yonyon, Lori Plummer (Corporate Manager), Barb Langston, Amanda Hughes, Amber Regula, Cory Maxwell.
And with that, Safe Travels, and talk to you all in March.
International President / BRN 153 // Amateur Radio callsign AA6EM