Jan 31, 2024 | Club News, Rally/Events

President’s Corner – February 2024

Welcome to the New Year!

As we embark on a fresh year of adventure, I want to take the time to reflect on the strategic roadmap your International Board of Trustees (IBT) and I charted last year, plus look ahead to 2024 and beyond.  First, I need to stress that most of the successes from the previous year came as a result of our 2022 leadership structure changes: longer terms in office (two years vs. one), a focus on membership-based goals (versus largely ceremonial positions), a focus on strengthening the “business management” side of the Club to match the “fun” side, and an incredible engagement from our 12 Region Presidents (and Standing Committee Chairs) working with our wonderful headquarters team.

I’ve been in WBCCI / ACI leadership roles for more than six years and have never seen the level of commitment and professionalism.  Please join me and thank them for all they’ve done to support our Club.  A good friend told me a while ago: “…the strength and effectiveness of a Board comes down to how well you think and work together…”.


Welcome New International Standing Committee Chairs

The start of a new calendar year also means we have some new volunteers who have agreed to lend their professional and personal expertise to lead our “Standing Committees.” Please welcome the incoming Chairs:

  • Brad Briggs (BRN #215): Constitution and Bylaws Committee Chair
  • Debbie Hammer (BRN #201): Ethics and Grievance Committee Chair
  • Margaret Saylor (BRN #5320): Publications Committee Chair
  • Ray Combs (BRN #822): Caravans Committee Chair
  • Margaret Handshoe (BRN #1993): National Event Rallies Committee Chair. Note that Margaret, her husband Brian and my wife LaVerne are avid Formula 1 fans – here’s hoping we have a F1 National Event Rally in our club future, along with other motorsport events.

 


A Year in Review (and Progress) for our Club

2023 International Board of Trustees Strategic Planning Meeting (Airstream Boardroom)

What’s happened over the last year?  What did we accomplish?

To remind myself, I looked at my Presidents Corner article from one year ago, plus the IBT priorities and objectives we identified as part of our three-day strategic planning meeting:

  • Improved communications with our members through the Quarterly Campfire Chats, online webinars, new Blue Beret Blog, new monthly Blue Beret Bulletin, re-designed Blue Beret Magazine, stream of email-delivered content on upcoming topics, etc.
  • Launch the cornerstone element of the new partnership with Airstream, Inc. (Airstream Club Explorer Membership). Status: Done!
  • Work within the Membership Standing Committee to improve new members’ experience (and welcome) into our Club. Status: Great progress and more to come.
  • Update our website’s menu structure, “search,” and flow (airstreamclub.org). Status: Done.
  • Launch a new “Leadership Portal (footer section)” on our club website that contains information specifically for Club leaders. Status: Done
  • Significantly improve the Host and Member experience of our Courtesy Parking benefit. Status:“Courtesy Parking powered by Harvest Hosts” will launch in the spring of 2024.
  • Improve the National Event Rally program to support and roll out more signature events. Status:Great progress, including the re-launch of the National Potlatch Rally and several Eclipse-related rallies.
  • Continue the shift from paper-only to a more balanced mix of printed and electronic communications. Status: Done.
  • Through structure, planning, and feedback, continue improving our International Rally experience and fun. Status: Unprecedented success with Rally2023 in Wyoming. A favorite quote I heard from a long-term attendee: “…the [2023] International Rally was fantastic, and has become unrecognizable, in a good way, from what it was before…”
  • Address our Club headquarters (Jackson Center, OH) deferred maintenance, office areas, and lack of space to store and highlight our Club’s historical displays: Status: The adjacent office building was acquired with a move-in date of early 2024.
  • Expand parking and overnight stay for members visiting Jackson Center. Status: in progress, with a signature rally by the Vintage Airstream Club arriving in the spring of 2024.
  • Refine the International leadership structure to address things missed in 2021. Status: in progress by the IBT, with proposals due in the spring of 2024.
  • Continue to negotiate additional discount programs for our members: Status: We’ve grown from one member discount program four years ago to 14 now and are growing!
    • Airstream Supply Company (NEW)
    • Campers Card (NEW)
    • CampScanner (NEW)
    • Car Generator (NEW)
    • Solo Stove (NEW with several new color options available for stoves and a new product, the Pi Prime Pizza Oven now available)
    • KOA (NEW)
    • Goodyear Tires (NEW)
    • TME Travel Insurance (NEW)
    • Courtesy Parking
    • FCIS Insurance
    • Griot’s Garage
    • Harvest Hosts
    • Michelin Tires
    • Passport America

 


What’s Next for 2024?

First, we must deliver on our goals of providing better tools, training material, and support for our Local Clubs, Regions, and newsletter editors.  The Membership Standing Committee and Publications Standing Committee will lead on these, in coordination with our headquarters staff.  Some good ideas are in progress, including a club-wide process to automate the laborious task of keeping mailing lists up to date, training our newsletter editors on how to use templates, and Mailchimp automation, if desired.

The next significant effort will be to continue improvements and communications with members joining our Club (roughly 150 new memberships each month!).  We’re a “camping club” and need to help new members find their place in our Club and include them in at least one or two events within the first year of joining.  We know how great our Club is, so let’s share it.

Finally, our second annual three-day Strategic Planning and Prioritization meeting of the IBT will occur in Jackson Center next month.  Led by International Vice President Millie O’Donnell (BRN # 11471), the IBT will be spending time looking at how we can improve and expand the experience of our members at our events, identify new partnerships, and take some more steps towards my President goals of a) improving our financial reporting, b) improving our financial analysis and c) ensuring the appropriate financial controls are in place – all are essential building blocks for a ~$3 million annual revenue organization.


It Takes a Team

As mentioned earlier, the unprecedented progress over the last year by this IBT team of Region Presidents and Executive Council working with our headquarters team has been remarkable.  Each of them has put in a significant amount of personal time to help our Club be what you want it to be and keep it sustainable and vibrant for another 60+ years.  It’s been an honor to lead the IBT and your Club, and I look forward to the remaining 1.5 years of my term as your President.

That’s it for now!

Looking forward to seeing you all down the road, and let me know if you have ideas for our Club.

  Eric McHenry

Eric McHenry

International President / BRN 153 // Amateur Radio callsign AA6EM

emchenry@airstreamclub.org

<h4><a href="https://blog.airstreamclub.org/author/ericmchenry/" target="_self">Eric McHenry</a></h4>

Eric McHenry

International President Eric McHenry (BRN #153) and wife LaVerne (BRN #253) are owners of a 30' FB Classic, "Kawika" and reside in Northern California wine country. Both are avid and long-term campers, from the early days of backpacking, tent camping, kayak camping, and now Airstreams.

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