Jul 1, 2023 | Club News, Rally/Events

President’s Corner – July 2023

Welcome from Rally2023

Fun in Rock Springs, WY

We’ve just concluded our 66th International Rally in Rock Springs, WY.  Great attendance, weather, and smiles all around.  Check out some of the Rally2023 Photos and our wonderful FaceBook “Rolling to Rock Springs” pre-and post-Rally travel experiences.

If you couldn’t make it, we hope to see you in Sedalia, MO, in 2024 or York, PA, in 2025.  This will be a brief note but look forward to more information coming in our August Blue Beret (the Blue Beret is not published in January and July)


Historic Agreement Between Airstream, Inc and ACI

Airstream, Inc CEO Bob Wheeler and Airstream Club International President, Eric McHenry

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, where Airstream now offers an Airstream Club Explorer Membership with the purchase of every new Airstream.


Strategic Planning Initiatives

Developed in our three-day Strategic Planning Session two months ago, 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
  • Infrastructure
  • Training at all Levels

 


My Closing Comments at Rally2023

Let me tell you a story that I suspect is shared by many of you in this room tonight.

LaVerne and I purchased our first Airstream in 2010 after falling in love with the iconic shape and premium design.  We loved it, and we thought we were fully set for camping with friends and family.  Basically, we bought a “thing”, a piece of hardware, a vehicle, something we towed.  Nothing else. We had no idea of where our journey would go in the subsequent 13 years.

Then, in June of 2010 LaVerne and I joined the Santa Clara Unit of WBCCI.  We had no real expectations, other than joining what we thought of as a simple Club of Airstream enthusiasts.  It was great, and we loved it.

But guess what?  We soon found was this was more than a loosely-connected group of RV owners.  We started to learn about our history, starting in 1958 with Wally Byam and Helen Schwamborn, then starting to understand that “through-line” that connects our Club today with the vision and, frankly, mission, of Wally and Helen.

This through-line, we learned, was called the “Wally Byam Creed” and while we read the words, to be frank, they sounded kinda’ quaint and old-fashioned.  But the light started to come on as we read and started to understand some of his words and what he left for us.

He starts off this way:

“In the heart of these words is an entire life’s dream. To those of you who find in the promise of these words your promise, I bequeath this creed…my dream belongs to you – Wally Byam”

Today, as we end this 2023 International Rally, the word in my – and many of your minds – is “Community”.  Sure, we’re a “Club”, but what most of us experienced over the last week was a sense of more than that.  An elevation from Club to Community.

So, Webster defines “Community” as:  “A feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals”.  But I argue it’s more than that, though: it is what I mentioned in a prior President’s Message about the importance of community in our lives – we need it, we value it, we learn from it, and perhaps most importantly, we develop and grow a deep compassion for our fellow human beings.

Look at the person to your left and to your right tonight; those individuals are our Community – what we’ve shared here in Rock Springs and in our Regions and Local Clubs is truly unique, and I would argue even more critical these days, both locally, nationally, and internationally.

So, if there’s one thing I hope you leave Rock Springs with, it is a collection of heartfelt memories of fun, education, food, recreation, and community.  Take that back to your Regions and Local Clubs and let them know about the fun we all had here over the last few days and the promise of our future as a Club.

And remember what Wally Byam said back in the 1950s, that holds uniquely true today.  His mission for us was, in part:

“To open a whole world of new experiences…a new dimension in enjoyment where travel, adventure and good fellowship are your constant companions – Wally Byam”

I think we’ve got that!

Thank you for your time! And travel safely back to your home or on your journeys!  It’s been a joy and an honor serving you this last year as your International President!


Upcoming International Rallies


 

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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