Mar 1, 2023 | Club News

Presidents Corner – March 2023

Fellow Members,

I hope all is well with you! Some of you may know we reside in Santa Rosa, CA, about 45 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge in northern CA, but have been on the road for much of the new year, traveling through the southern states to camp with fellow Airstream Club members in TX, AL, MS, LA. But as you also probably experience from time to time, that “wanderlust” feeling has already crept in as we start to plan our next outing. I know most of you are also looking forward to the spring and summer when the blossoms bloom and our silver Airstreams hit the road again! We’re home now, returning home to green hills and, finally, lots of water.

Funny Story (well, maybe)

During my years as an Electrical Engineer working in the Research and Development labs of Hewlett Packard deep in Silicon Valley, it was not unusual for my wife LaVerne to find finger scribbles on the shower wall with equations and circuit designs that came to me the previous night. Let’s say she found it amusing…  Anyway, this month’s President’s Corner is the same – it’s a total re-write after a shower “ah-ha.”

I’m going to focus on our recent Membership Survey. First, we had roughly 3,000 responses (thanks!) which, at around 16% of the membership, is reasonable for a “customer satisfaction” survey. That’s ok.

The good news

The survey data, the “tone” in our social media accounts, and the numerous emails I receive are probably the most positive and forward-looking I’ve personally seen in my years in the Club. I see lots of excitement, events filling up faster than ever, lots of questions and helpful member-to-member answers, and evident joy in being in our Club. That’s great, and thank you!

The Challenges

Your survey responses indicated a desire to attend from one to five events (rallies) per year. Still, a reasonable number wanted to participate in six to eight events per year, with a general desire to attend even more events in the next year than you had in the past year. Some basic math says that even with approximately 500 events offered in a year, we’re still not keeping up with the demand and need to increase opportunities for our members. What’s the critical issue? Getting enough volunteers at the Local Club level to help plan events. That’s it in a nutshell.    If there’s only one way you can help, PLEASE offer to help plan an event within your local area. It can be a highly structured event with meals or a “Just Camping” event where a time and place are identified, and our members make arrangements on their own.

What types of Events (rallies)?

It’s a mix, but what’s interesting is that the desired balance of activities doesn’t change across the age demographic! Meaning it didn’t seem to matter if a respondent was in their 30s or 60s. Fascinating; I infer from this data that our members frankly like a moderate bit of all the below, but not a lot and not a little; you like to be active, but you also appreciate the easy-going, free time and socializing.

Other Results from the Membership Survey

  • Member age: ‘50s to ’70s, but significant numbers in the ’30s, ’40s, and ‘80s.
  • Approximately 75% attended 0 to 5 Club events last year (60% attended 1 to 5 events)
  • Approximately 75% would ideally like to attend 1-5 Club events in a year (15% would like to attend 6 to 8 events per year).
  • Approximately 95% plan to attend the same or more events next year.
  • Approximately 90% of primary travelers are adults traveling without children.
  • Approximately 45% stayed between 11 and 60 days in their Airstream last year. Approximately 20% stayed between 60 and 150 days in their Airstream last year.
  • Main reasons for joining ACI (in priority):
    1. Becoming part of a community with a common bond for Airstreaming.
    2. Desire to learn about all things Airstream.
    3. To go camping with other Airstreamers.
    4. To meet new people.
    5. I wanted to get more out of Airstream ownership.
  • What types of events are of interest (in priority)?
    1. Short caravans (two weeks or less)
    2. Learning-focused rallies (maintenance, towing, storage)
    3. Interest and hobby-specific rallies
    4. Camp out at Airstream HQ in Jackson Center, OH (!!)
    5. Spontaneous trips (no agenda/schedule)
    6. Urban Rallies (camping in a City)
    7. Collaboration events with Airstream, Inc
    8. Boondocking rallies

There’s a lot more in the survey (too much for this article), and we’ll get the results to all the Club leadership, but those are the highlights I wanted to share. To me, it indicates that we have a diverse group of members, but with some very similar interests that do NOT vary much across member age. Keep the above in mind as you think of suggestions for your Local Club, Region, or Intra-Club.

I’m not sure if this was interesting or helpful (smile). Still, I wanted you all to see a bit more about yourselves and hopefully join your leadership team in figuring out how to offer more events and, even more importantly, help them happen.

Safe travels,

Eric McHenry

International President / BRN 153 // Amateur Radio callsign AA6EM

<h4><a href="" 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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