Our Club Fiscal Year started Aug. 1 and we’re off to a great start. As you read this in our new Blue Beret Bulletin and Blue Beret Blog this month, I want to bring you back to the Strategic Priorities our International Board of Trustees established in April 2023 during our three-day Strategic Planning Session in Jackson Center. A set of priorities intends to focus, invest (and measure) our results towards achieving those goals – you’ll see me referring to those goals throughout the year.
Top Priorities and Initiatives for 2023/2026
- Internal Communications
- External Communications
- Welcome and Retain Members
- Training at all Levels
Progress on Internal and External Communications
Our redesigned Blue Beret Magazine was launched last month (August 2023). Hopefully, you’ll notice the updated layout, highlighting a smiling Wally Byam (!) and more consistency with our brand colors and “feel.” That redesign follows this month with the new digital Blue Beret Bulletin and the increasing number of articles on our Blue Beret Blog. One neat thing about the Blue Beret Blog is that Regions, Local Clubs, and members can grab the URL of an article and directly paste it into their communications or social media. It’s a great way to leverage information without having to duplicate it. Read more about our new Communications Material Changes in the Blog.
Progress on Welcoming and Retaining Members
Our new Airstream Club Explorer Membership with Airstream, Inc. (who designs and manufactures our Airstreams) launched on July 1. While the Airstream Club International has always operated as an independent organization, our Club and Airstream, Inc. share common roots and goals. Through a historic agreement signed in 2023, Airstream, Inc. is excited to offer one year of the Explorer Membership with the purchase of every new Airstream travel trailer and touring coach. From our Club perspective, this dramatically opens up visibility to our Club and will not only introduce more members to our fantastic Club, but also provide a path to all the benefits of post-purchase learning and the Airstream “experience.”
Airstream Worldwide Dealer Meeting
One key initiative of our Strategic Plan was to tighten the relationship between our Club and the Airstream dealers. Many of the dealers already know about our Club and the benefit we provide to their customers. Still, unfortunately, many do not know about us, or do not know about the vitality we exhibit these days and how our demographics and initiatives now closely match what they see in their customers.
Justin Humphreys (Airstream VP of Sales), Eric McHenry, Lori Plummer and Bob Wheeler (CEO, Airstream, Inc)
To help launch the new program, we were invited to attend the Worldwide Dealer Meeting in Columbus, Ohio in August. Lori Plummer, our Corporate Manager, and I presented and discussed our Club (and membership benefits) to the entire Airstream senior dealer leadership (owners, general managers, etc.). Lots of great connections and energy from the dealers to work with us to put on newbie rallies, maintenance rallies, and more engagement with our Regions and Local Clubs. More to come through your Region Presidents, but it’s pretty exciting. We’re invited to attend next year and are now firmly viewed as part of the Airstream “family.” This is great progress and continues to open the door to shared benefits with Airstream, Inc.
Presentation at Dealer Meeting about our Club and the benefits we provide to members and new Airstream customers
Potlatch Reunion National Event Rally
I can’t end this article without speaking about the Potlatch Reunion National Event Rally LaVerne and I attended in Olympia, Washington at Washington Land Yacht Harbor, hosted by the Washington Airstream Club. This rally knocked it out of the park after re-starting after a decade. A potlatch is a gift-giving feast for Indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. That tradition has continued as rally planners have given the Airstream community fun, food and fellowship. We were treated to great food and meeting new friends, culminating in the traditional salmon dinner. Put it on your calendar for either next year or the year after. And if you’re in the Pacific Northwest (just north of Portland), stop by Washington Land Yacht Harbor (Airstream-exclusive park) as a base for your adventures.
Upcoming International Rallies
- Press Release: Rally2024 in Sedalia, MO (October 2024)
- Press Release: Rally2025 in York, PA (August 2025)
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.
International President / BRN 153 // Amateur Radio callsign AA6EM