Written by Region 12 President, Jim Elmlinger. Published in the Region 12 Fall newsletter
Once upon a time (about 3 years ago, actually) there was a Unit in a more or less rural area in Region 12 that was struggling so hard that they were just not sure if they were even going to be around the following year. They were down to just 3 active members and things were looking really bad. So, they got their group of 3 members together to decide what they wanted to do. Well it became clear fairly quickly that none of them really wanted to give up the ol' unit, no way were they going to quit or give up without a good fight. One way or the other, they wanted to go camping and enjoy the great outdoors in their Airstreams. Well that was nice, but things were really bad and just what were they actually going to do about getting and keeping new members. They looked around for a fairy godmother, but one was not readily available. They came to an amazing conclusion; they decided that they were willing to do whatever it took to build their Unit back up, to have rallies rather than luncheons and picnics, and that it would be up to them to make it happen. They also adopted several slogans to help them in their efforts. The first being «Get the Word Out» following up with persistence and patience.
So over the next 3 years they planned and promoted rallies and encouraged others to join them. They very faithfully followed up on the 17 referrals that they received from WBCCI headquarters (14) and the Region (3) and wow 4 of these came out to an event and joined the unit. They put together and ran PSA's (public service announcements) of up coming events and rallies in the local area newspaper, picking up 12 more referrals, and 6 of those joined up. However, not everyone was convinced by their newspaper PSA's and some thought it would be better to have «look see» first. Well this generated 8 visitors to different rallies and 3 of these signed up. They put together a dynamite website listing activities, Airstream history and a lot of interesting pictures. Low and behold 8 more referrals, 3 of which have joined. And last but not least they asked these new members if they knew other Airstream owners, which developed 7 more referrals and 3 more members.
Their PSA's in the newspaper generated a feature article this past Spring and in May of 2005, they had an Airstream dealership open in their area and they have now begun to work with them.
In the beginning some rallies were attended by only one or two rigs. By the end of the «'05 membership year» they have grown their membership by 19 new members for a total of 22 members, 40% of which attended their August 2005 rally. One of these attendees returned from vacation on Monday at the beginning of the week and was at the rally when it started on Friday. There is now tremendous excitement in the unit, with many new younger members and a bright future.
Now I hope you have read this fairy tale this far because you will be rewarded to find out that Dreams Do Come True, because this is a real true Unit story that began in 2001, when the Hersey's, Damoth's, and Leippers of the Sierra Nevada Unit made the decision to try to keep the Unit going and began their comeback. What makes this even more interesting that today there are now «tools» available to do the things that they had create themselves. These tools consist of the Merit Award program, media guide and adopt-a-dealer program. So there really are no excuses, it's just a matter of deciding your going to do it.
The Owner's Guide Participating section for information about planning and conducting rallies and caravans.
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