SUBJECT: Alfa owners only vs Alfa and other RV brands at Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rallies
Alfa Leisure closed late May 2008, shortly after the 2008 Alfa Owners’ Club (AOC) National Rally in Conroe, Texas.
In April 2009, the first Alfa Owners’ Club Annual Rally without Alfa Leisure Corporate sponsorship was held at the Bakersfield RV Resort. At that AOC Rally:
- The AOC Executive Board was disbanded and the AOC Oversight Committee with a representative from each AOC Chapter was formed. This Committee was formed to provide guidance and advice to the Annual AOC Rally Masters relevant to the execution of the subsequent Annual AOC rallies, and to oversee the administration, expenditures, and receipt of any funds held in the AOC treasury. This treasury resulted from the remainder of funds provided by Alfa Leisure to the AOC to host the 2009 National Rally.
- A ballot vote was taken of all of those present at the rally, responding to the question if other brands of RVs (Some Other Brands – (SOBs)) should be allowed or not allowed to attend and participate in subsequent Annual AOC Rallies. The majority of those present at the 2009 Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rally voted to not allow owners of other brands of RVs/SOBs at subsequent Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rallies.
During 2009, the Sunrisers Chapter disassociated themselves from the AOC due to liability concerns and later the Wranglers Chapter disassociated from the AOC for unknown reasons. The remaining AOC Chapters are: Alfa One, Lone Stars, Mavericks, Roadrunners, South Loafers, and Sunseekers.
Subsequent to the 2009 Rally, the membership of several AOC Chapters revised their by-laws/governing documents to address how owners of other brands of RVs could be incorporated or excluded from membership and/or participation in Chapter specific activities.
Following the 2009 Annual AOC Rally, the subject of allowing other brands of RVs to attend the Alfa Owners’ Club Annual Rally has been brought up at AOC Oversight Committee meetings. When the subject was discussed, the precedent of the vote at the 2009 rally was cited as the answer to the question. Also, it was agreed that until there were not enough owners of Alfa RVs registered for the Annual Rally to be able to hold one, there was no a need to discuss allowing SOB owners to also attend. To date, no minimum number has been defined to trigger that discussion. Of note, since the 2009 Rally, an average of over 100 Alfa RVs have attended the Annual Rallies.
Since 2009, no policy or guidance has been issued that would deny a non-Alfa owner from attending a pre- or post- Annual AOC Rally gathering/outing, or that would deny a non-Alfa owner from being at the RV park where the AOC Rally is being held (both situations have occurred several times since 2009). The only restrictions were that only current owners of Alfa RVs could register and attend the Annual AOC Rally functions and activities, provided their Alfa RV was physically at the RV park/resort where the Annual AOC rally was being held.
During the AOC Oversight Committee meetings held during the recent 2017 Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rally, the subject was again brought up about whether to allow AOC Chapter Members owning an SOB RV to attend the Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rally. There was considerable discussion about this matter during the two meetings held, resulting in a recommendation that all the members of the AOC Chapters who are current Alfa RV owners, vote on whether to allow or not allow Chapter Members owning an SOB RV to attend future Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rallies. It was agreed that the Chapter Presidents would ask their respective members who currently own an Alfa RV to vote, and provide the results back to the AOC Oversight Committee Chair (Randy Scott) by July 1, 2017, so he could forward the results to all the AOC Oversight Committee Representatives.
Arguments FOR allowing members of an AOC Chapter regardless of the brand of RV they currently own to register and attend the Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rally:
- Social event. The Annual Alfa Owners Rally should be thought of as a social event, and that all Chapter Members would like to socialize at the Annual Alfa Owners Rally.
- Exclusion of some Chapter Members. Some of the Chapters amended their bylaws/procedures to allow owners of SOB RVs to be members and even be Chapter Officers; therefore all Chapter Members should be allowed to attend the Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rally.
- Potential decline in AOC rally attendance and Chapter membership. Since Alfa RVs are no longer being produced, the number of Alfa owners who would attend an Annual AOC Rally and/or become a member of an AOC Chapter will decrease.
Arguments AGAINST allowing members of an AOC Chapter regardless of the brand of RV they currently own to register and attend the Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rally:
- What numbers are we really talking about? At the most recent Annual AOC Rally, each AOC Chapter indicated that the number of members who owned non-Alfa RVs were:
o Alfa One: unknown (total membership is estimated to be less than 20).
o Lone Stars: approximately 8 out of approximately 48 total members.
o Mavericks: 4 out of approximately 29 total members.
o Roadrunners: 0 out of approximately 170 total members.
o South Loafers: 3 out of 58 total active members.
o Sun Seekers: 15 out of approximately 39 total members.
That is 30 out of approximately 364 total members, or approximately 8 percent of the total Chapters’ membership. Several comments were made about this during the AOC Oversight Committee meetings, including why were we going to this extent of having everyone vote when the number of members with SOB RVs is so small, and that it was probably unlikely that many of them would actually attend an Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rally.
- A once a year, weeklong event. The Annual AOC Rally is a 6-7 day event held once a year. This is not a monthly or quarterly event. Why is it that the few Chapter Members who don’t own Alfa RVs feel they must participate in an event held once a year specifically for owners of Alfa RVs?
- Alternatives for non-Alfa owner members. If it is that important that the non-Alfa owner Chapter Members be with their Alfa owner friends during the once a year AOC Rally, then there is an option. There is no prohibition, other than what may be included in their respective Chapter’s By-Laws, that precludes a Chapter Member who owns a non-Alfa RV from attending their respective Chapter’s pre- or post-rally or even being at the same RV park/resort at the same time as the AOC Annual Rally – the only exception is that they cannot register for and participate in the AOC Annual Rally activities and functions.
- Specific brand vs one size fits all Rally. The maintenance and services provided, and technical information presented at the Annual Alfa Owners Rallies, focus on techniques, procedures, products, solutions, etc. that typically address issues common with Alfa-specific RVs. If we open the Annual AOC rally to other brands, why would those owners be interested in the currently offered services or attending the currently offered seminars? Or, will they insist that we offer vendors and experts for each of their respective manufacturers and platforms? If, so, where does it stop?
- The AOC is named the ALFA OWNERS’ CLUB for a reason. If we open attendance at the Alfa Owners’ Club Annual Rally to other brands of RVs, then the reason for Alfa being in the Club’s name becomes a moot point. At that point, we would be a generic RV organization, not an Alfa Owners’ Club. Which begs the question: Why continue to have an Alfa Owners’ Club much less an Annual Alfa Owners’ Club Rally?
- Annual Alfa Owners Rally attendance is not decreasing. One justification brought forth to allow SOB RVs to attend, is that since Alfa RVs are no longer being produced, the number of Alfa owners who would attend an Annual Rally would decrease. Conversely, the actual number of Annual Rally registrants has not dropped appreciably – we have had an average of 100 or more Alfa RV owners registered for the AOC Rally since 2009. In fact, in 2012 and 2016 – both years when we did not have a Rally Master until Oct (half-way through the planning year), we still had close to 100 Alfa RVs in attendance at the Rally. Each year, rally attendance has included a number of first-time attendees, as well as new Alfa owners and new Chapter members. Also, we do not know what the minimum number of Alfa RVs would need to be to still hold an Annual Rally. Other than a few items, such as entertainment or costs of reserving rooms, most of the rally costs are dependent on the number of attendees – therefore it is conceivable that a successful Annual Rally could be held even with relatively few coaches in attendance.
- Chapter Alfa owner membership can grow.
o Some say that we must allow other brands to attend the AOC Rally because our Alfa owner membership is dwindling and therefore, participation in the AOC Rally will diminish to a point where having a rally can no longer be sustained. This is a self-fulfilling argument. If you do nothing to try to encourage non-member Alfa owners from attending the rally or joining a Chapter, then the argument will happen, but if all of us Alfa owner members reach out to these Alfa owner non-members, then we can grow rather than retract.
o Others say that since Alfas are no longer being made, there will be fewer Alfa owners thus fewer Alfa owner members. The argument that a friend owned an Alfa and then either sold it and bought another brand or decided to get out of the RVing lifestyle cannot be factored in this discussion – the Alfa RV still exists. With the exception of a few Alfa RVs that have been destroyed due to fires, accidents, etc., there are a large number of Alfa RVs out there that are owned by someone. That someone is either a current member of an AOC Chapter or is a potential member of an AOC Chapter.
o Alfa Leisure produced about 20,000 5th wheel and almost 5,000 motorhome RVs, and while some of the owners of those Alfa RVs reside beyond the western half of the US (the current footprint of the Chapters within the AOC), there are a significant number of Alfa owners who we could recruit to become Chapter members and/or attendees at the Annual AOC Rallies before we need to open them up to non-Alfa owners.
o The South Loafers and Roadrunner Chapters have gained a number of new members, many of whom are recent purchasers of an Alfa RV. It requires each of us to make the effort to reach out to the owners of Alfa RVs and recruit them or at least make them aware of the Annual AOC Rally and encourage them to attend the Rally. Once we get them to the Rally, we can then get them on board. Allowing other brands to attend the AOC Rally for any reason only guarantees that we will shrink and die.
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