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I "Give UP"


studepeople
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Well after 30 years in the "Great CCCA" I will not send in my money to renew. I went to alot of meetings over the years to try to get this club to think about keeping it's function prices down but have only met with lip service. My wife and I have been on over 15 Caravans ,several Grand Classics and National meets so we have tried to support this club. But I don't believe this club is supporting the average rank and file member (non-rich) and probably never has. We send in our dues that support this club which are twice what other National Clubs pay. We pay a hefty fee to have the right then to pay another hefty fee to go on a National Tour (Caravan). No other club does that that we are awhere of ...... So I say enough. I miss all the old timers who have passed away from the Caravans. They made them so special. I miss having Beverly as Editor, for she really cared about showing all aspects of this club and hobby, not just the "top teir"...........Member 2510.......done

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Sorry to hear you say this, but I understand. When I was on the national board, I often brought up the expense of meets, tours and annual meetings and I was always told that people expect "a certain level" of quality at the events and facilities, and I understand that some do, but I don't think it is the majority that want really expensive venues. I have been to nice events that didn't cost a fortune and I've been to banquets that didn't cost hundreds of dollars to go to that were perfectly fine and often just as good or better than CCCA events. When I was Awards Chair I saw the proposals come in for the costs of the events and I said that the regions would make just as much money and have a more successful event - and draw more people if the prices weren't so high - and it would serve a much larger segment of the club. I still think that is true, but it was a hard sell to the club because that isn't the way they had always done it. Now if a Grand Classic or Annual Meeting has 40 cars they think it is huge - that is sad. The old guard is leaving, either do to age or disinterest, and I wonder where the new members will come from.

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National Tour (Caravan) cost vary from location to location. The committees (made up of volunteers) that plan these national, week long tours often struggle to choose hotels and meal venues that offer good quality and reasonable prices-a combination that is often difficult to find in today's world. They face the difficult and impossible task of trying to please all 100 or 200 attendees whose tastes range from pork and beans to lobster and filet. The days of the 49.00 hotel room and 10.00 all you can eat buffets are long over and most people-including myself- don't want to stay at some "no-tel motel" that doesn't offer any amenities or eat sub-par food when they are on vacation. I am a member of several national clubs including the CCCA, AACA and HCCA. I enjoy participating in at least one, long national tour a year and choose one that is conveniently located, works into my time schedule and offers sites and attractions I am not already familiar with. I find that the national tours produced by any of these clubs basically cost nearly the same at the end of the day. A hotel charges the same group rate to the CCCA that they charge the AACA, the Shriners, or traveling youth soccer league. I am on the road a lot for business and I can tell you traveling anywhere "ain't cheap no more!!!"

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

I've heard this refrain for almost as long as I've been in the club--to the point it is beyond tiresome. I cannot imagine anyone from Sparta, MO complaining about the cost of events. There have been two CARavans, an Annual Meeting (not counting the one in Cincinnati) and a terrific Grand Classic in your back door in the last few years. All were extremely reasonably priced--I know because I was at every one of them. If you think you can put on an event at a more reasonable cost, volunteer to coordinate one! I'm sure the Spirit of Saint Louis Region would be happy to have you do so.

As much as anyone, when I was on the national board I promoted the need for reasonable priced events--and we had many. But we also had some that involved more luxurious accommodations. You can't stay at The Breakers for $100 a night. But you could stay at the Hilton (where we had the Annual Meeting here in the Dallas area a couple of years ago) for $119 a night. And if you think you can get a decent convention hotel for less, I invite you to try.

I think the activities fee for the Florida CARavan this year was $650 per person and hotels were around $150. If this is too much then this club probably isn't your cup of tea.

I know this sounds sharp, but it is a disservice to the many volunteers who work hard to put on our events at a reasonable cost to allow these uncalled for criticisms to pass uncommented. Al

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  • 4 weeks later...

The CCCA is a lot more then just about the Grand Classic meets, Caravans etc. Think of the publications which everyone gets to enjoy even if you own no classic at all. Think of the cost to buy a car magazine off the news stand - this can be $5 and up, most of the time near $9.00. In that magazine you will get a wide variety of articles on cars but none focus totally on the 1948 and earlier luxury cars which for most of us is what we like, and which is why we belong to CCCA. You get 4 full color magazines and 8 thick Bulletins per year, all on the era and cars we favor. Tell me that isn't worth $5 each for the content? That leaves $10 for everything else. The current Editor is doing all he can to provide excellent publications BUT and Editor is supposed to edit material that people send in, not research and write the whole magazine. Have you ever sent in a story about one of your cars? or a report of one of the CCCA events you attended? Yes, Beverly did indeed try hard to give an even coverage of all people and aspects, but it was a struggle for her, I know first hand as we lived a half hour away from each other; and yes I have contributed - a column on Coachwork. This will be my 30th straight year of regular contributions to CCCA publications. I agree with Al, it is a disservice to the many volunteers who work hard to put on events, send in information to the publications, serve on the Technical committee etc to allow them comments go by without making everyone aware of what you do get from

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I agree that the volunteers do great work and are the only reason the club survives at all. Perhaps instead of putting money into a European caravan for a few members, the club should pay authors like Walt to research and write classic history for the magazine and put more color for the photos of members cars not ads. The club at the top needs to think about better events that more people want to attend and help the volunteers at the regional level put them on. Telling people smartly that they just aren't good or rich enough for the club isn't the way to welcome more members or make the present ones proud.

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Dave, that is a constructive suggestion that would likely draw a member like myself back in. I get that a small club has limited resources and agree with protecting against "scope creep" (while I maintain identical post '48s make a lot more sense in some cases than some currently listed cars, that is a debate specific to a very small body of cars that I can see both sides of) for the sake of simply adding membership, as a non Classic owner, my interest is more or less peripheral. I appreciate these cars, may or may not eventually own one, but do enjoy reading about them. So the dues really would be solely for the publication and perhaps attendance at an event once in a great while. I do think the Classic Car is very good, but further improvements might make me more likely to re-join. I wonder how many members never attend a CCCA event but are interested mainly in the magazine?

For the record,virtually every CCCA member I have encountered has been approachable and happy to talk cars. I recognize the issues discussed around the high dollar events, but cannot say that is the issue for me. I enjoy reading accounts from the Classic era as well as well researched, marque specific articles. but the price is a little high for the material, as it is really a magazine subscription to me at the end of the day. So these comments are really more about one avenue that could attract and retain membership rather than reactionary to event costs. I am only adding these thoughts here because I think Dave touches on a good use of resources that could come back to the club in membership additions and retention.

Edited by Steve_Mack_CT
clarification (see edit history)
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  • 2 weeks later...

Dave, the club does not put its members' money into European (or any other) CARavans. CARavans, whether one sponsored by national, such as the Cross-Country CARavan of the one in Eurpoe, or those put on by the regions, are self-sustaining. They are paid for solely and exclusively by the participants. The club has limited financial resources which the board works hard to be sure are used in the most cost-effective manner. Publications costs (including the costs of our editors) are our largest single expense--by far. I can assure you that if the board had more money available to increase the content of the publications it would do so in a heartbeat. CCCA never has had and never will have the membership base of an AACA. It is dependent on members to vast majority of the work necessary to make this a successful organization--as it has been for the last 63 years.

With respect to your comment that the "the club at the top needs to think about better events," I can only respond by asking what you have done to pass along ideas for such events, much less what you may have done to help put one on. This is a topic of discussion at numerous board meetings and at every annual meeting I have attended in the last 20 years. Different regions have a wide range of activities. If you aren't attending it is not because they are not available at a reasonable cost. But I see no reason to apologize for having events which are also more expensive and which cater to the more well to do members of the club. After all, these are cars that were more at home in front of the Breakers or the Ritz-Carlton than the Motel Six and Burger King.

It is easy to criticize 15 people who spend hundreds of hours and many thousands of dollars of their own money every attending meetings and working for the benefit of the members. But specific constructive suggestions and volunteering to do some of the work are always going to be well received. Al

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I'm the assistant director of the Northeast Ohio CCCA chapter and a frequent topic of our meetings is how to make events more affordable. We do quite a few day tours and try to have at least one club event each month. I've got a young family (two sons aged 6 and 9) and we bring them with us to everything. When events are planned locally, they're family-friendly. We're sometimes discouraged by events at the national level simply because of the costs involved but that's more because there are four of us rather than the fees themselves. We'll be attending the National Meeting next month, all four of us, but I can't afford, say, four $50 tickets for the riverboat cruise, so we'll sit it out. That's not the club's fault, it's merely us trying to compromise between being at the event, which I think is the most important part, and attending sub-events while we're there. And admittedly, for a great many CCCA members, I don't think $50/person is a big number and if it was just me and my wife, we'd certainly be there for more sub-events.

I definitely think the local level is where you can best enjoy the CCCA on a budget. We here at Harwood Motors just hosted a CCCA-sponsored tech seminar on Saturday and had about 50 people show up--great! It was $12/person and included a catered lunch and about two hours of information from experts on appearance care. Last year we did classic car insurance and motor oils, and the year before that we did safety checks and valuations. Who knows what we'll do next year, but it has become an event that a lot of people look forward to and are happy to pay $10 or $12 to be there. Everyone said it was full of useful information and nobody complained about the cost.

Yes, the national events can be expensive, but if you put it into perspective (cost of a decent hotel and meals) you're going to spend that much doing just about anything away from home. Compare the cost of a CCCA Caravan to a week at Disney, for example. It doesn't seem outrageous at that level, because even a modest hotel is going to cost more than $100/night and even eating locally, I have a hard time feeding my family for less than $50. The costs are what they are and I don't feel that the members of the CCCA demand premium services--they just don't want to stay in dumps, which is perfectly understandable.

And really, this is a "comfortable" person's hobby. You don't have to be a millionaire, but anyone who owns a Full Classic isn't wondering how to pay next month's electricity bill. Perhaps some events could be more affordable, but this isn't a club that needs to cut corners to save a buck.

Get involved locally and I bet you can do a lot of Classic car stuff for not a lot of cash--I know we do.

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I would respectfully say that I was on the CCCA national board for 9 years, I was membership, long range planning and awards chair, sat on many committees - including Awards and Classifications for 12 years. I was also on the museum board for many years and reported to the National board about the museum. I was the coordinator of nationally run Grand Classics and worked on the Experience for many years. I have been to many annual meetings, grand classics and a couple of caravans. I volunteered and was paid nothing ever, and went to a lot more meetings each year than are held now. I know how Caravans are planned and paid for and the resources put into them, and I know the difference between one put on by a region and one done by National. I can also read a financial statement. A great deal of money and time is also spent on things other than publications. I know what it takes to create a positive image for the club, which I also know has deteriorated badly in the years since I was on the board. I also know that this has hurt the membership numbers of the CCCA which I know is far smaller than the AACA, so attracting and keeping members is so much more important. I know that this is a topic that comes up quite often, and yet I see a lot of excuses and not much improvement combined with a condescending attitude which drives people away. I just have a very different view of what good customer service to the average member is. I submit that I know just as well as most members what a classic car is and what place in history they have, where they fit in the social setting when they were new, and I also know what a really good restoration is now and how much that costs. My cars may not be as nice as some, but they look good in front of Burger King, and I am not too good to eat there. We just have a different view of what the club should do.

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Dave, clearly you have paid your dues, so to speak, both at the national and regional level, which is why it is disappointing to see your comments regarding the board doing little about the membership challenges beyond offering a lot of excess for doing nothing. That directly ties into your comments regarding what the club spends its money on, implying it is somehow being wasted or spent profligately. I must respectfully disagree.

During my time on the board we engaged in a number of membership initiatives, most of which required a financial investment. We (actually, Jay Quail) put together the club-in-a-box for regions to use at regional events such as car shows and concours. I have personally seen those used by the regions to promote the club and solicit new members from coast-to-coast. We invested heavily (and continue to do so) in a web site that is constantly up dated to reach the entire car collector universe to entice visitors to join. We have a real social media presence, again thanks to Jay Quail. We conducted a membership campaign that had, as its primary prize for the person who sponsored the most new members a tour of the Big Dog Garage and Randy Ema's (thanks to then board member Jerry Steelman). We have had a major presence at the Chicago Auto Show for several years-again to raise our profile. These are just a few of the things our board did to address the issues you raise.

During my tenure we spent a lot of money on items unrelated to publications. This includes the necessary technology, primarily software, to handle membership and finances. We pay rent now, though I guess the club could terminate the lease and move back the offices on the flood plain--which suffer from a flood regularly. Though I would point out the current board had nothing to do with that investment decision. To suggest any of this is wasteful is contradicted by the facts. We now have an under-paid executive director. I guess the board could terminate him and just hope the club runs on autopilot.

I guess it is human nature to think things were better "back in the day." I agree with you the club's image could be better. But I can assure you that has little to nothing to do with what the board has done our the last 10 years or so. It is the result of a carefully developed image over several decades of an insular--almost closed--fraternity of wealthy white males. The club did everything it could to actively discourage non-members from even attending our GCs, and the result could have been predicted. It takes time to dispel this myth--and that is what it is today--a myth. We are still viewed by the hobby as hopelessly stuck in the past. Much of the motivation for the initiatives described above were motivated by the need to overcome these perceptions. This board didn't create them.

With respect to your comment regarding know how the club can overcome its image issue, I can tell you that am sure the board would be delighted to hear your suggestions when in meets in 3 weeks at the annual meeting in Savannah. I look forward to see ing you there. Al

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