Thanks to Gold Coast Cruisers!!

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Dec 23, 2002
Recently Ron Kibbe, exiting President of Gold Coast Cruisers, contacted me about their chapter remaining a 'Chapter in Good Standing' with TLCA. while the group was the originating chapter of TLCA many moons ago, times have changed and so has their membership. The question then arose 'What's in it for us' and why should we remain.

I wrote them a (long) letter and quantified my thoughts about Clubs, chapters and TLCA involvement.

I am very happy to relay that Gold Coast Cruisers has voted to remain a chapter in TLCA and even go further to augment their by laws to require TLCA membership of their members.

I want to publicly express my sincere appreciation and over-all glee (Yes, glee as in joyful and happy) in their decision to remain active and support TLCA!

I will post the communication here for all to read later (probably after I return from Hawaii, First timer) but I wanted to initiate my thanks and pass along the information to other groups who may be finding themselves in a similiar situation.

thanks Gold Coast Cruisers and all our Active TLCA Chapters!
Chapters and events are what bring TLCA home to the members!
Text of letter sent to Gold Coast Cruisers:

Hello Gold Coast Cruisers members…

And a big thank you to Ron Kibbe for contacting me directly.

Ron indicated that after your recent elections, questions and concerns have been raised about your Club’s Chapter affiliation with TLCA: what are the benefits and what are the requirements. While I am not sure I can adequately address each, I will certainly do my best to portray my understanding and beliefs about each based upon my understanding of TLCA by laws and my personal thoughts about tangible value and benefits.

To begin, Chapter clubs are requested to require TLCA Membership of all their qualifying members. What does that mean? If you have a Club member who owns a Toyota, they are required to join TLCA and maintain TLCA membership. This is enforced (and I use that term loosely) by having the text ‘will support TLCA’ and ‘All eligible members must join TLCA’ somewhere in your Club’s by laws. Your Club must also provide TLCA a Club Roster yearly (or when requested by TLCA) to verify a minimum TLCA member count of 4 members. The Roster should also include a current Club Delegate and current Club Contact information for Toyota Trails and our web site.

Qualifying Chapters are allowed to have 30% of their membership be Non Toyota members. Often this guideline is misunderstood to mean that 30% of Clubs membership can be Non TLCA members. This is not the case for as noted above, all qualifying Toyota owners are required to join. This clause would be for Clubs who have non-Toyota rigs such as Jeeps, Isuzu’s, IH, Fords, Chevy’s, etc.

Is TLCA going to audit your submitted Roster versus your actual membership? No.
Is TLCA going threaten you with attaining full compliance or tossing your club?? No.
Is TLCA going to appreciate your efforts in retaining your TLCA memberships? Yes.

The tangible benefits of being a Chapter in Good standing with TLCA are this: Allowed to have one club member act as Delegate on the TLCA board of directors with direct access and influence to the future direction of the association, access to insurance for various events ranging from formal club events to organized events hosted by your club and permission to use the TLCA logo. Unfortunately at this time, that is about it. I am personally initiating some additional efforts with regards to Chapter group renewals that will lead to additional benefits for some chapters but it is much to early for me to speculate how Gold Coast will see tangible benefits from this future process.

But let me temper those comments above by also portraying to you the benefits to TLCA by having your club as an active Chapter in TLCA: help in membership retention.

Now let me espouse to you some of my personal beliefs and opinions about Clubs, Chapters, TLCA and our role in each. J First and foremost, I would rather see a robust Club poised for long-term success than a feeble Chapter which will not stand the test of time. Clubs are what help bring TLCA home to our TLCA members, be it a chapter club or not. Without Clubs, Chapters and events, TLCA membership can be compared to a magazine subscription… simply receiving and reading Toyota Trails. Active participation in a Club is what initiates active involvement in the sport of off roading, be it restoration enthusiast or hard-core panel bashing, part popping off road junkie.

Next, I support and am fully comfortable with a Club’s decision about what level of TLCA participation they will have: be it full blown Chapter with active participation, simply listed in Trails or no TLCA involvement at all. It is the Club’s decision made by it members. This goes back to my analogy that a strong club is the most important thing.

In other words, Gold Coast Cruiser’s members must decide what best suites their club and act upon that decision. I would rather see a club decline Chapter status and remain positive towards TLCA than have a Chapter quit and be negative towards TLCA.

And finally… your Club is unique in the history of TLCA. I do not envy the decision you are about to make. On one hand, your can trace your history to the initiation of TLCA and on the other hand, times have changed and your club has evolved into what it is today. While I would urge you to remain a TLCA Chapter and proudly note your heritage, I also understand and empathize with the need to move forward as a club.

Now if I can step up to the podium…

The last two years for TLCA have been filled with strife, internal bickering, finger pointing and plagued by bad word of mouth. Many folks and Chapters have effectively left the association and its unfortunate. Some call in politics, some call it growing pains and some simply call it BS. This culminated in the last couple of months by having a Delegate expelled, the loss of their Chapter to the association and membership numbers at an all time low. For those not aware, when I took over as President, I presented two goals for this year:

v Rebuild the bridges of friendship, trust, cooperation and understanding within the Board to provide a solid foundation for the association to recover and begin a sustained period of growth.

v By the end of 2003, have membership numbers back to prior highs of 4300 and have processes in place which will nurture a sustained period of growth.

I have also described our Focus as one of: Membership, Toyota Trails and TLCA Events.

Whether you know it or not, Gold Coast Cruisers is also determining if they are going to support these goals or not. With the decision about Chapter status also comes the decision to remain active in TLCA and help me attain these goals. Who am I? I’m just another Toyota enthusiast like all of you who has volunteered to step up to the plate simply because no one else would. There is no personal benefit for me except that of pride… pride in belonging to a premier association comprised of folks like those of Gold Coast Cruisers who love our Toyota’s and enjoy being part of a community which we call TLCA and feel does not exist anywhere else. We drive the best vehicles made and we expect the best from our association.

I want to personally ask each of you to support TLCA by remaining a Chapter in Good Standing and help me attain the goals we have set for TLCA. I want to ask your non-TLCA members to join and see the new face of TLCA. You can feel it in the current issue of Toyota Trails with its thicker paper and vibrant photos. If nothing else, give me one year of your continued support and then bring this decision before your members again. I want you to send a Delegate to the Board meetings and see for yourself the difference from one year ago. The current level of trust and cooperation at the board level is at never before seen highs and the communication going on is friendly and focused on results. I am ecstatic about our results so far and positive about the future.
If the value of Chapter Status has not become clear by then, the decision will be easy.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to share my views and opinions about TLCA and your Club with you and wish to express my sincere appreciation for you continued support.

Tony Twiddy
Toyota Land Cruiser Association
Response from GCC Torian Raber, President

Hi Tony,

My name is Toriann Raber and I am the President of the Gold Coast Cruisers located in Ventura County, California. I recently was forwarded the letter you wrote to our club at the request of Ron Kibbe. After reading what you had to say about benefits to our club if we choose to stay affiliated with TLCA, and your goals as the new President, I am pleased to say the Board of Directors of our club has made the motion to maintain our affiliation with TLCA. Furthermore, we will be reinstating the requirement to all members that they must be members of TLCA in order to maintain membership in the Gold Coast Cruisers.

I, like you, am fairly new to the position of President. I don't know a lot about the history or even the recent goings-on in TLCA. However, from the wording you used in the goals you put forth, it sounds like the TLCA has experienced a downard plunge in morale, spirit, participation, and overall existance. The Goald Coast Cruisers has experienced somthing similar, except maybe not to the extent as the TLCA. It was funny reading your goals, because when I was nominated to be President, and asked why I wanted the position, I echoed your same intentions.

Lets work together to keep forward motion towards those goals. Presently, the status of TLCA Delegate in our club is not certain. However, after our next meeting at the end of the month, we will have that position filled.

Thank you very much for your hard work. I appreciate it, and look forward to hearing from you again.

Please keep my email address and keep me posted on issues that may arise.


Toriann Raber

Gold Coast Cruisers


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