This letter omits a phrase I consider significant. It should refer to a non-returnable $50 application fee. That's what sticks in my craw, and I expect a good many other folks find it equally indigestible. The idea of throwing away fifty bucks to maybe be told yes or maybe be told no has no appeal whatsoever for this old man.
Thanks Susan. Way I see it, the $$ I saved from not doing the OCF can go towards our museums big shindig next summer!
There you go, Tim! We'll have our own shindig!
I think this letter is a result of feedback he got during a staff meeting recently when someone brought up the letter we sent as well as others who also sent letters. Those letters were never answered, and now, some three months later, comes this letter.
His first point about the events becoming over capacity could be corrected by being more selective, especially for those who bring several cars to the event, and other ways to modestly control the size of the event. As for the profits going back into the programs themselves, we know that the OCF in particular brings in lots of $ from the gate receipts. When people see that there are few cars there, will they continue to come?
His second point about "new technology upgrades" to "streamline the application process....for program organizers" just means that they outsourced that work to a 3rd party, and they raised the cost to $50.00 to cover that cost.
His third point about "institutional safety protocols" is a bunch of baloney. Consider the safety of a car with acetylene headlights and a kerosene tail light driving back to a motel at 9pm in the dark on the City of Dearborn streets, like Michigan Avenue. How safe is that? Where would you park your motor home used to tow your car to the event? The nearest campground is many miles from THF. There are several parking areas near THF, like: the Visteon lot across the freeway that we used to use, the school lot just down the street, other Ford lots in the immediate area, etc. I don't think they even tried to get more parking space. Do you suppose they just want to have a few wedding receptions that don't take much work, & collect the easy money with few hassles.
Sorry, John, but your letter dated June 1st is too little and too late.
The way I read between the lines . . .
1. We found out with the numbers there is money to be made. Being a not for profit means we can only retain this status as long as we pay our employees the excess to make sure the "event" isnt making money.
2. We made things more efficient so we don't need our employees to work as many hours.
3. If we get rid of the larger vehicles we can fit more in.
I may be totally off but this is what I get from the letter.
That was a beautiful standard letter, written in classic GFY style.
Please excuse the length of this reply. This is part venting and part knowledge from someone who was an "insider" for many years/. Please, if you have the time, read it through. I would love to know your thoughts and opinions.
I have been going to the OCF for (I hate to admit it!) 57 years and worked as a consultant and narrator for 35 and the Motor Muster since it's inception.
I think what Mr. Neilson is referring to when he mentions the growth from 300 cars (I believe it was more like under 300 at one point) is a time in the 1980s when there were major changes in the Institutes management that made major changes in many areas of the Institute.
Prior to registration falling below 300, registration was probably closer to between 500 and 700.
I can tell you as fact that the decline in the 1980s was of great concern to the Special Events team, to whom I was a consultant. The team worked very hard to bring those number back up and, obviously, were very successful to the point that MM and OCF became THE place to be in, at least, the midwest.
Yes, the SUCCESSFUL increase in registration (and gate receipts) did put an initial strain on personnel. BUT, the employees did a monumental job of meeting the challenge and getting the job done.
In a nutshell: OCF was a sucessfull show, went into a decline and came back as a resounding success.
The Application Fee: What programs do they directly go back into? Admittedly, that's none of our business but if I'm GIVING THF $50, I'd be curious. Also, I'd want a receipt for my donation to a non-profit organization for my tax return. Also, they have staff members who do a fantastic job regestering applicants. It is a HUGE job, but it seems to me it would be cheaper to add at least volunteers to help out.
Application Process: I wonder why their IT department couldn't come up with new technological upgrades instead of going to CVent? Or why they couldn't go go a local college and find a student to do it for free just so he/she could have it on their resume?
On-site and Adjacent Parking: Yes, it is tight. BUT, last year it was poorly handled. Yes, they lost the Ford Engineering parking lot. BUT, I'm willing to bet that with a little investigation and negotiation, other lots or areas could be found in the Dearborn area for trailer parking -- if THF wanted to.
The Need To Evaluate With an Eye Toward Sustainability: Translation (in my opinion) Goodbye MM and OCF. And I hope they prove me wrong.
Parking Policy: What are the "institutional safety protocols"?
So.... I'm not qualified because I have to pull my '12 from Florida to Dearborn with a motorhome because of the parking.. How about the Lions practice field?? Lord knows they don't use it enough... Just trying to make light from some bad policies from ones that have no idea what is going on. Some of the best times are in the parking lots walking around talking and watching.. SAD DAY for the OCF..
Yep, methinks Ed got it right.
Chadwick, Non-Profits make a profit. they have to to survive, just like a regular business. However, to be a non-profit, no individual can benefit from said profits, those profits must be used to support the organization's goals. Otherwise, your conclusions seem pretty valid to me.
The OCF as it has been known is no more, a new, "reimagined" OCF has replaced it.
"Nothing to see here, folks, please keep moving on. . . ."
It almost appears as if they (THF) wants to rid themselves of these events altogether. Maybe the "re imagined" event is their way of gracefully fading out the event all together. In a couple of years, they can say "attendance and enthusiasm has dwindled, therefore, we are no longer going to have OCF and Muster as part of our yearly calendar of events." Maybe in their eyes it looks better to fade away gently out as opposed to a sudden termination.
Whatever the case, whatever their reasoning, and regardless of what enthusiasts think or do, it is only and ultimately up to THF whether or not they want to keep these events. My guess is that they don't want these events.
Kim and I have been attending the OCF for five years and have really enjoyed what some have called the super bowl of old car events. We have spent north of $1000 on old style outfits, and have helped the economy around the THF eveytime we visited. Last year we left our T at home and took a 1904 Northern runabout, gave rides and talked about the car to many interested visitors. We did all of this not just because it was fun, but also to enhance the experience for their visitors. Instead of a thank you for spending my time and money to make their event better, I got a slap in the face. I am no longer welcome because I use a motor home to pull my trailer. Parking 25 miles away and driving a 113 year old car with kerosene lights on public roads after the Saturday night
parades is insane. As Keith stated there is ample parking available if they wanted to go look for it. When we (the MTFCA) put on a tour we always try to accommodate everyone, and that includes motor homes.
I could pay the $50 entry fee, but non refundable if not accepted, what fool would ever agree to that.
I find it very interesting that the venue that Henry's Model Ts and Model As helped build is now better suited and more profitable as a wedding venue. The only vehicles that they wanted to limit are Henry's. He would roll over in his grave if he knew what the management wants to do.
My hope is that someone comes to their senses before it is too late. Jerry Kramer
I agree with you. I've been thinking I need to visit the Museum, and next year's reunion may be the perfect time.
Thank you for posting the response. Many Early Ford Registry members attended OCF over the last several years, with many of us staying at the same hotel, and participating in the Dearborn to Lansing tour. Maybe some of us will take this opportunity to attend the gathering in Richmond next year.
I wonder if the tourism board knows about this. I spend about $700.00 each time I go for hotels, restaurants, gas and more. Now I have no reason to ever set foot in Dearborn again. Like many here, I can afford to pay a $50.00 fee but won't out of principal due to the offensive, non refundable part. I hope we bury this event once and for all.
This letter is easily decoded as corporate speak for..."go away, you bother me".
Nothing more, nothing less.
I got one too, in response to our club's letter to them. Basically the same text.
In short: We did what we wanted to. Sorry you don't like it, (not really). We're not changing a thing.
In their jargon, (from another thread), I'm going to "re-imagine" what I'll be doing on that weekend.
Well said, I couldn't agree with you more! Except I spend about $1,000 each time I go.
I am with your thinking, I need to re-imagine that weekend as well!
They no longer want us to be there, then so be it!
Henry is probably rolling over in his grave. Incompetence and arrogance at its best. The organization has lost its way.
I'd always heard this was a great show to visit. The type that should be on any autophile's bucket list. Sounds to me that they're trying to kill it before guys like me have the money to come visit.
Way to shoot yourself in the foot, THF.
When I first got my "T" I had never heard of the OCF I was told that this was a top of the ticket bucket list item. Reading the above "Double speak" letter the OCF now has a big ? beside it. Too bad I really wanted to go one of these days.
Oh well- Time to replace two things on the "Bucket List". 1) A trip with the family to the "OCF" and 2) A trip to "The Henry Ford" / Greenfield Village. I doubt that anyone in Michigan will miss my tourist dollars. Maybe another trip to The Midwest Threshers at Mount Pleasant Iowa and a ride on The Durango & Silverton" in Colorado. So long OCH & THF.
As usual Keith and so many others hit the nail on the head!!! After 19 years in a row i hope john dogbreath typed that on soft paper because it resembled used Toilet Paper!!!! When the ocf goes to hell i hope they fire those who brought the mess on!!!!!!!!!!!Bud DeLong.
Bud - The sad fact is that they'll likely be promoted for accomplishing the goal they are working towards; the end of the OCF due to lack of participation (that way they can blame others and not themselves). They'll all get promotions and big raises with all the money they "save" by not having to pay the administrative costs of the OCF any longer.
I don't recall the exact number. However, by law, a "non-profit" or "not for profit" organization doing "fundraising" MUST put (I forget the precise number, but it is only about 20 percent) into to actual cause the funds are being raised for. Eighty percent of the money can be paid to the costs of the fund raising effort. So, of course they want to hire an outside firm to handle applications. THF only needs to get ten of your fifty dollars (for little effort whatsoever). I wonder who gets the other forty dollars?
Most tear-jerking feed the starving children or animals fund raising groups make a hand full of people quite well off (shall we say?).
This is the modern way of doing business. Perception over all else. Promises that will never be kept, shine them on and brush them off. Pay me a few bucks so that you can feel better about yourself. Then move on to the next person that has a couple dollars left in their pocket. And for heaven's sake, don't actually try to do something worthwhile!
If Henry Ford, and his contemporaries, had done business the modern way? Ford Motor Company would have never grown to the point of manufacturing the model T. If R E Olds, Benjamin Briscoe, and the dozen other big names had been the same way? If the general population/working force were all also like that? It would be likely the automobile would have never developed beyond the plaything it started out as.
As for the motor-homes? Just where do they think those couple hundred people are going to stay? Just how far do they want those people driving their hundred year old cars in the dark? Talk about a public safety concern! There are only so many hotel rooms within a short distance. A camper city for a weekend should be the perfect solution!
Quality of life requires a good balance in all things. Probably the most important point in all of philosophy. Society MUST produce, goods and services, infrastructure, all the requirements of wealth and good living. Society also needs to allow opportunities for art and history to be enjoyed, in large amounts. The OCF may not produce the things needed for quality of life? But, really it does. It feeds the soul of all who participate in it. Those people spend discretionary dollars on gasoline, food, lodging, not only in Detroit, but along the various routes to and from there. THF is not the only organization to benefit from the event. We would not be the only ones to suffer the loss of such a wonderful occasion.
I still would like to go to the OCF. At least once.
I have never been to the OCF but the idea of a bunch of Model T's in a period setting excites me. It is preserving history, gives the vehicle owners an opportunity to have fun, demonstrates the longevity of the T, and puts on a show for others that attend.
The night parade has to be fantastic. What the HF is doing to the OCF is inexcusable.
I hope another place or places will step up and replace it.
Fred,I think the sad part of losing the ocf was not the loss of so many model T's but the loss of so many cars/trucks we have never seen and will probably never see again? Bud.