If you went camping as a kid, you probably have some pretty special memories. Your first hike. Your first s’mores. Staying up late around the campfire to study the stars. You may remember meeting other kids, too: Boys and girls on the playground or at the park pool, kids who also showed up for the Junior Ranger program on snakes and lizards. Friends for the moment, and then gone when one family moved on to their next adventure.
Misti remembers when her two sons — Will, 10, and Jackson, 8 — met some camping friends. The family was at their first Airstream Club International rally, in Lebanon, Tennessee, in 2021, and the boys were telling her about the kids they met out and about that day. Being kids, the boys didn’t know their new friends’ numbers (neither cell numbers nor the Big Red Numbers assigned to each club member’s Airstream) to be able to stay in touch. Misti decided that there should be a way for young people to meet and remain connected, and Future Streamers was born.
Future Streamers is an intra-club of the Airstream Club International for members who travel with children. The group's goal is to develop memories with our youth that excite them about Airstreaming, provide life-skill opportunities and build friendships through family-friendly engagements and experiences.
Misti explains that it’s not just for parents with elementary school-aged children. Yes, kids in third grade through fifth grade have the greatest representation among young Future Streamers, but the second largest age group is high schoolers, freshman through junior year. The youngest in the group this summer was three-and-a-half weeks, and the oldest was 19. Future Streamers is also open to involvement by grandparents, aunts and uncles — really, to anyone who wants to share the experience of the great outdoors with young people.
“I didn't want it to be restrictive at all. So if your interests are anything kid-related, join,” Misti says. “We want you to enjoy it. We want you to come back. We want that sustainability. So we want anybody that is supportive.”
It took a bit of time to get the club off the ground while the family was transitioning to full-time life on the road. Misti, who has a master’s degree in education and worked as a public schools teacher until her sons were born, began homeschooling Will and Jackson in 2020. And her husband, Mark was shifting into remote work. As it had for so many, the pandemic upended their lives. But it came with a silver lining — it allowed them to fulfill their dream of Airstreaming full time as a family.
The Roaches had spent their first 17 years of Airstream ownership occasionally renting in the Minnesota Airstream Park in Clear Lake, Minnesota, not far from their home just east of Saint Paul. But in May 2021, they joined the park as members. They still spend a chunk of their summers there, where the boys enjoy splashing in the pool or playing golf and reconnecting with other members, who have become extended family.
But the rest of the year, they’re on the road, where the national parks are their natural classrooms. “We're teaching our kids so much,” Misti says from their Airstream on the highway headed to Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota. “I look at what's around us, and looking at these mountains, I can't wait to come back with a better lesson plan and better curriculum plan with my kids for us to go explore and talk about what used to be here a decade ago, a century ago, two centuries ago.”
They’ve visited 25 states thus far. Their adventures in “the best idea we ever had,” as novelist and conservationist Wallace Stegner aptly said of our country’s parks, are interspersed with reset weeks when the family simply soaks up the opportunities in front of them.
“Our living room is just the outdoors. And we've got some solid memories in our living room,” Misti says. “And if you don't like what you're doing, change the channel.”
“I can't tell people enough to just get out there and make those memories,” she says “It's amazing.”
The family recently purchased a home of sorts — perhaps the coolest home possible if you’re a kid, second only to their 2020 30-foot Flying Cloud bunk. They bought and are renovating an old fire station in the heart of Winterset, Iowa, where Mark’s family lives, and spend the winter holiday season there. It comes with a bay just the right size for their Airstream down below. Upstairs, they’ve renovated the firehouse into a two-bedroom, two-bath home where the boys can spread out their Legos and science projects and celebrate Christmas.
But this doesn’t mean the Roaches are leaving the full-time Airstream life anytime soon. “We're in our third year, and I don't see us stopping. My husband's doing really well with working online and keeping that going,” Misti says. “It'd be tough for us to stop. I just don't see it ending anytime soon.”
“We're here to make memories,” Misti says. “I'm doing this with my kids because I want to make memories with them.”
Along the way, the family has met a number of people who’ve become a part of those memories, kids who’ve become online gaming friends, a chess instructor who plays online matches with the boys — people of all ages who’ve helped her sons learn and grow not just horizontally, among peers, but vertically.
“I'm just like, how do I make this the most memorable for all of the kids, not just mine, but all the kids and families,” Misti says.
Her vision for Future Streamers includes charitable work — this year they collected aluminum can tabs to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities — as well as a possible Future Streamers scholarship down the road. The group is also raising funds for club activities and kid swag via sales of a Future Streamers garden flag stake.
From its start in 2022, Future Streamers is now up to 92 members. Misti hopes that growth accelerates involvement. “Now, I'm hoping I get more people that would like to step up,” she says. “I'm only one person, you know; my ideas are only good for so long. I need to have more people coming with some good things and start sharing.”
Her advice for families thinking about buying an Airstream? “Buy it. Put some stuff in it. … And get on the road.” It’s easy to get caught up in the details, Misti says, but you can always figure it out as you go.
“You can pick that stuff up,” she says. “You can't just pick up a memory, you know — you just can't. We went from a 4,000-square-foot home to an Airstream. I'm telling you: There's nothing in that house that I need more than just my husband and my kids. And I think they would say the exact same thing.
“Just book the trip,” Misti says. “You can get those things later. You can’t get back memories.”
You can find Misti, Mark and the boys on Instagram at @StreamingOurDream. They love meeting fellow Airstreams on the road.
Through a unique partnership with the Airstream Club International, Airstream is excited to offer one year of the Explorer Membership with the purchase of every new Airstream travel trailer and touring coach.
Ready to join the world's longest-rolling single-branded RV club? Learn more about becoming a member of the Airstream Club International.