My advice would certainly be to join a club. In our first year we joined both, but decided to stay with the Camping and Caravanning Club. We like their sites better (too much conrete on the CC ones - we like grass pitches)and we found the Caravan Club Magazine depressing, while the CCC one does at least manage to convey the idea that caravanning might be an enjoyable activity. As for CCC staff being 'not so good', I find that puzzling - on this forum and elsewhere, criticism seems to be fairly evenly divided between to two on this score - my feeling is that both clubs have a minority of site staff who are in the wrong job, but that both have loads of people working really hard to make sure we have a good time.
So try both, go with whichever suits your personal taste better. Both will give you access to quality sites, a network of smaller, 5-van sites, insurance, technical advice, overseas travel booking service etc.