Everyone has a different convention experience... this is mine!
8:00am: Regional Meeting
Let's be real: anyone that gets up early at convention (read: late nights!) for a regional meeting is a particularly dedicated sort of individual. Despite the promise of a free breakfast buffet, it is a tough sell on the best of days. Which is why I was so impressed with our Northeast region that we had so many wonderful attendees to our meeting!
Our outgoing RC Cheryl Duerr organized a great meeting: she updated us on the goings-on of the region (how many chapters, what membership numbers are), discussed the POE for the coming year in Cape Cod (and the one this year in FINLAND!), encouraged support of of young people, and put together great door prized (Amazon gifts cards! Free convention registration!)
For my part, I told the group about this blog (hi!), the new website, the instagram account (@agonortheast), and the newsletter. I expressed how communication isn't perhaps the most glamorous of initiatives but it's the foundation upon which we can grow and thrive. My goal is to make it so easy to communicate with one another: you to me (via email, instagram, this website) and me to you (the newsletter, this blog) so that you can stay informed on what is going on and have a voice in the future of your guild.
11:30am: COMDACS Presentation
For the past five years, I've had the privilege of serving on COMDACS (Committee on Membership Development and Chapter Support... you can see why we don't use the full name!). This is such a vital committee and I think can serve a critical role where our members are concerned. So many people are worried (rightfully so) about the decline in our numbers (not on in the AGO but across the field) and so supporting those members and ensuring they feel as valued as they are is important.
For the presentation, each of us gave a short talk. I had the first part and I wanted to focus on the reason people joined the guild; what impetus caused them to join the guild in the first place!
We had an exciting group discussion in which members shared who/what/why they joined. A fascinating part of this was the discovery that no two stories were alike! There is no magic wand; there is no single solution.
I'm including my slides here, in case you're interested:
12:15pm: Lunch with National Council
What an incredible group of dedicated individuals! I am honored to (sort of) be listed among them... (since the AGO restructuring, the RCs elect a representative who sits on National Council. It’s lovely not to have to attend all those meetings). The group for lunch today was made up of national council members, plus outgoing and incoming regional councilors... it was a warm time of togetherness.
2:00pm: Chelsea Chen recital @ Kauffman Center
Chelsea Chen is a marvel; this we all know. She has such a way of programming pieces that you are continually engaged, entertained, and moved.
3:30pm: Hymn Festival - "The Peaceable Kingdom"
Tonight's hymn festival was absolutely inspiring, touching, and meaningful! The creativity of the team that put it together cannot be understated.
Anton Armstrong (of St. Olaf) led a choir made up of members of both the Kansas City Chorale and Spire. The hymn festival centered on social justice and the plight of the refuge. We sang of freedom, of hope, of despair, and action. What struck me was how the leaders of this festival had certainly planned this months in advance... yet it was so incredibly timely.
5:00pm: BBQ Dinner
Need I say more?!
7:00pm: Annual Meeting
I was particularly looking forward to the annual meeting this year (shocking, I know!) because it was the official start of my role as Regional Councillor! Myself, along with the newly elected national council and regional council members were installed in a short ceremony by our chaplain Don Saliers.
9:00pm: Meeting with AGOYO Leadership
Our region is so lucky to have a team of vibrant AGOYO leaders! Anthony Rispo (co-chair), Janet Yieh (co-chair), Katelyn Emerson, and Michael Hey are brimming with great ideas to benefit not only our young members but engage and encourage all AGO members! You’ll hear more from me (and directly from them!) soon.