Do more than just attend conference

By Pat Wray

December 4, 2019

Many aspects of planning and preparation for an annual conference must come together to create a smooth and well-run event. The local folks have to be dedicated and committed to the cause. The conference chair(s) must develop a great theme and then attract a stable of outstanding speakers, the combination of which will make the general membership truly want to attend. The OWAA staff, Executive Director and conference planner must preside over the framework of minutiae and details, financial and otherwise, on which everything else depends.

But the difference between a well-run and a truly successful conference comes down to one single thing: participation by the membership which, in a word, is you.

Now, I’m not talking about simple attendance, though conference attendance is certainly a critical aspect of participation. I’m talking about your personal and zealous involvement in features of the conference which will lend energy, passion and excitement to the entire affair. Try these on for size:

  1. Silent Auction. Our silent auction has become a lethargic affair over past years, primarily because most of us are expecting someone else to do the necessary work. Enough of that! We are all, or should be, involved in the silent auction. Not just as recruiters of companies and manufacturers for product, although those are great, but as donators of your own skills, products and, for lack of a better word, stuff. Have you got a pair of boots that are still in the box but you’ll probably never wear? Are you hoarding an antique reel that means nothing to you but might be the crowning jewel for a collector? Can you offer an experience that someone else might consider a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity? Bring it. Offer it. Don’t settle for just attending the conference. Be a real participant, and help your organization at the same time. Please notify Executive Director Chez Chesak of donations you intend to bring. Start now.  Let’s make this silent auction the best ever!

Author’s note: I’ll be offering a guided two-day hunt for wild chukars in the high desert of eastern Oregon. Lodging included. Sometime between November 1, 2020 and January 31, 2021.

P.S. It is not true that smart chukar hunters save their last shell for themselves. That’s just an old widows’ tale.

  1. Story Time. This is a new one, recommended by Chez, and it should be a hoot, considering that we are all, by definition, storytellers. We’ll dedicate an hour-and-a-half after dinner on one night to give our members the chance to tell a favorite story. Subject material is limited only by your experience or imagination. Humor is encouraged. Coarse language is not. Each storyteller will have five minutes. Listeners will vote for the best story and the winner will receive $100—or maybe more if anyone wants to donate to the kitty.

Let me know by e-mail if you’d like to tell a story. Participation will be limited to the first 12 people who sign up.

See you at the conference!


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