17 September 2011

2011 FGS Conference is over and I am smiling

Am I glad? Somewhat. Am I sad? Very much so. It was a great week made even greater because of wonderful volunteers. I have some new friends. They understand me. They love research, learning, networking and working well together. We laughed, teased, and even addressed issues together and I am still smiling. This was the second time I co-chaired a FGS Conference and I will do it again in 2013 for FGS Fort Wayne with Dawne Slater-Putt. I am smiling about that. It really is a neat volunteer experience.

Post-conference let-down hit me really hard. I was tired but also found it difficult to leave Springfield where I had so much fun. Springfield treated us royally. The main conference team was also amazing. They know who they are and I hope I don't miss any names. They all made me smile. Josh, Pat, David, Susie, Janice, Thomas, Linda, Julie, Kim, Cath, Sue, Amy, Jane, Carol, Karen, Polly, Stephanie, Dan, Sue, Tim, Jean, James, Gordon, George, and Drew. The Illinois State Genealogical Society, the local host, rocks!

I found this to be a conference where the education seemed to have great importance. The level of chatter around the convention center and the hotels showed that networking was right up there, too. During breaks in sessions the aisles of the convention center filled. The new FGS Booth design was a smash hit. Sue T. did an amazing job on that. FGS board and committee meetings went well with many folks piping up to take on tasks and give sensible advice. I walked away from those meetings with a good feeling. The volunteer training that Josh and I did for many of those who helped out over the week was fun. We joked a bit, were silly, but also talked about our guests for the week and that we needed to see to as many of their needs as possible. That made me smile.

I watched some of our key volunteers walk up to the folks from Birmingham (FGS 2012, August 29-September 1) and offer help and advice. That made me smile. Yes, I am working on the team for that conference, too. I will be once again be doing the conference blog and also co-chairing National Publicity with Thomas MacEntee.

I have heard from many who attended that they had a good time during the week. That makes me smile. Though I didn't get to spend as much time with friends as I hoped to, it was still great to see them. I was able to see many of the speakers and greet them. One plan I had was to get around to each vendor in the Exhibit Hall and thank them for being there but too much running around and also some need to rest the tired feet kept me from doing that. Their dedication to the genealogical audience makes me smile.

We could not have put this conference together without the platinum sponsors, Ancestry.com and FamilySearch. More smiling. And other sponsors Family Chronicle, New England Historic Genealogical Society, RootsMagic, and ProQuest, too. And the many participating organizations that sponsored lectures and luncheons and the many door prize donors. Many other reasons for smiles.

I want to publicly thank my co-chair, Josh Taylor, a special colleague and friend who asked me to join the committee. Pat Oxley, President of FGS, was there with us every step of the way. FGS 2011 was truly a team effort and I thank each and every one of you who was a part of it.

No comments: