Monday, August 15, 2011

Conclave Wrap-Up #SigEpConclave

You probably noticed that the blog has been quiet the last few days. There are a few reasons (as opposed to excuses) for that:
  • The Phoenix Conclave is for all purposes a non-stop event. There are people to see, events to attend, and legislation to follow. Short story - it is tough to find time to sit quietly and write.
  • The events his year were quite compelling, and while I did not always have access to a laptop, I and it seems like every other attendee have smart phones and were 'tweeting' profusely to the #SigEpConclave tag. Look it up. You will be overwhelmed. 
  • The HQ staff and Conclave team actually did a heck of a job this year in raising their game by using email, twitter, smart phone apps, and web sites to increase the level of communication. It did not seem so much like "If I don't do this it won't happen" this year.
  • I deliberately slowed my pace this year. Rather than run around like the intrepid reporter covering everything and learning nothing I chose to relax more, enjoy the experience more, spend more time connecting to old friend and making new ones, and soak up more of the fantastic programming. That meant less blogging and less picture taking.
So what do I have to show for the Conclave? What has impressed me, good or bad? Well...
  • The two events I was directly involved with were successes in my opinion. 
    • The "Blogger's Breakfast" had about 30 folks show up and was pretty evenly divided between undergrads and alumni. We had some spirited discussion about how social media can help chapters and there were some top notch suggestions I will be taking back to HQ to try to integrate into the overall plans.
    • The "Bill W." meeting was also a success. Several people showed up to 'touch base' or to learn about the AA program. Most encouraging was the undergrad who was concerned about his drinking progression. No major decisions, but maybe a seed was planted. 
  • The program quality was better than I have seen in a while. I actually enjoyed all of the programs I attended and most of the major events. 
  • There has been a lot of discussion about 'raising the bar' for undergraduate and chapter expectations. I hope that we are being realistic in those expectations. No reason to think otherwise, as we have risen to meet previous challenges. Still one wonders if the bar may get too high.
  • The behavior of everyone was top notch as far as I saw. The letter shared previously by Bro Kief attests that I was not just imagining it.
  • I am particularly impressed by the way the Conclave staff 'raised the bar' on more and better communication. From an online daily newsletter to twitter tags, to a very helpful Conclave smart phone app, and more attractive programming it all was a fantastic experience. I didn't miss any events because I was so busy renewing friendships that I forgot. The reminder alarm let me know what was coming.
  • the Twitter hashtag (i.e. #SigEpConclave) screen was very cool. I hope we have more than one next time. 
  • Legislation - well, few surprises. most of the mundane stuff passed. Much of the more 'special interest' stuff didn't. Some of the more knotty pieces will need further work by task forces and such ans should be back next Conclave.
  • Elections - Bert Harris will be a good steward for the next two years, if not as flamboyant as Garry (but then, who is?). Dan McVeigh is a good choice for a new NBD member. I see him every year at CLAs and respect his commitment and SigEp 'chops'.
Lets start making plans now for Dallas in 2013!