by Bill Magargal
US Servas has had a tradition of annual national conferences for quite some time. The volunteers and avid members who attend enjoy meeting other members and learning more about Servas. They are fun and energizing. Attendees give them rave reviews. Our most recent conference this past Fall in NY State was no exception, but even though this successful event had only 78 attendees. That is about 5% of our total membership, even though it was heavily subsidized, well publicized, and near NYC.
Conferences require tons of volunteer effort to plan, arrange, and execute. Could our money and limited volunteer hours be put to better use, perhaps organizing local and regional gatherings? Should the US National conference alternate years with the SICOGA International event? Should we plan conferences two or three years in advance to reduce the conference committees' stress levels and to allow more time for members to hold the dates well in advance? Should conferences be held in the Summer when more people, especially younger members, might be able to attend? These are just a few of the questions that need clarification.
At this point, the Board has not received any requests from any group interested in hosting a conference in 2024. Given the above questions, and the fact that time is already short for even an experienced group to stage a national event this year, unless someone steps up in the immediate future, we are very unlikely to see a national conference in 2024.
What are your thoughts with alternating years with SICOGA , or moving to regional events? Please share them with email@example.com.