Event Expectations - Part II
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Article ID: 6171
Age Group: Adult
Days Up: 3,733
Times Read: 4,566
Author: Patricia Telesco
Posted: March 2nd. 2003
Times Viewed: 4,566
Recently I became aware that some Organizers distain "professionals" (those of us who have made community service our full time jobs) because that somehow must mean we're only in it for the money (not for the love of it). Now honestly folks, how many of us do you see riding around in fancy cars, staying a high class hotels, and spending money like there's no tomorrow? None of us are getting rich -- we're rather trying to enrich our lives by sharing with our community, and hopefully take care of our families at the same time. Yes, there will be moneychangers in nearly any group. But in the interest of being very clear here, please don't "expect" that the word "professional" translates as "money grubbing, self centered ass" -- it's the exception, not the rule. In fact, most professionals got to be professionals because they love what they do, and they do it very, very well. Additionally it is worthy to note that just because someone volunteers to teach or exhibit art without any compensation, doesn't mean that individual is qualified to teach or that the art will be of any particular quality.
In ancient times professionals (priests, priestesses, philosophers, artists, healers, etc.) were paid in food and raw goods. The barter system honored the time and efforts of the individual, as well as the quality of his or her skills. Now we use cash too. Nonetheless, a talented teacher, leader, artist, elder, etc. deserves some type of compensation equal to what they give. It's not only a long-standing custom, but it's simply the right thing to do! Otherwise these folks are likely to get burned out, or just give up because they simply cannot make ends meet and continue in full time service!
Now what else do facilitators expect? They expect the community wants gatherings and other events. I think that's reasonable and mostly true. Sadly sometimes our community let's politics overcome common sense. Rather than focusing on positive energy, and going to an event to fellowship with like-minded souls, they'll ditch the event because of falling-outs with various Board members. It makes me seriously wonder where our priorities lie. What's REALLY important? Are we going to an event because of who is there, or because we want to grow as spiritual beings?
Facilitators also expect that their guests will be on time and prepared. Very reasonable. We are, after all, supposed to be professionals (oops there's that word again). Yet guests are sometimes subject to the same problems with PST as everyone else in our community. They may also be subject to all too human failings -- like staying elsewhere for privacy only to find it makes them late. Facilitators have to be able to roll with these problems and adjust quickly, but I would pray that any guest who "messes up" also "cleans up!" Don't "expect" someone else to fix what you've broken.
Quite simply -- Pagan Standard Time should be outlawed, and we all should get off our duffs and start putting our time and money where our proverbial mouths reside. This rather ugly neo-pagan tendency to wait until the 13th hour to do anything makes us look rather sloppy in the public eye, and undermines a great many good things we could be doing. Don't bitch about there not being enough local events to a Facilitator, then make excuses about your lack of effort or support when one comes along! Likewise, don't complain about the way others handle an event until or unless you're willing to do something about it (such as volunteering to help with the part that was problematic, or networking to find people who can make concrete improvements). But I'm getting off track.
Now, let's say a featured guest cannot come due to an emergency, it's "expected" that as much notice as possible be given. At that juncture it's expected that the facilitator will find a good way of filling that gap (perhaps another guest could volunteer to give an extra talk), and of course that attendees will be notified of schedule changes. Well, hopefully they're notified! That one often gets a bit dicey since a little yellow sticky posted by the registration area can't really be considered proper notification (lol)! It is for this reason that I strongly recommend a central notice area (a wipe off board) and people who can act as heralds so everyone stays on the same page and no one has reason to gripe.
Finally facilitators expect that those paying or contributing to the event in some way are being honest in their dealings (meaning the check won't bounce and the promised donations or volunteers will be present). Also very reasonable, but sadly in our rather trusting community there are wolves in sheep's clothing, drama queens who want everything their way, and high muckety-mucks who feel they're above "all that." Here again we find ourselves in the rather unenviable position of having to deal with folks who talk a lot, but don't walk the circle of honor, respect, and gratitude. In other words, facilitators can have a rather thankless and often frustrating job. It's up to both the attendees and guests to make sure those efforts aren't overlooked, and that a facilitator's energies are not abused.
And what of attendees?? Well I'd say they expect to get their money's worth by way of quality speakers, artists, entertainers, vendors, and related services. This is also reasonable. In a consumer world your event equates to the "goods" purchased. The experience of the consumer at your event will dictate whether they'll want to invest in the future or get more involved on other levels. It also dictates whether you'll get positive (or negative) feedback via word of mouth, which can make or break another event.
Now reading all this you might be wondering if it's at all possible to have a fully functional, well executed event. The answer is YES. But we need to always remember that the success of any endeavor depends on everyone -- each one of us doing our part wholly, honestly, thoughtfully, and responsibly. From the day-tripper to the weekend witch, to the speakers and staff success or failure lies in the way we handle ourselves, and our interactions. It lies in how much we're willing to give and receive... . In how sensitive we are to those around us and how committed we are to making the best of any situation. Let's keep our expectations honest, reasonable, and considerate and everyone's experiences will be vastly improved.
The Witches' Voice
March 10th., 2003
Location: Amherst, New York
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