Monday, June 11, 2007

Where has the week gone? Well to SCRA!

It is almost impossible for me to believe that it's been a whole week since my last post. Let me tell you my friends that I have been a busy girl in the past week. No, I have not knitted a stitch in that time (not even one, I'm sorry to say, despite best laid plans!).

Instead, I have been SCRAing. "What?!?" you might ask? Well, I've been helping to organize and actually put on a professional conference, the biennial meeting of the Society for Community Research and Action (it's a meeting of community psychologists). Want to see a sampling of the week's activities?

(No?... well OK you might just want to wander onto another blog now... grin).

For the rest of you, fun began on Tuesday morning when we stuffed all of these things

into the black bag you see in the middle. That lovely document on the far right represents the wall of shame that I showed you earlier this year all nice and neatly compiled together into what we officially call a "program" (rather than the tattered semblance of my sanity).

For those of you who just can't get enough of this drivel, you can see all 144 pages, as well as the front and back covers, by downloading the pdf from this page. I especially like the ad for our graduate programs which is the inside front cover (I didn't make it, but worked with the woman who developed it).

The blue sheet behind the program represents the addendum that reflects the changes that conference presenters continued to ask for up through tuesday morning (yes the conference started on thursday) but does not include the shattered semblance of my sanity changes that came in on Wednesday (I told them sorry).

By lunch time Tuesday, we had, with the efficiency of giant assembly line, created a room full of this.

All of which was loaded into cars and transported to a hotel in Pasadena for our meeting.

And then there was the meeting itself. I spent quite a bit of time with these very, very fine (they should win a million dollars or at least spend eternity in a very wonderful place) people in just this location (the information table).

Hey... look ... knitting content... that's my picovoli under my black suit!

The two men to my left and the woman on the far right were 3 of the 4 graduate students who help to coordinate all the activities at the conference. Let me tell you they did a lion's share of work. Never have I seen such well organized, happy, hard working people. Between us (and with the help of two others) we problem solved every little issue and allowed a lot of these

(big addresses) and these

(poster sessions where people presented printed versions of their recent work) to happen.

I am pleased to say that, in no small part due to their hard work, the conference went off extremely well!

Thursday night we even had entertainment at our opening reception.

These three gentlemen (Trio Los Compadres) were absolutely fabulous!

Friday, Saturday, and Sunday there was alot more of this and Saturday night one of my colleagues even received one of these

(a nice big award from the organization).

Sunday afternoon we picked up all our things, loaded the cars back up with the left overs, and headed home.

Now that I'm here, I feel like those kids who says, "My mom and dad went to XXX, and all I got was this lousy tshirt."

Of course that's the very, very short version of the weekend. It for example completely leaves out the details about how one of our conference participants died during a session (very sad), all the great talks I got to hear, the ideas I had talking to colleagues (over 500 people attended the conference and while I'm sure I didn't meet every one of them, I sure met alot), the silly black bags and how they started to fall apart by the second day of the conference (ordering bags not my responsibility!), the crisis intervening I had to do after a colleage created a pretty messy situation that upset lots of people, and the utter, total fatigue that I felt on Sunday after multiple days being up, talking, and "happy" at 7am as we opened up the registration and information booths. Have I ever mentioned that I am not a morning person?

Conferences are exhausting!

After S's experience coordinating his conference a few weeks ago and my experience this weekend we have promised each other no other conference planning for at least 5 years!!

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