11 June 2014

Jamboree - A Personal Observation

Dear Volunteers, Speakers, Exhibitors, Attendees, and Team 14 and Team 15 Committee members:

No. Wait.
Let me rephrase that.

Dear Friends,

Even with its 600,000 words, there are not enough words Oxford English Dictionary to express the deep gratitude and joy that I feel after this past weekend's Jamboree.

It's taken me a couple of days to distill my thoughts (okay it took a couple of days to just wake up) and I wanted to thank everyone involved in making this year's Jamboree such an incredible success. I know now why Oscar winners take their lists of thank-yous to the podium, because I failed to thank many of the most important people. Thank you all for helping to create environment that was filled with teaching and learning, sharing, networking and celebrating not only our ancestors but also the deep friendships that have developed between and among Jamboree participants.

I can't list everyone here because I think there is a limit on the length of a Blogger post. But here are some key thank-yous in no particular order.

1. Louise Calaway, Peggy Schultz and Lynne Parmenter, who processed all of the registrations. It is a huge effort to manage the registrations, added orders, cancellations, changes, and keep track of everyone. They form the front line of Jamboree and are in the "heat of battle" from January through June. Louise's hard work is one of the foundations of success. She doesn't get enough recognition and she deserves it, and so much more.

2. Dave Burde, who was elected to SCGS president in January. He has fully embraced the mission of Jamboree and has been a kind and wise sounding board.

3. Vicki Hilb. This crazy woman from Arizona came to Jamboree a few years ago and try as we may, Leo and I just couldn't get rid of her . At first, she helped deliver fliers throughout her state. Then two years ago, she stepped up as Program Chair; and I developed a new definition of "absolutely invaluable." She is many things to me -- my bossy, my confidante, my sister, my friend. I cherish her, her snarky sense of humor, and all that she has done for me and for Jamboree.

4. George, Drew, Jana, Cyndi, the other Paula, Lisa, Thomas, Judy, Jean, Janet, Tom, Gena, Denise, Lisa Louise, Blaine, Bruce, John, Craig, Geoff, Michael, Randy, Megan, Curt, David, Dick, - Oh I am going to get myself in such trouble here. All of the speakers are so integral to the success of our event, and over the years, the best speakers in the genealogical community have made the effort to come to California. I thank every one of you for your contribution to Jamboree and enriching the value of education available at Jamboree.

5. The members of the Jamboree Committee and the members of the SCGS Board of Directors. There is a lot of overlap between the two groups, which shows the depth of participation of SCGS leadership in our annual event.

6. The sponsors, who support Jamboree in so many ways: Ancestry.com, FamilySearch, NEHGS,  findmypast.com, RootsMagic, Family Tree DNA, Salt Lake Plaza Hotel, Ancestor Seekers, Creative Continuum, Family Chartmasters, NGS, FGS, Crystal Inn Salt Lake Hotel, National Institute for Genealogical Studies

7. The staff at the Marriott, who have been partners with Jamboree and SCGS. The renovated convention center turned out beautiful and it was fun to be the first event held in the fresh, new venue. Oh, and the Dove bars.

8. My husband Pieter (the guy in the kilt), who has put up with way more than any man should ever have to. I'm not sure how he does it, but I am so grateful that he does.

9. The exhibitors, who bring their knowledge and products and experience to help guide the attendees. They add to the value of our event, they create programs and systems and books and products that help new family historians on their way to their own pasts.

10. Without volunteers, we would not have a Jamboree. We would not have a genealogical society. We would not be able to have webinars, or printed material, or a 40+ plus resource library, or a website, or interest groups or any other aspect of the Southern California Genealogical Society.  Jane Van Tour and Lise Harding, prior years' and 2014's volunteer chairs, did phenomenal jobs of recruiting and organizing the volunteers. Wow.

Want to hear about the first time I cried? (I swore I wouldn't but yeah like that's not going to happen.)  An attendee came to the information table and thanked me (us) for all of the hard work on Jamboree, and then he went a step further. He said, "think about all of the lives you have changed, all of the people who have learned at Jamboree, how many have benefited from Jamboree." Gulp.

And the second (and third and fourth) times I cried? They happened in the Pavilion during the Dress Like the '60s contest. We had 40-50 people on the stage, all smiling and happy in a blaze of tie-dye. It looked just like how I envisioned it. That was Cry #2.  Then someone started singing "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," spontaneously, in a variety of keys. That was Cry #3. When we ran out of easily-recalled words, we switched to "If You're Going to San Francisco, Be Sure to Wear Some Flowers in Your Hair." #4. It fulfilled a dream for me. I'll never forget that feeling.

Everyone who participated in Jamboree - you all share that. You all have touched lives, changed the lives of hundreds -- thousands -- of people over the years.

Finally, Leo. Leo Myers, who was the man of honor when Pieter and I got married. Who has been the very best work collaborator throughout my career. We've said for years that we share a brain. How close do we think? We finish each others' sentences. We think things at the exact same time. We write emails at the same time with the same ideas -- and hit "send" on those emails at the same time. Ours is a perfect collaboration - together we have a complete skill set, with attention to detail and creativity. Leo, thank you for being my other other half.

To everyone, thank you for your friendship, your guidance and your CRAZY HARD WORK. Even more than that, thank you for your commitment to our goals of:
  1. producing the very best genealogical event we possibly can, 
  2. bringing together family historians of all ages and all experience levels and all backgrounds, 
  3. providing opportunities to interact, and 
  4. encouraging them to learn and 
  5. having a good time doing it.
Best of luck to Team 15 -- Barbara Randall, Judi Ramsey, Priscilla Pruitt, and Lise Harding -- as they carry on the tradition begun 45 years ago and tended so well by Jan Jennings.

Paula Hinkel



2 comments:

Dawn Thurston said...

Is there an online event evaluation form available to those who didn't complete one at Jamboree?

Denise Hibsch Richmond said...

Paula,
What a lovely post. But it is you and your Jamboree Team who are to be thanked. Your years of dedication to organizing "Jam" is very much appreciated. I always look forward to attending. Now, your ancestors are waiting to be found and, see you next year...in class!