That said, I will just say what's most important: I HAD A WONDERFUL TIME AT THE 2013 NATIONAL CONFERENCE OF THE AFRO-AMERICAN HISTORICAL AND GENEALOGY SOCIETY! The leadership of AAHGS really put together a nice event!
As with any affair of this magnitude, there were a few things that could have been better, and a lot of things that could have been worse. AAHGS provided conference attendees with evaluation forms, which I believe they sincerely intend to take seriously. It was evident that their intent in planning this conference was to meet the needs of all attendees, and to provide participants with valuable learning experiences, as well as opportunities to socialize and network with each other, with the goal of supporting and enhancing our research efforts. They did this in a classy, and professional way, and I believe that everyone who attended got something out of the conference experience! (And, the food was good, too!)
For me, the most valuable part attending the conference was being able to meet and spend time with several of my genea-friends, whom I've "known" for years, online, but had never met, in person. Toni Carrier, Taneya Koonce, and Mavis Jones have each provided me with support, encouragement, and even (dare I say?) friendship for many years. I am so very happy to have met them! (I also met, and got to spend quite a bit of time with Mavis' lovely mother, who accompanied her to the conference. What an added treat!)
Not only did I meet three of my online friends for the first time, but I was also privileged to see and spend a bit of time with two other special ladies from my online genealogy circle. Angela Walton-Raji and Dr. Shelley Murphy are leaders in the genealogy community. I've had the pleasure of meeting each of them, previous to the AAHGS conference, and it was wonderful to be in their presence, again!
Last, but not least, I also got a chance to get to know a young lady, Dinah W., from my own AAHGS chapter, whom I'd seen and chatted (briefly) with at meetings, but had never spent any time around, and I got to see my chapter president, Selma Stewart, in another environment. (Somehow, Selma and I didn't really get to spend any real time around each other, but we did see each other, often, in passing!)
Yes, for me, being able to share this experience with people I "knew" was the best part of the deal. Being somewhat of an introvert, I know that if these ladies hadn't been there, my experience would have been quite a different one. But, our online connection gave me a comfort level with each of them, that made me feel as comfortable as if we'd been old friends, which made me want to socialize, more than I probably would have if I hadn't known anyone there. So, thanks, ladies! (Hopefully, you're reading this!) :)
|Top left: Mavis & Renate; Top right: Angela, Toni, Mavis, Renate |
Center-L-R: Dinah, Mavis' mom, Mavis, Renate
Bottom left: Toni, Renate; Bottom right: Taneya, Shelley, Renate
I'd like to publicly thank AAHGS for putting on a fabulous conference, and for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of it. I don't know if I can do it every year (yet), so Pittsburg 2014 is up in the air, for now. However, 2015 brings the AAHGS National Conference to Richmond, VA, and my chapter (Hampton Roads) is sure to share in some of the work of hosting, so I know I'll be there!
Thanks for reading!