Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our Spirit of Giving

AMWA's mission is education, but its spirit is giving. Our organization is one of the most volunteer-driven professional associations out there, with many members dedicating hours to AMWA at both the chapter and national levels. I always say—to anyone who will listen—that I have never met a group of people as generous as AMWA members. Our organization is full of people who give freely of their time and expertise to help other members, as evidenced by our chapter programs, networking events, and social media participation.

At no other time is our volunteer effort more profound—and visible—than during our annual conference. This year, about 200 AMWA members are lending their expertise as leaders of breakfast roundtable, workshops, open sessions, and coffee klatches. Many are volunteering time to be conference coaches, helping first-time attendees learn how to get the most out of the conference. Others are volunteering to report on the conference, contributing posts to the conference blog and more in-depth summaries to the AMWA Journal. It's the spirit of giving en masse.

I have the honor of being one of the local arrangement coordinators of this year's conference in Jacksonville, FL. In that capacity, I have been working with many local establishments to negotiate deals for AMWA attendees, and I'm happy to say that the community has responded! Among the benefits that conference attendees can enjoy include

  • 50% off admission at the Museum of Science and History (check out The Body Within exhibit and the space film in the planetarium)
  • 50% off admission at the Museum of Contemporary Art (works of art, plus Café Nola, a popular restaurant serving lunch and dinner)
  • 10% off dinner at Bistro Aix (named Jacksonville's best restaurant)
  • Free house wine, home brewed ale, or soft drink with the purchase of an entrée at River City Brewing restaurant (fun restaurant and bar across the river, with the best bar deck downtown)
  • 10% off dinner at Vito's Italian Café (conveniently located at Jacksonville Landing)
  • 10% off Jacksonville's water taxi (purchase your discounted tickets at the Florida Chapter table)

We thank these local merchants for supporting AMWA and its conference! If you're coming to Jacksonville, make sure to stop by the Florida Chapter table (in the Exhibit Area) to find out more about these discounts, as well as other local information—and surprises too! You can get additional local information with a Jacksonville app—a few are available in the App Store. The spirit of giving grows.

The Florida Chapter is also proud to announce a special drive to collect donations for Hubbard House, a Jacksonville shelter for victims of domestic violence. The shelter has general needs as well as special holiday food and gift needs. We encourage conference attendees to pack "a little something extra" to help make the days easier and brighter for these women and their children. You can drop off your contribution to the Florida Chapter table. We thank you in advance for being part of this spirit of giving.

Two Florida Chapter members you may see at our chapter table are 2010-2011 AMWA President Melanie Ross and Publications Administrator Donna Miceli. Our chapter thanks Melanie and Donna for their service over the past few years, helping to develop and implement AMWA initiatives that enhance our organization as well as our profession. I am honored to count them among my chapter colleagues and friends.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank a group of people who give to AMWA throughout the year with their work on the AMWA Journal. Most readers of the Journal probably skip right past the inside cover. But on that inside cover are the names of more than 50 people who raise the quality of the Journal with each issue. I am immensely proud of the Journal but prouder still of the largely unheralded contributions of this talented and dedicated group of people. Thank you, my friends and colleagues.

You can thank Journal volunteers too by visiting the AMWA Journal table (in the Exhibit Area) at the conference. While you're there, ask these volunteers about what they do—it just may be something you'd like to do yourself! And be sure to take a few minutes to complete a short survey on what you'd like to see in the Journal. You give us a few minutes, and we'll give you an opportunity to win an AMA Style Manual, 10th ed. Stop by the AMWA Journal table for more details.

One last note. According to weather.com, the days of the conference promise to uphold the state name, offering sunny skies, with temperatures in the high 70s. Perfect weather. AMWA and Jacksonville…we just keep giving.