Behind the Scenes of Annual Conference: Logistics
When it is time to gather for the Upper New York Annual Conference, we rarely think about the details that make it happen. Many tasks even go entirely unnoticed, especially those that are as simple as logistics. What most people don’t realize is that the preparation for the next Annual Conference kicks off as early as the conclusion of the current Conference. That work begins with the meetings of the Sessions Committee, which takes place multiple times throughout the year. This is where discussion of details such as logistics, registration, worship, and budgets are born. From there, many other Ministry Areas carry the work forward throughout the year.
The registration process begins with the hard work of those in the Administrative Services Ministry Area. They take the time to gather all the necessary information, such as event and registration guidelines, which they use to then build the online registration forms that you see when planning your attendance. The online forms are released by the beginning of March and remain open until May 1. During that time, HR collects the registrations and registration fees. They also oversee the onsite registrations and late fees that are taken at the Oncenter.
Once registrations come in, the menu for Annual Conference can be completed, but this process actually begins with the evaluations of last year’s meals. This helps the team find a menu that will satisfy most dietary needs. Once the menu has been determined, the team sifts through incoming registration forms in order to evaluate any special needs that are not satisfied by the menu. In these cases, meals are altered for those individual(s).
There is also a lot of work that goes into the more visual aspects of Annual Conference logistics. Display tables don’t just appear on the first day of Annual Conference. The call out to Ministry groups initiates the invitation to others who may be interested in having a display table. It’s up to the staff of Annual Conference to organize and determine where each group will be located. These tables take a lot of planning in order to make them available for AC attendees to explore during Conference.
The workshops that are offered at Annual Conference take quite a bit of preparation as well. This process is handled by the Connectional Ministries office and begins with the discussion and decision of workshop topics. Once these are determined, speakers/presenters are contacted and audio/visual needs are discussed and ironed out. This information then gets passed on to those who are in charge of registration so registrants can sign up for the workshop they desire. Workshops fill up fast, so don’t wait until the last minute to register. They are already sold out for AC 2017.
This is just a small glimpse of the tasks and the hard-working people that make it possible to bring Annual Conference to life each year. The event is a great team effort and could not happen without the countless volunteers and staff working together to address all the logistical details.