I sat in on the UPA Chapters meeting this afternoon. It was interesting to get the perspectives of some of the people who drive the organization during the months when there is no main conference.
The number of chapters has almost doubled in the past 2 years. In 2003, there were 14. In 2004, there were 16. And somewhere along 2005 (you know, the year that is only half over) we are now at 26 active chapters.
There were a lot of great ideas thrown about the room (I even had a few!), but the best part was that I got to sit next to Daniel Szuc. Which is cool. In a really geeky way. There are only a few people who I know online anymore who I have never met in real life (that is to say… want to meet). Next up: John Rhodes.
There were lots of little tidbits in the meeting, but the one thing I did gather is that UPA is growing. Growing after a time of decline that really started in 2000-2001. As UPA grows, the people who sorta run the place want to make sure there are things of value for the membership to use not just once a year, but every month (once a month being all the usability I can personally stand! ;).
However, I think there needs to be new blood in the leadership of UPA. And actually I think the current leadership would be the first to agree. The problem is, who will be the next round of people who will step up and lead in an all volunteer organization? This is a problem the chapters face, certainly.
One thing I suggested is that if your company “asks” you to create goals for yourself each year, being involved with UPA is a great way to make your boss(es) happy while giving you an opportunity to build a solid organization. I think overall that it doesn’t matter what you do to be involved, just be involved.
I’ve taken quite a break from UPA activities for almost a year now. I think I got a little burned out, but I did work on the magazine and some other small things for 3 years. Now I think I would like to get involved again. Not sure what I will do, but Kerrie is already bugging me ;) to do stuff so I’ll most likely find something.
After the meeting, I got all gussied up and went to dinner with about 7 other people. It was mediocre and the service was less so. Drinking turned out to be really problematic. The company was great, and the constant references to The Simpsons was a plus. Grand plus really.
Nothing planned for me tomorrow, but I am sure I can find some trouble to get into. I am liking Montreal more. Still has “big city” issues, but there’s a plus side to that too. I don’t often get to walk down the street in Bloomington singing a Pink Floyd duet with a guitar-playing guy who can’t take, “We have no cash!” as a hint.