A guest blog by Kevin Valade, Gamma Epsilon Chapter
National Convention 2012 is a blur. Between days of Grand Chapter, hours of workshops, and a banquet to cap it all off (not to mention all of the Brother bonding moments that were squeezed in along the way), I can’t remember if I was in Orlando for 4 days, or 4 weeks. Don’t get me wrong. That’s why I loved it. I was able to have so many great experiences in such a short amount of time.
This year, for my second National Convention, I was elected to be the Alternate for my Chapter. Being the Alternate shed light on a whole new aspect of Convention that I hadn’t been able to see a year ago: Grand Chapter. Yes, it was long. Yes, it was stressful. Yes, at times it felt like we would never leave the Orange Ballroom. But even so, looking back at the four days, it was one of my favorite experiences. As my Chapter’s Parliamentarian for the upcoming year, I saw Grand Chapter as a big Robert’s Rules crash course. It’s definitely an experience that I recommend every future Parli have. I learned so much about what to do, and what not to do, with Parli Pro. I learned that there is a motion for just about every situation that a meeting could ever have. I learned that during Grand Chapter, an amendment to amend a motion can, and probably will, be amended. With these lessons, I can go back to my Chapter and confidently chair a business meeting, knowing that if anybody ever decides to get fancy with Robert’s Rules, I’ll have probably seen it before.
The learning at National Convention never ended, however, on Saturday, I was learning from my Bros. Roundtable Discussions always leave a large mark when I look back at Inter-Chapter Events. I had experienced such discussions at a Regional Conference I attended, but this was different. I was able to pick the brains of Chapters from not only around my region, but all over the country. At my particular table, there was a Chapter from Tennessee, one from New Jersey, one from Texas, and one from California. It was amazing to see how different each Chapter went about its day-to-day operations, yet all still had a common goal. I gathered fresh ideas for recruitment and alumni involvement, and was even able to spread some of my own for building Inter-Chapter Relations. By the end, I had forgotten about how ready I was to go to lunch; I just wanted to hear more from my Brothers.
The icing on the cake at this year’s event was, as it always is, the Awards Banquet. It was great to see everyone all dressed up. It was even better to sit at a table surrounded by some of my best friends, as we were able to look back at all that we accomplished in a just a year’s time. National Convention was time for Brother bonding; it was a time to meet new people, and learn more about the friends you already thought you knew. As we stood in a circle, linking arms, singing “Brother”, I had never felt that Fraternal bond more. That feeling was quickly topped, however, as we all rushed to the dance floor to do the Wobble, as a Brotherhood.
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