Being a Registrar

This year the Florida Woodturning Symposium committee asked that I serve as Registrar for our annual Symposium. In a moment of weakness I said “yes”. Little did I know how much behinds the scenes effort it takes to handle this side of the Symposium prep.

For the past five years I have been responsible for obtaining and managing the scholarships, educational grants and Day in the Shop workshops we raffle off each year. We generally give away a scholarship and educational grant from the John C. Campbell Folkschool, the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts and have also worked with Craft Supply and the Anderson Ranch and this year a new entry, Canyon Studios. We also give away four Day in the Shop scholarships where the winner gets to spend a full day one on one with a great Florida woodturner. Once you learn the ropes, this job is both fun and finite. The people at the schools are great and they are so generous, it’s not like I have to get down on my knees and beg. After that it’s just a matter we stay on schedule with catalog and certificate deliveries.

I had also made the point at our Committee meetings that we needed to improve the Florida Woodturning Symposium website. I should have known better, because “if you raise the issue, you own the issue.” Thankfully, my friend Keith Larrett of Syzygy Woodworks, who is webmaster for our turning club offered to do all the heavy lifting and entirely revamp the site. You can see from the link above that he has done a fine job. My role is to get the right information about the Symposium to Keith.

So, how hard could it be, being the Registrar. All I can say is I have a much deeper appreciation of the past Registrars and the work it takes to get 250 people properly registered, matched to their desired accommodations and meals and make sure they can attend the rotations of all the demonstrators they really want to see.

We went live this week and we’ve already had over 50 register. Of course, some registrations were smoother than others. So there is a fair amount of digging through the information to make sure all the issues have to be resolved. So far, so good. Thankfully, the last Registrar isn’t leaving me hanging.

I know that I’ll be pretty comfortable with the process as we get closer to the Symposium and I also realize sometimes you need to step up and pay your dues to ensure that you event provides the maximum possible enjoyment to those that come.

I’ll leave you with one question – How often have you stepped up and did the hard thing to make sure club, event or Symposium was the best it could be? For those who have – Good on you.

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