Another retreat happened this year, and I am pleased to say that it was even better this go around!
Things I learned in between last year’s retreat and this year’s retreat:
Conflict is going to happen. I don’t mean conflict between people (though that can happen), but I do mean that the event will conflict with something. In this case, the retreat again conflicted with Pennsic, so we lost heralds there. On the other hand, we had nineteen heralds attend – up from last year’s numbers of around ten heralds, so the numbers got doubled.
That brings me to my second point: advertise often. Tell about perks of the site, what to expect, and what the classes will be. Look for connections. Advertising started with a Facebook event page that was launched in mid-May, with the event happening in mid-August. From May to mid-June, sporadic posts occurred, with weekly posts from mid-June point to the day of the event. Additionally, we set up a Google Form to have people sign up for the event so we would have a more accurate headcount.
So, I scheduled a lot of classes, and tried to make them all fit. This really didn’t work as well as I would have hoped. In the future, I would suggest a few key classes, and then leave time for people to hang out – a lot of work got started (including an impromptu session to register some things for the kingdom and a few preprints painted for Their Majesties to use), and I think by having more time to work on those things without the pressure of having to take a class helps.
We had tee-shirts again, with a theme of “Trousers of Nobility: Even Drunk, We’re Good at This!” In keeping with the theme, we had drunk OSCAR commentary Friday night after most the people staying the night had arrived. Make sure that if you have drunk commentary that you have 1) a sober person to type commentary and to filter out the drunken ideas and 2) a good (sober) moderator, as like with any commentary, things can get enthusiastic. And then, after drunk commentary, drunk star-gazing at the Perseids was quite a bit of fun, too.
Have an item that people can take home with them. We had kazoos (mostly because I wasn’t going to purchase 19 vuvuzelas). Speaking of vuvuzelas, they look an awful lot like a heraldic representation of a herald’s trumpet, so I made a new sign with two yellow plastic vuvuzelas, some paint, tape, and some foamcore to direct people to site.
In assisting with the post-mortem of the event, a survey (also done on Google Forms) was put out to those who attended so we could better gauge what could be done to improve the event. This can be shared with the organizers of next year’s retreat, and can help to figure out and zero in on things that the College needs to build on in the coming year.
Thank your host. Clean up things. Keep things clean, and respect the space. Thank people for coming. Basically, be a good human, and be aware of things.
I am tickled that this went relatively smoothly, and I hope that next year’s organizers do an even better job. Thank you, Uji Gold Falcon, with entrusting me with the retreat. Aine, thank you for letting us use your estate and for your hospitality. Dorcas, thank you for setting things up before I could get to site. Díarmaid, thank you for letting me bounce ideas off of you and for helping me set things up. And to Calontir’s College of Heralds, thank you for coming.
So, in Calontir, as you may know from reading past entries, I’m the Principal Herald. This means that I lead volunteers within my regional group in heraldic activities ranging from vocal to sign, heraldic art to book (names and devices), and everything in between.
When I stepped into the job, I knew I wanted to build heraldic community as much as I could, so that heralds across the kingdom could ask questions and get answers from other heralds in their own backyard. What a better way than to have a heraldic retreat?
In this blog entry, I’ll go through the ways that the heraldic retreat was put together, and how you can do one in your own kingdom.
My biggest help was having a deputy I could say, “hey, you want to help run a non-event?” It was also good to have someone that I could bang out ideas with…
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