August 19, 2019
If the next three months pass as quickly as the last three, the OREA 67th annual Convention and House of Delegates will be here before we know it!
Months of planning and preparation go into the work of the convention. Hundreds of details must be taken into account. The Convention Committee has already met to coordinate plans and ideas to make your event as nice and comfortable as possible. Some arrangements and reservations must be made months to a year in advance. At some point, we should probably calculate the hours the staff spends on the work of the convention.
If you’ve ever planned a large event, you know they can be expensive. In the last three years, we have put in place some significant cost saving measures. Actually, we have shaved about $15,000 plus off of the convention budget. The next significant cost-saving measure would be to hold the event at a different venue than a convention hotel. I have been looking into other locations, and what I’ve found is they often are just as “booked” and need to be reserved over a year in advance.
Changing venues presents an entirely new set of logistical issues. Many attendees enjoy the convenience of staying overnight at the same location as the meetings. Over-night guests would have to drive a few miles to reach the meeting locale. Rooms for breakout sessions sometimes require an additional cost. There’s no charge at a convention hotel for space as long as we meet the food purchase minimums. These are just a few examples of items to consider when changing venues.
Some have asked about decreasing costs by providing boxed lunches. Turns out, a boxed lunch at a hotel is the same cost as a hot, plated lunch! In addition, all food purchases at hotels automatically include a service charge, currently between 22 and 25%, and sales tax, currently close to 9%. Yes, that’s in addition to the food cost.
This year the convention ticket is $35. That is exactly, within pennies, the cost of lunch. All other costs of the convention are paid by the OREA. I feel personally responsible to use our dues dollars as conservatively as possible.
Of course, we appreciate your input. All evaluations are read by the staff, the Board of Directors, and the Convention Committee. Every single evaluation. Funny thing, what a number of people hate, the same number of people love. Every year! So, we try to mix it up a little, while taking into consideration costs, preferences, and yes, some convenience.
It has been proposed that OREA consider a convention every other year, and in the “off” year, hold our summer leadership training. I will be seeking your input. Think about these things. This is YOUR organization. We are the oldest and strongest voice for education retirees in our state! We are only as strong as our members.
I hope you’ll start making plans now to attend the 2019 Convention and House of Delegates where we’ll be Livin’ on Tulsa Time!
For additional information, call the OREA state office.