Wednesday, June 01, 2011

The One About ATLOSCon 2011

I don't even know where to begin. ATLOSCon was a great experience, and so much happened in such a short amount of time that I haven't really thought about it all somehow. It was also a different experience from last year, and I'm thinking that over, too.

Everything went really smoothly for the most part. The facility we chose, which was quite a drive for some of the local folks, was clean, and spacious enough to accommodate our large group. (And it happened to be the most affordable of all of our options, which was not a small consideration.) There were a few hitches and glitches, as there are bound to be, but Yippee Mistakes! We'll learn some things and improve for next year. :D

The classes I attended were really interesting. And the ones I taught were fun, too. As always, I learned something about what to improve for next time. And I really appreciate speaking to groups of people who are engaging and challenge us a bit on our ideas. It's really really fun!

This year's conference was a good bit larger in terms of attendance. I don't have an official count out of the reservation system, but last night I wrote a list of the names of people who came to at least one event and came up with 76 77! (For those of you on the OList chat last night, yes I thought of one two more person people since the chat.) Including kids, that's 84 85 total. Last year's attendance was 62 (67 including kids), so that's what . . . about a 23% 24% increase over last year (using the adult numbers--did I do that right? I'm still working on my coffee this morning.). NOT BAD AT ALL!

I met so many neat people for the very first time, and we were all so happy and thrilled that so many out-of-towners attended! Diana and Paul were our house guests, and the kids enjoyed meeting them (they know Diana as "The Webcast Lady"). We spent a fair amount of time with Tim and Faye and their little baby, too. As usual, I feel as if I didn't get to spend tons of time with some I'd wanted to, but that's just all the more reason to keep having and attending these mini-conferences (as well as OCON), I think!

One of the things I really love about our conferences is that while they are centered around activities for adults, they are family-friendly, too. (Kelly has a whole thing about this and I hope she writes about it on her blog--that activities, and life, should be adult-centered, but that kids should sort of have access to many of those grownup-y things. I quite agree with this.) So there were lots of kids running around the social activities. Our house was Kid Central during the conference classes (hooray for wonderful babysitters!), but there was at least one kid at most of the other events. I love that my kids are getting to know the children of other Objectivists. And I'm only half-joking when I say that Ryan is assembling his future army. :)

I paced myself well throughout and didn't get burned out or totally exhausted. I'm not the type to party through the night anyway, even before I had kids. But having kids and house guests helped me keep to somewhat of a routine and semi-regular sleeping plan.

Some of my favorite moments:

  • Opening the Scepter of Power (we really need to think of a better name for that probably, or maybe we did and I can't remember) with Kelly at the Meet & Greet!

  • Reading aloud from Crocodile on the Sandbank
  • Watching my kids interact with all of these strangers and thinking about how great it is that people know them and care about them (I had this great feeling last year, too)

  • Talking about Positive Discipline and effective communication techniques with Kelly

  • Tearing up at the poem "The Writer" by Richard Wilbur during Kelly's poetry class

  • Our CrossFit workout was especially great fun! Love going to CF with friends. And of course, Arthur's 47 inches, not to be forgotten. :D

  • Singing the Ballad of Jayne at Stoney's Pub (and another version of the song, soon-to-be published, I hope)

  • Standing on top of Stone Mountain with Morgan 

  • Funny and interesting conversations galore! At parties, classes, and even while floating in the pool.

This conference was less adrenaline-rushed than last year's. I think last year, because we had no clue what we were doing and were running around like crazy until the very last second before it began, we were so surprised at ourselves about pulling it off! And while the stress of it was not fun, the rush from our accomplishment was so very exciting!

This year, our tagline was "This Year, We Kinda Know What We're Doing" and things were definitely more even-keeled. We had lots of help (thank you ATLOS Peopleguys!) and lots of time and more of an idea of what we were getting into. Even now, there's a lot of post-conference work that must be done, but I don't feel too stressed about getting it done. It'll get done.

But this year, instead of feeling EXTREEEEEEM EXCITEMENT at every step of the way, I felt more . . . I don't know. Just calm and satisfied that things seemed to be (for the most part) going to plan. That's a nice feeling, too.

And both years, I did have a moment where I was nearly overcome with pride and joy at having helped bring something of immense value into being. :D

Thanks to everyone who helped accomplish this great feat, and thanks to all who participated! We'll be sending a survey soon to our attendees so please help us get some ideas for making next year's conference even more successful.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled crazy fun wonderful life!


Tim said...

Again, giant thanks to you and Kelly for organizing this wonderful weekend. It was our first Objectivist conference and will absolutely not be our last. Even Henry had such a blast that he slept for 14 hours yesterday.

Can't wait for next year! Look forward to my talk submissions!

Josh J. said...

I second Tim's sentiments. ATLOSCon was super awesome. Can't wait till next year! Plus, I think I will make it a point to go to OCON next year. I'm also considering actually doing a talk next year (maybe).

A big thank you to everyone who had anything to do with ATLOSCon from the bottom of my heart!

Marnee said...

It was a great time. I can't wait for next year. Thanks so much for organizing a very awesome AtlosCon.

And OMG Jenn my abs are still sore from Crossfit.

Hahah 47 inches....