MG Statewide Conference
The woman next to me asked if I wouldn't mind passing the butter, then she adds, "Harlequin Beetles are a nuisance." I nod in response and we move on to another exciting lunch topic. I am at a table surrounded by strange garden loving enthusiasts and I feel right at home. In fact, it is the Long Beach Master Gardener Conference and we have descended on a very "posh" hotel with our sneakers, jeans and short practical fingernails. We stand out so much that it is almost humorous, and we are a jovial crowd, relaxed and invigorated by the audible buzz of information and humor relayed at every gathering. Some of the returnees appear to take everything in stride but I am so excited about this event that I push all fear aside and talk to every MG I meet. I am relieved to establish that Master Gardeners are totally approachable, love to share information and some can talk longer on the subject of compost then I can. That is quite an accomplishment. What is so awesome about this event, is that when entomology is discussed instead of glazed over eyes, my fellow attendees become hyper-vigilant to the subject and even interject with commentary. These are my people!
I had wanted to attend past MG conferences including the one in Yosemite and International one in Portland. But each year after filling out the application, adding the costs of hotel and transportation I determined it's not within budget. This year with the help of the funds raised by last years silent auction and made available to all MG's, combined with the cheap airfare on Jetblue I was able to attend. The experience was amazing. Everything about the conference was exceptional: we ate great food, listened to stimulating lectures, participated in hands on workshops, met wonderful staff and volunteers. I also gained an extraordinary sense that I was a part of something bigger and that my contributions back home held a more significant impact because of it. Witnessing what other MG's were doing in their counties was both inspiring and reassuring. We might not be geographically close but our goals, efforts and intentions were all in alliance. This camaraderie of meaningful contribution buffered both my stamina in the program and my commitment to its goals.
I hope that might fortunate enough to attend another MG conference in the coming years and if so, I hope to see you there!