There’s an event coming up that I’ve been looking forward to attending since about December 2011. That’s when I and a few other dedicated individuals started working on planning it! It’s the 2013 Administrators of Volunteer Resources BC Provincial Conference, for people who professionally manage volunteers, and its happening May 22-24, 2013 here in Victoria.

AVRBC is a professional association that has been a mainstay of my life since 2006, when I started working at Volunteer Victoria managing their training and outreach program and working with hundreds of community-based organizations. The people of AVRBC welcomed me into their fold with open arms and have been a tremendously positive influence on my work and career over the last seven years. In a field that is still struggling among the wider community to be seen as a profession and for a role that sometimes has been siloed within an organization, I’ve seen that this group of professional and knowledgeable individuals has often been a place for managers of volunteers to call home.

I do see the irony that immediately after writing a post advocating for non-traditional professional development I now write about a formal conference learning opportunity! But attending a conference in volunteer management is a rare event, so it deserves to be shouted from the rooftops and somewhat revered! AVRBC holds a conference only once every two years and we know why – it’s a lot of work! But our planning team has come up with a fantastic event, one that features internationally-known volunteer management “guru” Susan J. Ellis of the fantastic resource site Energize, Inc. If you manage volunteers and haven’t come across Susan or her site yet, you’ve been missing out on a pivotal resource in our field. This is one woman dedicated to the cause of professionalizing our profession. She alone will be well worth the price of admission!

But as the conference’s Workshop Program Chair, I’m also pleased to tell you that we have other great speakers lined up for this event. Tracey Gibson and Diane Lloyd, Christopher Geater, Randy Kennett, Stacy Ashton, Elizabeth Backman and Denise Lloyd will all be leading sessions relevant to the field of volunteer management. I’ll be leading a session as well. All workshops fit into the conference’s theme of “Professionalizing the Face of Volunteer Leadership.”

The early-bird registration deadline for the conference is coming up on March 15 so check out the conference program and register soon! Send this on to colleagues you may have in the field, or people who may be considering that this field is a future career opportunity for them. There will be networking opportunities and site visits to local organizations with volunteer programs as well as opening ceremonies and a gala dinner during the three day event.

See you there!