There’s just something about that post-event glow that makes me wonder sometimes if I’d enjoy being an event planner. Of course, there’s also that two days before the event when I swear I will NEVER DO AN EVENT AGAIN and that nothing’s going to come off.
I have been remarking with incredulity to my friends in the non-profit world that the organization I’m placed with has 4 events this week, plus speaking engagements for the CEO. Four events. If you’ve never been part of a non-profit event team, with a limited budget, an eager but otherwise busy committee, and staff trying to pull it together off the sides of their desks, you may not understand my big-eyed amazement. But trust me, it’s daunting.
The reason for the multiple events is that it is National Volunteer Week in Jamaica, leading up to International Volunteer Day on Friday. It kicked off with a church service of blessing yesterday (and really all I had to do there was show up), an amazing awards gala this evening (that’s the buzz), a symposium on youth volunteering on Friday (that everyone I work with is very grateful to have deep-pocketed & well staffed partners working on), and the 9th Day of Care on Saturday at which hundreds (630 last year alone) of homeless people receive food, clothes, medical care, and personal items. That’s the next big elephant to begin eating.
But the biggest piece of National Volunteer Week on my plate was tonight’s gala. I’m not sure how it ended up on my plate, but I’ve actually worked on nothing else for 2 weeks – as have several other people. I developed the theme, designed the print materials, wrote several of the speeches, created a video, invited some media (THAT ACTUALLY SHOWED UP! WOOT!) and then sat back and enjoyed the evening.
Yes, I am a sucker for a good cause, and a night celebrating leading Jamaicans in the volunteer sector is hugely inspiring to me. So is being part of an event at which people dress to the nines, show up ready to laud one another, and where there is good music, good food, and a lot of hugs and laughter in a beautiful atmosphere.
Yes, there were glitches. There are always glitches. We missed a protocol item that the President of the organization, who happens to be a former Governor General’s wife, was miffed at. The main event of the night – inducting an extremely gracious and accomplished business leader into the volunteer hall of fame – was extremely fore-shortened because no one got the right speech to the presenter. But the last-minute musician was amazing. The room was abuzz, AND the event started on time and ended early. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that really doesn’t happen often – not just in Jamaica, but anywhere.
I just thought I’d share my afterglow of the night. There will be media stories and pro photographs and a debrief meeting with some pretty big things to follow up on next time, but for tonight it was an awesome evening celebrating amazing people, and I was proud to be a part of it.