Meme Monday: Favorite PASS Memory

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Have to complete my assignment from the Rockstar this month since I’ve missed the last several (he gets all weepy, it’s not pretty). The question this time is to describe your favorite PASS moment… Wow! And this is Tom’s idea of an easy assignment. How do you choose? Lots of stuff flashes through my head, a football helmet with antlers & the song Funky Cold Medina, learning Policy Based Management from Buck Woody (blog|twitter) while simultaneously laughing my ass off, a pile of neatly folded clothes in a bush, friends old & new, speaking for the first time and running out of material 15 minutes early, sessions with great information from really smart and helpful people, Dr. Dewitt nuff said, sitting down to breakfast with people that wrote books I’d read, a couch in the Men’s room, kilts, showing my boss a solution that I picked up at the Summit… I could keep going. I love the PASS Summit. It’s fun and educational and inspirational.

My favorite memory is rather long & involved. I went to the PASS Summit for the first time in 2005 in Dallas. I was not any kind of insider. I didn’t know anyone there except the guy from my company that attended with me. We did the usual for the first two days, hit the sessions, hit the vendors, collect swag, head back to the hotel room (and no, you should not do this). But, we scored an invite to a vendor party, my first. It was OK. Free food and free beer was the reason I went, but then I saw these people that all knew each other. They were laughing and clearly having a good time. I asked who they were, thinking a company or MVP’s or something, and got the word PASS volunteers. Hmmm…

I volunteered.

I spent the next year on phone calls and exchanging emails in my first volunteer assignment with PASS on the Book Review Committee. It was some extra work for me during the year, but nothing horrible. Plus, I got to get a couple of free books as long as I wrote reviews. It was good and I made friends with a couple of other volunteers. Then, time came around for the Summit. I went. But this year, it was different. I started getting introduced to people because of the contacts I had already made. I didn’t go back to my hotel right after the last session the first night. Instead I was out with the volunteers and I was meeting other people, MVP’s, vendors, authors, speakers. And it kept going. It was the best conference I had ever been to. Yes, the sessions were great, but so was all the time spent talking to people.

I made contacts that I still treasure to this day. I made friends that I treasure even more. I’ve gone on to volunteer multiple times with PASS in several different roles (although I’ve been off the volunteer grid mostly this year, I need to change that next year). I’ve spoken at  the Summit the last three years and I’m speaking again this year. I helped organize a local user group. I got involved.

That involvement, that’s my favorite memory from PASS. I learned a lot, kind of late in life let’s be honest, and gained a lot just by staying out of my hotel room for one evening in Dallas.

OK, fine, but what do you think?