BGA Executive Council Visits Washington, DC for Annual Meetings
By Trevor Corlett, Chair of the Barista Guild Executive Council, Madcap Coffee
For a lot of folks the new year means a fresh start, making resolutions, or simply hitting the refresh button. The Executive Council of the Barista Guild of America (BGAEC) also takes advantage of this philosophy. Every January we lock ourselves in a room for an entire day revisiting what we did, or did not, do in 2013 and making plans for the future. This year, immediately following The Big Eastern Event, we headed to DC and spent a day in Madcap's offices. For many EC members this was their first opportunity to visit our nation's capital, and it did not disappoint. Most arrived a day before our meeting, allowing ample time for visiting monuments and local coffee shops. We were also blessed by the Polar Vortex with an abnormal amount of snow that left Lorenzo Perkins second guessing his rental of a convertible (see video above).
The BGAEC annual meeting is something I look forward to every year because the value of a face-to-face meeting always far exceeds that of our regular conference calls. That fact, as well as getting to engage with some amazing coffee professionals that I've come to call friends. We have an amazing group of motivated volunteers that are dedicated to maintaining and developing a valuable community for it's members.
The range of topics we discuss vary from education to networking. One obvious big topic we discussed was the ongoing development of our Barista Camp program. For the first time, we will be offering three Barista Camps this year. It's been amazing for me having been involved with the development of Camp programming from year one and to see how this event has adapted and grown to fit the needs of our membership. Based on the feedback we receive, I know that folks continue to be surprised at the amount of education and networking that transpires at Camp. I also am continually surprised at the level of professionalism and dedication to learning that even the newest of baristas demonstrate at Camp. Even in a teaching capacity, I feel that I receive just as much value, if not more, as those attending. Needless to say, Camp is still our baby that we are trying to continue to nurture and grow, as it is such a big component to fulfilling our mission.
Beyond Camp we also discussed being more active and accessible at a regional level. This is always at the top of our priority list, and one of our biggest challenges. However, our Membership Committee has made great strides in connecting with a lot of existing local coffee communities and finding ways we can support them. Our members are doing some amazing things and it's exciting to be able to support them in what they're doing and share it with the rest of the community. If you have a local coffee community that you work with and you'd like to be a part of this process please let us know.
We also discussed a lot of other topics such as monthly webinars, more regional prep-fests, a larger presence at the competitions, introducing a barista-focused origin trip, and finding ways for our members to engage in the international barista community. All of these topics, and more, made for a very action packed meeting. We are very excited for what 2014 has in store for the Barista Guild and I can't wait to share these things with you all!