We have had another Spring Conference come and go. Thanks to everyone who helped in any way. Special thanks to Dean Mook, conference host and our great demonstrators, Alec Steele and Berkley Tack. And on that note, THANK YOU to everyone that came to the conference! We need you to come to these events to keep having them. Member support is very important to keep all of this going.
Next stop, Western States Blacksmith Conference. Put it on your calendar August 22-25 2013, Government CampOregon. We will have a great line-up of blacksmiths, knife makers, gunsmiths and farriers. Come down and check it out. Your participation is what keeps our conferences going. 2011 Western States Conference was a huge success (with a big help from smiths outside of our area, 1/3 of the attendees were non-NWBA members). Let’s make a big show in 2013 of smiths from the Northwest, and make Western States another great success.
This will be an excellent time to see demonstrators from all over the country. These will be very skilled individuals, so do not miss this opportunity to see this event. There will be another Blacksmith Wars, a defi nite must see. We will have some very talented smiths working to win the prize money and bragging rights as winner of Blacksmith Wars. They will be using all of their tricks to win, so pay special attention. It will be a great battle of Blacksmithing On the Mountain… be there!
We have some good news. We have gotten two grants. One member’s employer has a matching fund for his time spent volunteering. This money will be used for our EducationCenter, (i.e. Mentoring Center). Funds will go to pay for monthly demonstrators, reaching out to groups that may be interested in blacksmithing, and paying for our venue. The Boy Scouts of America are on our support list again this year. The goal is to use this money for education not administration, in support of our non-profi t status. We also have no idea if we will get grants from these sources in the future. We would like to give a special thank you to all who made the grants possible; Betsy Priddy of Wichita Falls Community Foundation, Simpson Tacoma Kraft, and Tracy Lauricella on behalf of Microsoft. We plan on doing everything we can to keep this happening.
Now we come to a problem that has had your Board of Directors thinking long and hard… conference fees. We ran on a very tight budget this conference and still spent more than we received in fees. This is a trend that has been going on for quite a while. We were very close to making the budget with conference fees, but still fell short. Auction money is not intended to bridge the gap. That money should be used to supplement the library, teaching grants and outreach. This is where member participation comes in. This was one of the reasons that we chose the Longview facility, COST. We have hesitated to raise prices because of the economy, but we still h a v e t o p a y the bills. The conference has to pay for itself from its own fees. Bottom line, we have to raise the conference fees. The new single member fee is $85.00 and family $130.00. This is a big new step. We will go to one conference a year but we will beef it up. It will be held in the month of June. This will be a Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday event. Possibly larger projects and more demos? Maybe look for more things in the area for other family members to do? I do not have an easy answer. We will have some 2 day events at Longview to offset the loss of the other conference. This is new ground! Just raising prices will not fix the problem long term. People have to come to these events to cover costs.
We can get through all this. We are trying new things, to increase membership and take care of our members’ needs by providing monthly Hammer Ins, overnight camp outs etc…
Do not hesitate to contact myself or any board member with your ideas and concerns.