Yes, We are Open (Virtually-Speaking)
As many of you know, the Camden Conference’s staff and volunteers work all year, not just in February, and although there are a few slower times, the immediate post-conference period, like now, is not one of them. There are lots of cleanup details, bills to be paid, and a quick turnaround to planning the next year’s event. But, yes, this year is different.
Typically at this time of year we are focused on the education program follow-up. We have already cancelled our spring teachers’ workshop related to Camden Conference in the Classroom, where we gather feedback on the experiences of our teachers and students at the recent conference. Education chair Peter Imber will be relying on written reports from our dedicated teachers, who meantime are dealing with their own considerable challenges. We will, however, still be holding the student essay contest. The committee will be reading and evaluating the essays soon and we will post the winners on our website.
In compliance with Governor Mill’s Stay Healthy at Home Mandate, our Executive Director. Kim Scott, and our office manager, Lauren Lewis are telecommuting from home. Kim and Lauren are a great team and are missing each other’s company, but they soldier on. They will still be answering emails and returning phone calls, so feel free to contact the office with questions.
In April, we traditionally begin specific planning for the next conference, which will focus on how the warming Arctic Circle is having massive impacts, not only environmentally but in the intense competition among Russia, China, the U.S. and many other nations to assert influence and strategic power. We are sure these 2021 sessions will be among our more enlightening and stimulating ones, and it’s a topic with direct impact on Maine!
We are hopeful that by next February, large public gatherings will be possible again. In the meantime, of course, the blow to the U.S. economy from the coronavirus crisis is worrisome for nearly everyone. This also presents challenges for an organization like ours that relies on donations for more than half of its expenses. For now, however, we’ve put our Membership and Student Fund drives on the back burner while the nation and region try to recover their physical and financial health.
Meantime, we are already planning our series of library talks on the Arctic and related topics, beginning in September. And we hope all of our socially distancing friends are staying healthy and hopeful in this challenging period.