at the anaheim nywc, i thought it was a fluke. but it happened again today.
let me back up.
the national youth workers conventions have general sessions (everyone in one big room) and seminars. the general sessions typically have a plenary speaker, in addition to various other elements. and the speaker is normally scheduled to begin speaking roughly an hour into the session (though this varies).
at the anaheim event two weeks ago, we realized about 20 minutes before a particular speaker was to begin that no one had seen him. this is quite distressing when there’s no back-up plan, and there are 3500 youth workers expecting to hear that speaker. tic and i went into full-stress action-mode. we found the speaker’s mobile number and called — nothing. we tried to call duffy robbins (who was over at the hotel having breakfast with friends) to see if he could run over to speak. we couldn’t reach him. so we sent someone to run over and get him. we were confident that duffy could still do a great job with only a few minutes notice.
then, with 7 minutes to spare, the speaker showed up.
it happened again today. we couldn’t find the speaker with about 30 minutes to go. we called his hotel and found out that he had checked in, so he was in town. we called his room — nothing. we walked around looking for him. we called duffy again and asked him to come be ready to speak. duffy showed up and started flipping through a bible. and, then, with 15 minutes to spare, the speaker walked backstage.
maybe we haven’t been clear enough in telling speakers when to be where. but it sure would be nice if, when a session begins, the speaker is known to be present! and one more thing is clear: we need to invite duffy to speak next time, for his double willingness to step in on a few minutes’ notice this year!