The Guide to IAGSDC Convention Chapters 14-15

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Things to do when you arrive at the hotel

Rainbow flag over lobby in 2000 Convention

Check in and/or dump your bags first, and THEN find Convention Registration. Once you've dumped your luggage in your room (or checked your baggage with the bell stand until your room is ready), seek out the Convention's registration desk, and see if it's open yet.

Many dancers have suggested putting on your club badge before heading down to seek out registration. Doing so makes it easy for other dancers to identify you, and can substantially speed things up for everyone at Convention Registration.

Before dancing starts, walk through the hotel or dance site, and familiarize yourself with the venue. Andy Chong suggests finding out: Where are all of the rooms that you may want to dance in? Where's the information/registration/help desk? Where's the vendor room? Where are the line-up sites for the Fun Badge Tour or Grand March?

Use your dance schedule. Your registration packet will include a dance schedule; you may want to bring either a brightly colored pen or highlighter with you, to mark off the dance sessions or events in which you want to participate for each day. For example, some dancers like to stay in a single room and dance at a single level, while others enjoy following favorite callers from room to room.

Pace yourself on the first full day by NOT planning intense after-dance activities. Steven from Chi-Town Squares has seen this happen oh, so many times. A common mistake made by first-time Convention attendees is to plan on hitting the bars or baths at the end of the first full day of dancing.

Trust us when we say ... after your first full day of dancing, you won't be in any condition to paint the town red. The only thing you're probably going to want to do at that point is take a shower followed by a long soak in a hot tub. You may also find that you need a bit more sleep than usual for the first couple of days at Convention. Plan accordingly.

Registration & Related Activities

When you check in at Convention Registration, you'll receive a packet containing a number of useful and essential items. Here's a list of things you may (or may not) find in your registration packet from year to year.

Sample meal tickets from the 2005 convention

Name Badge: You may be asked to wear convention-provided name badge at all times, to show that you're a registered dancer. Often, a conference pin serves this function instead. The registration volunteer will tell you what's up for this year.

Conference Pin: Most conferences provide you with a small metal cloisienné pin – generally, in the shape of the logo of the convention – which you're asked to wear at all times to show that you're a registered attendee. This pin is a keepsake, and many people collect them to pin to their 10-Year Medallion ribbons or to baseball caps for future conferences.

Meal Tickets: These are used for the dinner/banquet on Saturday night, and the luncheon/meeting on Sunday. Ed Zeigler suggests that these tickets are best stored in your wallet, so you won't lose them.

Special Event Tickets: This depends upon how the conference committee decides to run things each year. Some years, registration for optional events (such as the Fun Badge Tour or Bar Tour) is handled by giving dancers a ticket for each event. Other years, there's a sticker on your convention-provided name badge. If you've signed up for such events, ask the Registration Desk to make sure you have everything you need to gain admission to what you've paid for.

As with the meal tickets, if there's a bus or table assignment involved, write it down on the back of the ticket. These tickets should also be kept with you at all times, such as in your wallet.

Schedule: There's usually a big dance schedule (or several sheets of dance schedules), and often you'll find either a perforated card or several smaller cards containing pocket-sized daily dance schedules. Remember we suggested packing a highlighter pen earlier? Use it to mark the sessions and activities you’re interested in attending.

Program: A nifty program is included, which may show everything from a listing and maps of all IAGSDC® clubs and locations to copies of special square dance proclamations and letters of welcome issued by local government officials to ... well, it's a little different every year. Wait and see for yourself.

Photo Schedule: When is your club's group photo scheduled? Make a special note of it, if you want to be in the club picture!

Auxiliary Information: Most years, there's an information sheet -- separate from the formal program -- which gives dates, times, and locations for special services and events such as (but not limited to): Women's Hospitality Lounge, GCA Caller Dance, 12-Step Meetings, Child Care, Religious Services, Bar Tours ... you get the idea. We're a diverse community (the more you read this, the more diverse it gets), and our Conventions' auxiliary services and events reflect this.

(Back to the Guide To IAGSDC Convention Table of Contents.) (Back to Guide Chapter 13.) (Forward to Guide Chapters 16-17.)