JETAA USA held a Regional Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, from February 26th to the 28th, hosted by the JETAA Southeast chapter.
In all, representatives from 13 US chapters and some of their subchapters participated in a day and a half of formal meetings plus a variety of other events. The focus of the conference was outreach, both through strengthening outlying subchapters and through finding effective ways to engage with JET alumni who are not affiliated with or active in any chapter due to geographical distance or other issues. Another valuable session covered online resources to facilitate improved chapter governance, especially for cases where chapter board members have difficulty arranging in-person meetings.
The theme of discussions became “the alum living in Medicine Bow, Wyoming” – where there is reportedly actually one former JET Program participant who, for understandable reasons, is somewhat cut off from the larger community.
These face-to-face meetings, although brief, pay big dividends in strengthening working relationships in the alumni network and in providing formal and informal opportunities to talk, brainstorm, and get people thinking about new activities or ways to approach issues their chapter is having.