From the minute we arrived at the hotel, we went to work. I wish I'd thought to take progress photos - I'll see if someone else on our staff did and try to post them later. We joked about putting up a time lapse camera because it's truly amazing how we go from an empty ballroom and tons of boxes to our Member Services Pavilion in just a matter of hours. Thursday at noon we opened the Pavilion and pre-conference classes were in full swing. These included a yacht club symposium, an all day wine education class, and leadership training. Friday was a full day of education, beginning with the first class at 7am. We took 38 buses to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios on Friday night for our annual networking event. It was extremely cool! We had that entire park of the park to ourselves to ride the rides, eat some awesome food, and enjoy the butter beer. Here are a few photos that our incredible photographer captured:
I have to admit, I'm not really a Harry Potter fan. I've never read the books or watched the movies, but the park is SUPER cool. It's beautiful and very well done. One of our partners is the sponsor of this event, so I was responsible for having logos in the right places and insuring that they had a great time.
One of the coolest things from this night was that I got to ride the Dragon's Challenge roller coaster with Patrick House, the latest winner of the Biggest Loser! He is now a spokesperson for CYBEX, who outfits the BL gym (and the PGA and NHL) with exercise equipment. They're one of our partners, so they all were there. It was the first roller coaster that Patrick had ridden since he was 13 - super cool to experience that with him! He's really a fantastic guy.
Saturday morning we officially kicked off conference with our Opening Business Session which led directly into the Club Business Expo. For the past 4 years, we've been a part of the Golf Industry Show (GIS), partnering with GCSAA and NGCOA (the Superintendents and the Owners). Through some unresolved issues over the past year, we've broken away and gone back to 'our show' the way we've done it for years. This was the first time I'd been at 'our show' - and I was impressed. Great day. Below is our annual photo with The Toro Company, one of our partners.
Saturday evening ended with my event, The Club Foundation Live Auction. We had the BEST band, Deas Guyz from Hilton Head. They played our event last time we were in Orlando in 2008 and are better than ever. We had over 70 auction items, both live and silent, and over 500 people in attendance. We raised over $60,000 for the Foundation, the most ever! It was a fantastic event.
Early Sunday morning was the annual Run with the Presidents. This is a fun 5k run or 1.5 mile walk to benefit a local charity - in Florida we donate to the Special Olympics. Patrick was on hand for the event, running in the race. It was such a fun (and very early) morning.
|Patrick House, CF Staff Nichole and Seth, and Steve from CYBEX.|
The week flew by. I placed 5 golf cars (3 different times) and a 89" wide mower (complete with disarming the hotel's sprinkler system so we wouldn't call the fire department). I made sure countless logos were in place and people were ready for their introductions and presentations. We made $41,000 on the wine auction. We worked from 6am to anywhere between 7-11pm every night. I averaged 3 hours of sleep a night - just because we're 'closed' doesn't mean we're off. I spent some time each night in the hotel bar, decompressing from the day, and enjoying a drink with some of our partners and vendors. I've become great friends with some of these people over the last 5 years, and this is the only time I get to see them.
We'll take the next month or so to decompress, finalize the auction, create partner activation reports, and debrief the week. And then, we start talking about New Orleans, 2012.
All photos taken by Brent Cline of Cline Designs