Conferences, simplified

I believe I’ve praised the Esperanto culture of membership organizations and conferences. (You have to love a language that makes membership blank a basic vocabulary word. And for any number of internal cultural reasons, Esperanto conferences tend to be very, very good value. After all, the goal is to have Esperanto speakers meet and (since some of whom have their own additional interests, such as ham radio, keeping cats or Unitarian Universalists) conduct the work of organizations. With a focus on low-pressure fun. A time to make fellowship. Bring your ukulelo.

So consider the Mekaro, la Mez-Kanada Rekontigx┬Ło (The Mid-Canada Gathering). It’s a weekend of sightseeing, free time and dining in Kingston, Ontario. Tapas or Cambodian? Alehouse or coffeehouse? $50 for adults, including four museum entry fees, plus the cost of two dinners and a lunch, perhaps another $50. College housing available for about another $50, single. Exciting? Doubtful. But I bet it was fun.

And look at this weekend in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The main considerations seem to be that it is accessible to different people and that the costs are low. (Walking access to rail and bus help here.) Offers to share a room (that comes with breakfast) plus two meals (essentially a split check, and with cuisine that accommodates vegetarians) with a single outing and loosely structure fun time. A minimum of organizing that provides the introduction for people to have fun and an opportunity to do something else (plan another event; launch a website; teach a class?) if they want. Or not.

An opportunity, at a price and structure that promises little and risks little, has a lot to speak for it.

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.

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