The ASC State Conference on Saturday 19th June started with an address from Shane Fitzsimmons, Head of Resilience NSW. It was thanks to our good working relationship with the NSW government that enabled us to have Shane participate. The relationship with NSW government was further fostered through COVID-19 working groups and regular Crown Lands meetings. The NSW government supported Ag shows by providing Ag show specific factsheets/safety plans and financially through infrastructure funding.
Then Lyndsey Douglas took us on a whirlwind tour of the various locations participating. It was exciting to be able to connect across regional locations. Marla Calico, IAFE President and CEO spoke about growing stronger together. Engage with your fellow Show Societies today or join the closed Facebook group for NSW Ag shows to ask questions and share knowledge. This will help Ag shows grow stronger together.
Speaking of volunteers, our panel session on recruiting and engaging volunteers shared some insights of how you can potentially sustain and grow your volunteer base. Think broadly and possibly engage people who live further afield. It is really important to use your networks such as the show community to encourage all to have a sense of belonging, purpose and connection to your local Ag show. Remember to let others help, and it is free to say thank you or show appreciation to recognize someone’s help. Encourage others in, to become involved in their local show and ultimately grow the volunteer base. Congratulations to the ASC Award winners, finalist and nominees! Thanks to those that took the time to nominate someone. It is very much appreciated.
Working with children and having child safety front of mind is important today and looking into the future. Ag shows are community orientated and need to look after its community. Apply for your working with children check or if you already have it, share the details with your local show secretary to sustain our reputation as a family friendly and child safe environment.
We are hoping you have learnt some new rituals for resilience from Stacey Copas, to help you adapt when needed to face challenges and turn obstacles into opportunities. Wing it when things don’t go exactly to plan – no one will know except the organizer!
It was great to hear about the success of Sydney Royal from the Vice President of the RAS John Bennett, and other shows that have been able to operate in 2021. The panelists have offered some suggestions to help you plan and run your Ag shows later in the year. Share your progress with other shows or reach out to shows that have run for help. Maybe consider how to organize the pavilion to allow COVID safe movement through, you never know it may even allow more patrons to be able to access to view the hard work on display. Use online ticketing to sell tickets in advance, help with cashflow leading up to your show, guarantee people will attend because they already have a ticket, capture information of where they are from or what age bracket they are in to learn and grow your attendance. Try cashless payments reducing the amount of cash held and improve safety and security.
The conference theme was aligned to where Ag shows are adapt, sustain and grow. Think about how your show can adapt as things change, what you would like to sustain and how you could grow?
The ASC is taking up the challenge.
Adapt - Can you believe we held a hybrid conference like this? Please provide conference feedback by the survey so we can adapt and grow the next one. We are working remotely and from an office, we continued to be able to service members during lockdowns.
Sustain – the ASC will continue to provide updates via newsletters, our website resources, e-mails or on Facebook. The date list book is a handy resource and the June adition is out now. We are here to support NSW Ag shows and provide guidance.
Grow – we are looking at ways we can expand our support services to members, it may include webinars or a youtube channel or a mentor program. We would love to grow the Showgirl and Rural Achiever programs. We are working towards increased young judges education to encourage participation by young people to become tomorrows judges.
Thanks for joining our 2021 State Conference either in one of the nine locations or virtually. For those at one of the nine locations we hoped you enjoyed lunch and the opportunity to share ideas/inspirations with your fellow show people and engage in the meetings in the afternoon if there was one at your location. If you joined us virtually share what you have learnt with your local show.
Take the opportunity to talk about your own challenges and how you have overcome them or how you might solve them. Reflect on the past 18 months, the impact on shows, communities and individuals. Focus on the key important lessons learnt – the most important things like well being, mental health, community connection and prioritise these.
On your way home take the time to reflect on what you have heard today and think of one way you could adapt, sustain or grow your local ag show. The future of NSW ag shows is in your hands.
Finally, a huge thank you to the speakers, panelists and those who helped test our conference platform, hosted at the various locations and to Sarah McGregor from our office who is usually responsible for the day to day accounts. She has taken the lead on this hybrid conference project and done a fantastic job of keeping us all on track.