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May 17, 2012, Midland, Ont. – Saturday morning at the OAFC conference, I had the pleasure of meeting some members of the board of directors for the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association, of which I am also a director. I’d spoken with them over the phone and by email many times, but there’s no comparison to meeting someone in person. It made me realize that there’s much of one’s personality that you miss out on through emailing or speaking on the phone, and that’s often what makes people so unique. Score one for good, old-fashioned visiting with people face to face. Many thanks to Troy, Mike, Martin, Dave, Don, and John for making the newbie feel welcome at her first board meeting.

May 17, 2012
By Jennifer Grigg

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May 17, 2012, Midland, Ont. – Saturday morning at the OAFC conference, I had the pleasure of meeting some members of the board of directors for the Canadian Volunteer Fire Services Association, of which I am also a director. I’d spoken with them over the phone and by email many times, but there’s no comparison to meeting someone in person. It made me realize that there’s much of one’s personality that you miss out on through emailing or speaking on the phone, and that’s often what makes people so unique. Score one for good, old-fashioned visiting with people face to face. Many thanks to Troy, Mike, Martin, Dave, Don, and John for making the newbie feel welcome at her first board meeting.

Saturday afternoon brought more introductions and more fun. After being repeatedly introduced as “Jen the Blogger” to everyone Laura and I came across, people started looking really familiar and I even remembered a few more names. (I still think name tags would’ve been extremely helpful.) By day two, Laura had done a fab job at coaxing me out of the little shell I like to hide in.

Saturday evening was the inaugural Ladders Up For the Foundation Fundraiser. Despite wearing one of the same bright yellow Ladders Up t-shirts, I wasn’t quite able to float around a room as effortlessly as she does, greeting people (by their first names, nonetheless) and enjoying lighthearted conversations with each of them. Some people have the ability to make you feel like you are the only one in the room when they’re talking to you, like you are important and that they’re listening when you are talking. In this day and age of communication by social media, texting and tweeting, that kind of person is genuinely refreshing.

The evening was a ginormous success (way to go, outbidding everyone for the helmet, Troy! Certain significant others are still sore about that. LOL.) Catherine Connelly, the advertising manager (who is every bit as charismatic as Laura) did a fantastic job.

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In my case, the best I could do was a “So, yeah . . . I’m-kinda-cool-because-I’m-a-blogger-with-FFIC” attitude that I felt surfacing by mid-afternoon Saturday, after getting halfway through a Smirnoff Ice (seven per cent alcohol, you know!). And just for the record, that attitude was only used on the two fellas who were with me . . . fire chief and aforementioned significant other.

But by early evening, I progressed to my “How-do-you-like-me-now?” mode after two-and-a-half Smirnoff Ices (lightweight, I know.) Again witnessed only by the two fellas with me and poor Jen from the Firehall Bookstore who joined us after dinner back at the hotel . . . Oh, and maybe Erin Craig from RPC and Nancy MacDonald from Bell, who went to Kelsey’s with us. I apologize ladies, I really don’t get out much! It was kind of like a “small-town-girl-goes-to-the-big-city” adventure. You’d never know that I lived in Toronto for three years while I went to college, or that I worked in Mississauga with MFES and never got myself lost. My, how times change!

Sunday was the OAFC trade show and I was lucky enough to keep Jen company in the Firehall Bookstore booth for a bit, and tour the show as well. I was downright thrilled to pick up a pink balaclava, and very, very tempted to buy a pink helmet that I saw there too, but didn’t. (Yet.) I also bought a new green light for my Jeep. It’s a wee little one and fits great right above the mirror . . . although, the suction cups let go on it on my way to a call and the light ended up hanging at a drunken angle. But I’m sure it got the point across. Note to self: need to get someone to fix that for me (hint, hint, nudge, nudge, wink, wink for any of you who read this and happen to see me on a regular basis . . . )

Long story short . . . had a fantastic time.. Can’t wait ‘til next year to do it all over again!!


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