~~The Society for the Preservation of Old Mills
SPOOM Conference Guidelines
The following guidelines represent basic required conference components, compiled to insure an event that meets the Society’s obligations under its By-Laws and to otherwise provide a means for members and others to become increasingly knowledgeable of mill properties, equipment, operations, and histories. Additionally, the conference serves as an enjoyable avenue of rapport between persons of like interests and pursuits. These guidelines are supplemented, on request, with a listing of helpful hints supplied by Board members and others who have hosted or been involved with previous conferences.
To qualify to host a conference, an interested entity should be an established mill organization, historical society, governmental agency or the like that has the personnel resources, financial considerations and planning experiences implicitly required to successfully oversee the undertaking. The host organization assumes the lead in planning, organizing, staging, and financing all aspects of a conference – all within such guidelines and approvals deemed necessary by SPOOM’s Board of Directors. Organizations interested in hosting a conference are required to present an informative proposal to SPOOM’s conference coordinator (currently Mason Maddox) who then consults with the Board, after which the proposal is acted upon.
Adequate Lodging: Preferably at one location (the Conference Headquarters), or otherwise within close proximity. Conference attendance from past and recent history can range from 75 to over 200, depending on location, time of year, program content, and costs.
Transportation: Availability for attendees needing it (taxi service, shuttle from airport, etc.). Dependable, comfortable tour buses/vans.
Food Service: In addition to adequate and available service in the lodging establishments, other food service choices should be within proximity of lodging locations. Meals/snacks/beverages on mill tours are to be planned and offered.
Conference Headquarters: Banquet room to accommodate all registrants and anticipated guests, and rooms or spaces to serve these purposes – hospitality, SPOOM store, photo contest, morning
Continental breakfasts (if not within restaurant proper), reception/registration, and as needed, breaks and exhibits.
Mill Tours: Types, condition, and number to be visited should adequately represent general expectations and experiences of past conferences. Visits to non-mill historic sites or other cultural institutions can be included.
Banquet: This can be staged at the Conference Headquarters or at an appropriate site. It can be formal or a less-than-formal gathering, as the host decides. The program component should include as a minimum: time for the SPOOM President to address those in attendance, time for members to vote on matters so scheduled, a presentation by a guest speaker, an invitation to the next conference.
Board Meeting and “Meet the Board”: Room and meal service for the meeting either at the Conference Headquarters or at another appropriate location. It is normally held on the evening of the first full conference day. A “Meet the Board” session is to be scheduled in consultation with the Board as to the “when and where” (excluding the departure day).
Miller Training/Workshops: Normally offered as pre-conference programs. These should be planned with SPOOM’s Miller Training committee and Board in general. While not specifically required, SPOOM encourages the host to provide one or more offerings.
Reception/Registration Area: Situate an appropriate location for welcoming attendees and attending to any registration functions. Area should contain an “information” bulletin board for postings by the host and by attendees. Have within any welcome packet a roster of attendees and contact information, as well as regional tourist information (especially information on mills in the region).
SPOOM Store and Photo Contest: These are traditional components of conferences and the host is asked to communicate directly with the individuals in charge as to their room/display needs and schedule requirements.
Insurance: Appropriate liability insurance must be carried by the host organization and any event site, naming “SPOOM, its officers and directors, agents and volunteers” as additionally insured through the duration of the conference.
Costs: The host organization must pay special attention to all costs involved and to strive to make the conference self-sustaining in that respect, knowing that it, the host, is financially responsible for expenses incurred. Registration fees can reflect costs of transportation, meals, honorariums, contributions to visited sites, insurance, and the like. It is understood that registration and other fees will be kept as reasonable as possible, in order to provide affordable attendance by members.
Planning: The date and days should be chosen in consultation with SPOOM’s Board. Although normally held in the fall, it is permissible to hold the conference at a different time of the year. The host should regularly contact and discuss plans and ideas with the SPOOM Board or its representative. SPOOM reserves the right to cancel any agreement with the selected host if irreconcilable differences emerge.
Conference Information/Registration: Be sure to plan and organize as far in advance as possible and to make information available, as plans develop, as early as possible by way of Old Mill News, SPOOM.org, Chapters, etc.