Last, week, GANYC sent a delegation of over 20 guides to the biennial National Federation of Tourist Guides Associations (NFTGA) conference in Charleston, South Carolina. For three days, we took part in engaging workshops about our shared profession. We toured the wonderful city of Charleston and the surrounding areas. And we met with guides from all over the country-- over 30 states were represented!
The event kicked off with an old-fashioned carriage ride around the historic part of the city, past many of its famous homes and historic structures dating back to the 1700s. The tour was followed by a delicious BBQ and oyster roast at Magnolia Plantation where we were served the cuisine of the low country. The next morning the more formal part of the conference began in the Charleston Museum auditorium with an engaging opening by the Mayor of Charleston, John Tecklenburg. Session topics included among others how to guide when controversial topics come up; how to deal with emergencies while on the tour; and how to market our tours better. The second day also included a visit to the historic Middleton Plantation, where we had lunch, followed by an evening visit to the Old Exchange and Provost Dungeon, one of three surviving buildings where thee United States Constitution was ratified.
There was also a lot going on behind the scenes. The NFTGA is led by an executive board of seven members, who are elected at every biennial convention. This year, GANYC member Matt Baker finished his term as NFTGA Secretary, but GANYC will remain a presence on their Board. Michael Dillinger was elected as Vice-President of the NFTGA, and former GANYC member (now residing in Florida) Amada Anderson was elected Secretary. Congratulations to all of the newly elected officers! GANYC hopes to play a strong role in leading the NFTGA in new and exciting directions.
Also, we were given a presentation on the upcoming 2021 World Federation of Tourist Guides Associations (WFTGA) conference in Novi Sad, Serbia.
By the time we finished, we had eaten a lot, socialized a lot, and learned a lot. Many of us went away with souvenirs; most of us made new friends. We all came away with wonderful memories. Unfortunately, several GANYC members were notified that their flight was canceled due to high winds on the east coast. Thankfully everyone was able to re-book and leave without significant delay.
Personally, it was my first time in Charleston, but it will not be my last. However, when I return I will have many people to show me around.