Updated: Feb 23
You can take this literally. IGHR is intense. It's a week of genealogy by firehose. Sessions start at 0800 and go until 1700, then there is dinner and evening sessions at 1900. Then homework, or play time to apply things you learned in class. It is also a week of interacting with others who share your hobby. It's exchanging ideas and having philosophical discussions. It's finding out about certification and getting to meet the "Rock Stars" of the industry.
IGHR is also about finding new topics and workshop ideas to take back to my Society and a peek into the offerings of the leaders of the industry.
We drove up Friday (we being me and two others from this area). After circling Andalusia with Google as our slightly - very - confused guide, we were on our way by noon. My friend and I found a great restaurant in Athens called the Porterhouse Grill. By Monday we realized how smart we were to have a good meal on Friday night.
Saturday was the Family History Expo and a chance to check out the conference center. Sunday was a hint of the days to come with registration after lunch, mingling, and the ProGen meetup. 26 people RSVP'd - 48 came!
The BCG portfolios were available for review for three short periods on three evenings, but I had volunteered to collect meal tickets or be a door guard for evening sessions, so my time was limited with the portfolios. Many of the BCG representatives told me "you can do this, Cindy". They were all very supportive. Being able to look at the actual portfolios was a great help. I looked at two and the judges comments (the comments are not linked to a specific portfolio). Months ago, I set a deadline for myself to decide if I want to 'go on the clock' during IGHR. I am too exhausted to make that decision right now.
By Wednesday we were exhausted, but it was a great day with a visit to the manuscript library to break classroom work up. Friday was bittersweet - I was glad I survived, but sorry to leave. The IGHR food was very good (even though it was very carb heavy). The Savannah Room was reasonably priced with excellent service, a well stocked bar and good food. The cafe was a good breakfast option for those who did not have breakfast with their room.
Final thoughts - I decided not to stay at the conference hotels. I am glad I did. Not only was it less expensive, but I had breakfast and an offsite place to 'separate' from IGHR. The conference hotel and overflow hotel did not include breakfast. It would be nice to have more time to explore Athens and the gardens at the campus. I had initially decided to stay in Athens Friday night and drive home the seven hours on Saturday, but I went with friends and they wanted to get home. Next time I will stay Friday night. This will give me the afternoon to relax and take in a library or check out the gardens.
If you have never been to a conference, plan to attend at least one. The opportunity to meet others who are passionate about your hobby is priceless.