This year our European Convention was held just outside of Paris at Disneyland Paris, which sounds wildly exciting—and it was, but not necessarily because of the location! We were about 45 minutes outside of the city, and during the actual convention there wasn’t much time for riding rides. I’m sure many demonstrators came early or stayed late to explore some of the sightseeing options offered by the location, but that wasn’t our focus during convention!
If you’ve been to a convention, you know that the agenda is packed full, and we don’t need any sightseeing adventures to have a ball—and that’s exactly what we did!
We had stamping (of course), demonstrations, rewards and recognition, education, and entertainment.
The first thing that comes to mind as I look back was the energy—incredibly high and very contagious! When you walked into a room, you could feel how excited everyone was to be there.
Swapping was also a highlight; it always is. I became the unofficial swap display person (meaning I posted everybody’s swaps on our display boards), so I got to see them all, something I don’t normally get to do at our larger gatherings. I saw so many fabulous swaps and was reminded again how inspiring and fulfilling creativity can be.
Because we have three different languages represented at convention, our classes are divided into languages. Demonstrators don’t get to choose which classes to attend (although the topics are all similar), they go to the ones presented in their language. I got to attend every class (even the ones that weren’t in English) and was impressed. Every class had professional, interesting presentations, and even though I didn’t always understand what was being said, I could feel the enthusiasm and interest generated during each presentation.
We had plenty of entertainment too. We had the game show for the first time in Europe, and demonstrators loved it! We also had a demonstrator (Julie Kettlewell) perform during our Awards Night; she sang “For Good” (one of my favorite songs) from Wicked and did a great job. Several of the presentations included elements of entertainment as well, which is always welcome.
Awards Night was definitely a highlight—it always is because it’s focused completely on honoring our demonstrators. Everyone dresses up, and can I say that everyone in that room definitely looked fancy! Because we have a smaller group at this convention, we are still able to have dinner together, which I enjoy so much! I’m not sure how much longer we’ll be able to do that, but it’s certainly a nice way to begin the evening.
I really felt a wonderful sense of friendship this year. I always sense that, at every Stampin’ Up! gathering, because we do share a love for what we’re doing. But I enjoy seeing friendships that started three years ago at our first convention being renewed and strengthened as demonstrators from different countries greet each other with smiles and warm embraces; it’s touching to see these relationships grow and flourish.
I also enjoy seeing demonstrators who are coming for the first time sense the magic that happens at convention. They light up, create new friendships, and become an integral part of what happens when we all gather together. The language barriers (which are not really barriers because we all speak the international language of stamping, right?) melt away and we are all just thrilled to be together, learning and sharing with each other.
I left Paris exhausted but completely fulfilled after spending two wonderful days with our European demonstrators! I’m grateful for these amazing people whom I work with, and am especially grateful for the rare opportunities I have to actually spend face-to-face time with them. I’m already excited for next year!