You, I, and We are the BGA
By David Fasman, BGA Membership Committee
As a member of the BGA membership committee there is one question I hear far more than others: “What can the BGA do for me?” The first answer is, “A lot.” The BGA provides buttons, swag, and nation-wide social networking for Member Driven Events (MDE), huge discounts on events such as Barista Camp, Bloom, and competitions; access to substantial amounts of education and articles, and of course, a coffee-focused community to interact with. But the question itself is never framed correctly. By nature, the question assumes that the BGA is an entity outside the control of its members. The BGA is the membership.
As a member of the BGA you can create regional groups, run events, and provide educational opportunities for your community. As a member, your events are BGA events – so long as they are submitted as a member driven event. As a member you can share information via the BGA blog – just submit the post through the content submission form. And as a member your voice can be heard by becoming a committee member and assisting with BGA operations.
I had been asking the question incorrectly myself for the first two years I was a member. It was only when I decided to take ownership of the BGA that I truly understood how it worked. I began running events and submitting them as MDEs. I began teaching at Barista Camp and volunteering my time at events. I competed. I joined a committee. I began to promote the BGA as if it were mine – because it is. The BGA is all of ours and it is up to us to ensure its vibrancy, direction, and future.
Together, we are the BGA. We dictate its future and keep it alive. We all play an integral part in how active “the BGA” is. It’s up to us to come up with new ideas, communicate, and push ideas forward. Of course there are personal benefits to joining the BGA, but they are benefits that extend to every member. Think about the benefits that you can provide to members and the coffee community to reciprocate the already awesome benefits of being a BGA member. So the next time you find yourself asking the question, “What does the BGA do for me,” remember that the right question is really, “What can I do for the BGA?”
David Fasman is the Regional Training Manager at Kaldi’s Coffee. He is a SCAA certified instructor and level 2 barista. He is a 3 time USBC competitor and active member of the barista guild. He serves on the membership committee and is the author of seedtocupcoffee.wordpress.com.