CCMA 2015: A Member's Reflection

Santiago and KathyFrom June 11-13, I had the honor attending the 2015 Consumer Co-operative Management Association (CCMA) conference held in Boise, Idaho, along with Santiago Rivera, Board Chair. The Howard Bowers Fund offers scholarships to the conference for member-owners wanting to expand their knowledge of co-operative businesses. I am grateful to the fund, CCMA and the Bethlehem Food Co-operative for invited me to attend with the scholarship they obtained.

 

From humble beginnings in 1957 as a weekend retreat for consumer co-op managers and their spouses to an educational conference with over 400 attendees from 75 food co-ops, the CCMA conference exceeded my expectations. There was a wide-range of sessions designed for all – from the established co-operatives (35-45 years) to the start-ups (not open yet). Prior to attending I sat down with Santiago, and we mapped out which educational sessions were most appropriate for each of us. There is much to learn! 

Presentations, discussions, question and answer periods on a variety of subjects relating to all aspects of opening and running consumer cooperatives were offered. I sat with new people every time I went to a breakout session or to the main ballroom for community conversation.   I was particularly impressed with how every person I met took to heart Principle 6 – Principle 6 is Co-operatives helping Co-operatives. 

The conference was not all work – I visited an organic farm which supplied vegetables and flowers to the host of the conference, Boise Food Co-op, and to local restaurants. A pleasant evening of good organic food, local libations and a local band was held at the closed historical Idaho State Penitentiary (built in 1899). All the historical buildings were open for touring, and there were many informational writings to read about the history of the prison.  All-in-all, my experience at Idaho was enlightening, educational and fun. I met many very good-hearted people, and I recommend that all the board members (over time)  attend. There is always more to learn.    

 

Read Santiago's CCMA Reflection here.

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