If you are a member of the roundtable you have seen that we are doing another symposium. In fact until events prove otherwise this will be an annual event. Last April we had a very good symposium on our first attempt. I've been sending out invitations for a few months now, and having some horrible luck. Last time we got our 5 presenters from 8 invitations, and the 3 rejections were pretty much expected (those were the guys that seem to be booked 2 years in advance). This year the early rejections were again from the previous time's rejections so I wasn't too worried, but then we had a hard time filling the list after that. I was starting to worry, in fact I had come to the opinion that if things were still going as poorly as they were by January 1st that we might have to cancel it completely.
Until this past weekend we had 2 yeses and 8 nos. Friday I sent out a batch of invitations again, giving them until November 1st to respond. I created a secondary list of who to invite on November 2nd and December 2nd if we still didn't have a full slate. If by January 1st we had only added 1 more presenter I was thinking we should pull the plug on this event or try something else entirely.
But Saturday afternoon I checked my email and we had our panel. I'm doing some final touches on the list, just reconfirming with some guys about schedules but it appears that we have our list. When the list in final I will reveal the panel for all, as well as have a reading list. Then we can begin the process of making flyers, registration materials and begin the task of marketing our event.
Our theme for the next symposium will be Lee Invades the North. We will have a presenter for Antietam and Gettysburg. Also one to provide an overview and put the campaigns into some context. We will have one to give a history of an army unit that saw extensive action in both battles. And we'll finish off with one on the history of the parks from the end of the battle to today. The only thing we're changing from last time is that we will have a panel discussion at the end of the day. In retrospect we thought that would have been a nice touch. We weren't 100% sure how to handle it the first time so we didn't do it then, and since it was our first attempt we wanted to keep it as simple as possible.
I know its a long way off but our next symposium will be October 3, 2009. Mark it on your calendars now.