Sunday, 15 June 2008

UKOUG Volunteers Day

The purpose of this blog was initially to let UKOUG members know what the UKOUG board get up to between my diary entries in our magazine Oracle Scene. If you are a UKOUG member you can read this online now.

UKOUG like all user groups relies heavily on volunteers. We have over 30 Special Interest Groups meeting 3 times a year, covering product, industry and geographical groups each with their own committee and an army of speakers and volunteers for our 2 regional and flagship annual conferences, 200+. These are backed up by a board of more volunteers and an excellent staff of 20.

Twice a year we get volunteers together to reflect and plan and two weeks ago we meet in Birmingham, home of our legendary conference for this summers meeting.
We try and mix business with pleasure and start the day with lots of short updates about what we are getting up to. UKOUG is unique, we represent ALL Oracle users in the UK and this ever changing landscape is a real challenge. Please Oracle a bit more notice would be nice.

Some SIGs overlap but in general this meeting is also a chance for the volunteers to get to know each other. Rachael one of our longest serving staff had us seated in mixed groups and gave us a quiz about what are the most important things if you are marooned at sea. It was quite a quiz and the answers really puzzling especially as the RHA (Royal Yachting Association) who set the quiz did not give reasons. Anyway the internet is a wonderful thing and I have since found this document that sort of explains it.

Back to work, we split into various groups and had breakout sessions to plan for the next year. Each SIG has at least one Oracle Liaison and they attend the day as important ingredients to our successful SIG recipe. Each year there is feedback which needs to be addressed, some of it is simple and easy to implement but some takes a lot longer and we have to constantly try harder.

There was a lot of debate over our annual conference, not too long ago it was a 3 day event, this year it will be five days. Unlike the US the UK has a very limited number of conference centres and the only one really suitable for us is the ICC in Birmingham. We have simply outgrown it so need 5 days, but the intention is that most attendees will have content for a part of the week and not expected to attend the whole time.

As I have said before this year we are celebrating 25 years of ‘Serving the Oracle Community’ at UKOUG so expect some special touches this year. I am so immensely proud of what we achieve.

Back to volunteer’s day, we finish with a few well deserved drinks, a private dinner to say thank you and then an overnight stay. Most of the volunteers give up their own time to work for UKOUG and had taken holiday to attend, if you are a UKOUG volunteer Thank You.

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