With few volunteers, hosting a Royal a formidable challenge

By Jesse Robitaille

Sitting alongside organizers throughout the three-day Royal Convention – four days, if you include setup on Thursday, and with about a year of planning beforehand – I realize exactly how much work goes on behind the scenes.

This year’s Royal was co-hosted by us here at CSN, as well as the Bramalea Stamp Club (BSC) and West Toronto Stamp Club (WTSC), with a core group of seven organizers behind the wheel:

  • BSC member Joe Trauzzi chaired the organizing committee;
  • his wife, Wendi, organized all the banquets;
  • CSN Editor Mike Walsh served as bourse chair;
  • Rodney Paige, a past RPSC vice-president, served as exhibits chair;
  • BSC member Bob Thorne was responsible for the exhibit frame set-up;
  • WTSC Treasurer Lawrence Pinkney also served as treasurer of the show; and
  • WTSC member Garfield Portch prepared the show and awards programs and was the master of ceremonies for the opening ceremony and awards banquet.

When you’re running a stamp show, there will – inevitably – be unseen challenges before and during the event. They often require attention as quickly as they arise to ensure the show goes on as planned.

It’s especially true when you’re hosting a massive convention like the Royal.

Organizers try to satisfy and gratify at least three different segments of show-goers – collectors, dealers and exhibitors – and each one of them has a different means of enjoying a stamp show. It’s the organizers’ job to make everyone happy, but there is, at times, more work to accomplish than there are volunteers on hand. It’s par for the course when there are so many moving pieces, as is the case with a 30-dealer bourse, 220-frame exhibition, nearly 10 seminar speakers, a well-attended banquet and other social events—all over the course of 72 hours.

With seven people planning and executing the event and about 20 day-of volunteers, that leaves roughly two dozen people who are responsible for countless, seemingly never-ending tasks.

I’m not complaining – and I’ve yet to hear any complaints from other organizers – but I am impressed.

Contrast the number of volunteers with the hundreds of show-goers who walked through the doors of the convention this June, and you’re left with a perplexing ratio.

While it’s remarkable to see so few impact so many, the lack of volunteers is a cause for concern for The RPSC.

It’s something I’ve been told again and again from people within Organized Philately: “There are never ‘enough’ volunteers.”

This is something that needs to change—and fast.

Looking ahead to 2022, Canada may host another international exhibition – its first since 1996 – but organizers will need volunteers and financial support to step up now.

Let’s show the world what Canadian philately is all about.

Jesse Robitaille is a multimedia reporter for CSN and a member of The RPSC’s social media committee.

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