It's about time.
A new registration option for the Philly 2009 conference (August 2-7, Philadelphia) is now offered for individuals under age 21: Register for the entire conference for only $50. This is a great way to involve children and grandchildren on a personal level. Additionally, it will provide encouragement for college students to get involved.
While other genealogy groups have been attempting to cultivate the younger generations of genealogists, the Jewish genealogy organization has ignored this demographic until now.
Genealogy is not only for those who are retired - it is an endeavor for everyone who understands how learning about our past helps us in the present and prepares us for the future. For Jewish genealogists specifically, it also provides an opportunity to reconstruct families and ancestral shtetls destroyed by the Holocaust and to recreate the links in our ancient chain of history.
An organization whose demographic creeps upward requires this infusion of young people with their inspiration, technological skills and creative problem solving. This is where the Jewish genealogy movement will draw its active members in the future. Who knows where genealogy's next "star" will come from?
Click on the Philly 2009 website for all conference details, including registration, hotel, online program, workshops, special lunches and more.
Personally, I wish still another option for those under 30 would have been added at a higher cost but still far below the full cost. The under-30s will be the fastest growing demographic in the near future.
At every conference, I am asked by several of our younger genealogists as to why the conference doesn't offer price breaks for the under-30s and for college students. Each year, I say that the group just doesn't understand. So it was good to see this breakthrough, but one for the under-30s would also be advisable. The under-30s may be young parents with less disposable income or suffering through unemployment as are so many. Their choice is simply not to come to a conference.
I think we are missing out on the opportunity to inspire younger generations and bring new blood into the international Jewish genealogy field, but this is a welcome start.
If you have already registered for the conference, this is a reminder to sign up early for the special SIG lunches (some great speakers for these very popular and usually sold-out events), for the computer workshops and other events.