Your Father's AHEPA Convention
May 21, 2007
Breathing new life into the oldest and largest Greek-American organization in the United States isn’t something anyone can do overnight. For the last year and a half we’ve been teetering on the outside looking in, and on some days, the inside looking out, both on the local and national level with AHEPA. The most significant chance for all of us in the DC area to make at least a small impact in forcing AHEPA to consider the needs of our generation happens this June 14th –17th as the AHEPA Capital District 3 Convention comes to the DC area with the goal of making this "Not Your Father’s AHEPA Convention."
The Convention organizers put us on the committee and tasked us with a rather simple objective – get as many young adults as possible to attend a Convention normally associated with a day and a half of sparsely attended business meetings for the over-60 set, punctuated by a Grand Banquet usually featuring long speeches that even those same sexagenarian and septuagenarians would admit are real snoozers. As the Supreme Convention is normally a good time for AHEPAn and non-AHEPAn alike, there was no reason why a District Convention couldn’t be marketed and promoted in the same way, as a fun three-day weekend for Hellenic and Philhellene young adults who might as a result decide that participation in AHEPA on a more substantive basis outside of the occasional convention might not be so bad.
Seeking a healthy baseline from where to capture the attention as many young adults as possible, the committee began by focusing on athletics. A day before the official start of the Convention, there will be a golf tournament which is already starting to draw interest from the young adults out there who want to out-drive their fathers and grandfathers. But the biggest draw will be the 16-team District 3 Basketball Tournament on the Saturday and Sunday of that weekend. As we’ve seen playing in Greek League these past few years, if something as basic as basketball can bring over 130 Greek guys within 50-feet of an actual church for a dozen or so Sundays during the winter, then there is no reason we can’t get that many guys and their entourages to show up for a weekend where bragging rights from Maryland to North Carolina and beyond will be established.
A HEADS-UP TO ANY SINGLE GREEK GIRL WHO MAY STILL BE READING THIS COLUMN:
For those of you out there who complain about the same old Greek guys you see at Greek events in the DC area, this is going to be the perfect chance to meet someone new without having to book a flight or even miss a day of work. Basketball guys for the most part aren’t the same guys you see at Third Thursday, most Greek Nights, or at a YAL event. Regardless, we know for a fact that we’re getting teams from New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania coming into town for the weekend. We’re starting early enough on Saturday morning that they have to be in town on Friday night, and they will be at the Friday Night Glenti and Young Adult Social, and they’ll stick around for the after-hours Greek Night on Saturday night as the tournament doesn’t end until Sunday.
A HEADS-UP TO ANY SINGLE NON-BASKETBALL PLAYING GREEK GUYS WHO MAY STILL BE READING THIS COLUMN:
Just because the girls who were convinced by the preceding paragraph to come to this weekend think they are coming to meet a guy who will be at best running baseline-to-baseline or at worst "riding pine" for the majority of their Saturday, doesn’t mean that they can’t meet you instead.
Seriously, from a strictly social standpoint, the District 3 Convention will have something to offer to any young adult just looking to relax and have a good time on a Friday and Saturday Night in June. Friday Night’s Glenti and Young Adult Social (note: we added the "Young Adult Social" part) will be a night featuring Zephyros, a band that everyone knows and can have a good time listening and dancing to, no matter what their age. Add a buffet to it, and what more could you ask for? But to specifically cater to the young adults, we’re setting up an outdoor tent (think Fraternity Party meets Greek Festival) and are still working on other aspects to really put an effort into making Friday night fun for those who will be coming from out of town and for the locals who regularly would be doing something downtown that night. (There’s no reason the party can’t continue afterwards either back at the Westin Arlington Gateway, the official hotel for the weekend, or somewhere downtown.) Saturday Night’s Greek Night at Ultrabar will be huge when you think about adding a convention crowd to their typical Greek Night.
Ok, so you’ve made it this far into this advertorial – why was any of this important enough or deserving of more than just a simple banner ad? This District Convention is important because it will send a message. If young adults actually attend in vast numbers it will send a message to the old guard that ours is a demographic that needs to be considered, not just socially, but in more of the efforts that AHEPA sponsors. A group of Greek young adults may be inspired to join their respective AHEPA family organization if they see that AHEPA actually wants them around. It’s a win-win for everyone involved, only if those of you out there make an effort to attend. Check out the official District 3 Convention homepage for more details and for special all-inclusive registration packages for the weekend.