The first rule of bee club: you DO talk about bee club!
And, man, do we have a lot to say!
We first heard about our local Bee Club when our Bee Guru, Mark, invited us to during my firts visit with him. I went to visit him to research his products (you can check them out too: http://www.bee-furniture.com/ ) and he provided me with tons of information and an invitation to the local bee club meeting - that evening!
Being in the very beginning of our research, and the immediateness of the event, I politely declined the invitation to that night's meeting.
It did, however, stick in our minds.
A room full of local bee experts is exactly what we would need to help us get started on the right foot.
Further on into our research, it came clear that we had to go to an upcoming meeting. Even to just sit in the background, soak up all the useful information and shake a few hands.
Now, of course, time got the best of us as we went along researching and we did not keep in mind to attend any Bee Club meetings. The feeling we got is that we should first have the bees, then get involved.
So just as we wandered farther from the Bee Club train, we got pulled right back on.
Once we decided to officially order our hives, we emailed Mark to place an order. Of course, along with our order, we added a few (okay, more than a few) questions for him as well. Without much delay, he quickly replied back and said he would start our order and answer our questions soon, but to let us know that there was another Bee Club meeting coming up - THAT EVENING.
Due to perfect timing once again we were put into the same time-sensitive predicament. Do we go to the meeting tonight with all the local bee experts posing as imposters?
We don't even have bees yet!
I should also mention that the only member we have met before, Mark, was not able to attend that evening. So, we didn't even have our "in". He explained that is was their AGM. An end of the year, annual general meeting to wrap up the year, get together with other members with a potluck and have a honey tasting contest. It sounded like something we could least sit in the corner for, so I quickly texted Heather and she agreed to accompany me in a few hours, to our first Bee Club meeting.
We brainstormed our initial hopes on the car ride over.
Our assumptions of the local bee community thus far, solely judging the only local beekeeper we had met, were that it was going to be a very excited and welcoming group. Of course, our nerves did kick in as we had absolutely no experience keeping bees and we were walking into a room full of local experts with years of experience.
We decided we would find a nice spot in the back to observe and take notes. Little "bees" on the wall.
We turned into Parking Lot B (Bee!) and headed for the door.
Before even opening the door, we saw a swarm of people through the windows. Heading straight to an empty table, we started taking out our notebooks.
The beginning of the meeting was a straightforward AGM meeting. Elections (which we got to vote in!) and other items on the agenda. After that, the socializing began!
The potluck spread was crazy! Everyone brought something and there were so many homemade goodies. Heather and I sheepishly headed over to the table - as we didn't bring anything to share, showing up last minute - and grabbed a few treats. Looking around the room, the atmosphere felt so welcoming.
We headed over to the Honey Tasting Competition, featuring at least 20 batches of local honey! It was surprising to us all the varying flavours. We introduced ourselves to a few people, young and old, and saw nothing but smiles and laughter.
So many people keeping bees for so many years, we knew this was something we wanted to be a part of.
As we decided to head out, we met a lady organizing the memberships for next year. Heather and I both looked at each other and knew we were thinking the same thing. $10 later and we are officially members of our local Bee Club! We also signed up for a mentorship program for beginning beekeepers which will be an immense help in our beginning struggles.
There were areas the club needed help with next year that we thought we could lend a hand to, including providing cookies for meetings! Assistance with running the website/social media we checked off too, as well as help with community events.