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A Program Manual and Directory of Speakers

Table of Contents
Program Chairman's Responsibilities
Responsibilities and Courtesies to
  Speakers and Demonstrators

Letter of Confirmation to Speaker
Where to Look for Programs
Mini Programs
Emergency Programs
Searching Your Membership for Talent
Tips for Success in Program Planning
Keeping Records of Programs

End of Year Report

Speakers - Northern Section

Speakers - Southern Section

Index of Speakers' Subjects

(For Podium Speakers application, see "Forms")

This manual / directory is intended for the PROGRAM CHAIRMAN of your society
or club. When you leave this office, please give it to the

May 2006

California Federation of Mineralogical Societies


Podium People is both a manual for program planners and a directory of speakers and demonstrators who are willing to come to your meeting place and share their expertise in person. Their topics cover all areas of the earth sciences and related arts- geology, astronomy, biology, fossils, minerals, field trips, gemology, lapidary, jewelry design, "how to" demonstrations, etc.

The manual section, pages ii to xii, gives a job description for the Program Chairman in a local society and provides useful information and suggestions for making that job easier and more enjoyable, whether a speaker is invited or not. The ideas and information have been collected from many previous Program Aids Chairmen. We hope each society's Program Chairman will make use of the manual and find it helpful.

The directory section, pages 1 to 20 including an Index of Speakers' Subjects, is divided into Northern and Southern areas for your convenience, but look over the actual locations and topics of those listedas outside of your area. If your society has a particular interest in a speaker from the other area, why not write or phone and ask if he or she plans any travel to your area? Speakers or demonstrators may be reluctant to drive many miles at night, but if you offer overnight accommodations, they might be interested. One of your members may have a guest room to offer. You'll find the people listed here are very friendly and dedicated.

Keep your copy of this manual in a looseleaf binder along with your copy of the CFMS Slide and Video Catalog. Additional information on programs is published frequently in the CFMS Newsletter and should be added to your binder.

If you know of a particularly good speaker (member or guest) or other type of program not included in this manual and directory, please send details to the CFMS Program Aids Chairman. Speakers or demonstrators recommended by Program Chairmen will be contacted and asked for their permission to share information about their programs and their requirements with other societies and clubs. To keep the manual and directory vital and current, new recommendations and program ideas are constantly needed.

Cheri George
Program Aids Chairman, 2008

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The Program Chairman is responsible for planning and implementing programs for all the society's meetings, except for Board Meetings, Junior Meetings, or Special Business Meetings. The program usually follows a regular monthly business meeting. After adjournment of the business meeting the President invites the Program Chairman to present the program, including introduction of the speaker if there is one. The President should be previously informed of the contents of the program and the time necessary for presentation. (If time will be unavoidably limited, the speaker should be notified in advance.)

A majority of programs each year should come under the category of  "educational" and should be related to the focus of the society. A few programs will coincide with holiday dinners or picnics when a program in the "entertainment" category is more appropriate.

With the help of a committee formed of the society's officers and other interested members the Chairman should plan a schedule of programs for the year or at least for several months in advance. The other members of the committee should be expected to accept responsibility for specific programs.

For each program a short article should be sent a month in advance to the Bulletin Editor. Include a short introduction of the speaker if any, title of the program and a few lines about the subject to be presented. Give a copy of the article, with the time and place of the meeting and the name of your society, to local news media.

Keep this manual and directory up to date. A looseleaf binder is recommended. Since new editions of the manual are not published annually, it is important to get clippings of relevant information from the CFMS Newsletter and add them to your binder. The CFMS Newsletter is sent to your President, Editor, and Federation Director. A catalog of slide and video programs available and instructions for borrowing them was given to your Federation Director, who should have given it to you . Copies of the catalog, this manual and directory, and subscriptions to the CFMS Newsletter may be ordered at very low cost from the CFMS Executive Secretary - Treasurer. You might ask your society to order a subscription to the CFMS Newsletter to be sent to you since it has articles which, while not directly about programs, could give clues to potential program topics or resources. It also has a monthly directory of CFMS officers and chairmen who might be able to give you program leads within their special fields.

THIS MANUAL BELONGS TO YOUR SOCIETY . Use it and make it grow. It is filled with the secrets of successful programs from many other Program Chairmen who were willing to share them. Add to it your own records of programs presented under your chairmanship. Your successor will thank you.

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There are many usual courtesies to keep in mind in obtaining and receiving the services of a speaker or demonstrator. Fulfilling your responsibilities to your guest speaker will make a fine lasting impression of you and your society.

If it is possible, arrange your programs for the year. Do not wait to invite the speaker until a week or ten days before your meeting. Many speakers are very popular, and they need to be contacted early.

If your initial contact is by conversation, write to confirm the date within a day or two following your conversation. Be sure you and your speaker understand the terms of the engagement. Speakers sometimes have a variety of programs, so be sure you and the speaker both know which program you want. Talk about the level of technology or expertise of the expected audience so the speaker can tailor the presentation to match their interests and understanding. Be sure you have the speaker's name spelled correctly and get the exact title of the program.

When arranging for the program, make sure of the date, time, and length of the presentation. Discuss charges and mileage at this time and whether free "bed and breakfast" arrangements will be needed. If a speaker does not accept an honorarium, then it is a nice gesture to give a gift. (If your speaker is a police officer, sheriff's deputy, fireman, or member of the armed forces, they are not permitted to accept gratuities.) Give clear directions to the meeting place and arrange to send a map if directions are complicated. Give approximate mileage, what off-ramp, which direction to turn, and point out any identifiable landmarks.

Write an article for your society's bulletin and your local news media describing the program. Make it sound enthusiastic! Have your editor send a copy of the bulletin to the speaker. Give your members posters or flyers to distribute in advance. Write or phone the speaker several days before the meeting as a reminder and to confirm the date and time of the program.

Before the meeting, arrange for a close parking place for the speaker to bring in equipment or materials. The Program Chairman should arrive early enough to set up any other equipment the speaker has requested. Offer help in setting up and be sure all the necessary equipment is working.

Introduce your guest to the society's President and Host or Hostess. Stay with or near the speaker during the evening, or arrange for another member to do so. Introduce the Program. Arrange to pay the speaker that evening, but don't make a public display of it. It is best to just quietly hand the check, if any, to the speaker at the end of the program. If the speaker has quoted a price for mileage, remember that he/she has to drive both ways.

After the program, escort your guest to the car and remain until the guest is ready to leave. The equipment and specimens used are often valuable. Don't leave your guest alone to face the potential hazards of a dark parking lot late at night.

After the meeting write a follow up article for your bulletin or get another member to take notes and write it. Send a copy, along with a note of thanks, to the speaker. Send it early enough for any misquotation to be corrected.

To sum it all up in the words of one speaker:


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The format of a sample letter that could be used to confirm your speaker's program date and needs is printed below. It is only a guide, and you might want to use it to create your own "form" letter, which you can further tailor to fit individual circumstances . If possible send it to your speaker on the letterhead paper of your society or club . It is always wise to keep a copy of each letter you send for your own files. This letter should be mailed in time to reach the speaker a week before the program date.


(Speaker's name and address)

Dear _____________________________

    You are scheduled to present a program on, ______ (Subject)______ at the meeting

of the _______ (Name of your Society) _______ on ____ (Date and Time) ______ . The

meeting will be held at________ (Address of meeting place)___________________

Your fee will be___ (Amount agreed on)___ . Our audience averages___ (Number)___ people.

You have indicated that you will need the following :_ (Blackboard, chalk, screen, projector, table(s): other)_

If you have any questions about the information above, my telephone number is

( ) ____ - ______ We are looking forward to your presentation .

If, for any reason, you are unable to attend the meeting, please let me know as soon as

possible if you can get some one to fill in for you, so I can get the necessary information from

your replacement. If no one is able to come, please call me at the number above so I can arrange

another program .


Program Chairman

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There is a wealth of talent available from educational institutions, governmental agencies, the business world, the California and American Federations, your own membership, and others. Cities offer numerous possibilities for program material, but small communities, too, may have resources of prime speakers available who are often overlooked. One example is the retired community. Get acquainted with the people around you.

Contact the Speakers' Bureau or the Department Head of a local college or university. They can recommend programs and are often anxious for staff people to cooperate with the community - good public relations. From the colleges you should be able to secure geologists, anthropologists, vulcanologists, seismologists, and other earth science specialists: Don't forget faculty from specialized schools such as the Gemological Institute of America. Local honor students who have received scholarships from your society or club or from the California or American Federation are often glad to talk to you about their projects.

Elementary and high school teachers may also be very knowledgeable on subjects related to minerals and gems, including jewelry making, and they are usually experts at presenting them in an entertaining and understandable fashion. They may also be interested in promoting cooperative projects between your society and their students, which could lead to further reporting programs.

A number of government agencies - Federal, state, county, and local - have professional people on their staffs who are prepared to present programs. Many have directories of speakers and also videos available to you. Some examples of these are the US Bureau of Land Management, the US Forest Service, the US Geological Survey, the California Department of Natural Resources, the California Division of Mines, and the Nevada Historic Preservation Office. Also consider your County Parks Department and your community's public water agency. Agencies such as these often have representatives available even in remote areas.

Speakers such as these can inform you about the history of mines and miners in the west, geology and ecology of areas in which you are interested, wilderness safety, and current or pending laws affecting mineral and gem collecting, with possible future scenarios. To respond effectively to such laws your members need to be well informed.

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Check with your Chamber of Commerce or your Better Business Bureau for names of companies that might like to provide speakers. A talk by an official from an industry that processes or uses minerals in manufacturing might be followed by a field trip through the plant which could be a real bonus. Local jewelers who may own a store, or do jewelry appraising, repairing, or custom designing are often interesting speakers. Don't overlook business people dealing in maps, metal detectors, and gold panning equipment. A local TV station may lend you documentary videos.

MUSEUMS, HISTORICAL SOCIETIES, AND PUBLIC SERVICE ORGANIZATIONS Investigate the museums in your immediate area. Some are private; others are publicly owned. See what is available in the way of minerals, lapidary, mining, history, geology, or paleontology. exhibits. Curators may sometimes be called upon to talk about special exhibits, their special field of study, or how materials are collected, cataloged, stored, and prepared for exhibiting.

Historical societies are of special benefit because of the importance of gold, silver, and other mineral resources in the history of California, Nevada, and Arizona.

A disaster relief organization such as the American Red Cross may provide a speaker on earthquake causes and readiness, or on first aid preparedness for a field trip. Community groups, such as Lions Club and Rotary International, who are always looking for interesting speakers for their own meetings may suggest some who would be suitable for a program for your society.

Look for notices about speakers at other community groups who might be of interest to your members also. Clip and file these notices as potential future sources of programs.

Demonstrators at gem and mineral shows can be an excellent program source. Many are already listed as Podium People, but many are not. Sometimes members of the host society are making their debut as demonstrators, and this is an excellent opportunity to secure them for programs. You can preview their presentation by watching how they relate to the public, how they explain what they are doing, and how interesting the subject is to the audience.

Lecturers on special topics at a show might bring their already prepared talk to your society.

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The CFMS Slide and Video Library is managed by its own Librarian. It has its own separate catalog, listing all the slide and video programs available from the Federation, with directions for ordering them. This catalog should be kept in your looseleaf binder with the current edition of your Program Manual and Directory of Speakers: Podium People and constantly updated when new listings are announced by the Librarian through the Newsletter or in handouts given to your Federation Director. The cost of ordering these interesting programs is very reasonable, and you will be pleased with their quality. Many have come to our Library as winners of the AFMS Program Contest. Your savings from using a slide program one month might allow you the luxury of a guest speaker the next.

Many of the Federation Officers and Chairmen are skilled artisans; many are skilled speakers. Their names, addresses, telephone numbers, and their jobs are published in the Federation's newsletter. These knowledgeable people can give your society information or help on planning goals, increasing membership, showmanship, installation of officers, or some particular area of their expertise. Look for one near you. Members of the Public Lands and Advisory Committee (PLAC) are prepared to give lectures on collecting areas, wilderness proposals, the progress of bills in Congress, and what action your members can take.

The position of Program Aids Chairman was especially created for your assistance at any time in planning programs. Just ask. Part of the job is to send monthly information to the CFMS Newsletter to keep you tip to date with news about speakers and other program ideas.

The next pages contain some excellent suggestions for successful programs which have originated within the membership of various mineral societies and been described in their annual Program Report and Questionnaire. (Please fill in and return yours-it's important to others!)

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Many societies use five-minute programs as an opener to a meeting. This can give more members a chance to participate and broaden everyone's knowledge. A note of caution - don't upstage an invited guest speaker by stealing the major program's subject for your opener. On the other hand, if your major program is "canned," such as a video or a CFMS slide program, it might be enhanced by a "live" opener on the same subject.

Gem or Mineral of the Month: The featured gem or mineral would be announced in advance in the bulletin. One member, not necessarily an expert, could be asked, a month in advance, to do research on the particular mineral and to present a five-minute report. All members who wished could bring in their favorite specimens and samples of jewelry made from the announced gem or mineral and tell briefly about it, in addition to or instead of the one member's report. This might spark enthusiasm for a field trip to an area of the gem's occurrence. Birthstones of each month might be used as Minerals of the Month for a year .

Another variation is to choose, in advance, a different color each month. All members are asked to bring a yellow specimen, for example, and tell what it is, where it was found and how it is used. This takes one or two minutes for each of maybe five or six participants. It is interesting to note that rarely are there duplicates, because each one tries to bring something unusual and rare.

Member Displays at Meetings: A designated person may prepare a monthly display table with ten mineral or rough gem material specimens. Members who want to participate, pick up a numbered sheet and write down what they think the names of the specimens are. The numbered sheets are handed in when the meeting begins. During the meeting the specimens are identified. A prize is given to each person having 100% identification or to those with the highest scores.

Another plan is to arrange for a display by a different member at each monthly meeting; or for a number of members to bring exhibits. Plan ahead if cases must be set up at the meeting hall. Displays could be judged and awarded points by popular vote, the winners to get a prize. Monthly member displays could be followed by an annual competition for Display of the Year.

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The speaker for the evening can not come, and you have 24 hours or less (2 minutes?) to arrange for a substitute program. No need to panic!

  • Keep a slide show or video on hand, owned by you or your society, ready at a moment's notice. Be sure the projector or VCR will also be on hand.

  • Keep an emergency list of members who can be depended upon for a last-minute program .

  • Have several game packets ready (rock bingo, mineral and gem trivia, etc.,) If you have none, divide the audience into competing teams and ask each team make up their own gem trivia questions for their competitors to answer.

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Hidden or latent talent can be found among the members of your own society . Begin your search by asking questions of your members . Discover their interests . You may have several interesting programs among the members. The only way to find out-ask questions . Here are some programs you might find among your members and some ideas for do-it-yourself programs.

    1. Field Trips: Slides and video tapes made by members on field trips are a favorite when "personalized" by showing members at work. Members' trips on their own to places related to the stated interests of the society are also popular. Specimens brought back from these trips contribute much to such programs.
    2. Develop your own slide or video program, or help another member do so: Get your member photographers and craftsmen together to create programs. People who do outstanding craft work sometimes can't face an audience to tell about it. Take some scenes of their work and of them at work; get them to tell you about it, and write it down in script form. If your "star" is uneasy with a larger audience, get someone else to read the script as the slides are shown. Your artist might feel at ease answering questions directed to him/her at the end of the program.
  2. VIDEOS OWNED BY MEMBERS: Members have probably bought videos for themselves at gem shows, museums, and park visitor centers on appropriate subjects for your programs.
  3. JEWELRY AND LAPIDARY DEMONSTRATIONS: Do some of your members demonstrate their skills at shows? If you invite them to give a program at a meeting, will all the people present be able to see the demonstration clearly and easily? Do you have a way to magnify the work area? Consider whether cleaning up afterward will be a problem.
    1. Tumbling: Many new members want to tumble rocks, but do not know what grits to use, when stones are ready for the next grit, etc. Someone might be willing to share his/her expertise about the process. Several months' notice should be given so that he/she can have examples from various stages to show.
    2. Cabbing and Faceting: Some faceting machines and cabochon grinding and polishing machines are somewhat portable and could be used to demonstrate at a meeting. Again, specimens showing the various stages should be prepared ahead of time.

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    1. Flat Lapping: People love to polish geodes, bookends, etc. This could be a panel discussion or a solo presentation. If a panel, some organizing will be needed.
    2. Wire wrap: Requires less heavy equipment than some other types of jewelry making.
    3. Silversmithing: Members might bring work in different stages of progress instead of bringing the large amount of equipment necessary for thorough demonstrations.
    4. Carving and Chipping: These may create considerable debris, but the relatively large pieces used are easier to see from a distance than small pieces of jewelry.
    5. Bead Making: One or more member could show bead making processes, and others could bring examples of other types of beads, mineral and fabricated, and tell their history.
  1. SAFETY AND FIRST AID: Be certain your member is qualified if giving First Aid instruction. Discuss hazards and preventive measures to keep in mind in a lapidary shop, on a field trip, or in the home. You could have several programs on such a broad subject. Use articles by CFMS Safety Chairmen in the CFMS Newsletter for specific ideas.
  2. EQUIPMENT: An instructor or knowledgeable member of the society could give a lecture on the care of field trip, lapidary, faceting, etc. equipment; advantages of different features or brands; and problems encountered.
  3. MINERAL COLLECTIONS: Does one of your members specialize in mineral collecting? Has he or she entered cases in competition? Have him or her bring some specimens that can be handled and passed around. Instructions might show how to trim minerals, how to clean them, how to mount them, how to transport them. How to identify and wrap minerals collected in the field is a talk in itself. Another separate talk can cover how to organize a collection.
  4. GOLD PANNING: Many societies have avid gold panners among their members. If possible, have a talk immediately prior to a gold panning field trip.
  5. METAL DETECTING: Do your members own metal detectors? Ask them to demonstrate how they work, describe the range in detectors' capabilities, and show some of their loot.
  6. GEM OR MINERAL OF THE MONTH: (See Short Programs, page x.)

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  1. MEMBER DISPLAYS: (See Short Programs, page x.) Arrange for a number of members to bring exhibits to the same meeting. Plan ahead for cases to be set up at the meeting hall. Displays could be judged and awarded points by popular vote, the winners to get a prize. Hold discussions on what features make a display especially appealing, and what features win points under the official Uniform Rules.
  2. FOSSILS: Nearly all your members probably have a few fossils in their collection. Ask them to bring them and talk about where they were found. If one of your members is knowledgeable on the subject, he/she may be a source of several interesting programs.
  3. MAP READING: Many motorists have never bothered to really become acquainted with maps and the wealth of information contained in them. Have a member discuss topographical and geological maps and how to interpret them. Use maps of an area where you plan a field trip.
  4. LEAVERITE: What to do with "Leaverite"? One club member who is a professional flower arranger showed how to put together excellent dish gardens. He has given the talk to many mineral societies and garden clubs. A society with no flower arranger in their membership did have two garden club members who brought dish garden supplies to the society meeting. The items were sold to the members at cost. During the evening everyone worked on dish gardens-either singly, in pairs, or groups. It was a fascinating evening. The members brought their own "Leaverite".
  5. PHOTOGRAPHY: Is one of your members a camera bug? Have him or her talk about how to photograph mineral specimens or jewelry. This can be a demonstrating program, plus a participating program. Show how to make titles for a slide program, etc.
  6. MY OTHER HOBBY: Four or five members who have interesting hobbies other than rockhounding can be invited to show samples and discuss their "other Hobby". This has been used by a number of societies, and everyone has reported a very interesting evening.
  7. "WHERE IN THE WORLD HAVE YOU BEEN?" A natural for the September meeting. Ask four or five members to bring in 10 slides each or other tangible souvenirs of their summer activities. Through your bulletin ask for volunteers to bring in similar items for "show and tell". Use your five "sure" ones to break the ice. Can be lots of fun.
  8. TAILGATING: Do you have members who sell minerals and gems as outdoor "tailgate" vendors? A panel made up of tailgate vendors might be the best way to show the different methods of selling, setting up booths, etc. Have them talk about their experiences and show some of the things they have acquired through tailgating, swapping, etc.

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  1. MEMBERS' EMPLOYMENT OR BUSINESSES: Perhaps you have some sources of speakers no one has thought of previously. For example, one club found a member who worked in a dental laboratory. He fashioned gold and silver inlays and caps. The bulletin reported this as an exceptional program, and there was great interest shown in the subject. You may even have members who are professional geologists or jewelers.
  2. MY FAVORITE ROCK: This subject always has appeal and may provide your members with a lot of laughs as well as appreciation for fellow members' collections. Just ask members to bring their favorite rock and tell something about it-why it's a favorite.

We have not listed all the possible sources of member contributions by any means. We only hope to help you discover the richness of this field on your own. It is an exciting adventure. If you strike upon any interesting and unusual program ideas, please share your bonanza by notifying the CFMS Program Aids Chairman. Most of the ideas above have been gleaned from success stories of other societies like yours.

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  • Arrive at the meeting ahead of time to be sure everything is in order. Make certain the equipment requested by the speaker is in place. If temperature control is possible, make sure the room is cool in the summer and warm in winter.

  • Much worthwhile information can be given out in photocopied form at a meeting. If your speaker is discussing something that members might want to have in printed form, have copies ready to hand out at the meeting.

  • Seating arrangement is very important in program presentation. Some societies meet in school cafeterias and the members sit at tables. This makes for good visiting but is a poor arrangement for an audience. It is very difficult to gain and keep the attention of the members who are facing each other. Sometimes a larger circle of chairs works well - other times not. Try various seating arrangements if you have any options. Watch your audience reaction and you will learn what seating arrangement is best for your members.

  • Outstanding programs may be repeated after a couple of years. Remember that new members are joining from time to time, and one of their prime reasons is to learn. The program may be a repeat for the older members, but quite informative to the newer members.

  • Keep in mind that programs should in general serve the purpose of educating the membership. Make only sparing use of travelogs of members' trips if not related to the main focus of your society. If in doubt, ask for a preview or discuss the program in detail with the member. Has the member had time to edit the slides, eliminating the poor shots? Has the member written a script? A script with copies of the slides could make a good program available for future re-showing. Among other advantages a script eliminates the phrase, "This is. . .". You may want to hold a special meeting, for all members interested in giving a slide or video program during the year, at which you or an expert on photography or communications would discuss how best to produce such programs.

  • Cooperate with other societies in your area. Ideas and speakers can be swapped. Ask your Editor to share exchange bulletins with you. Many good ideas for programs can be gleaned from the exchange bulletins.

  • When writing up a program for your bulletin, take a positive attitude. Don't write, "Those who did not attend sure missed a good program." Instead, be positive and say, "Those who attended the meeting were treated to an exceptionally fine and memorable program." Those who missed it will get the point.

  • Remember to keep a record of the program, the speaker, and the audience reaction to the program. Send in an annual report to the California Federation's Program Aids Chairman. If you feel a speaker should be listed in the Speaker's Section of this manual, include enough information for the Program Aids Chairman to contact the speaker easily. Keep a complete file for yourself and your successor of all program information. (See Keeping Records of Programs, page xii.)

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At the beginning of your chairmanship, obtain a three-ring binder in which to file this Podium People Manual and Directory and also to file pages from the CFMS Newsletter pertaining to programs, which you should get regularly from your Federation Director, your Editor, or your President. Clip newspaper items, magazine articles, and ideas that might develop into good programs, and paste them into your binder. In other words, build your own Podium People Manual as your society's special edition. Keep the CFMS Slide and Video Catalog in the same binder.

Prepare a binder section, card file, or computer database to record each program used, showing the speaker's name, address, and telephone number and the date on which the program was presented. Note your members' reaction. Any further information, such as fee, equipment required, length of talk, etc. should be listed. These records will increase in value to your society or club as each succeeding Program Chairman adds his/her program information.

If the speaker is well received and you feel other mineral societies would be interested, ask the individual's permission to send his/her address to the California Federation's Program Aids Chairman to contact for listing in the Podium People directory.

Even if you do not use a program, but know of a good one, list it in your record file. The purpose of this file is to create a useful tool in planning future programs.

If you attend a Program Chairmen's Workshop, take your records with you. There will be opportunities to share information you have on file and opportunities to add valuable information to your files.

Plan to share your records through your annual report to the CFMS Program Aids Chairman. This is easy if you have kept good records. The report can include picnics, installation dinners, etc., as well as formal programs. Your Federation Director should give you the blank report form around the end of the calendar year.

The information contained in this manual section of Podium People is a collection of ideas and suggestions from records reported in the past by local Program Chairmen. The directory of speakers has also been compiled from records reported by Program Chairmen in many localities throughout the area served by the CFMS. Make use of the manual and directory, keep good records, and share those records with future program planners in both your own society and others. Good luck in your search for new and interesting programs.

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