Great questions Joe,
the best answer to your question I think is that the members of the BGA Executive Council all work hard to make the BGA the best and most relevant trade organization for Barista's in the US. This is not to say that there is not work to be done, and we all are working hard for the BGA to do more for its members. The EC is working now to make the Barista Guild an ever increasing part of SCAA education and to give baristas a more powerful voice within our industry.
More importantly to us is....
what do you think the role of the BGA should be?
what opportunities for involvement would be beneficial to you?
there is no lack of people asking questions....who wants to be part of the group that starts producing results!
I'm not a "card carrying" member either. I've been in the guild for years and I've never been sent my card!
Peter, I don't think that you are wrong.
I know several people who haven't joined primarily because they just don't see the benefit.
The guild, to be honest, I don't think is doing all it could to be the voice of the barista.
A friend named Chris constantly calls for standardization of drink recipes, parameter tolerances, and the like that just don't exist in the industry here. And rightfully so.
This is not to declare that I suddenly believe that there is a standard, but I do think we need guidelines. As it stands, joining the Guild means you are committed, and that's about the extent of things.
Being a part of the Guild should entail so much more. With only, what is it now, 500? members, I'm not sure we have the muscle required to take the lead on these issues, and Lord knows the SCAA is having a hard enough time on its own trying to spread the gospel to the unwashed masses.
So, really, to join the discussion, I must ask.
What exactly is it that we, as a guild, DO? I still haven't figured it out. (and it just dawned on me that I'm way late on renewal dues. probably almost a year.)
I joined because I wanted to be a part of something bigger. Something more significant that is a significant piece of the career I'm trying to carve out. I haven't found that to be true. Not unless you go to conventions. Not unless you spend the hundreds of dollars needed to travel all over the place.
Honestly, how many working baristas CAN afford to do all that? So, for the average barista, what's the real benefit?
I'm not saying that there aren't good things going on higher up in the food chain, but we down here in the lower end certainly don't hear about it.
Communication is key. (I feel like I say this more often than "hello", for a variety of scenarios)