Clan MacLachlan's Convener's Corner

This page gives helpful information on being a convener at a Celtic/Scottish function. Much have been extracted from the Handbook for Commissioners and Conveners, an internal publication of the Clan MacLachlan.

  • What is a Convener?
  • What Does A Convener Do?
  • The Costs of Convening
  • More Information
  • Forms
  • What Is a Convener?

    Convening - it is FUN. But, what is it? Convening is the act of sponsoring a display (referred to as a tent) celebrating our Celtic Heritage at a Scottish and/or Celtic function, such as a Highland Games. The Convener is the individual or individuals serving as sponsors.

    Convening is meeting people and telling them of their ancestry. It's a way to make new friends and bring a sense of connection and kinship to people who are not sure they belong within a Clan. It is a Social Event.

    Nancy MacLauchlan
    (Riverview, FL) 
    Central Florida Highland Games - January 2009
    JoAnn & Bob McLaughlin
    (Cullowhee, NC) 
    Grandfather Mountain - July 2008
    Please email your convening
    photos to the webmaster.

    Mairi MacLachlan Dilmuth
    (Jacksonville, FL)
    NE Florida Highland Games - February 2009



    What Does A Convener DO?

    A convener represents the clan at a Scottish or Celtic festival. They schedule participation of the Clan with the sponsors of the event, coordinate attendance at the event with other members of the Clan and oversee Clan participation during the event.

    Most events require the Clan representatives to pre-register before they may participate. This typically involves completion and return of the event's sponsoship forms. But, in some cases, the convener may also be asked to sign an Indemity (Hold Harmless) Provision or other legal liability limitation clause. While some events allow (even encourage) the clans to participate for free, most charge a fee ranging from $25 to $225 per tent/tent site.

    If the event does not supply tents, tables, and chairs, the convener is responsible for providing a tent (such as a fly tent or sun shade) and desired tables and chairs. Some events will rent these items - and even help set them up.

    The convener also needs to notify local membership of the events they will be attending. Ideally, this is to insure sufficient members of the Clan attend so that everyone - including the convener - may have some time as a spectator.

    Finally, it's the convener's responsibility to see that the clan is represented during Clan activities such as the Tartan Parade. Most of the time, this can be as simple as setting a time for everyone to meet before the scheduled activity. At times, it may require finding a volunteer participant for specific events (such as an entry in a Bonnie Knees contest).

    The Costs of Convening

    The costs of convening can be subdivided into two categories: one-time and re-occurring. One-time costs are typically the expenses incurred with setting up (eg building) your display. Re-occurring are those that are incurred on an annual basis - such as the fees charged by many festivals for the right to participate.

      One-Time Expenses

      These expenses are those associated with putting together the display. Since the display is meant to be used only for a few days each year, most conveners will build a display from items belonging to their family. Some items, like a nylon name banner, have little sentimental value as a personal treasure and are bought for explicite use at successive functions.

      Other examples of one-time expenses include a tent, table, chairs, table cloths, flags and books.

      Recurring Expenses

      Typically, a convener is charged for site. Some add sponsorship fees.

      For the past sveral years, the Clan MacLachlan has been tracking the costs associated with convening as part of the highland games data base. This information is published as a Regional Cost Summary and is made available to members of COSCA on an annual basis. Average costs vary from region to region with the Southeastern section of the U.S. being the most expensive.

      Other examples of re-occuring expenses include tent supplies (eg any giveaways), admission tickets and consumables.

    More Information

    For more information on convening, we recommend the following sources:

    Handbook for Commissioners and Conveners, 1994 Edition, Clan MacLachlan Association of North America, Inc., Internal Publication.

    For more detail on many of these activities, see The Scottish Highland Games in America by Emily Ann Donaldson, Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, Louisiana, 1986, ISBN 0-88289-474-9.

    This site is maintained by the Clan MacLachlan Association of North America, Inc.
    This page was last updated on July 5, 2011.

    © 1996-2011 Clan MacLachlan Association of North America, Inc.