By Sarah Leslie, Gimme! Coffee
Lots of people ask why they should join the Barista Guild of America (BGA) and they are given a list of benefits and discounts that come with their annual membership dues. Certainly, if you are interested in attending an event, camp, or competition, the membership pays for itself with just the discount on registration. So if you plan to attend events, you should join from a purely financial perspective.
A better question might be “what does membership in the BGA mean to you?” Marcus Boni asked me this after I completed my North East Regional Barista Competition run back in November, and I was overwhelmed with emotion trying to respond. Membership in the BGA has been life-changing for me. It’s difficult to put into words, but I’m going to try.
The BGA’s mission is to be the network for the professional barista, and through the BGA I’ve made many connections that have helped advance my career (from barista to director of education), but I’ve gained so much more than that. The BGA is my support group, my fan club, and my family. When I decided to compete last year, my BGA friends were the people I talked to for support, encouragement, and last-minute coaching. I couldn’t have done it without them, and I likely wouldn’t even have had the courage to try.
My fellow BGA members are the first people I call when I have questions, need advice, or want to celebrate. The BGA is my professional network, but it’s also so much more. Membership is priceless to me. It’s hard not to look around at this Event and be uplifted by the energy that a convention center full of coffee people creates. If that’s appealing to you, I encourage you to join the BGA and start getting involved!
Sarah Leslie of Gimme! Coffee is an incoming member of the Barista Guild of America Executive Council and member of the BGA’s Certificate Committee.