Strange title for a blog post, but it’s true. Recently I attended the first-ever New England Virtual Assistants picnic at Myles Standish State Park in Massachusetts. For most people, a picnic is a chance to commune with nature, relax, and enjoy themselves.

Mt Blue 2015 015


I especially enjoyed this picnic, because it was a group of my peers. There was no competition for business clients. Instead, we could relax and truly be ourselves. Networking can be stressful and sometimes very competitive. I always have to maintain professionalism and try to promote my business to every potential client in spite of the fact that I’m not familiar with their businesses and they don’t understand what a virtual assistant does or can do for them. This picnic provided me with an escape from the weekend chores and neighborhood noises. It gave me the chance to “get away close” and still feel like I’ve gone away for the day. All of the NEVA members received an email invitation. It wasn’t the format of the invitation that hooked me, it was the message. “Let’s get together.” One of the members even offered to bring kayaks and life vests.

NEVA Picnic 2015 002

The other thing that I liked about the invitation is that members were told to bring their own food. I can’t tell  you what a relief this was, because so many times, people bring food to a gathering and you have no idea what’s it is or what’s in it. Sometimes, you can’t even tell what it is and face it; some people are not as hygienic as others are. The fact that we could bring our own food gave me the chance to indulge myself in some goodies that I normally wouldn’t eat.  I also didn’t relish the idea of cooking or preparing food for 20 – 50 people. I had no idea how many people would be there.

The organizers of this picnic thought it all through. They planned to bring a grill, desserts, and paper goods. They asked us to bring games and set no time limit on the event. The weather was perfect, but the chance to meet like-minded individuals was invaluable. It was a fun day and enticed me to attend some of the quarterly meetings held in restaurants around New England.

NEVA Picnic 2015 007

So where does the title “PICNICS ARE TIMES FOR STRETCHING” come in?  Just as I stretch out to take a nap on the patio or stretch when I wake up in the morning, I stretched myself to go the distance and meet my peers. I stretched myself and allowed me to be ME and not the PROFESSIONAL ME. It was fun to just be ME for a day. As a virtual assistant, I am constantly focused on the mindset of my clients. I am also an author and when I write, I have to get inside every character’s head, so on picnic day, it was fun and a little strange to just be ME.

JoAnn Mt. Blue 2015

I hope this event becomes an annual one and I also hope that we, as a group of VA professionals, can reach out to others and attract new members. This organization is growing and has so much to offer.

If you’d like to know about my business, click on Virtual Colleague, LLC.

If you’d like to learn more about the New England Virtual Assistant group. Click here.

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