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  • Writer's pictureKristin Wenger

GRIP 2020 (virtual edition)

When my kids saw the title of the course and my color-coded citations, audible groans ensued.

"Mastering the Art of Genealogical Documentation? Mom! Why on earth would anyone voluntarily sign up for that?"

Despite their appalled reactions, I have been looking forward to this week all summer. I loved my first experience at GRIP in 2018 and had my eye on a second trip to Pittsburgh in 2020. Of course, the pandemic has decimated the majority of our summer plans, but GRIP's pivot to a virtual format turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

After asking for institute course recommendations from alumni of the Certification Discussion Group, the documentation course taught by Tom Jones rose to the top of my education plan. Unfortunately, the class filled quickly and I ended up on the waitlist. The switch to virtual allowed the addition of a second week of the same course, and here I am!

The GRIP team has done a fantastic job creating an environment to allow as much interaction and discussion as possible. Although it's not quite the same as being there, I am still enjoying connecting with old friends and meeting new ones. The classroom experience has been incredible. Dr. Jones is a gracious and accessible teacher who makes himself available during breaks and before and after class. My brain is on overdrive and I think I'm learning every bit as much as I would in person.

It has been a whirlwind of a week. In addition to full-day classes, the excellent evening lectures and thought-provoking homework are making time fly. It's just about time for me to join the final evening program, a town hall meeting with BCG (Board for Certification of Genealogists). All in all, the virtual GRIP experience has been a highlight of the summer and almost as fulfilling as an in-person institute.

Now if I could just conjure up a cafeteria with meals at-the-ready and convince my youngest child to stop playing the drums when I am ready to unmute.


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