Are you tired of being called "just a latte slinger" and having to explain your craft to your family and friends? Does it piss you off that people think that your job requires no skill or education?
I want to tell you about the Barista Guild of America, which is a trade guild that YOU can be part of. It's common for professions to organize into a guild or association to create a force in the public eye and keep abreast of new trends and education. However, I feel the BGA is especially unique because this is a grass-roots effort to organize at what's usually considered the entry-level step of the industry.
The primary focus of the BGA (thus far) is to educate the public about what it is that a Barista does and how much it can effect the quality of what's in the cup. Membership benefits include exclusive members-only access to an online community of like-minded baristas, discounts on retail purchases made at the SCAA online store and full access to the SCAA's online library. Access to the latter two benefits would usually cost you the price of SCAA membership - $175/year and up. To BGA members, these things are accessible for a mere $45 per year. In the works are discounts at SCAA member cafes (BGA members are entitled to a free daily double espresso at The Black Drop, for example - at that rate, your membership would pay for itself inside of a month!) and a Barista Jam for the Pacific Northwest Region. A jam is an educational mini-competition gearted towards hanging out with other coffee fanatics and talking smack about your 'spro. BGA members can expect discounted admission to events such as this and other SCAA-related trade shows.
And, ya get a fancy certificate to hang up in your cafe.
The most immediate benefit to YOU is that exposure to this community of like-minded baristas will improve your skills (which will reflect in your tip jar), make you more valuable to your cafe, and your membership distinguishes your resume from those dozens of others gathering dust in the back office of the place that you want to work.
Why do I care? I'm your new BGA Rep for Washington, Oregon, and Alaska.
If you're interested, you can become a member online, pick up an application at The Black Drop, or come chat with me (or cheapdialogue [Alexarc] or duffy61 [Jonathan], who are also members) anytime.
My apologies for cross-posting.
Viva la barista!