I had the great privilege to attend the meeting entitled "40 Years of Variable Stars: A Celebration of Contributions by Horace A. Smith" on the campus of Michigan State University last week. The AAVSO was well-represented. Marv Baldwin, Gerry Samolyk, Neil Simmons, Arne Henden, Mike Simonsen and I were there. It was a great meeting! And even more rewarding was the fact that AAVSO data and graphs were a part of almost every talk - even among non-members! This meeting was focussed on RR Lyrae, although other objects were discussed. There were especially timely updates from Marcio Catelan of VVV (http://mwm.astro.puc.cl/mw/index.php/Main_Page ) and Katrien Kolenberg (CfA) who reported on the latest updates from the Kepler mission regarding RR1 (aka RRc) stars - and also showed off her totally adorable young boy!
The importance and future impact of APASS was also evident during this meeting. Issues like the intrinsic colors of RR1 (aka RRc) stars were reported. The existing data releases of APASS already have levelled this playing field.
Although this meeting was a wonderful chance to re-connect with many of my AAVSO friends and/or past collaborators and kindred spirits, it was also a reminder of how the AAVSO has adapted to continue to be relevant and to impact this field in a very positive way!