For those considering the International Gay Coaches Conference for the first time, we have compiled answers to some frequently asked questions from prevous attendees.
We hope questions you may have are answered below. However, if there's anything else you'd like to know, please ask here.
What plans do you have in place in relation to COVID-19?
Our plan is to return to Easton Mountain in 2021, following postponement of the 2020 conference due to COVID-19. The 2021 conference is a re-arrangement of the 2020 event.
Easton Mountain re-opened for events during summer 2020 and has welcomed many visitors since then, observing social distancing and other COVID-19 guidelines. The organizing committee are constantly assessing the current COVID situation and will take appropriate measures for the safety of delegates. It is possible that this could include reducing capacity or taking the event online again, as in 2020. A further less likely option would be to delay the conference until later in 2021. If the in person conference is postponed or re-arranged, you will be able to transfer any payments you make towards a future GCA conference at Easton Mountain or other events hosted at Easton Mountain.
Do I need to be a gay man to attend?
Yes. This is part of the rarity of the event. We feel that creating this inch wide platform allows for connections a mile deep in a community historically starved of these opportunities. Also, the event is held each year at a retreat center exclusively for gay men. Please get in touch if you have concerns about whether or not you qualify to attend. Acceptance & inclusivity are important priorities for the conference organizers.
How will this benefit my coaching career?
How won’t it benefit your coaching career?! This is an intimate weekend of connection & learning designed to help add tools to your toolbox while also bringing awareness to the tools you already have. Our job as coaches is to fill the cups of our clients but we can’t do that without a full cup ourselves. This weekend is a rare and beautiful opportunity for fulfillment amongst a community of fellow gay coaches. Plus, you’ll be educated on tips to manage and expand a thriving business.
Can I get ICF continuing educations credits?
Yes. There will be an ICF facilitator on site who can sign off on these for you.
Do I need to be an experienced coach to attend?
Absolutely not. If you’re passionate about helping others & ready to learn about what it is you have to offer, this is the place for you.
What can I expect outside of the sessions?
As will be reflected on your itinerary, the conference provides some unique opportunities to network with other like-minded, gay, & professional men. Most of these “extracurricular” activities take place in the morning or the evening (before or after the bulk of the conference) and are entirely optional.
The programming is designed around freeing one’s self up for connection with others. The activities include but are not limited to games, yoga, group massage, meditation, fun times in Easton Mountain’s expansive 'drag closet' and an evening of live music. Additionally, the conference’s structure allows for “unconference sessions” in which attendees can design and take part in their own programming during time provided; the goal being to give each attendee ownership of their experience & what they’d like to get out of it.
What’s the difference between the pre-conference & the conference?
The pre-conference occurs as an optional one-day extension at the start of the conference and contains programming from some of the most experienced and professionally well regarded coaches within Gay Coaches Alliance. It’s the equivalent of a sports team scheduling a pre-season practice for the big game. In this case, the conference is the big game and the pre-conference is a helpful additive for those looking to get a more out of the experience. That said, you won’t get kicked off the team for not showing up and we’re confident you’ll leave the conference with a full set of skills & strategies no matter.
We highly recommend you take up the opportunity of attending the pre-conference for an extra day of world class coaching education at a great price, which also includes an extra night of accommodation and catering.
What is the accommodation like & what should I pack?
Easton Mountain is an escape from everyday life. All of the rooms are shared (quad or semi-private) and have been refurbished very recently to provide very comfortable and homely accommodation. While they provide some basic essentials, here’s a small packing list that will help support your time there.
- Toiletries: toothpaste, toothbrush, shampoo, conditioner, soap, deoderant, shaving supplies - Essentially everything you’d normall bring. Outside of toilet paper & towels, you should rely on your own supply for personal maintenance. Please be aware that due to 'country plumbing' we ask all guests to be considerate about what you flush down the toilets.
- Housing will be in in Easton Mountain’s guest house offering two room options; 1 containing two beds & the other containing 2 bunk beds. Both styled rooms have en-suite bathrooms with shower access & w-ifi. Ear plugs are available in each room but as these are shared living options it doesn’t hurt to bring your own “good night’s sleep” aids if you’re a light sleeper.
- Good socks! “The Great Room” is the main activity room and has a shoes off policy. The same also goes for "The Temple" where other sessions and activities are held.
- Snacks, if you’d like. Easton Mountain’s meal service is an array of home-cooked deliciousness with plenty of options for all eating preferences. Additionally, there is a small selection of snacking items available at all times but if you’re looking for some extra sustenance, you’re definitely welcome to store some munchies in your room.
- Clothing: whatever you feel comfortable wearing. The conference has a very informal atmosphere so smart clothes are not needed, unless this is how you prefer to dress.
- A bathing suit. There is a “Outdoor Pool” available in warmer months, although due to the time of year the conference is held it can be a little chilly. An indoor hot tub is available and “The Sauna” - an octagonal, wood-burning, freestanding sauna in the woods that is lit each night It can accommodate up to 20 people.
- The conference is jam-packed but there is a very small amount of downtime if you want to pack anything to fill this time with such as a book or hiking shoes. The grounds of the retreat center are gorgeous and a perfect setting for a long walk up the mountain nearby or some light reading in “The Sunroom.”
- A way to take notes, whatever your preference is for that. Be prepared to absorb a lot of helpful & valuable information.
- No need to bring a yoga mat, there are plenty on site!
How do I get there?
There are several options for getting to Easton Mountain!
Easton Mountain is located in the Hudson Valley approximately 30 miles North of Albany, New York and conveniently located within a three-hour drive of Boston, New York City, and Montreal. See below for turn by turn directions.
To set up your GPS, use the following address: 391 Herrington Hill Road, Greenwich, NY 12834
You can fly into the Albany airport, take the Megabus or AMTRAK to Albany (Rensselaer Station), or take the Greyhound/Trailways to Albany.
If you need a ride from Albany, here are some options:
Steve's Classic Taxi - 518 677 2503
We will be working on a ride share scheme whereby delegates travelling to Easton Mountain by car may offer to pick up those arriving by train from Albany Rensselaer Station. This will attempt to connect drivers and riders and this will work on co-operation between both parties, rather than being an official part of the conference. We are unable to accept liability for this.
Is there wi-fi/cell service?
Yes, but spotty. The best service is near the main facilities off the lake and scarcity grows as you distance yourself from that spot.
Is catering included?
Yes! Once you are here you won't need to spend a cent on food or drink, unlike almost all other residential coaching conferences. All food is prepared on site by the catering team, who provide a delicious selection of options for breakfast lunch and dinner. Special dietary requirments will be catered for. Just let us know what you need when you book. Teas, coffees and soft drinks are available for you to help yourself to at all times. There is no bar at Easton Mountain.
Is there a shop on site?
There is a shop on site in the reception area. In addition to some souvenir items & collectibles, you can purchase some last-minute needs if you forget anything. The selection is good, but not entirely dependable for all needs.
Who organizes the Gay Coaches Conference?
The Gay Coaches Alliance, a professional association of gay male coaches working together to empower our vibrant practices & inspire each other to do creative impactful work. For more on this organization, click here.
Do I need to be a member of Gay Coaches Alliance to attend?
No - however membership is beneficial to network with other members before the conference and throughout the year. Some booking categories are only available to members. To learn more aout GCA membership options, click here.
How do I get involved or present at the conference?
If you’d like to take on a larger role at the conference such as as a presenter, you should reach out to our Head of Programming, Pete Simmonds. We are sure you have a great deal of talent to offer & share & if you think your work & contributions support our theme (listed below) we highly encourage you to submit your ideas.
The theme for this year’s conference is Building Bridges:
- Making connections between gay coaches
- Overcoming personal and professional roadblocks
- Moving your business forward
In addition, we look for volunteers to help us run the event smoothly. It is not a formal event with a paid staff team. Despite this, the event runs smoothly with a high degree of professionalism. All organizers offer their time on a voluntary basis and we ask for attendees to help out with things like setting up chairs and tables for sessions and other simple activities. This helps build the relaxed, informal atmosphere with shared purpose and team spirit.
How much does the conference cost & do I qualify for a scholarship?
If you have any other questions, please submit them using the form here & we will get back to you shortly. Hope to see you at the conference!