You won’t see the several years when the IBA produced a convention with fabulous education presented by a world-class faculty, a trade show, competitions (with some truly grand prizes), sponsors and guest speakers.
There was the struggle that was spearheaded by the IBA to try and get the state of California to drop a referendum banning foil balloons completely from the state. Their actions, along with the efforts of several distributors and manufacturers, helped defeat that Bill. But no, you won’t be able to see that either.
Then of course, there is the helium issue. The IBA was trying valiantly to bring us together and work with the helium industry and the United States government to solve the problem that we all face with the pricing of helium and the supply of it. Now, they did not go about this problem alone, but they were a major outlet trying to speak for this industry as one voice to help solve the problem. Did anybody else out there actually fight for us concerning this major, major problem? You really can’t name any outside people or organizations that tried to help the balloon industry in a struggle that continues today. But remember this – the IBA tried.
And there was a lot more to the IBA then I have just mentioned. But, you won’t ever be able to see any of that ever again.
To be fair, there is another group that will NOT be merging with the IBA, but will be “adopting some of the IBA’s principles” as they create a “vertical integration” of some of IBA’s “services.” This is a group called The Balloon Council (TBC). They claim to be, “committed to keeping you informed on important issues that impact the balloon business.” Their Web site is www.theballooncouncil.org or, if you are a little more curious, you can call and speak with them at 800-233-8887.
Though it is sort of killing me to hold my tongue, I will give the TBC the benefit of some time to see what that corporate-speak “vertical integration” truly means to the average balloon professional. As of this writing nothing has changed on their Web site in terms of showing any sort of “integration” of anything relating to the IBA. As a matter of fact, it has been about a month since the IBA Web site was taken down and there has been NOTHING changed on the Balloon Council’s Web site. As best as I can see, the last update on their site was posted almost a year ago.
You really have to ask yourself – is this how the balloon industry needs to be represented?
There are over 90,000 trade associations in America today. Doesn’t the balloon industry deserve that same kind of group representation as well? If you answered “YES, we do,” you’re too late. We had one and we ALL let it slip away with barely anyone noticing. Shame on us all!