Posted: May 22, 2008, 4 p.m. EDT
“Can we do this again next year?”
That comment arose again and again during the International Ferret Congress’ latest ferret forum in Kissimmee, Fla., in early May. With more than 40 people attending, most of whom hadn’t attended a previous IFC event, the forum met its goals to educate and foster goodwill between different facets of the ferret community, said Julie Fossa, a co-director and fundraising coordinator for the IFC.
“We got lots of comments,” said Fran Prager, a co-director and event coordinator for the IFC. “Everyone loved the forum! The speakers were excellent.”
A highlight for attendees included the chance to meet three of Florida’s ferret-knowledgeable vets, several shelter operators and other ferret enthusiasts, Fossa said. “There was a lot of networking between shelters and owners happening,” she said. “The Ferret Bingo was a huge hit for those that were able to stay Saturday night. There were a lot of notes being taken and a lot of laughter!”
For those of you wondering, Ferret Bingo is played with cards that contain 30 different ferret-related terms like weasel, stinky and poopie. Kibble is used as the markers.
The IFC organizes both ferret forums and ferret symposiums. The ferret forums are typically smaller, shorter, less formal and mostly draw attendees from the local area, according to Linda Iroff, IFC co-director and treasurer. With eight IFC events completed that have crisscrossed North America and hosted nearly 900 attendees, the ferret word is spreading. A ninth event is on the way this November, a symposium in Pittsburgh, Pa., taking place on the 7th through the 9th.
The Florida Forum featured five speakers, the most of any past forum. “Three of Florida's veterinarians covered health and safety-related topics, along with two additional speakers offering lighter topics,” Fossa said.
Why hold a ferret forum in Florida? “[Because of the] presence of a large ferret community that hadn’t been served before,” Iroff said. Prager added that it helped that both she and Fossa live in Florida.
The monetary tally for the event wasn’t finalized at press time, but Fossa is optimistic about the results. “We are pretty confident the event supported itself;” she said. “The question is, how much extra came in to use for the benefit of ferrets.”
Prager urges anyone considering attending an IFC event not to hesitate doing so. “They will have an excellent time.”