Finally, after the last two years, it looks like things are slowly getting back towards something more normal. In many countries, pandemic restrictions have been relaxed or lifted entirely, and we're able to have lots more BLUF events once more.
Keep an eye on the calendar for details of what's happening - and remember, if you want a BLUF event near you, it's volunteers who make it happen. Get in touch if you think you'd like to see something in your area.
Sometime in the next couple of months, we'll be upgrading to a new BLUF server; the current one is now several years old, and running low on resources. We'll give more details when a final switchover date is set, but hopefully it will all be fairly painless, though there will of necessity be at least a few hours when the site and apps are unavailable. The weekly newsletter will have more details, as we finalise the plans.
Also coming this spring will be some more updates to our BLUF Navigator app, to make it easier to see which messages are new, and which have been read. You'll receive these automatically via your app store.
BLUF will once again have a stand at Darklands in Antwerp, where we'll be selling some merchandise items, like tie clips and badges. Come along and grab some goodies, or just say hello to the volunteers. There's also a BLUF dinner, and BLUF drinks over the weekend, which is when we're officially kicking off the start of our celebrations of 25 years of BLUF - the actual birthday is in November this year.
We expect other cities with local BLUF groups will be planning some celebrations of their own between May and November, so again, keep an eye on the calendar or the weekly BLUF email.
Last summer, we started a fundraising page for Rainbow Railroad, who work to get LGBT people to safety from countries where they face persecution. They have been working in Afghanistan and more recently trying to see who may need help in Ukraine, in addition to their ongoing work around the world.
On April 3rd, Thorsten (BLUF 950) will be running in the half-marathon in Graz, to raise money for our fundraiser. He's personally hoping to raise €5 per km, and we'd love other members to join in, with as much as they are able to give.
Many of your have bought the BLUF 2022 calendar; it's still available from our online stores, and you can also now buy posters or prints of some of the images, if you're looking for something to hang on your walls.
You'll find plenty of other merchandise, and we'll have some new products soon to celebrate our anniversary, so you can support the club and get something nice in return. Members in the EU should shop at eustore.bluf.com and those in the rest of the world at store.bluf.com.
Best wishes for the rest of 2022, and I hope to see many of you in Antwerp this May.