The ASCA Conference was excellent! This was my 7th conference in a row and it did not disappoint! They had one of the highest attendance records in years...2,000 school counselors! One good thing about attending every year is you get to make contacts with school counselors from all over the world. It is so nice to see familiar faces year after year. This year also had some of the best workshops as well. Here are some highlights:
Roll Call - At the opening ceremony the ASCA Board does a roll call of all the states. This has really turned into a competition. States sit together and cheer and scream when their state is called. There are banners, posters, whistles, pom-poms, fans, and so much more! This year the Chair of the Board, Dr. Sylinda Banks, is a Virginian...so you know we represented...white visors with VSCA on them and white heart-shaped fans that boasted "Sylinda - Virginia's Finest" on them. VA also had 150 counselors attend!
Speakers - Chef Jeff and Rachel Simmons were AWESOME!!!! Chef Jeff shared his story about being a former crack dealer to being one of the most respected chefs in the world. Rachel Simmons' presented about relational aggression and how we can aid in female development. What stood out for me is that what girls learn they carry into adulthood effecting adult female relationships as well.
FOOD - The hotel was right across from the Reading Market (think Reading Railroad in Monopoly). Every kind of food, you can think of was in that market, fresh fruit, fresh seafood and meat, soul food, Kosher food, Thai, Chinese, Amish...steak and cheese, pastry shops. AMAZING!
Sightseeing - One thing I love about any ASCA Conference is that there is always time to do some sightseeing. I love history and tours, so I go on one every time I travel. Philadelphia was no exception. I saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, South St., the "LOVE" sign and lots of other sights.
Exhibit Hall - Get a free t-shirt! Visit Pat Martin at the NOSCA booth! Go to the ASCA Bookstore! Tons of freebies from colleges, career and trade, military, technology businesses, book vendors, etc. Grab a free lunch from ASCA, too! Guaranteed you will visit the exhibit hall at least 3 times while you are there.
Workshops - Every year the workshops just keep getting better and this year was no exception. It was so hard to choose. They key is to pick workshops that can enhance what you already do or give you ideas for something you plan on implementing. Thank goodness you can download the handouts from the ASCA Conference app.
RAMP Awards - This was my second RAMP Awards dinner. It is so nice to see school counselors from across the nation receive recognition for their school counseling programs. This past year I volunteered as a Ramp Reviewer, so it was especially rewarding for me.
If you have never been to an ASCA conference, then you need to go at least once in your career. Bring your family! Make a vacation out of it. Bring your friends! Make it a Girl's Getaway or a Dude's Weekend. It's totally worth it! You can even write it off on your taxes!
I can't wait until 2014! The ASCA conference is in Florida. Disney World, outlet malls and All-you-can-eat lobster, here I come!!!!