So Long NACA Conference Season 2013 – 2014

Early Sunday morning I boarded a United Airlines flight and headed home from the Minneapolis airport following the NACA Northern Plains Conference. As I balled my jacket up and shoved it next to my head with the futile intention of trying to sleep I realized that another NACA Conference season had come to a close. As happens every year this created mixed emotions in my tired brain.

Ken Abrahams from FUN Enterprises at NACA Conference 2014

I started thinking about the things I will miss:

  1. Meeting students – some of whom I have e-mailed back and forth or spoke to.
  2. Connecting with long time friends that I only see a few times a year.
  3. Seeing pictures of people’s trips, pets, kids, significant others, and vacations.
  4. Sharing laughs and stories with my associate colleagues.
  5. Finding new places to eat…and bowl.
  6.  Having Bonnie come into my booth frazzled as she tries to re-claim pieces of her booth that I may or may not have stolen.
  7. The Staff Associate Reception at each conference and the ever-present cheese and veggie tray.
  8. Watching Michael Miller “holding court”.
  9. Great dinners with friends and co-workers.
  10. Giving and attending Educational Sessions.
  11. Watching Block Booking really work.
  12. Seeing the children of other associates and professional staff members grow up right before your eyes.
  13. Helping new associates navigate the waters of NACA.
  14. Watching a student’s eyes light up as they watch one of our artists create their Airbrush Winter Hat or Trucker Hat.
  15. Being in an Ed Session when a student has an AH-HA moment.
  16. Talking to the members of the NACA office who I respect for their professionalism and appreciate for their friendship.
  17. Watching a person who is billed as a mind reader try and go into the storage closet thinking it is the restroom despite a sign 5 feet in front of them at the entrance to the actual restaurant.
  18. Having dinner with a delegation and really getting to know them a little better.
  19. Getting to spend time with Michael Miller where we actually can have a conversation that is long and uninterrupted.
  20. Seeing some new places.
  21. The friendship shown to me by schools and volunteers in ALL of the regions that we attend.
  22. Regional volunteers embracing their themes including dressing up.
  23. My first year as an attendee at West – you guys rock!
  24. Hearing stories about the Beauty Pageant world.
  25. Of course I will miss booking dates!

On the flip side, there are a few things I will not miss:

  1. NACA Chicken Dinners.
  2. Early morning flights.
  3. Cheese and veggie trays.
  4. Inattentive students.
  5. Marketplaces devoid of energy.
  6. People that can’t or choose not to follow the rules.
  7. Agents that jump into the middle of the aisle and get into the faces of students and staff.
  8. Being away from family, friends and my dogs.
  9. Loading in and loading out of the exhibit hall.
  10. Bad or no Wi-Fi in the exhibit hall.
  11. Slow elevators.

As you can see by the difference in the size of the list there is far more that I will miss. Much of what I won’t miss is pretty petty. In a few short months I will be gearing up for the next conference season and I will be excited about that, I hope you are, too.

Ken Abrahams