In my recent post, 10 Ways to Rest, Relax, and Rejuvenate, I suggested combining work and play if you are attending a conference. I took my own advice a couple weeks ago when I attended the American School Counselor Association (ASCA) National Conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota. It was my second time attending ASCA, so I knew I was in for a whirlwind of professional development, networking, and enjoying the company of AMAZING school counselors from all over the country and the world.
The opening session Saturday night featured keynote speaker Dan Savage, founder of the It Gets Better Project. He spoke about the suicide epidemic among gay teens and how his organization aims to help bullied GLBT teens understand that the hurt and confusion they are enduring now will not last. The project enables gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender adults to share their stories with teens about the love and success they are experiencing in their lives as GLBT adults. Savage was an amazing speaker and needless to say the stories he recounted brought me to tears. I highly encourage you to check out his organization.
Later Saturday night ASCA hosted a dance social. During the social, I cohosted the first of two School Counselor Tweet-Ups with Dr. Erin Mason, author of School Counselors Online Professional Exchange (SCOPE.) These Tweet-Ups served as a way for school counselors who participate in monthly school counselor chats on Twitter (at hashtag #scchat), to meet in person. We have been talking for months on Twitter, so it was cool to meet them!
The conference itself was great. I attended lots of informative sessions on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and learned a lot and gained so many great ideas I want to apply to my future work as a school counselor.
On Monday I copresented a session, “Web 2.0 Technology Smackdown,” with a panel of tech savvy school counselors: Julia V. Taylor, Dr. Erin Mason, Andrea Burston, and Dr. Russ Sabella. We shared tons of FREE technology tools that school counselors can utilize to enhance their school counseling programs and support student success, and we even had members of the audience come up to share their favorite tech tools. You can learn about these resources in our handout, available on ASCA’s website.
Each day after the conference there was time to socialize. I enjoyed people-watching and great food and drink with school counselors from North Carolina and Illinois. I had excellent food and conversation with school counselors from Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, and Hawaii at Zelo’s restaurant, and I went to a dueling piano show packed with school counselors from all over the country (too many states to list!).
The time I was able to spend with school counselors from all over the world was absolutely priceless, and I am already excited for next year’s conference in my home state, Pennsylvania.
If you are a school counselor or educator who wishes they could have attended the conference, you can download all of the handouts and materials from the 2012 American School Counselor Association National Conference, including our “Web 2.0 Technology Smackdown” handout, on ASCA’s website.
Did you attend ASCA? I’d love it if you would share some of your highlights in the comments.
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