Greetings and Happy Spring!
I hope this finds everyone doing well. I know weather conditions vary all across the country, but we are certainly feeling spring weather down in central Florida. I think my students went from hoodies to shorts in a matter of days this year.
Each year at our winter meeting, our board takes a look at all comments and activity ratings from the NAAE Convention and uses those to make improvements in next year's convention. For instance, you may have noticed that the 2012 convention had fewer workshops within each time period, as requested by many. This year, we noticed that transportation between the NAAE site and the ACTE sessions and Career Tech Expo was a concern. Please know that for the next three conventions, transportation will not be an issue, and we will continue to keep ease of movement in mind as we plan further into the future. Thank you to the members who took time to complete the evaluation and provide the board with valuable feedback.
Another important item of business the board addressed was the approval to use money from NAAE reserves to create a new website. This will be a lengthy process, but our board felt that we can provide better communication and member opportunities if we have a more interactive website. More information will be forthcoming, but the website will integrate online payment acceptance, membership management, roster submission and more. The opening of new website is still up to a year away, but we feel the numerous upgrades will benefit our membership.
You may also find some changes taking place at your regional conference. We are looking into better ways of scoring award applications as well as presenting an advocacy workshop at each conference. Speaking of regional conferences, I am looking forward to the opportunity to spend time in Regions I, III and IV. I'm excited to meet members and continue to see how each region has its own culture and way of conducting conference. Our president-elect, Kevin Stacy, will have the opportunity to participate in Regions II, V and VI conferences this year.
In March we had 55 registered participants take place in ACTE's National Policy Seminar and the Ag Ed strand organized by NAAE. Although many of our group stayed in DC longer than originally planned because of weather, I think this event was a great success. I want to thank Savannah Robin, NAAE's meeting planner and advocacy coordinator, for conducting mock meetings that really helped members plan for their visits on the hill. Although financial discussions are often dismal, it is important that we continue to take time to build relationships and advocate for Career and Technical Education and Agricultural Education.
I recently read a quote; "We cannot become what we need to be by remaining what we are." I think this fits our profession and membership. With the ever changing requirements and needs of education, we cannot stay still. We must be willing to make changes and move forward. If you have never made contact and established a relationship with your congressmen and senators on the federal and state levels, I challenge you to introduce yourself and share a story about your agricultural education program. Invite your legislators to a banquet, community event or open house for your program. It is said all the time that "this is not your grandfather's agriculture"..so prove it! No one can better advocate for YOUR program than YOU! Need help getting started? Check out the advocacy tools located on the NAAE website.
Remember- love the life you live! You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.