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BY ROBIN GINER
We’ve flipped our calendars to 2011. That means this year’s annual conference is just six short months away.
OWAA Conference Planner Jessica Pollett and I spent several days touring the Northeast and New England in search of the location for our 2013 conference. We spent a couple days each in Bethel, Maine; Lake Placid, N.Y.; and Niagara Falls, N.Y. There’s a long process involved choosing the destination for our yearly gatherings. Of course there’s the meeting facility: Does it have enough room to comfortably house the sessions and meals associated with our event? And the hotels: Are the reasonably priced? How about airfare and transportation: Is it convenient and economical? We also look at local convention and visitors bureaus, assessing their dedication and enthusiasm toward hosting and helping to sponsor OWAA’s members and supporters. We want to know we’ll be welcomed with open arms. And without doubt, we want to make sure there are a variety of interesting opportunities for pre- and post-conference trips. We know you’re taking precious time away from your families and jobs and we want to make sure you’re getting the most bang for your buck when attending the conference.
We looked at all these factors, and more, during the weeks following our return from the Northeast. Later this month you can expect an announcement about the destination for the 2013 event. All three potential locations have much to offer, with opportunities unique to each place. No matter which location we choose, we’ll be sure to have a fun and successful gathering. One you’ll surely want to be part of.
Speaking of unique opportunities and fun and successful gatherings – We’re ramping up planning efforts for our 2011 annual conference at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. The dates are July 9-11, 2011 – be sure to mark your calendar. You’ll find the registration form for individual members and guests on pages 9-10 of this issue. Registration officially opens Jan. 24, but we won’t turn you away if you sign up today. Registration packets will be sent via postal mail this month. Local Conference Chair Brett Prettyman is hard at work with his local committee and partners at Utah Office of Tourism and Utah State Parks, setting up diverse experiences in the Utah backcountry. There are outdoors opportunities to do everything from canyoneering and mountain biking, to fishing the Green River, to exploring the archaeological sites around the state. Utah offers an amazing number of exciting opportunities – all waiting, tailor-made, for your arrival.
Mark Taylor, the 2011 Conference Program Chair, has instituted some changes to the sessions this year, offering more hands-on workshops to get you, our members, working hard to improve your skills. Be sure to bring your cameras, laptops and your desire to learn. We guarantee you’ll leave Utah with enhanced skills and story ideas to help you make more money.
We also made other changes to this year’s conference. Changes we hope you’ll like. The conference has been shortened by one day. You can use that extra day to explore more of the state before you settle in for three full days of intensive, action-packed learning and experiences. We’ve renamed Breakout Day to a new and more interactive Demo Day. Get ready to try that gear out with representatives from our Supporting Groups, Agencies and Businesses. We’re going to try something new with our meet-the-editors session, combining it with an ask-the-editors panel that concludes with time to break out for face-to-face handshaking time with the men and women who buy your work.
Be assured that some of your old favorites are still on the agenda, like the Photo Scavenger Hunt and Shooting Day. Keep your eyes peeled for your registration packet later this month, and check out what we have in store for you this coming July.
We’re sure we’ve found ways for you to elevate your adventure and elevate your career in Utah!♦
— Robin Giner, OWAA Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org.