Mark Your Calendar Sunny Skies Will Shine on SNIC 2015 During the heart of winter, when gray skies and chilly temperatures across most of the United States have many of you feeling blue, what better place to visit than Phoenix, Ariz.? Locally known as “the Valley of the Sun,” Phoenix will play host to the 2015 School Nutrition Industry Conference (SNIC), the preeminent event for inspiration and collaboration between school nutrition professionals and industry partners. SNIC will take place January 11-13, 2015, at the Arizona Grand hotel, a beautiful destination for the three days of engaging, informative professional development. Although still early in the planning stages, SNIC 2015 is expected to follow the same blueprint as the successful 2014 conference in Miami, Fla., and feature well-regarded marketing expert Ira Blumenthal returning as the program facilitator and bringing his branding and marketing expertise to SNA members. Don’t miss this opportunity to connect with industry partners and top district directors for networking designed to take your school nutrition operation to the next level. At press time, registration for SNIC was just around the corner; visit www.schoolnutrition.org for more information as it becomes available. Policy Update Standing Our Ground A few months ago, in the June/July 2014 issue of School Nutrition, we summarized SNA’s decision to seek meal pattern flexibility through legislative action, by requesting specific proposals be included in Fiscal Year 2015 Appropriations bills being considered in both the House and the Senate (see “Dispatches From the Eye of the Storm”). SNA requested language to provide an element of relief to SNA members that continue to struggle in the wake of new nutrition standards established for school meals—and, starting in July, all foods available during the school day. Specifically, SNA has called on Congress to: • Retain the current requirement that 50% of grains offered for reimbursable school lunches and breakfasts be whole grain-rich, rather than further increasing the requirement to 100%. • Retain the July 1, 2014, Target 1 sodium levels and suspend implementation of further sodium levels unless and until scientific research supports such reductions for children. • Eliminate the requirement that students must take a fruit or vegetable as part of a reimbursable breakfast and/or lunch. • Require USDA to allow any food item permitted to be served as part of a reimbursable meal to be sold at any time as a “competitive food,” in the acknowledgement that a food that is nutritious enough to meet strict school meal standards is nutritious enough to be sold as a competitive food. Where do the Association’s legislative priorities stand today? While these remain unchanged, progress is at the mercy of the congressional schedule. At press time, neither the House nor the Senate had voted on a final Appropriations bill, and signs indicate that there will be no movement on these until after the November elections. Congress is expected to be in session for only a few weeks after Labor Day and before it recesses to allow its members to return to home districts for earnest campaigning. Depending on the outcome of the election, the matter may or may not be taken up by the lame duck Congress toward the end of the year. Meanwhile, SNA’s legislative team heads into the fall with a busy agenda. We continue to request a meeting with Secretary Tom Vilsack specifically to discuss concerns about meal pattern implementation. In the meantime, SNA leaders have joined with several allied organizations in coalition discussions about priorities for the upcoming Child Nutrition Reauthorization, currently scheduled for 2015. The policy team will adjust the steps outlined in SNA’s three-year legislative plan to stay up to date with progress on the Appropriations bills. SNA also expects to be a potential participant in a number of education-related congressional hearings scheduled for the autumn. The 2015 Legislative Position Paper is scheduled to be drafted in early December. Finally, individual members will be asked to continue to reach out on your own to help educate your representatives— especially those who are elected in November. Indeed, don’t forget that doing your part is critical to our efforts! Please be honest in sharing the tough challenges, as well as the impressive achievements when speaking with legislators—or the media. Start by inviting your lawmakers in Congress to join you in your cafeteria this fall for a school meal. You could be eligible for a fantastic prize—find the details at www.tinyurl.com/sitevisitsweepstakesrules for the Site Visit Contest. Remember, your individual action does make a difference! SNA Awards Make Your Mark The deadline for SNA award nominations might not be for months to come, but it’s never too early to start thinking about which member on your team should be recognized for their contributions to the profession. SNA recently debuted a simplified awards program with easier-to-understand award names, but the distinct honor of being recognized with one of these awards remains the same. Members are recognized at the state, regional and national level in three member categories: • Employee of the Year; • Manager of the Year, in honor of Louise Sublette; and • Director of the Year. Do you know an outstanding national member who has earned either an SNA certificate or the SNS credential? Does she or he set a new standard for spirit, accomplishment and creativity? Why not put their name(s) forward for one of these three categories this year? You must submit nominations to the state president by March 1, 2015. Additionally, SNA continues to honor excellence at the state affiliate level through: • the President’s Award of Achievement, in honor of Thelma Flanagan; • the President’s Award of Excellence; and • additional membership awards and professional development awards. To learn more, visit the membership page on the SNA website at www.schoolnutrition.org. Member Recruitment Star Club Members Shine Most School Nutrition readers are national SNA members, so it’s likely you already know all about the perks of joining the Association. Don’t you want your employees and colleagues to benefit from the same professional development opportunities, making your program—and your Association—stronger as a result? When you recruit others, you can become a member of the Star Club, SNA’s program to recognize and thank those who help to grow SNA to new heights. The Star Club program was revamped in June 2014, and the benefits of this program have only gotten better. Each time a new member writes your name in the referral section of their membership application form, you receive one credit. If and when that individual renews each year, you’ll earn an additional credit. These credits never expire, and when you reach just three credits, you become part of the Star Club. As you build up the number of credits you have by recruiting and retaining national members, you reach new levels of Star Club membership— all the way up to Diamond Star members with 250 credits. In addition to recognition opportunities throughout the year, Star Club members are invited to a special showcase every summer at the Annual National Conference (ANC). As you move up in levels, you’ll receive a gift of appreciation from the Association. For questions or more information about the SNA Star Club, please contact SNA at (800) 877-8822 or email@example.com. SNA Meetings & Events OCTOBER 13–17, 2014 National School Lunch Week JANUARY 11–13, 2015 School Nutrition Industry Conference Phoenix, Ariz. MARCH 1–4, 2015 Legislative Action Conference Washington, D.C. MARCH 2–6, 2015 National School Breakfast Week MAY 1, 2015 School Lunch Hero Day MAY 4–8, 2015 School Nutrition Employee Week JULY 12–15, 2015 Annual National Conference Salt Lake City
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