By Heidi Funkhouser 2015-06-09 10:15:39
CONGRATULATIONS, you’re registered for SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC) in Salt Lake City. The hotel is booked, and your travel plans are set. Now, let the fun begin! Those of you who are firsttimers will soon understand why ANC is referred to as the “School Nutrition Event of the Year” when you join thousands of your peers for your profession’s 69th annual gathering, July 12-15, 2015. ANC first-timers and long-timers alike are sure to benefit from top insider tips that can help you make the most of your conference experience. Featuring both pragmatic advice and special 2015 highlights, you’ll be on your way to EXPLORE fresh ideas, DISCOVER new products (and new friends) and make the most of this landmark event so you return home ready to INSPIRE the rest of your team, your students and your community. Destination SLC: Packing Musts Comfortable Shoes. You may be used to long days on your feet in school kitchens, but ANC is a different experience. You’ll be doing a lot of walking in the Salt Palace Convention Center. It can be fair distances from one area of activity to another, and that’s not even counting the miles of aisles in the Exhibit Hall! Plus, you’ll want to check out some of the city in the evening. The silver lining is that ANC is a great opportunity to meet your daily 10,000-step target! Bonus Tip: Pack foam or gel insoles, Band- Aids, antibiotic ointment and any other products likely to help soothe tired tootsies at the end of the day. Layers. One person’s comfortable temperature may leave another shivering and a third person fanning furiously. Be prepared for parts of the Convention Center to feel too warm or too cold, and compensate by bringing a light sweater or longsleeve shirt that can easily be added or removed. Outside, temperatures are likely to be in the 90s during the day, falling into the 60s in the evening and with very low humidity. Bonus Tip: It will feel very dry, especially for those coming from Eastern states. Bring an empty water bottle that you can keep filling throughout each day. An Extra Bag. Leave room in your suitcase for a lightweight, foldable duffle-type bag. Unless you have formidable selfrestraint, you are going to leave Salt Lake City with more than you came with—a lot more. It’s likely that you will pick up something at every Exhibit Hall booth you visit, whether it’s product literature, food-safe packaged samples, branded giveaway trinkets or all of the above! ANC attendees are well-reputed for wanting to bring home extras of all freebies to share with team members unable to make the trip. Plus, you may go shopping at SNA’s Emporium Shopping Bus (with great close-out discounts!), as well as for various souvenirs from Salt Lake City. Remember, however, that you will need to budget for the fee of bringing an extra bag home on the plane. Bonus Tip: Although attendees will receive a tote bag at registration and many exhibitors may give away bags, as well, it’s a good idea to pack an extra foldable grocery-style bag for your first day in the Exhibit Hall. Make sure it’s comfortable to wear on your shoulder when heavy. Rolling bags of any kind are prohibited in the Exhibit Hall. A Good Attitude. Traveling is what you make of it. Flights and shuttle buses may be delayed. Weather is unpredictable. Crowds are likely and lines will be long. Mistakes happen. You can choose to let these travel realities ruin your experience or you can roll with them when they occur and make the most of all the things going right to ensure you return home with only the best memories. Bonus Tip: Smiles are contagious. ANC on the GO! ANC attendees receive a comprehensive Program Guide upon registration that features everything you need to know about the event—and is a great reference when you return home. But SNA knows that we’re growing more tech-savvy as a society, and that many of you prefer to use your smartphone (or tablet) to stay organized throughout the event. For you, there’s the ANC on the GO mobile app. Use the app to track the overall schedule, highlight specific exhibitors you want to visit and plan your educational agenda. An SNA webinar designed to introduce ANC attendees to the app took place in early June. However, don’t worry if you were unable to participate. You can access the webinar anytime through the online archives at www.schoolnutrition.org/webinar/archives. Stay tuned to www.schoolnutrition.org/ anc for other details about the app, including instructions to load it on your mobile device. Nothing General ’bout These Standout Sessions ANC General Sessions are an annual highlight, featuring presentations by top-rated celebrities and inspirational keynote speakers. This year’s line-up features NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of Fame recipient Howie Long, inspirational best-selling author Laura Schroff and motivational speaker Les Brown. If this is your first national conference, you will be amazed at the size of the room, where thousands of you will gather together for these powerful presentations by compelling thought leaders. General Sessions also are opportunities to meet your national leaders, learn more about key initiatives and projects and get updates about SNA’s advocacy and media relations efforts. Professionally Speaking Did you know you can meet continuing education requirements toward the new USDA Professional Standards regulations for SY 2015-16 at ANC? Conference attendees will be given an SNA Training Tracking Grid so you can easily keep track of the USDA Professional Standards topics. For your convenience, each education session has been coded to correspond with USDA’s Learning Topics. With more than 100 sessions to choose among (including pre-conference sessions on Saturday, July 11), you’ll find the learning solutions that meet your individual needs. Don’t wait until you arrive to plan your education agenda, though. After all, you can only attend one in each session time. Visit www.schoolnutrition.org/ANC2015/ EducationSessions to read the descriptions so that you can identify your top priorities in each time slot. Knowing your second (or even third) choice is helpful, too, in case rooms are full when you arrive Don’t Miss the “Bus”! Did you know that you can shop for many of the items from SNA’s online Emporium in person while you’re at ANC? The Emporium is set up in a big, bright yellow “school bus” and features many great school nutrition promotional products like T-shirts, aprons, bags, pins, hats and much more. Plus, look for new themed items to help you commemorate National School Lunch Week and National School Breakfast Week in SY 2015-16, as well as School Lunch Hero Day. To help your professional development, you also can purchase the recently released SNS Preparation Resources Bundle, which includes the School Nutrition Specialist Credentialing Exam Study Guide–2015 edition and School Food and Nutrition Service Management for the 21st Century–6th edition. Plus, look for the 2015 edition of SNA’s The Little Big Fact Book: The Essential Guide to School Nutrition; this comprehensive resource of facts and figures is a must for new directors/supervisors, industry representatives and key stakeholders in your school community. Make time to visit the Emporium “shopping bus” to pick up some special items for yourself —as well as goodies for coworkers who stayed home this year. A Grand Hall The ANC Exhibit Hall is truly a sight to behold! In fact, attendees line up each year just to be among the first to walk through the Exhibit Hall doors when they open Monday (July 13) morning. With 800+ booths representing some 300 companies, it’s no wonder that attendees want to get a head start. (And this is where those comfortable shoes really come in to play!) But please don’t feel like you have to rush. The Exhibit Hall is open for three days (Monday, July 13-Wednesday, July 15), so you’ll have plenty of time to take it all in. Pace yourself! It can help to do a little pre-ANC planning. Check out the cool interactive Exhibit Hall floor plan online (www.schoolnutrition.org/ANC2015/ExhibitHall) and target the companies you want to visit on your first pass. An at-press-time list of all participating vendors can be found beginning on page 96, and the onsite Program Guide features brief descriptions of expected booth offerings. You’ll want to visit vendors with the products you know you need, but leave plenty of time to wander among the booths and be surprised by what you discover. Test-drive equipment and technology, sample food offerings and discuss all the particulars of items with industry representatives. As you make your way through the Exhibit Hall, you’ll likely be collecting multiple product information fl yers and samples. In fact, you’ll be amazed at just how much you’ll accumulate over three days. Remember that extra bag to pack? If even that’s likely to be heavy, consider shipping items home; the Salt Palace Convention Center offers shipping services. Remember, no rolling carts or bags are allowed on the Exhibit Hall floor—this for everyone’s safety in the crowded aisles. Make sure your Exhibit Hall agenda includes time at the Culinary Demonstrations, a visit to the Wellness Village and Partner Pavilion and other special destinations (see page 97). New this year is the Big Reveal! stage. InTeam Associates and AdvancePierre Foods will take center stage to present 30-minute product launches. Seating is limited, so arrive early so you can share your feedback. Networking Bonanza There’s no other way to describe it: ANC is truly a networking bonanza! The program schedule is very specifically designed to help you—along with thousands of your peers—make the most of opportunities to connect. From specially designated roundtable and member section education sessions to relaxing in the Connect Lounges (while you recharge your mobile device) to shuttle bus rides and the early morning Wellness event on Tuesday and much more, ANC is all about taking advantage of opportunities to network with others, making new friends, sharing challenges and exchanging successful solutions. Make sure you make the most of these chances to connect. Ride Off Into the Sunset Your trip to Salt Lake City won’t be complete if you leave early and miss this year’s Final Event concert! It’s a perfect way to conclude a successful conference, winding down from all the “business” of the last days and enjoying yourself (singing and dancing is encouraged!) in the company of friends and colleagues. Discover your inner cowgirl or cowboy on Wednesday evening with country music chart-toppers Big & Rich! You may want to avoid open-toed shoes for this foot-stomping good time, but feel free to don your favorite Western wear items—cowboy hats, boots, big belt buckles and so on. Get into the spirit for this sensational closing event that you’ll remember for years to come. Heidi Funkhouser is associate editor for School Nutrition and communications specialist for SNA. Photography by EZ Event Photography and jiunlimited.com.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
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