By Patricia L. Fitzgerald, Editor 2017-08-08 22:39:20
A Profession That Prioritizes Play As a staff member working at SNA’s Annual National Conference (ANC), I find the event is equal parts exhausting and exhilarating. (Maybe not totally equal, but let’s go with that…) I’m pleased to see far-flung friends. I’m impressed by the size of the conference and am tickled to witness the awed reactions of first-timers. Everyone’s passion for this profession is on display. But what I really love about ANC is the annual reminder of just how much fun it is to work in (and on behalf of) school nutrition operations. My favorite booth in the Exhibit Hall this year was Lamb Weston’s, which featured bowls of baking potatoes and dozens of plastic, interchangeable Mr. Potato Head pieces. Attendees were encouraged to create their own characters and then pose with these for a selfie photo. Simple—check. Fun—certainly. Memorable—absolutely! I shouldn’t call out just one vendor, because the majority of exhibitors at ANC invested similar creativity with their booth displays and activities. I’m sure that my fellow staffers—not to mention the 3,000+ operators in attendance—had their own favorites. I merely want to draw attention to the novelty of a profession that prioritizes play right alongside business—because make no mistake: Business was being conducted in that Exhibit Hall. Attendees didn’t suffer blisters and sore feet trekking through the largest K-12 school foodservice tradeshow in the nation only to craft a Mr. Potato Head or pose with a brand mascot. They were on a mission to discover new product solutions and resources; and exhibitors were on a mission to demonstrate how their products met needs. The fact that such business connections are enhanced by opportunities for creative fun is a bonus that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Without children of my own, I find it a spirit-lifting treat to visit schools as part of my job. I’m always amazed at the riot of color and creativity on display. There’s usually a palpable energy that pulses through the halls. And most of you get to go there every day! I’m not naïve. I know that every job has its frustrations and tedium. But as a new school year commences, I encourage you to look with fresh eyes at where you work and whom you serve. Remember and rejoice in the many opportunities you get to play on the job.
Published by School Nutrition Association. View All Articles.
This page can be found at http://mydigimag.rrd.com/article/First+Word/2851371/430251/article.html.