Can it really be February already? It doesn’t seem possible that for many communities, half the school year is already in the history books. And it certainly doesn’t feel like I am halfway through my term as your SNA President. So far, it has been an exciting whirlwind! While the politics Of school nutrition have been at the center of much of SNA’s activities this year, I am so glad that we have a place at the table for really important discussions about school nutrition and the role our programs play in America’s future. Being a part of the process for creating change is probably my favorite aspect of the work I am doing. It’s been a genuine thrill to work closely with uential staff at the White House, at the U.S. Department Agriculture and at many allied organizations. In the span of just six months, I’ve made memories and enjoyed experiences that will last my lifetime, from meeting President Bill Clinton at a taping of the “Rachael Ray Show” to discussing the future of school nutrition with White House Chef Sam Kass, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan and former Secretary Dan Glickman. (Plus I was able to take my mother and daughter on a White House tour during the holidays—and even had a First Dog Bo “sighting” outside the Oval Office!)Serving as president of our Association is such a wonderful opportunity to learn and understand what goes on behind the scenes at SNA. The work of staff and volunteer leaders—and many, many individual members—on behalf of our Association is awesome and inspiring. And the networks that you can build in service to our organization are fantastic—I’ve received e-mails from members that I haven’t even met in person who share their thoughts and offer encouragement. It’s a busy job, and it can be a challenge to manage the travel and conference calls and e-mails. My staff sometimes is surprised to see me walk through the office door! (Thank you so much for holding down the fort!) And I can only imagine what’s to come in the next six months. One thing I’m really looking forward to is our Legislative Action Conference (LAC), coming up in March. This has always been my favorite national meeting, even though I don’t particularly like or follow politics. And yet, advocating for our programs is what we’re all about—and the privilege to be a part of creating legislation that affects our programs is an amazing experience. This will be SNA’s 40th LAC—and the attendance has doubled since I first attended in1996. I hope that you are registered for this extremely informative and energizing meeting. Come join me in celebrating 40 years of fighting for children and feeding them good, nutritious meals!
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