Four years ago in the month of February, I had the honor of presenting an educational session at the National Recreation and Park Association’s (NRPA) Aquatics Conference held in San Diego.
The three day event was held at the Bahia Resort Hotel on Mission Bay. In between sessions I captured this photo on my work I-phone. The main conference room had this beautiful view of the hotel’s dock. It was a rainy February in San Diego so when the skies cleared, there were lot’s of photo ops.
I came across this photo as I scrolled through some photographs, and I instantly remembered this Aquatics Conference from 2011.
As a professional in my field for 30+ years, I had countless opportunities to present at industry conferences. In my earlier years, I attended, ready to learn new best practices. It was in 2007 that the torch passed to me to become a regular presenter.
For those who have experienced professional conferences, here is a glimpse into what a presenter may go through.
My session was about professional development in the aquatics field. I have given this session a few times at other professional conferences. You would think after 20 plus years as an aquatics director, I would have felt more confident about speaking before my peers at a national aquatics conference. This must have been intuition, because the first thing that happened, my laptop did not want to turn on. That always creates pressure.
Once that was fixed, everything was rolling just fine, I realized with pleasure that there were about 60 people at the session. When first invited six months prior to the conference, I was surprised that the conference planners wanted a session on aquatics professional development. I mean, if people are already here as professionals, why would they come to this session? With several concurrent sessions available, I was happy with the numbers!
A little later I noticed that the Editor-in-Chief of Aquatics International Magazine was in the audience. Soon after, as I was discussing the industry publications people should read to learn more about the profession, I called him out and acknowledged his presence. Glad that didn’t backfire! My session somehow felt more legit with him in the room.
After I presented, I attended some other sessions. As I said earlier, the torch was passed to me to present. I knew I had reached that point when I realized I could teach every session I attended. With so many years under my belt, I felt like I stopped learning a few years ago . Nevertheless, the networking opportunities are always available and that in itself is valuable.
It was a fun session at which to present. Since San Diego is my hometown it really is exciting to attend a conference where people from all over the U.S. flock to visit. I always love meeting people from out of state and explain that I am (was) a native. Conferences in San Diego are always wonderful to attend, both for professional and personal reasons. Who doesn’t jump at the chance to visit San Diego for any reason?
Sadly, NRPA made the National Aquatics Conference the last of its kind that year in 2011.
Speaking of learning, I would love to see more blogging conferences, particularly in California. I know WordPress offers the Press Publish events, perhaps we shall see more of these.
No matter your professional “level” in life (or lack thereof), adults love to learn and never tire of it. If you have the opportunity to attend or present at a conference of your choosing, jump at the chance and see what inspires you! Your learning experience may be enhanced if it takes place in San Diego!