It’s 4 a.m. in Scottsdale, Ariz., as I write this. I’m awake only because it’s time for me to check out of my outstanding accommodations at the Hotel Valley Ho and leave behind my friends and the annual NFPW conference and return to the real world.
For a few days each year at this conference I rekindle friendships, renew my spirit and reawaken my thirst for knowledge.
I attended my first conference many years ago for the same reason I suspect many members do – I was receiving an award in the annual communications contest. As a young reporter, I was excited to learn what place I had won and to learn how I could improve my writing from the judges’ comments.
Of course once you are at conference, you are going to attend the workshops, which almost always are outstanding. This year, I learned about communicating a crisis using the latest technology, writing headlines for the Web and accessing my muse.
I had conversations and laughter with friends. That’s a given, but breakfast speaker Steve Saffron reinforced the value of laughter and humor during his presentation. As he encouraged us to dance our way out of the room to our next workshop, he turned on the tunes and the next thing you knew, we were all dancing.
This year I didn’t participate in the pre- or post-tours because of my schedule, but I managed to squeeze in a few hours to explore Scottsdale. I enjoyed summer for a few more days with 100+ degree days and plenty of sunshine.
Now, though, it’s time to say good-bye and return to the chilly autumn days of the East Coast. I already have marked my calendar for Aug. 22-24 in Utah for the 2013 conference knowing all the wonderful benefits it will provide. Will you be there?