Are You an ANC First-Timer?

In “History in the Making” in the June/July 2014 issue of School Nutrition, author Kelsey Casselbury showcases the highlights of this year’s Annual National Conference (ANC), to be held in Boston, Mass., July 13-16, 2014. Does this year mark your first time at ANC? If so, congratulations! You took the leap—but where to begin? Even reviewing the website prior to the conference can be overwhelming in and of itself. Luckily, we asked some veterans to give their very top tips for first-time ANC attendees.

Lori Danella, SNS, nutrition services coordinator for Lee’s Summit (Mo.) School District, suggests that first-timers arrive on Friday or Saturday to explore Boston, get acquainted with the Convention Center and pick up your registration packet, including your official onsite ANC Program Guide. Over lunch or happy hour drinks, go through the Guide and start jotting down notes about what events and education sessions you want to attend. One session you don’t want to miss is the aptly named First-Timers Session, held from 8:15 to 9:15 a.m. Saturday, July 13, which will give you an overview of how to make the most of your first ANC.

Additionally, Shannon Solomon, nutrition coordinator for Aurora (Colo.) Public Schools, recommends taking advantage of the SNA members that fill the Convention Center, many of whom have attended multiple conferences and can help those feeling lost. Specifically, seek out members from the SNA of Massachusetts—they’ll be wearing something special to ensure you can’t miss them!—who are serving as volunteers and as conference hosts, and they can point you in the right direction, whether your question is about events inside the building, or sightseeing out on the town.

“Finally, just breathe, absorb everything and don’t get overwhelmed,” Danella says—and bring business cards! Sage advice!

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