ISTE 2014 – Day 1 – Affiliate Day
What is one of the biggest highlights of the ISTE conference? Definitely the Affiliate Day! This is the day that happens before the official conference starts, and it involves ISTE Affiliates from all over the USA and around the world get together and share information! It’s non-stop!
I arrived at the conference centre, to our break-out room by 7 AM, and there were already others there getting ready! The day officially starts at 8:30, but many people arrive by 7:30 to get a head start, and enjoy catching up.
What do we do all day? Well, we have highlights from a number of affiliates, some of their stories from the past year. We talk about advocacy, we talk about some of the ways we can work together and ISTE can help us, play some games. We have poster sessions from various affiliates and the cool things they are doing. We have a number of potential keynote speakers – we give them each 4 minutes to talk, and we record them so that everyone gets some ideas for their own keynotes. Brian Lewis and Kecia Ray stop by for a bit of a “Hello”.
Probably the best part is the round-table discussions. We setup a number of topics, and people get together in groups of about 10 and share how they deal with the issue, and some tips and tricks. We do three complete sessions, and they are a hit.
I have the privilege of working with some very talented people to plan this day, and help manage the day. There are well over 130 people who travel from near and far to participate in this day. It’s incredibly rare to be in the presence of so many talented folks, all working on similar goals, all more than willing to share their successes AND their trials and tribulations!
It’s a full day, starting at 8:30, and running until just before 4 PM!
CEO Brian Lewis and President Kecia Ray
But that’s not all! A couple of hours later we have an affiliate reception! This year’s was hosted by ISTE in the Omni Hotel. There was lots of food, a one-man band, lots of visiting, and of course the always popular basket exchange. Each affiliate brings a bag/basket of goodies that might represent their geographic area, and we draw them randomly for each affiliate to take home! It always causes lots of great conversation and laughter! This year one of the baskets accidentally got someone’s bathroom bag, complete with soap, shampoo and other necessities! Needless to say it was returned to the appreciative owner!
This year in order to jump start some of the conversation we had an affiliate bingo game that Judith and I put together. Everyone had to complete a bingo card, getting others to sign the appropriate spaces, in order to be entered for some draws. What a blast! The volume of talking / chatter / and laughter was astounding!
After a couple of hours the reception wrapped up, and we were all off to other things.
For me, by now I was exhausted, so it was back to the condo for some much needed rest.
If nothing else, the trip down just to participate in the affiliate day, would be all worthwhile! But there is still more! A huge thank you to Susan Larson, our ISTE Director of Volunteer Leadership, who pours everything into making this a fantastic day for all of us!