NAA17: WIIFM?

Have you found yourself wondering what all the buzz is about the NAA Convention? Maybe thinking, "What makes it special?" or "That's great ... but what's in it for me (WIIFM)?"

I've been going to NAA Conventions for at least 15 years. Attending (and later presenting) workshops, catching up with colleagues, making new connections, and checking out the products and services in the Exhibit Hall provided learning and other fun—yes, I said "fun"—opportunities only available at this annual national event. Now, as a staff member, the fun comes from working with our team behind the scenes to help facilitate experiences where participants learn, connect and grow based on their own learning preferences and specific interests.

So, WIIFM you ask?

Besides the 200 plus workshops and inspiring keynotes every day, you mean? Here are some of the events that are sure to pique your interest.

Pep Rally: Cheer on your team during the annual roll call of states and keep the momentum going by sharing your spirit with the rest of the team at the Learning Expo Opening Event. Meet the NAA17 exhibitors and enjoy game-day snacks and drinks!

Tailgate Party: What's game day without a tailgate party? Join your fellow teammates and our exhibitors in the Learning Expo for tailgate games and lunch!

Bonus General Session: For the first time, Monday will host two general sessions—one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Come to the bonus general session to hear from Andy Roddick about how learning to play tennis in an afterschool program changed the trajectory of his life and from Matthew Emerzian of Every Monday Matters to be reminded that small actions can have a big impact.

Game Night: Stop by to play your favorite game and meet afterschool professionals from across the nation. Win prizes—and new connections!

DimensionU Gaming Tournament: Play a quick five-minute DimensionU math or literacy video game and earn as many points as possible. We'll keep track of the scores throughout the day and award some cool prizes to the TOP High Scorers. No experience needed. Just come, play and have fun—and maybe WIN!

WRiTE BRAiN Books Kids in the Hall: Watch inspired afterschool kids from local program, ClaytonYES, showcase their literacy and 21st-century skills as they proudly read their self-authored, published books aloud.

Huddle-Ups: Catch up with others from your state or meet up based on interests or common themes.

Training Camp Group Fitness: Get your body moving to energize your brain with opportunities to get up and moving every morning!

Destination Dallas: Enjoy shopping, dining or strolling around to see the sites! We have arranged a complimentary shuttle service on Tuesday, March 21, to take participants from the Hilton Anatole to one of the following areas: Uptown, West Village, Main Street and Trinity Groves.

Written by Heidi Ham, NAA Vice President of Programs and Strategy.