It has been almost two weeks since I attended the American School Counselor Association’s National Conference in my new hometown of Orlando, FL and I must admit I’m still on cloud 9 from the experience.
In the six years that I have been working as a speaker I have only attended 3 conferences as an exhibitor. Two of which were the ASCA conferences.
Why ASCA? The answer is very simple.
School Counselors rule the world.
Back in 2010 when I was still a newbie at the world of educational speaking I was contacted by the guidance department at a school close to me. They wanted to discuss the possibility of my coming to speak to their students. Nothing came of the meeting but at the very end, the department head said something I would never forget, “Your message is great, you want to get it out there, schools counselors are going to make it happen.”
Since then I have given workshops at the New Jersey, Georgia and Arkansas School Counselors Associations state conferences and exhibited at two national conferences. All were loads of fun but 2014 takes the cake.
Over the course of three days I met well over 1,000 amazingly fun individuals who stopped by my booth to chat, get a treasure hunt stamp, play a game or steal a piece of candy. I couldn’t have had more fun.
I found a new inspiration during the course of the weekend and I think the conference as a whole was an illuminated bulb above the head of everyone present. I was grateful to be along for the ride while tweeting, instagraming and facebooking along with the crowd.
One of the best moments of the conference for me and, I think, everyone was getting to hear the first lady, Michelle Obama, speak to a crowd of 2,000+ attendees and exhibitors. The energy in the room was nothing I had ever felt before.
It’s not the same but please take a moment to watch by visiting the ASCA website here.
The words spoken by the first lady rang true to everyone involved. Though I am not on the front lines everyday like the 2,100 amazing counselors in attendance, I am still an educator. Over the last six years I have seen how much schools struggle. I have worked with amazing and dedicated counselors across the United States and Canada who want nothing but the best for their students.
I am thankful for the passion that I witnessed over the course of three days. I am happy to know that there are such dedicated people out there doing everything they can to make a difference in students’ lives.
With this new found passion and inspiration, I’m looking forward to what the 2014-2015 school year has to offer. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with the amazing people that I met along the way and working with them to create smarter digital citizens and tackling bullying in schools all over the world.
Thank you all for the amazing experience!
I also talked with many attendees that had expressed an interest in starting their own blogs but didn’t know where to start or felt they didn’t have enough to say. I have been branching out and looking for contributors for this blog- looking for passionate individuals to share knowledge of the online world. Additionally it would be great to have input from those working with colleges and universities and what impact a student’s digital footprint has on their future.
If you are interested please feel free to get in touch by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Until next time!
Josh Gunderson is an award-winning Bullying Prevention and Social Media Specialist. Josh has appeared on MTV, Comedy and National Geographic. For more information about Josh and his educational programs please visit www.HaveYouMetJosh.com
You can purchase Josh’s book “Cyberbullying: Perpetrators, Bystanders & Victims” on Amazon! Available in paperback or for Kindle.