October 12, 2011

ACR 2011 Annual Conference - Daily Recap #1

Welcome from sunny San Diego! 

The Association for Conflict Resolution's 10th Annual Conference is officially underway! In case you're unable to join us, I'll be endeavoring to provide a daily recap of all the community mediation happenings fit to print. To get an even broader sense of all that's happening this week, be sure to check out the conference's official online home. (For readers who are bouncing around the Sheraton conference halls, share your thoughts and experiences in the comments section below for the enjoyment of our colleagues who are home and hard at work.)


Earlier today, the ACR Community Section held it's pre-conference training titled: "Surviving and Thriving in these Tough Economic Times." This four-hour session, featuring lively and inspiring presentations by Karmit Bulman, Cheryl Cutrona, Michele Ennis-Benn, and Caroline Harmon, topped out at 14 attendees representing varied geographies and professional interests. In between timely and honest discussions about field diversity, fund development, public outreach, and social entrepreneurialism, the group snuck in an impressively coordinated group juggle of a foam-, koosh-, and racquet-balls...oh, and also Michele's purse, a children's doll, a *ahem* feminine product, an otter/rat squeak toy, and, of course, scissors. (A perfect analogy of our professional need to remain focused even as new, distracting, and sharp projectiles whiz past our ever-busy heads!)  


Following the pre-conferences, an evening welcome reception brought a steady stream of attendees through the exhibitor's pavilion for an hors d'oeuvres fueled meet-and-greet. NAFCM's table was particularly well visited as Board Members Karmit and Jim Lingl and myself struck up conversations with community mediation colleagues hailing from Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Washington, as well as our farther flung brethren representing Canada, Guam, and Ireland, amongst other locales. NAFCM's new "Community Mediator" name badge ribbons seem to be a huge hit as dozens of conference goers are already proudly sporting the distinctive gray and maroon strip. Our table also featured NAFCM's new special promotion offering 25% OFF all new and renewal memberships now through November 6th, as well as our new "YOU@CommunityMediator.org" professional email accounts, which are available to all current NAFCM members.


All told, the pre-conference day at ACR's Annual Conference was a huge success. As tomorrow's first full day of the regular conference sessions unfolds, be sure to check back in with The Community Mediator and follow NAFCM on Facebook and Twitter to receive timely (wi-fi dependent) community mediation focused updates.

In community,
Executive Director, NAFCM

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