In addition to the opportunity to gain knowledge, conferences are a prime opportunity to renew your excitement about your career and make important connections with others engaged in similar work. As you are planning your professional development budget for the coming year (you do have one, right?) some conferences you might consider attending:
NAE4-HA: November 12-17, 2017 in Indianapolis, IN. The mother of all conferences relative to 4-H agents. If you want 4-H, 4-H, and more 4-H, this is where you want to go. It’s also a prime way to get involved in your professional organization by meeting NAE4-HA officers, participating in business meetings, and joining a committee related to your area of expertise.
JCEP Leadership Conference: February 14-15, 2018 in Orlando, FL. JCEP stands for Joint Council of Extension Professionals. As with many conferences, the location for this one rotates. It’s a good idea to try to attend when it is close to home to keep your costs low. This is a great conference for honing your leadership skills and allowing you to network with extension professionals beyond just the 4-H world.
PILD: April 8-11, 2018 in Arlington, VA. PILD stands for Public Issues Leadership Development. This conference engages Extension professionals in U.S. public policy and the legislative process as they connect with their congressional representatives to discuss Extension issues and impacts. This is a great opportunity to learn more about how the changing political environment affects Extension.
National Extension Conference on Volunteerism: Held every other year. Date/location TBD but rumor has it, it will be held in Spring 2019 in Georgia. If you want to work on your skills relates to anything “volunteer” this is where you want to be!
National Extension Technology Conference: June 12-15, 2017 in Savannah, GA. Interested in the use, and application, of technology in Cooperative Extension (it IS 2017, you know…)? Then this is the conference for you!
Association for International Agricultural and Extension Education: April 16-20, 2018 in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico. Work on your global view of Extension and meet with colleagues worldwide who share a common goal of strengthening extension work and networks across the globe.
National Epsilon Sigma Phi Conference: October 8-12, 2017 in Wilmington, North Carolina. This conference is open to ESP members and focuses on facilitating professional development for extension agents in all areas of programmatic focus.
National Urban Extension Conference: May 8-11, 2017 in Minneapolis, MN. Face it, programming in an urban area can represent different challenges than in other areas. This is a great venue to focus on specialized skills related to urban extension programming.
…And these are JUST the Extension Conferences. Much can additionally be gained from going outside your conference norm to a non-extension conference. Conferences such as American Camp Association, Conference on Volunteering and Service (Points of Light), National Society for Experiential Education Conference, all have great value to Extension faculty and staff!
Don’t forget local one-day professional development opportunities as well! A quick search of Eventbrite may bring about even more opportunities close to you! Mini-conferences such as Leadercast can give great value at a fraction of the cost!
What’s in your conference wish list? What have been your preferred conferences? Share your responses in the comment section below!