—This post was written by Holly Jackson, Region 4 Council of Student Members Representative—
The Region 4 Summit took place February 8-10, 2013 at Northern Kentucky University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Although this was my fourth regional conference, it was still as fun and exciting as the first, which was actually at NKU too!
We started the conference with registration and check-in at our hotel, which was on the river in Newport, KY. After getting everyone together, we all carpooled over to NKU for our Opening Session, where Dr. Carrie McCoy gave a wonderful opening speech about leadership. Gene Zackerman (the International Leadership Council President), Jeff Fox (Region 4’s Council of Advisor’s representative and our fantastic host advisor), and LaShandra Little (our fabulous regional Associate Director), welcomed everyone and the weekend officially began.
Saturday was packed with workshops and volunteering. We all enjoyed every moment. Our Keynote Speaker for the day was NKU President Dr. Geoffrey S. Mearns, who is a true Region 4 leader having come from Cleveland State before ending up at NKU. Later, workshops ran the gambit from Golden Key-centered ones like “Golden Key 101” and “Successful Officer Transitions” to professional-based ones like “Interviewing 101” and “Demystifying How to ‘Dress for Success.’” Better World Books Representative Traci Kolar helped out during the weekend and led a workshop as well, showing their commitment to helping Golden Key chapters. For lunch, attendees learned the ins and outs of business luncheon etiquette thanks to Betsy John-Jennings, who wasn’t afraid to call people out on their mistakes. I will certainly never set my spoon down on a tablecloth again at a restaurant after stirring my coffee! After workshops and lunch, we all went to the Brighton Center in Newport, where we helped sort food and clothes, and well as clean and do creative projects to help the center. The Brighton Center provides opportunities for individuals and families to reach self-sufficiency through family support services, education and leadership in Newport and we were excited to help in any way we could.
Saturday evening (after we had all had a chance to clean up, and maybe nap), we had our closing dinner, which a delicious Italian buffet with spaghetti, lasagna, breadsticks and salad. Plus, cookies. Yum! We all dressed up a bit and just hung out for a while. Afterwards a lot of us went out and explored Newport and Cincinnati, where Mardi Gras was the main event of the weekend. It was an adventure and a lot of fun. Sunday, of course, involved one-on-ones and sleeping just a little more.
One of my favorite parts of the conference was definitely getting to see my friends. I’d be silly not to admit that I wasn’t excited to see friends from chapters like Wright State, my alma mater, (I’m at the University of Kentucky now), NKU, of course, and Penn State, among the other schools. And, as with every conference, I got to meet some of the wonderful people I’ve heard about and talked to via the Internet about regional ideas. The workshops are always a great chance to put yourself out there and gain practical experience in front of an audience if you present, which I did this year, and learn more, if you attend. Also, the food was delicious. That’s always a plus.
I look forward to next year. I know multiple chapters were talking about wanting to host in the next few years, which is really exciting. Region 4 is fabulous and I know that each year things are just going to continue to be even more awesome at our Regional Summits.