A Special Opportunity

“I joined the International Association of Conference Center Administrators (IACCA) when I was a reservationist at the Smithfield Center.  Unfortunate circumstances removed the director from her position suddenly and I became director literally overnight.  I had ideas of how I wanted things to be done, but supervising employees in this environment and dealing with a board was all new to me. Thank goodness I had colleagues in IACCA I could turn to for the advice I needed to bridge the move from employee to leader. The IACCA courses offered a “behind the scenes” look at operations of conference centers that you cannot find anywhere else.  I have definitely matured into my position here at the Smithfield Center with the confidence that I attained from IACCA conferences and courses.” --Amy Musick, Director, Smithfield Center, Smithfield, Va.

Quality professional educational opportunities for retreat and conference center professionals are difficult to find.  Those serving in this industry are asking different questions than a traditional camp director. They have needs not met by the general nonprofit learning programs found across the country. Directors and managers of retreat centers need to look at best practices for reaching out to and serving a more adult population. The International Association of Conference Center Administrators (IACCA) has met this need of more than 30 years. The following describes some of the opportunities available with IACCA:

IACCA Annual Fall Educational Event 2012

Money: The Fuel for Mission

October 22-25, 2012

Conference and Retreat Center professionals will gather October 22 to 25, 2012, at YMCA Silver Bay of the Adirondacks in Silver Bay, N.Y. The theme is Money: The Fuel for Mission. The keynote for the conference will be provided by John Haydon, an expert in social media marketing for non-profits and author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies ( www.johnhaydon.com ). Other key faculty for the conference will bring a wealth of experience in conference center and non-profit leadership. The distinctive nature of this event is the focus for professionals who serve in the conference center and retreat center setting and depth of learning around a common subject.

The primary days of the conference will focus in-depth on two key areas of money: marketing and finance management. Attendees will choose a management or executive track for study each day with teaching geared to both types of professionals. Each day will also begin with a time of focus teaching to launch the learning for the day. On the last day, teams from each center will have time to collaborate, plan, and begin implementation. Professionalism, knowledge, performance – all three are a part of this intentional time of learning and growing through this event. More details about the conference are available at www.iacca.org .

Certification Program

IACCA offers the only certification program for conference and retreat center professionals, the CCCP (Certified Conference Center Professional).

Participants will learn from professional trainers who have in-depth skills in center administration. Equally important is that participants have the opportunity to expand their professional network from others across the country. Participants will find colleagues with similar issues and share best practices.

Topics covered include: leadership, governance, finance, hospitality, human resources, marketing, business administration, facilities management, fund raising, and food service.

Staff can choose from two tracks: a manager track and an executive/administrator track.  Certification is a completion of coursework and developing action plans. Persons participating in this conference will have the opportunity to earn credit toward the IACCA professional certification offered.

IACCA is the only organization that focuses on the unique management skill set needed by nonprofit conference and retreat centers. It caters to the needs of managers, administrators, and directors who provide exceptional programs and services. Committed to education, professionalism, networking, and support, IACCA welcomes both non-members and members in all events and activities.

IACCA participants come from a variety of settings acrossNorth America:

  • Both individual centers and centers that are combined with a camp

  • All types of centers: religious centers, agency centers (such 4H), independent centers, government-owned centers, etc.

  • Both independent centers and those associated with a parent organization

  • All sizes of centers, from the 25-bed to the 1200+ bed facility.

For more information, visit www.iacca.org

Jess Schload is the Executive Director at Life Enrichment Center in Fruitland Park, Fla., a 400-bed facility. He has been involved in conference center administration for 18 years.